Chapter no 45 – FADING HOPE‌


When Greg’s laughter finally stopped, he applied a crushing grip to Lacey’s dead hand. His crown jewel was gone. Seeing CJ’s head get sliced into slim slivers of ultra-gamey deli meat was the most traumatic visual he’d ever faced.

“Took my shining star…” Greg mumbled.

Greg was in a state of disbelief. Uncharacteristically, a tear welled up in his glossy eye. As he thought about CJ and the ceiling-less potential his once active frame contained, a tiny bead of water slid down his cheek.

With his pride and joy lost, it was beyond difficult to understand that the game was still on. Yet, somehow, Greg’s immorally competitive instincts superseded all else within his broken mind.

“But we still got one more, baby doll,” he whispered, waiting for the screen to transition away from CJ’s mutilated corpse. “We’re gonna win this thing. Just like I told you before, Tanya’s better than you think. She’s sure as shit better than that little retarded boy.”

Rock clenched his mammoth fist as Greg’s babble found him. He was witnessing a depraved reality, the one Greg projected tirelessly in his heinous hemisphere. All of his boys were dead, but he could give a shit less.

Somehow, it was all still about ‘winning.’

It was his only obsession prior to entering The Borden Estate, and it was his only obsession currently. Winning the pointless challenge that would see everyone dead at the conclusion was all that mattered.

It was all he had left.

The man represented the dark side of the world, the only side that Rock had been shown. Everything felt hopeless again until he shifted his focus to

Tom and Molly.

All of their children were gone. The two of them had been gushing tears without fail, entangled in their suffering. But even though they’d lost their skin in the game, they found a way to carry on. When the Grimleys presented their most recent pleas to Rock, they weren’t the requests he’d expected.

Rock would’ve assumed since all three of their kids were dead, that they’d begin begging for their own lives to be saved. He was wrong.

The other half of the world had been unlocked. The brighter side that had been tucked away from his sight by Geraldine’s decades of programming and decadence.

The Grimleys hadn’t made it about their own potential escape; it was still about the children. The two that remained. The two that they didn’t even know from a hole in the wall.

“Please, sir, the little boy and girl, you can still stop it. They didn’t do anything wrong. You—You have to stop this,” Molly cried, between sobs.

Rock didn’t answer. He couldn’t.

As far back as he could remember, everything that Geraldine had shown him, was always about her own importance. Other people had never been a part of the equation. Creating circumstances to accommodate her was what nearly every action Rock had taken in his life amounted to. If only he’d had a woman like Molly around when he was younger.

Someone to advocate for him. Someone to protect him.

In a way, that’s what she was trying to do for him now. Because, as the monitor screen transitioned to the last patch of the playground, and little blood-soaked Donnie entered the picture, Rock finally accepted it.

He and the boy were one.

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