As I’m gripping the Azodin ATS Paintball gun, Chet says to me. “My dad owns a dealership, you know this, and he hooks us up all the time.”
“I’m not worried about the paintball gun, bro,” I say, ignoring his pompous smirk. “I’ve never paintballed before, ya know?”
“What’d ya talkin’ ‘bout, man?” exclaims Brad; he’s been Chet’s secondhand man since I’ve been a part of the Alpha Beta Painters.
“Ever been shootin’ before?” I nod at him. “Same Ol’ shit, but with paint, man!”
“Yeh, dude,” Brock says, lifting his hands in the air, dancing retardedly – he looks like a moron decked out in all his gear, “just stop worrying’ and we’ll have a paint blast, ha!”
“I’m not worried,” I defended, gripping the gun tighter, bringing it in close to my chest. “Are the others meeting us there?”
“They’re already there, bro,” Chet says.
“Yeh,” Brock adds, “it’s gonna be awesome ‘cuz they’re in the woods. We’re role playin’ and such.”
“What do you mean?”
“What’d’ we mean is, man, is we’ve got it all planned out,” Brad explains. “Yer gonna be the prez, holding all the good shit, ya know, and us bros are gonna protect ya while those other dudes are gonna be trying to hunt ya down.”
“We’ll protect you though, Adam. My dad owns the dealership n’ we’ve been using his money to play every week. We’re good.”
“To arms, men! To arms!!” shouts Brad.
We haul out of the van and head into the woods. Chet takes my semi-automatic paintball gun and hands me the Tippmann TiPX pistol and says that it’s all I get besides their protection. They form a triangle around me, as we venture deeper into the woods, remaining silent. I’m impressed with how well adept these guys are. They’re using hand signals walking forward, halting, scanning, as if they were actually out in the field transporting me to and from one destination to another.
“What’s the objective here,” I ask, quietly.
“Bro!” shouts Chet silently, putting his index finger to his mouth and inaudibly hushes me. “Don’t give away our position!”
“Getting’ ya to the compound, der!” explained Brad.
“Yeh, we get yer ass there, ‘den we win!” Brock continues, holstering his weapon, it’s barrel pointed towards the sky, then dipping towards the earth, mimicking his ridiculous dance from when we were in the back of the van.
I nod, and we continue forward. Chet is in front, Brock behind, and Brad to the side, their position is equal distance from each other, so no part of me is overexposed. I crouch down, holding the pistol in my hand, scanning across the wilderness, branches, twigs, and sticks snapping between my boots. They tell me to hush, and I walk lighter and slower.
Brad lifts his hand in the air, and in unison, we stop. He points his barrel to directly in front of him, and the guys begin to aim in that direction. My stomach flutters just a bit, fearful the other dudes may be close by. He motions his hand forward, and we continue walking.
Holding my pistol with both hands, noticing the weapon is shaking due to my nervousness, I calm myself by inhaling slowly.
Directly to our right a branch falls from the sky and lands on the ground. We jump in that direction, startled, testosterone flowing, adrenaline spewing from us. Chet places his hand on my hand, lowering me to the ground, keeping me hidden.
“In da trees,” shouts Brock.
I can hear a few shots being fired above me. From my vantage I see Chet, using one arm, firing his gun in the sky and with a loud grunt, Brock falls back to the ground, covering me while pulling Brad and Chet towards us.
“What the hell’s happening?” I ask.
“What the heck is going on?!” Chet says.
“Dude, they’re dead,” Brad claims.
“What the heck?” I ask.
“Look, asshole!” Chet directs my head in the air.
From the trees, four bodies, covered in red paint are dangling from the branches, rope tied around their neck and their paintball weapons lodge through their chests.
“They’ve killed our bros, bros!”
“What? Who?” I shout.
“They’re still out ‘ere!” Brad cries.
“Who’s still out here?!” I ask.
“Let’s move out!”
“Back to the Van!” Chet directs!
Our perfect triangle had broken, and every man was for themselves. A loud roar came from behind us as if some large disembodied voice erupted. I was the last in the line of the guys. I held the paintball pistol in my hand as I attempted to avoid all the sticks below me. I kept running, the guys in front of me kept screaming and yelling, shouting for me to hurry, but they began to grow in the distance. Chet was the furthest from me while the other two were close by him. Brad ran, and within a second he was uplifted in the air, rounds of paint exploded from his gun, and scattered all over the woods.
In this fray, I could see a large rope had been wrapped around his left ankle, and he was lunged in the air as he flew across the land, hitting trees, branches, and pine needles as gravity eventually pulled him back to the ground. I hear a large snap and crack, and from the way he landed on his head, I was momentarily fearful it was his neck that had snapped and not the branches.
I didn’t stop to check on him but kept running, and the Brock fell through the ground as if he had fallen in to a trap of some sort, screaming and yelling, then immediately silenced, but I kept running, and in the distance I could see the Chet reach the van, and I felt hopeful we would make it out alive. Chet started the van, engine running, as he began to back up.
In the window I saw him give me an evil smirk, he flipped me off, and I stopped as he drove away. I began to turn around as the guttural growl grew closer and I instantly felt something around my waist as I was lunged backward as everything went dark.