Hey! What’s this? Jim held up a stack of cards. They were exploring Ronald’s attic, no one had been up there for ages.
A card game. Cool! Nick grabbed it, started going through it. Awesome! A killer clown! And some kind of monster dog. And… a card of rules! Let’s play!
You know I always win! Rita laughed. She loved games.
The rules were simple. Each player had four cards, and the objective was to kill the other players.
“When a player dies, the game stops until the day after,” Rita read out loud. “The rest of the players must keep playing next day, or they will all die horrible deaths.” Haha! We better keep playing!
What a cool game! Ronald was already handing out the cars.
They played for an hour or so. Nick was up. He had only three death points left. Ronald threw out a card. Disease. Nick had no defence. Rita threw out car accident. Then the killer clown came out on the table.
Damn! Nick was out.
Haha! Die, sucker! Ronald was such a bad winner.
Well, we’ll have to take a break until tomorrow, then. Jim stretched his arms. Rules are rules!
Rules are rules, said Ronald yawning.
On the way out Nick started sneezing.
Hey, careful with that! Rita said. I don’t want to catch anything. I have exams next week.
They left each in their own direction. Nick was sneezing and coughing all the time. He didn’t see the car rounding the corner.
He lay on the ground. The car had stopped. His leg hurt. The car door opened. A clown came out.
A clown…? What the…?
The clown had a big toy hammer in his hand. He came closer. Lifted the hammer. It wasn’t rubber. It was painted iron.
Rita, Jim and Ronald sat around the table, each with four cards in their hands.
Anybody heard from Nick?
Probably at home sneezing.
Better stay there, then, Rita said. I hate being sick.
Too bad. Ronald threw out the disease card.
They went some rounds. Gunshot. Shark attack. Infection.
Jim was up. Ronald threw out the Hillbilly Zombie.
Damn. No defence for that one. Only one life left. Lightning ray. He was out.
That leaves only you and me for tomorrow, Rita said.
Ronald’s phone rang.
Hello? Yes? Oh no! That’s horrible! Yes, we saw him yesterday. Sure, I’ll come.
He sat there, staring into thin air.
What? Rita said.
It was the police, Ronald said with a monotone voice. Nick. He’s… he’s dead.
They stayed for a while, comforting each other. The police wanted to talk to them the next day. The death was suspicious, and an investigation was started.
I think it’s going to rain, Jim said after a while, looking out of the window. I’d better get home.
Jim walked down the road towards his house. The rain started pouring down, and he could hear thunder coming closer.
Someone was walking up towards him. He looked drunk or high or something. He had a trailer cap and carpenter’s pants.
Jim wanted to cross the road to avoid him. He was a small and weak kid, he always had been, and he got scared easily. Still, what scared him the most was other people seeing he was scared, so he stayed on the side walk, avoiding eye contact. The strange man grabbed him.
Hey! Let go! Jim looked into his face. It was rotten.
Jim tried to get loose, but the grip was too tight.
Help! Help me someone! The zombie bit him in the forehead. Jim fought desperately as blood flowed down his face.
Lightning struck them. They fell. The zombie kept eating into Jim’s unconscious brain.
The next morning Ronald and Rita went down to the Police station. They were asked questions, and the police officer answered theirs as well as he could. They had found Nick with his leg broken and his head crushed in the middle of the road. Jim’s body was burned, seemingly by lightning, and he had bite marks in his brain.
When they left, Rita said what they were both thinking.
They died just like in the card game.
They did, but it can’t be. It’s just too weird.
But still they did. I think we should burn the game.
They threw the card game into the fire place, poured lighter gasoline on it. It burned for a while.
When the fire went down it was unharmed. The rule card fell out on the floor. A part of the text was underlined and shining red.
“The rest of the players must keep playing next day, or they will all die horrible deaths.”
A knock on the door. Another on the window. Ronald went to look through the peek hole. A clown was there. He just avoided the pin coming through the hole. They could hear giggles. A hound barked outside. The ground started shaking.
Fuck. Ronald looked at the table. The cards was already there, four on each side. -We’re going to have to keep playing.
They played in silence. Cards was laid out. Death points given. Ronald had only one left. Rita had to put down a card.
Their eyes met. A tear ran down Rita’s cheek. Ronald swallowed.
Please. Make it quick.
The cockroaches would be hell on earth. The Hook Killer would probably make him suffer. Fire was the most humane card she had. She threw it down.
Ronald looked at her. The fire place exploded behind him.
Rita backed towards the door. Ronald’s back was burning.
She ran. She could hear Ronald scream in pain. The house was already ablaze.
It was over. She had won the game.