Phase 1: Part 2

Process of Elimination:

Process of elimination is a logical method to identify an entity of interest among several ones by excluding all other entities.

….

Once Ben had staggered out the door, he came to a small hallway that led to an elevator. Ben rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his tears away. His best friend had died, how was he supposed to react here calmly? Nevertheless, he made his way to the elevator and pushed the only button on the side.

After a few painful seconds of waiting, a creepy chime was heard, and the elevator doors opened. Ben walked in, and the doors automatically closed behind him, and started going down. Too confused to care, he leaned against a wall and began to take a few breaths. He had to calm down, especially now. Who knows if those kidnappers were waiting for him?

Ben flinched when suddenly the chime played again, and the doors opened. What awaited him was something he didn't expect. Other people, looking just as depressed as him. The closest one, a man in a brown trench coat, and that generic detective hat that Ben had seen in plenty of old movies looked over.

"I see, that's the 15th." The "detective" said, causing everyone to briefly glance at him, then turn around to go back to what they were doing, talking.

Ben's fear turned into confusion as he looked to the detective. "S-sir, what's going on?" The brown clad man sighed, flicking his hat upwards. "That's what I'd like to know, kid." God, even his voice sounded like a detective.

The detective frowned. "I think that's everyone...there are only 15 doors here." Looking around, Ben saw they were in a giant lobby, with the same black walls and chandelier placement. There truly were 15 elevator doors placed around the edges of the room. He guessed that's where the survivors exited from.

made his way to the middle of the room, and made a single loud clap.

That certainly got everyone's attention. "Ok, I think it's about time we had our introductions. We all don't know what's happening, and I think it's best to have names to faces for now." A few people muttered in agreement, and soon, they all got in a circle shaped ring.

The detective cleared his throat. "I suppose I'll go first. I'm Keith Armstrong. I'm a detective." What a surprise. Although, that was worrying. If a detective didn't know what was going on, they were screwed.

Another person, looking about 18-19, stepped forward. He wore a fancy suit, and a long gold scarf around his neck. What an odd fashion sense… "I-I'll go next! I'm Aurelio Hasegawa. I'm a therapist, so I probably won't be as helpful as Keith, haha…" The therapist nervously shuffled backwards.

Ben decided to go next, readjusting his glasses. "Ah, I-I'm Benjamin Neru. I'm just a high school student though, no job for me…" Another young looking boy stood up. His hair style was just like Walt's…

"It's Joseph Danube. Don't fucking wear it out." Ben first processed the rudeness in that statement, then felt all the color leave his face.

Walt Danube. Joseph Danube. Danube.

Shit, that was his brother. Joseph's now deceased brother. And it was all because of him…

HisfaulthisfaultHisfaulthisfaultHisfaulthisfaultHisfaulthisfaultHisfaulthisfault-

"Hey, you ok there?" Ben almost jumped about 2 feet in the air as he felt someone place a hand on his shoulder. He quickly turned around to see a girl around his age, with brown hair in a twin pigtails style. She gave him a small smile. "You look like you've seen a ghost!" Ben shook his head. "N-no, I'm fine, seriously…."

The girl shrugged. "Okie dokie! Well, I guess I should introduce myself now. I'm Tsuki Hikari!" Joseph let out a loud tsk. "Yeah, aren't you that girl who's a mod in like, every important discord server?" Tsuki shook her head excitingly. "Yep! That's me!"

Joseph huffed. "You banned me from that anime server, didn't you? I was Bean23." Tsuki's expression immediately turned to disappointment. "Oh, yeah, you were the person that spammed 'Hinata is best girl'. You deserved that."

An awkward silence spread through the room, before Keith cleared his throat "Anyways… shall we continue? We still have like, ten people to go."

A small voice was heard. "I-I'd like to go n-next…" Ben looked around, then down. Oh god, they roped an elementary student into this? The kid looked about 9, and was currently hugging a plushie. Looked like some kind of bunny or something. The kid was also wearing a Minecraft creeper hoodie. Neat.

"I-I'm J-Jacob…." The poor kid looked terrified, constantly rubbing at the eyes. Keith went and got down on a knee next to him. "Hey, Jacob, buddy. It's fine, you can trust us. Promise." Jacob sniffed, nodded. "O-okay. I g-go to Frost E-elementary…and this is Bon-Bon…" He held out his plushie for anyone to see. Keith nodded, then stood up.

"Ok, n-"

A loud beep was heard. Then a high pitched voice was heard, coming from what seemed like a speaker.

"Hee hee, too slow, too slow! You guys are taking foreeeeeeeever. You idiots can do your boring video game like intros later, time for the juicy plot!"

A hole opened in the ground, and a weird large dog plushie popped out. Tsuki approached it, poking the plush. The plush moved away, making a hissing sound. "Hands off the star, you Discord addict." Tsuki huffed. "Rude…"

Aurelio asked the obvious question. "What the hell are you?" The plush let out a laugh. "I'm Hourglass Doggo! I'll be your Phase Master for Phase 1!"

Phase Master? Hourglass Doggo? What?

Ben spoke up, trying to process this bullshit. "How is a plush talking? Are you some kinda of robot." Hourglass Doggo spun around. "We'll never know~" Keith grit his teeth, walking over and picking up the plush. "Why do you let us out then, smartass!" He was threatening a literal dog plush. This was now a fever dream.

Hourglass Doggo giggled. "I suppose my presence isn't threatening enough, huh? Well, I can change that!" A person in the group's collar began to rapidly beep. "W-what are you doing!?" Keith asked, still holding the plushie. The plush continued to laugh. "Why, I'm just making their collar explode!" Keith dropped the plush, but it was too late. Tsuki covered Jacob's eyes and the collar exploded, sending what was left of their head flying into the wall, and their bleeding body fell.

"W-wha-what the fuck!" Joseph yelled, backing up as far away as he could from the psychopathic living plushie.

Keith backed away as well, disgust and horror clear on his face. "You monster…" Hourglass Doggo did a little dance, which consisted of it spinning around. "Tee hee hee~ I think I've made my point~"

Ben's blood ran cold. A crazy plushie thing that was alive could kill someone in this room for fun. They were screwed. "Why are we here?" He asked, panic evident in his voice. Hourglass Doggo floated up. Yes, floated. This was a really fucked up fever dream. Don't do drugs, kids.

"You've all been chosen to participate non-willingly in a Death Game! Essentially, the winner has to be the last one alive, after surviving a series of trials!" Aurelio frowned. "Surely someone will notice people missing and search for us…" The doggo laughed once more. "Tee hee hee~ nope! We're in a little cold place called Antarctica!"

What.

Tsuki's jaw dropped, along with many others. "Antarctica?! How the hell did you get people here?" Hourglass Doggo giggled. "So many questions that I won't answers~ anyways, I hope you all enjoyed your First Trials, and watching someone close to you die!"

Silence swept the room again. Ben glared at the stupid weird logic breaking plushie. It had been a factor to Walt's death, wasn't it?

"Oh, and speaking of trials~ the Phase 1 Main Trial starts really soon, so you miserable idiots should prepare~hmm….14….such a weird number….I think 12 sounds better." Two more cries and explosions were heard as Ben shut his eyes, refusing to believe what was happening. Hourglass Doggo dropped back into the hole, giggling. "Good luck~ Trial begins in 30 minutes!"

Ben was frozen. So much had happened, and now more people had to die? First Walt had died, then Keith's anger had got someone killed, then that damn doggo killed two others for the fun of it. And now, more. More victims to this "Death Game" were to come.

…..

12 remain.

-