I Was Trapped In A House With Twelve People Who All Wanted Me Dead

I scrambled toward safety, passing Ocean on the way and I just know he saw. I watched his eyes slip down to my waist where our matching tattoo sat. Where my identical jellyfish swam.

I swiveled on my heels to switch directions, bolting toward the dead twin and pulling the knife from her chest, pieces of flesh flying off with it. I needed it for protection, nothing more. A just-in-case scenario.

When I made it to the bedroom, after slashing one man in the palm and kneeing another in the groin, I locked myself inside, scuttled over to the furthest side of the room, and slid down the wall.

My best bet would be if someone else killed Ocean in the chaos, sending me into the light. Not that I wanted him dead. He protected me earlier and our matching tattoos must have meant we knew each other before this, it must have meant he mattered to me.

Maybe I could find a way to protect us both, maybe our match didn’t have to die. Maybe we just needed to not have a match to be set free.

Maybe if I could find a way to remove my tattoo, and I didn’t technically have a match anymore, we would both survive.

I stared at the knife clutched in my hand, wishing the jellyfish sat on a fleshy part of my body like my thigh or underneath my arm. Not my hip. My bony thin hip.

I pinched the skin between my fingertips and tried to bunch up the skin as much as I could before resting the knife against it, sawing at the mound, ripping off my flesh.

Each swipe of the blade stung, so I tried to think of other things, happier things – but my mind stayed blank. Without any memories, happiness felt hard to find.

Somehow, I had removed half of the tattoo, which rested in flakes on the floor, when I heard a knock at the door. Heavy. Impatient.

“I can’t let you in,” I said.

“I wouldn’t hurt my match.” Ocean. His voice sounded faint through the wood. “Besides, I don’t think they have it right anyway. When we first got here, there were only thirteen people. Now there are nine. With an uneven number of people, how could everyone have a match? I tried to tell them, but no one out there would listen to reason.”

The last piece of my tattoo fell to the ground in a flutter, releasing a heavy string of blood.

Nothing happened. No light. No freedom. Nothing.

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