The Green Room
Flynn opened his eyes to an expanse of green. There was no doubt this room was inside the home. Where the last few had been rooms that encompassed his life, this room was filled with the same old décor as the first two rooms. The only thing standing out as odd was the large hardwood floor surrounded by chalk lines. A lean, older man stood in the middle of the floor with a sword in each of his hands.
“Do you know how to fight?” the man asked Flynn.
Flynn shook his head. This was a challenge he could do. He drilled with the sword for countless hours while in the army. They woke him every morning at dawn and worked him until the last rays of sun bled out of the day.
Flynn stepped forward and held out his hand. “Throw me one of those and we will find out,” he answered.
The old man smiled and tossed one of the swords lightly into the air.
“This is a duel to the death. There are no points. There are no rules. There are no time-outs and if you want to win, you must kill the other man. It is simple,” the man said.
Flynn let a smile cross his face. There were no mind games here. This was much more up his alley. Flynn stepped forward, weighing the sword in his hand. It was much smaller than the one he used during the war, but it would still slice a man’s flesh wide.
“Do you understand the rules?”
Flynn did not answer; he only lunged forward to express his agreement. The older man, clad in green, respected Flynn’s ability and side-stepped rather than trying to parry the sword thrust.
This left Flynn momentarily off balance and vulnerable to a killing blow. Flynn dropped to his knees and the sword’s created wind passed over him. He did not watch the sword, but, rather, he rolled forward, coming up in the other man’s guard. Flynn hit the man in the chin with an uppercut and knocked him back. Flynn advanced forward and drove his pommel into the man’s neck. The man gurgled and his eyes bulged. There was only shock at the fact he would soon be dying on his face.
Flynn stepped back, creating enough distance to use his sword, but was surprised as the tip of a blade entered his upper shoulder. The green clad man had not stayed put, even in dying, he was trying to take Flynn with him. The sword bit at Flynn’s skin, creating a burning pain that could not be described.
Flynn trained many times to never look at a wound during battle. So, he did not let his eyes waver from the other man. Instead, he drove forward, ignoring the sword now ripping through muscle. His own sword point met the man’s sternum and Flynn pushed with all his weight. He felt the tiny bones cracking beneath the pressure of his blade and then, the sick popping noise that meant his sword drove through both flesh and bone. The other man grunted and mistakenly looked down at his wound. Flynn let go of his sword and grabbed the man’s sword. He pulled it free from his shoulder with a scream of pain. He still did not look at his wound. There was still more to do to ensure the man was unable to continue. Flynn moved forward, grabbing the weak hands of the other man. Putting his good shoulder into the push, he shoved the sword the rest of the way into the man’s chest and through his back. The other man knelt. Green blood spilled from the man’s mouth and covered his green shirt. Flynn stepped back, not enjoying the man’s death, but it was a necessity to his own survival. This test had been easier for him than any other. Did that mean he was nothing but a killer? He could not fight his demons, or his past with this much vigor, but he could easily shove a sword through a man without much thought.
The other man crumpled to the floor and died. Flynn was emotionless. He had to get back what was taken from him and if that meant killing then he would do it.
“Glad to see you are warmed up,” another voice said from behind him.
Flynn turned and the man who had been dead on the ground moments before stood in front of him. Flynn stupidly glanced over his shoulder to see the corpse was gone, but the blood remained. When he turned back around, a bolt from a crossbow whizzed through the air aimed at his head. Flynn had no time to dodge completely, and so, he turned to take the impact on his upper arm. The bolt hit its mark and tore through his muscle and fat like tissue paper. Flynn let out a deafening scream.
“We are glad you joined us, Flynn. It is a shame you made it no further, but we will make sure your item is well taken care of,” the man said.
Flynn balled his fist. The pain was tremendous, but he was not about to let the house defeat him. Without reloading, a second bolt appeared on the man’s crossbow. This time, Flynn tensed his body and readied himself for the release. When it did, he stood and charged, zigzagging out of the path, heading straight toward the man. This time, it was the man who was not ready, and Flynn crashed into him shoulder first. Flynn regretted not choosing a different method of attack. His shoulder flared with extreme pain and he paused to regain his composure.
During this time, the man struggled to his knees. Flynn called all his strength forward and punched the man in the jaw with his good arm. The man slumped over, down but not dead. Flynn picked up the crossbow. There was no bolt left to shoot the man. Instead, he drew it over his head and came down with it over the man’s face. He did this several times before he was sure the man would not be getting back up. He then turned, hoping to find the pathway open for the next door, but all he saw was green everywhere.
“You could not have expected to kill me and move on,” the man said.
Flynn did not have to look back to know the body disappeared.
“What do I have to do then?” Flynn asked.
“That is not part of the game,” the man answered.
Flynn was frustrated with the game. He killed the man twice in fair and unfair combat. He deserved to find the next door.
“How am I supposed to know what to beat if I don’t know the rules?” he asked.
The man shrugged. “That is not my problem,” he said.
A rifle appeared inside his hand. Flynn had no chance to outrun a bullet. He would be filled with holes and he would die. Flynn looked around for any coverage that may save him, but the room was not filled with furniture made for stopping bullets.
The man held the rifle to his shoulder. He braced it there, steadying his body to shoot. Flynn threw the crossbow as hard as he could. It flew true and hit the man in the leg. He stumbled back and Flynn ran forward. He had no real expectations of getting to the man, but he had to at least try. He stumbled forward as the first shot cracked into the green room. Flynn tripped on a crossbow bolt that missed him earlier. He gripped it in his hand and jumped back to his feet. The rifle was ready for a second shot and Flynn would be dead, but the man hesitated seeing Flynn’s weapon. The man took a step back, but Flynn jumped into the air and came down with the bolt point first. The second shot did fire and ripped through Flynn’s already searing shoulder. The man’s life was forfeit, as the bolt tore into his throat. With a gurgle, the man fell over dead. Flynn hit the ground hard, expelling every ounce of breath inside his lungs. His shoulder was useless now. His body was cold but sweat dripped from his brow. He would die and there was no doubt about it. He killed the man for the third time, but he doubted it mattered. He would not be able to kill him forever and eventually he would die himself.
“Are you ready to go again?” the man asked.
“Can’t we be friends?” Flynn asked sarcastically.
Flynn tried sitting, but his body did not have the strength left.
“Is that what you wish?” the man asked.
Flynn lifted only his head and looked at the man in green. He was holding a spear in both hands. Flynn could not fight him again.
“We can call it a draw,” Flynn laughed.
Not with real humor, but the wound was making his mind foggy.
“We could,” the man replied.
“Would you do that, having the advantage?” Flynn asked.
The man shrugged. “Would you do that with your pride?” the man retorted.
Flynn laid his head back down. It was too much effort to keep it lifted. He had seen already how the man in green would finish the job. A spear would take a while to kill him, but at least he was going out having provided a good fight.
“My pride is nothing compared to what I lost already,” Flynn said.
He meant every word. His pride meant nothing if he failed.
“If you mean that then I accept,” the man replied.
Flynn lifted his head with tremendous effort.
“You will let me live?” Flynn asked.
The man shook his head yes.
“Well, then you have a deal,” Flynn said.
The man nodded. He dropped both spears to the ground.
Flynn gave a short thought to using the last of his life to grab those spears and shove them into the man’s chest, but he opted out of that thought. He would take the truce and bleed out on the ground.
“Good luck in the blue room,” the man said.
Flynn did not have the strength left to lift his head. He was dizzy, then he hit the ground hard. When he opened his eyes, he had gone through the next door.