Julia got into her room and immediately locked the door behind her, she was breathing heavily and fast, her heart beating at a crazy rhythm. Trembling she got to the bed and let her body fall on it, her red hair spread on the sheets. She tried to relax, closing her eyes and slowing down her breath. Thoughts flowed into her mind as she angrily remembered how she had gotten into this situation.

[A few weeks earlier]

'Yo, Elisabeth look at this new game I found online,' the young girl said to her friend. 'It says it's been growing very famous in the last decades, I bet it would be funny to join, don't you agree?'

'I'm not fond of online gaming, you know,' replied the blonde girl sitting in front of her.

'Come on, I'm going to join so let's play together!' She insisted.

'I said I'm not interested,'. The other tiredly repeated. She rose her sight from the plate and looked at Julia who stared back at her with pleading eyes. 'Fine, I'll have a thought about that'.

'Cool! Shall I explain you the rules?'

'I didn't say I agreed to take part int…' Elisabeth was stopped in her talk by the younger girl who was too excited to mind her words. 'You see, this is only the preliminary round and it starts in four weeks. Whoever wants to join must do so during these three days and once you have signed up you cannot retire. I have heard its quite hard to get to the top but the winner will get a special prize,' her blue eyes widened in awe as she added, 'They say you'll be granted any wish by "God" if you win'.

'Surely you wouldn't believe such idiocy…'

'I do. "God" is the mastermind behind the game, the one who sets the rules. In reality he is an influential rich businessman, who is also interested in magic. I'm sure he could make anything come true'.

'So, what would you ask him, if you were to win?' the other said mockingly.

Julia looked at her, a confused expression on her face. She shifted her legs changing her position on the chair 'I don't know…I'll find out if I win I guess'. Her cheeks reddened and she quickly added, 'I'm not playing to win, I am playing to have some fun'.

'What a waste. Why'd you play a game if not for winning it?' a cold voice reached her ears. She turned her head back to meet a fiery gaze. Pitch dark eyes pierced hers and her heart stopped for a split second. A slender girl was standing in front of her, she appeared to be her same age but she was slightly taller than her. Her skin was almost as pale as Julia's one and she had deep red lips. Her dark hair seemed to have shades of blue into it and Julia blinked twice before she accepted that it was not an effect due to the sunlight. Elisabeth rose an eyebrow, and asked, 'And you are?'

'Nobody you should be concerned about, I just happened to overhear your conversation and got curious'. Her eyes rested on Julia's face before she resumed, 'I'd advise you to read the rules again before you join and, if you really are intentioned to play, be ready for it. Once the game is started it will be too late to go back'. She turned on her heels and before the two girls could realise the true meaning of what she had said she had already disappeared in the crowd of people. Julia jumped out of the seat screaming, 'She knows about the game! I must go find her, I'm sure she can give me some advice, she seemed to have already played it'.

Elisabeth sighed at her friend's reaction. 'Well she's gone now. I doubt you'll be able to find her when the streets are so full of people'.

'Ah, yeah you are right. However, this town is pretty small, I'm sure we will run into each other eventually, especially if she is playing this term'.

'You are becoming hopelessly obsessed with this game and it has not even started yet'.

'It's just too exciting! Oh, I forgot I was going to tell you how to play, of course after you have heard all the details you'll be dying to join'.

'Yeah sure. Why don't you finish your ice cream first?' her friend asked.

'Uh? I don't think I'm hungry anymore'.

'Ah, what a waste of money…'

'You can have the rest if you want,' she tiredly said.

'Thanks,' Elisabeth replied with a wide smile. 'You look saddened,' she commented after a bit glancing at Julia.

'It is because you don't want to listen to me,'

'Aaah sorry, I'll listen. Were you saying about the rules…?'

Julia smiled and then resumed her explanation. 'So the game is set to last for a total of seven weeks, anyone from the age of 17 can join. There are different places and the game is played simultaneously in different parts of the globe, each authorised town has its own players and is the place where they fight for the glory. Then about two weeks before the end, when only a few will be left for each town, all players still alive are taken to the Arena where the finals take place. People who suffer from long-lasting disease are encouraged not to take part into the game. Non players cannot be used as shields nor can they be hurt. Any weapon s fine as long as it is able to damage your opponent. No contact with the police or other public figures is allowed. There are "shadows" members of the staff who provide support and also help minimizing the effect of the game on social communities. You are not allowed to commit a kill in out of boundaries zones, (e.g. safe points and wherever spectators witnessing the kill could be affected by it). Moreover, you cannot kill people who are not your targets. To register you simply put your name online and then add a pseudonym, preferences about weapons and your address. At midnight they'll confirm your status and give out targets'.

'It doesn't seem that engaging, I'd rather spend my free time watching movies on Netflix'.

Julia glared at her, 'Very well, then I challenge you to join. If you don't I'll consider you a coward'.

'Not being a total idiot has become cowardice now?'

'Please…I want to have fun with you'.

'Let's talk about this another time, I have to go study and you should as well'.

'I know, I'll send you the link. Bye!'

They parted ways and Julia headed to her College, once in her room she locked the door and sat in front of her laptop. 'Now, let's see…Till death claims my soul'. She typed on the keybord and pressed search.