Saturday, February 21, 2009, at various points throughout the day and following weeks
After being allowed to relax at the mansion as they see fit, Kelvin-61, Madeline Jacks, and Lola Smythwicke go their separate ways. Lola finds Daniel Schlender to talk to him, asking if he was the one who left the mp3 player in her room and asked her to acquire samples from the creature. He says he was not, and after a bit of discussion, he says that he will keep watch over her room to determine the culprit. She thanks him, returns to her room, and places the samples she gathered under the bed.
Over the next couple of days, everybody takes the opportunity to rest and enjoy themselves. Madeline makes use of the pool, and is generically very thrilled to be in such a luxurious environment. Kelvin-61 snoops around a bit, trying to find what happened to the town at the base of the hill and where the bodies are buried. Lola tries to relax, and manages to do so until she finds another mp3 player in her room, holding another message. This time, her mysterious patron informs her that Daniel Schlender is a twisted, hedonistic psychopath who brings serial killers to hunt some monstrous beast. Then, he pits the serial killers against each other. After they have successfully completed that objective, they are removed from the property by sending his security forces to hunt them. If they manage to escape, they have won Schlender’s game and will not be hunted further. However, Schlender has prepared for emergencies by placing a secret passage in his wine cellar; it can be activated by turning the spigot on the barrel marked “Scuppernong.” [Interested parties may download the mp3.]
Over the next few days, Lola prepares by watching the guards around the wine cellar, noting their shifts and eavesdropping to learn that one of them is named “Joel.”
The time arrives around Wednesday, February 25, when Madeline spends the day in the meeting hall, having asked for a karaoke machine. She tries to involve as much of the help staff and security personnel as she can — being very insistent that they participate.
Around this time, Daniel Schlender finds Lola and tells her that he has taken care of the little matter with the mp3 player — one of the servants was apparently taking and leaving the items involved.
Meanwhile, Kelvin-61 is investigating the grounds of the town, and surmises that the town probably just went bankrupt and the citizens moved away, rather than any disaster befalling them. While looking for likely sites for a graveyard or something similar, he determines that the vineyards have several bodies buried there. He begins to dig when a guard asks him to stop. When he refuses and the guard gets insistent, Kelvin-61 attacks with his shovel. The guard manages to get off a barrage of gunfire, injuring Kelvin, before Kelvin decapitates him. When more guards arrive, Kelvin badly injures them but they manage to subdue him.
When the guards look for a medic, Madeline offers to check everyone. Members of the help staff shove a first aid kit in her hands and lead her to the vineyards, where she manages to keep Kelvin from bleeding to death on the ground. She recruits a few more guards for the karaoke cause, and then returns to the main room. Kelvin’s unconscious body is returned to his room.
That evening, after dinner, Lola grabs a glass of wine and acts like she is tipsy. When she makes her way to the entrance of the wine cellar, she finds the other guard patrolling the area while Joel is at his post. She starts to flirt with him, and begs him to show her around in the wine cellar. He finally agrees, lets his partner know where he is headed, and the two go downstairs. In the wine cellar, she looks around for a bit before suggesting that she’s been interested in Joel since coming to Schlender’s mansion. The two talk briefly before Joel starts to take off his gear and they start making out. When the moment is right, Lola quietly slips his combat knife out of his things and slits his throat with it. She keeps the knife, taking a moment to arrange herself before looking for the barrel marked “Scuppernong.” She turns the spigot, and a false wall opens. She goes through it, closes it, and starts the several mile walk beyond the property.
When she reaches the end, she opens the door to find that one of the servants is there with her car. He informs her that she has won, and is free to leave, though she may return without fearing attack from the guards. Thinking it might be fun, she decides to return.
After retiring to bed, everyone is awakened that night by banging on their doors, with one of the servants indicating that they need to arrange themselves very quickly because an intruder is in the mansion. Lola and Madeline get dressed and ready within a couple of minutes, and follow the servant to another room where he claims a secret passage is waiting — but where they only find Kelvin’s body and a muscular, African-American man holding a gun. He tells them to enter. Lola keeps saying that she is done with the game, but both the butler and the other man do not seem to know to what game she is referring. Finally, a thin, athletic man with a pock-marked face enters, and he tells everybody to start moving. The more muscular man hefts Kelvin’s body, and they start to move. In the front yard, they are joined by a chitinous creature with scythes for arms — almost like a praying mantis — and the group starts moving. The creature and the athletic man run off to take care of some of the guards, while the rest of the group goes to the van. They wait for a little bit before the athletic man and the creature return; the man appears to be injured by bullet wounds and falls asleep in the back of the van, while the creature’s exoskeleton retracts into itself revealing a small girl, now nude, who wraps herself in a blanket in the back.
The ride is fairly quiet and awkward, with the group finally revealing that contamination on the property prompted them to abduct Kelvin, Lola, and Madeline. After driving a couple of hours in silence, the van makes its way into San Francisco, finally pulling up in front of a warehouse with a chain-link fence topped with razor wire. After the van is admitted into the compound, the armed inhabitants of the van let everyone out and take them into the warehouse, where they find a few guards and several scientists standing around examining tables and medical equipment. The team indicates that Kelvin, Lola, and Madeline are the scientist’s problem now, and they leave.
Lola and Madeline manage to catch the gist of the scientists’ conversation, indicating that they are to be given a drug to knock them out. When one of the doctors come over to administer this to Lola, she begins to struggle. A guard holds her down, and as everyone is preoccupied, Madeline takes out one of her knives and stabs the doctor in the back of the neck. She then grabs the syringe and shoves it into the guard’s neck, causing his threats against her to become increasingly incoherent until he passed out. The other guards tell them to get on the ground, which they do, and when Madeline finally asks why they’ve been brought there, one of the scientists indicates that they will be dissected and studied. Madeline takes that moment to jump up and start attacking the guards with knives. Lola grabs a scalpel that was knocked down in the fray and starts trying to attack the guards. Though they manage a couple of bursts from their machine guns, Madeline manages to cut them down. She then demands that the scientists let her take Kelvin on a gurney. They let her go, having no real recourse against a girl who just defeated three of their security personnel, and she and Lola break into a car in the parking lot and make their way back to Schlender’s mansion.
Once there, Daniel Schlender lets everyone rest and recuperate. He speaks to Lola, and indicates that he does not know the people who kidnapped them. When she asks, he explains that he does this game and goes to all this trouble simply in the pursuit of pleasure — he has nothing but time, so can easily research serial killers to bring into his hunting game. He says that she is welcome to stay as long as she likes, and she asks him a favor — if he can find the person who keeps sending her the threatening mp3 player messages. He agrees and says he will see what he can do.
The next day, when she awakens, Schlender informs Madeline that the game usually ends with the guards hunting down the killers, but given the circumstances, that part of the game will be waived. She is allowed to stay as long as she needs to heal and rest. She calls work, takes several days to recuperate, and makes arrangements to return to Wisconsin. Before she returns, however, she goes back to San Francisco to investigate the warehouse. As she somewhat expected, she finds it abandoned.
When Kelvin awakens, he is greeted by guards who promptly drive him back to the train station and leave him there to whatever fate awaits him while he is still heavily injured.