Chapter XXXII – Anxieties

After the lovemaking, Rem and Marybeth remained on the floor with Marybeth covering her body using the blanket near them.

“I am now convinced,” said Rem while staring blankly at the ceiling. “I will accept the vow and will remain with you until we win.”

Marybeth side lay to look at him.

“Me too, I will stay with you no matter what happened,” Marybeth said and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

“Come on let’s get dressed and we’ll have to clean this mess you made,” said Marybeth while standing up.

They cleaned the room while laughing and fooling around.

“Carklein, can I have two plates of beef steak, please make it tender; and two king crabs,” said Rem looking at Marybeth and as if he is asking her what she wanted.

Marybeth whispered at him.

“Add a pitcher of lemon ice tea, fresh fruits, and chocolate syrup,” Rem added.

“Would that be all Mr. Burrows?” asked Carklein.

Rem again looked at her. Marybeth just gave him a thumb up.

“That’s all Carklein.”

“Coming up, Mr. Burrows.”

Rem and Marybeth went outside the room. Rem looked for Vincent and the rest of the team.

“Where are they?” Rem asked.

“They left before you entered your room,” Marybeth said.

“Alright…”

After a few minutes, their orders arrived. The two started eating. None of them seemed to want to speak and only wanted to concentrate on their food. Rem then sliced several pieces of his steak, lift them using his knife and fork, and put them on Marybeth’s plate. She looked at him, smiled and happily ate them.

“Hungry?” asked Rem.

“Super,” Marybeth replied.

“Can I?” Rem said pointing at Marybeth’s plate.

“What?”

“Can I slice your meat?”

“I can manage…”

“Please allow me to. Anytime soon, we’ll be out there fighting. We won’t be enjoying our meal.”

“Alright, as you wish.”

*****

While enjoying their meals, Vincent and the rest of the gang arrived.

“Burrows,” said Vincent. “It looked like you are already in the good mood… What happened to your hand?”

“I just got a little workout… In my room,” said Rem smiling.

“Well, that another thing that we have to talk about,” said Marybeth. “Spare him, alright. We are convinced that we’ll give that vow a go.”

“Ok, whatever it is, it can be arranged,” said Vincent. “Finish that and we’ll give the details of your vow.”

*****

After eating, Rem and Marybeth went straight to the living room. There, Vincent was already in front of the couch. The projector and other equipment were already set.

“My fighters, ‘Bloody Train’ is created to differentiate one group from another. Two representatives – called wildcats – from the eight teams will be brought in an island where they must survive. Since all you are all trained there, backing off in a case of a face-off, is a shame,” said Vincent.

“Each group is specialized in a certain department. We… knife throwing. So, when you are there, both of you are equipped with a set of throwing knives that you can use to survive.

“The island will provide you with the things you needed — food, water, shelter and even clothing. You guys are well-trained in surviving in the forest, so I am quite confident finding basic needs won’t be a problem.

“The island, however, is also equipped with things that can break you: dangerous animals, poisonous snakes and insects, poison fruits and a lot more. So, be careful.”

“Are we going to meet our opponents before the game proper?” asked Rem.

“Technically, yes,” Vincent replied. “Next week, you, Marybeth and the rest of wildcats will attend a party along with the officials of the Grothlins. There, you will also be presented to the people, including the VIPS.

“After the presentation, it’s up for each group on how they will brief, guide and train their representatives. However, there are officials who will watch the training to evaluate every one of you. The results will be presented to the investors.”

“Investors?” asked Marybeth.

“They are rich people who will watch the games from different parts of the world,” Vincent replied.

“Then?” Rem asked looking for confirmation.

“Then, they will have their own picks,” Vincent said.

“I knew it. We were in that island killing each other for the sake of entertainment,” said Rem angrily.

“Rem, calm down,” said Marybeth pulling Rem down to his seat.

“Burrows, that’s your vow,” said Vincent. “If the two of you win, you will take home billions; you guys will also become an Arkiman where you will forever live in abundance.”

“Alright, I got it,” said Rem in a more calm and silent manner but in order just to finish the briefing.

Marybeth rubbed Rem’s back to calm him more.

“Burrows, the Arkiman bosses won’t send the two of you in that game if they didn’t see something special,” said Vincent.

“Usually, a trainee will be sent after a year or two and I bet the other teams as well. But, based on the feedback on the training, considerations happened.

“None of the former trainees showed what you have shown on the island. So, we are confident that the Arkimans will be champion this year.

“Take that as a compliment,” Vincent said.

Silence for a few seconds.

“Any questions?” asked Vincent.

None spoke a word.

“So, that’s all for today… You guys take a rest and you will be pampered later.”

Rem stood and went straight to his room.

