a game of chance
Imagine Games
The Imagination Guild
My mom woke me up by shaking my shoulder.
“Izzy,” she said urgently, a tear rolling down her cheek. “Izzy, I’m sorry.”
By now, I was fully awake, staring at her. A horrible realization dawned.”Mom, you didn’t,” I protested, quickly swinging my legs out of bed and standing, swaying slightly at the shock.
Because my world isn’t like yours. Your world, you have choices. My world, we have none. Just the barren wasteland of Gerrain. That’s my world.
And my world relies on Imagination.
In my world, parents often... sell their children to the Imagination Guild; that means that the child is taken away, thrown into the Imagine Games.
And that was what my mother did.
I looked at her tear stained face.
“Mom, no,” I said, fighting my own tears. “You can’t do this!”
She was crying for real now, ugly sobs that racked her whole body. I was in no mind to feel sorry for her. It was something that happened often when the child turned fifteen. My age. I looked at the diary on the bedside table, my one luxury item.
The date: seventeenth of January. My birthday.
“The Imagine Games,” she whispered, “You have to win. That way you can come back here. Back home, with me. Please!”
“That’s what they all say,” I spat. “Have you ever seen anyone come back?”
“Well... no. But-“
“No buts!” I said loudly. “How could you? You promised!”
“I couldn’t support both of us anymore, Izzy!”
Rage filled my vision. “You promised me! You promised I wouldn’t have to play!”
My mom fearfully glanced behind her, and I heard shouting from the bottom of the stairs.
“They’re here,” she told me. I glanced at the window to my left, and saw my mom shaking her head.
“Izzy,” she said, “Please.”
“Open up!” A gruff voice yelled from the bottom of the stairs. “Imagination Guild! We have an order to collect Miss Isabelle Fieda!”
My blood went cold when I heard my name. The window, I thought desperately. The window, the window, the window.
But I couldn’t make myself do it. The bedroom was twenty metres up, courtesy of the families living below us, and I hate heights.
I heard heavy footsteps on the stairs and fear coursed through my veins; the Imagine Guild were coming up. No...
Someone pounded on my bedroom door and I shuddered.
“Open up!” The voice yelled again, now less muffled. “Isabelle Fieda! Come out!”
“I’m bisexual!” I shouted through the door, much to my mother’s shock.
“Kira’s Eye, Izzy,” my mom whispered.
We both did the Sign of the Gods (index and third finger together and thumb over the ring and little fingers). It is necessary to do this in our world when we invoke the names of the gods.
The door disappeared with a faint silver glow and five members of the Imagination Guild walked in. I caught my breath; Isiah the Illusiomancer was there, the Captain of the Guild.
“That... is not what we meant,” he said quietly, and I realized how young he was; he can’t have been much older than me. I guessed around twenty-two.
“Come,” one of the other guards said. “We will not ask again. It’s time to compete, after all.”
“Please don’t,” I said without thinking. “I don’t want to compete!”
“You will win money for your family,” one of the men said. “It is worth it.”
“No one’s ever come back,” I told him angrily, “What happens to them?”
The guard looked behind me and smiled grotesquely. “You’re about to find out.”
Then I saw a shadow and whirled around to see my mother bearing down on me, using my own diary to render me unconscious.

Keep Reading

Chapter 2

Isiah the Illusiomancer, Captain of the Guild

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