The Ringer

Vote by January 19, 2014!


In Episode 7, readers voted that Scarlett wakes up in what appears to be a basement, bound to a chair and with her mouth duct taped.

Episode 8

Scarlett woke up slowly, feeling groggy. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep on the couch, but she quickly realized that she was bound to a chair and the duct tape over her mouth made trying to speak a futile effort. In a panic, she whipped her head back and forth, trying to determine where she was and how she got here. Oddly enough, she was less panicked about being tied up than she was trying to find Clark, wondering if he was safe.

Just as she reached total concern for his well-being, Clark appeared in front of her. He was pacing back and forth with some sort of polished wooden box in his hand. He knew she was conscious, evident from his frantic glance or two up at her. Scarlett shrank into herself and her stomach rolled over with the realization that Clark is who put her here. She didn’t know what to think, and with the tape over her mouth, she couldn’t ask. She just looked at him; pleading with her tear filled eyes for him to let her go, explain why he was doing this, anything.

Clark suddenly fell to his knees in front her, putting his hand on her leg and looking up at her even though she had quickly leaned back at his abrupt contact. He looked back and forth from Scarlett to the box and back again.

Clark stared intently at the box, now moving his free hand to his back pocket to produce a small syringe filled with something she didn’t recognize. Scarlett tried now to scream through the tape.

He held it up as though he was about to plunge it deep into her leg and she continued to wail. He paused a moment, hiked himself up and put his arm over his eyes before angrily throwing the syringe across the room.

For the first time, Clark spoke.

“Do you have any idea at all how bad you’ve screwed me up??”

Recognizing that she obviously couldn’t answer, he continued, more to himself than to her, “I need to do this.”

In another unanticipated move towards Scarlett, he leaned towards her, pulled the tape off her mouth and resumed pacing all in one fluid motion. He turned his back to her, facing what appeared to be a work table where he slammed the box down, making Scarlett jump. She didn’t understand why, but despite her fear and the pain in her face from his tearing the tape off, she felt no need to scream. Maybe her subconscious knew it was pointless.

When Clark slowly turned towards her, an almost exhausted look now on his face, she asked quietly, “Why are you doing this . . . ?”

“I could never expect that you’ll understand. I’ve messed everything up now, all my options. I should kill you; I’m supposed to kill you! That’s the point! I win them over, then I kill them, and I move on.” He said, making a ‘this and that’ motion with his hands. “That’s how this works. THIS, this is not how it’s supposed to work!”

Scarlett started to cry again as she felt her chances at living slip away. Clark, who had decided to sit on the floor, elbows on his knees, quickly moved to her and despite Scarlett moving her head away, he wiped her tears. Scarlett noticed his own eyes began to well as he did so.   

“I just don’t know what to do with you.” He said, cupping her face in his hand and releasing her before continuing. “Everything about this time is different. The plan has always been to win as I never did and was told I never would, period. I watch, I infiltrate, I win, I kill, I move, and repeat. It was even perfectly set up! Clay goes off as expected and the whore best friend was just a happy coincidence!” He continued, again talking more to himself and using animated gestures as though trying to convince his inner child he’s doing him justice.

“But you, Scarlett,” He said, turning to her now, causing her to flinch, “you’ve turned me into a person I don’t recognize and don’t like. I feel weak. I feel pathetic, at your mercy. I feel like I can’t do, what I’m supposed to do. I go through the motions my head is telling me to go through but I ended up loathing you so much less than the others. I don’t think I hate you at all! But I always despise them, that’s what made killing them so easy!”

Scarlett just sat there completely unaware of what to think now. Who are the “others” he’s referring to?? Why does he have to kill “them”?? Why does he keep staring at that box??

She sat there, speechless and silently crying as he continued, it seemed, to argue with himself. Scarlett began to feel that she would be in this chair for a long time with no real explanation of why when Clark once again faced the work table. In what appeared to be another burst of anger, he used both hands to swipe everything off the tabletop, accidentally knocking the polished box off as well with his elbow. When it hit the ground, it landed on its corner, causing the box to break into pieces and its contents to spill out, making little metal ‘pings’ as they fell.

Rings?! Scarlett thought, feeling her breath become labored as she stared and Clark frantically retrieved them from all across the floor.

One ring, though, had skipped and fallen just in front of Scarlett’s feet. She realized whose it was just as Clark picked it up and he froze when he saw the look on her face. Disgust, fear, sickness.

Despite being afraid of the answer, Scarlett looked at him and asked, “Why do you have that ring . . . ?” Whose ring was it she saw? Please return to the top of the episode to vote on what happens next!

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