*****

Rem lay on his bed and breathe deeply. He knew that the vow was alright for Marybeth because she was still hypnotized. He doesn’t want to go. That moment, what he wanted was to escape and be with his family. But, he also doesn’t want to leave Marybeth.

“Carklein, can I have some Olah-Olah?” said Vincent. “Give me also potato chips and mayonnaise.”

“I’m so sorry Mr. Burrows,” said Carklein. “But you have a full schedule for today. We are informed that you can’t drink any alcoholic beverages if you have a long day ahead.”

“Alright, fresh apple juice please.”

“Would that be all?”

“And burger with lots of cheese and hot sauce. Make it quick. That’s all.”

“Coming up.”

Right after Rem’s order arrived, he munched on them on his bed. After that, he slept. Two hours after, Carklein woke him up.

“Mr. Burrows, Vincent is knocking on the door,” said Carklein. “Should I open the door you?”

“Yes, please,” said Rem, who covered his head with a pillow.

Vincent entered the room and sat on the bed.

“Hey, Burrows,” said Vincent tapping Rem’s back. “You should be preparing now. We’ll have you guys pampered.”

“We’ll be waiting for you outside. Wear your casual clothes.”

After hearing the closing of the door, Rem got up off his bed and into the bathroom. He wore simple jeans and a black shirt. Outside, he saw the group and they are waiting for him. Marybeth nodded and smiled. He smiled back.

“Alright, let’s go,” said Vincent.

A few minutes of traveling, they stopped in a familiar building. Rem knew that it was the building where he was hypnotized. The place didn’t change a bit. People were still extravagant and wanted to be different from others. Huge pieces of jewelry were noticeable while colorful clothes made the place carnival-like.

The group went straight to a hall that leads to a mall-like set up where the establishments of different departments were busy with their respective customers.

The group entered a spa. Vincent talked to the receptionist, who then talked to two women while pointing to Rem and Marybeth. The two ladies walked to towards their location and asked them to follow.

Rem knew that they will be pampered and he knew he needed it. So, without hesitation, he followed the lady. She stopped in front of the male locker room, handed Rem a set disposable clothes and noted that she will be waiting for him outside.

Rem and the masseuse entered an extravagant room that was about 20 feet square. Water falls from one part of the wall into a small pond with fresh rose petals. He was asked to lay tummy first on the bed located at the center of the room.

Right after he lay down, the sound of the falling water made him sleepy. Seconds after, he also smelled a relaxing rosy smell that made his eyes heavier. His body wanted to give in.

“Sir, can I have your name?” asked the spa attendant.

“Rem.”

“Alright Mr. Rem, please listen to me. I want to you relax your mind,” said the attendant.

Rem found the voice commanding and it’s making him weak; he wanted to give in. However, his memories shot up and it led him to his abduction and hypnotism.

Rem opened his eyes with his breath suddenly becoming deeper to a point of hyperventilation. He tried to stand, but the attendant tried to pin him down.

“Sir, please lay down, I won’t hurt you, none of us will,” said the attendant, which was the exact words of the lady who put him under the hypnotism.

“No, no, I don’t want in here,” Rem said and this time, he’s already panicking. When he looked at the attended, she suddenly changed into a black lady wearing a doctor’s suit. She turned into Dr. Kerry Shroeder, the doctor who performed the hypnotism.

Rem easily overpowered the female attendant and got off the bed.

The attendant tried to calm Rem down by touching him on his shoulders with a mild push down to get him back on the bed. But, he pushed her hands away and grabbed her neck.

“No, release me,” said Rem talking on her face. “Get me out of here.”

The attendant was about to get unconscious when she pointed at the door. Rem released her and ran. He went out the room and trembled to the reception area. Vincent and the two escorts were surprised seeing him panicking and obviously, stressed out. He used to look left and right, looked like hallucinating.

“Please get me out of here,” said Rem grabbing Vincent’s shoulders.

“Wooohhh! Buddy, calm down,” said Vincent.

“Get me out! I don’t want in here,” said Rem shouting getting the attention of people around.

“Sshhhh… Calm down. We’ll get you out of here,” said Vincent wrapping his arms around Rem’s shoulder.

“Jimmy, can you please accompany Rem to the locker room to get dressed. Dricks, inform the reception that we will cut Marybeth’s spa session.”

After a few minutes, Rem and Jimmy went out. This time, the young fighter is calmer but still, looking stressed out. Minutes after, Marybeth arrived and all dressed.

Vincent made a phone call. He then nodded to the whole group and walked towards the exit of the establishment. He said they needed to go back because Rem needed a rest. None spoke a word.

While traveling, Rem was silent and just staring at the window. He also used to sigh making Marybeth worried. He went to his room and lay on the bed. He’s burned out, stressed, and tired. He eventually fell asleep.