Journals from participants
This is Melbourne at its worse. The smell of rotting flesh protrudes in the air. Food supplies are becoming scarce and not sure how long it will last. They promised us families will never grow hungry again. Everywhere I look people that weigh near to nothing, their faces hollowed out are scavenging and fighting for every last piece of available scrap. Boarded up shops where food stores used to be are rundown and stripped of everything, leaving them empty. People ration their food to the best of their abilities, but that invites unwelcomed guests. Our government forbids hunting, not that animals come down in to the city area anyways and if people bother to follow the rules now. People that are caught are severely punished, but it never follows through. They say it is in our best interest that we do not attract the attention of wild animals and that we don’t know what is in these animals, so hunting is at our own risk.
I received a neat, clean, folded message from and unknown benefactor that offers a way out of this forsaken poverty in exchange for participating in some form of game at the benefactor’s expense. The message read ‘hungry enough to play a game?’ Is this just a trick? Is this a joke that will give hope to those who are suffering? How many people will be participating in this “game”? How will this game be played out? Only one way to find out, I must participate in this game.
I haven’t received another text from the mysterious benefactor. When will I get another one? Will it come tomorrow? I’m so hungry. Whenever a rat scurries across, everyone jumps to it at once. I’ve only been able to capture a rat a couple of times, and that’s when I’ve been lucky and no one was around. I went for a walk down to the research facility, or what used to be the research facility at least, to take my mind off the excruciating hunger pains. As I hid behind some debris, I saw an unconscious man being dragged away by some government officials. No doubt he had been hunting. They never bother with people hunting. Why are they so serious about it now? Maybe we’ve finally hit rock bottom and food sources are depleted. Are we turning in cannibals? They would never allow it. When they were out of sight I quickly ran to where the man was taken hostage hoping to find some valuables left behind. But found nothing and another night suffering in pain.
It was early in the morning when I woke up to a piece of A5 paper lying on the ground. I had received another message from the mysterious benefactor but this time it was an invite. The invite was clean and I haven’t seen something so white in such a long time. The lettering was elegant and cursive and printed on a lovely royal blue colour. At the bottom it had the candle wax trademark, ‘Benefactor’. It read ‘you are cordially invited to participate in my game.’
How can I feed my mum and my younger brothers and sisters? It is my job to protect them. My mum can only do so much, so I help out as much as possible. But even at this rate, they’ll starve. Even I’ll starve. It’s bad enough that my siblings have to grow up in this… the glorious city of Melbourne. What have you become? There’s debris everywhere and the atmosphere is thick with a putrid smell of rotting. God knows what is in the air nowadays. Food is scarce in this area. It’s not completely gone but it is wearing thin. I heard in a different area that there’s absolutely nothing left. I wish there was something that I can do but I’m struggling to keep my family alive. At least here, we get rotten food. Just pick out the maggots and what not and it’s good as new. It’s better than nothing.
Since my father’s passing, I had to look after the family. My father taught me everything. He taught me how to survive. He sacrificed his life in order for us to continue living. The day where food was announced to become scarce, was where my father passed away.
I have the same reoccurring nightmare of the day my father died. One day my father took me out to scavenge for food supplies. Normally the shopping centre is off limits, but he said he needed to go there. I noticed he was carrying his gun. He never carries a gun. It’s normally a set of bow and arrows. We must have been desperate for food.
The shopping centre was a bloody war zone. Lifeless bodies everywhere. Some were still fully intact while others were missing body parts. There was an unearthly smell of blood and guts which made me feel nausea. It was truly a horrific site. It’s something that I cannot forget. It was also the first time firing a gun. Thankfully it was only me and my father. We found a small stash of food and we knew it belonged to someone. We knew this was a trap and it needed to be executed carefully. It was going well up until we didn’t predict what would happen next.
There was an explosion in the distance followed by a small tremor. Then, another louder explosion followed and the shake was strong enough to knock me to the ground. I was alarmed, frantically looking in every direction, but there was nothing. The impact of another explosion flung my father and I went flying across the room. Out of nowhere, a deranged person came out from a corner yelling profanities and started running towards us with a loaded gun. Everything went by so quickly. It seemed like I wasn’t in control of my own body. A gunshot went off and I quickly scrambled to my legs hysterically looking around. There I saw the deranged person over my father’s lifeless body lying in a pool of blood. I don’t remember picking up the gun but I do remember pulling the trigger. The first time I used a gun and at another human being.
The dark night with the bright moon light is where I can forget about all my problems. The moon is the eye of the night sky, watching over me, watching every move I make. I’m a predator hidden in shadows waiting for my next target. Night is when I’m most safe. Everything is different at night. When I’m out hunting for food, on the occasion, I would see them, the hunters. They go out in the night in packs and kill anything they see on sight. As soon as I see them or I sense something is wrong, I meld into the shadows. Although they’re not very good at what they do, it’s risky to take them on. The hunting pack is their own little clan and they aren’t too keen on new comers. They look like savages. They’ve scared the civilians into thinking they are powerful. They wear torn pelts to show off their. All they really are are little children with a new toy that want to play with.