Short Story Press Presents Dead Shot Clock by Blaise Marcoux.
Years ago, Mayan demons invaded Earth, first with zombie foot soldiers, then in person, forcing humanity into submission. Without warning, the demons retreated to their realm, with most of humankind bewildered as to why.
Little does the average person know that the government bartered a treaty with the demons. Every year, five teams of fourteen-year olds, each from a different continent, must play basketball with the demons in a game that will decide whether humanity stays safe... or another hellish invasion begins. This story follows one such team's game.
• Jacob, the team's captain, has a violent fit alone in the team's practice gym's locker room. His skin grays, he has seizures, and his organs rot before he manages to stave off the symptoms with a self-administered injection of an unspecified solution.
• He joins his impatiently waiting team and gets on the bus headed toward the annual game. The other players are introduced: Emma, Carlos, Daequan, Deandre and Dewayne, and Eric.
• The team meets Colonel Rodriguez. He explains the treaty with the demons and the team's role in defending Earth along with a quick brush up on the demon's history with the Mayans. During his presentation, he lets slip that humanity has reclaimed some of the zombies from the demons using antidotes. Jacob uncomfortably stays silent.
• The team is escorted to the court where they will play the demons. In the locker room, Jacob reencounters evidence of his earlier episode and starts changing into a zombie again. He antidotes himself just in time, but the team knows his secret now and decides not to let him play the game with them. They leave him alone in the locker room.
• At halftime, the team returns battered and bruised from the first half. Humanity is losing by ten. Eric is dead, killed by a demonic flagrant foul. Jacob's teammates beg him to play, a request he quickly accepts.
Jacob fights alongside his teammates to even the score. The clock ticks down, almost at zero. Humanity cannot tie without consequences. A demon eyes
Jacob malevolently as the boy stares down the basket. Jacob's skin goes pale. Will he score the winning basket, saving humanity? Will the demon rip him to shreds like it did Eric? Worse yet, will Jacob succumb to the monster inside him and let down his team for good? What happens next when all the world has is a Dead Shot Clock?
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Published May 6, 2012
Horror, Literature & Fiction.