By Yannick Hill

An epic novel about identity in the internet age

Monday, 27 July 2015

Inside Versailles #6: Room 17

Hey! So to mark this very last phase of the Versailles funding campaign I thought I'd share a final excerpt from the book. One last room. For the uninitiated, each of these rooms functions as a test chamber for Casey Baer's ongoing investigation into the human experience. I give you...

Room 17

Every Wednesday, under cover of darkness, a black minibus with tinted windows and no license plates pulls into Versailles’ staff car park out back of the compound. Twelve young men, all varsity athletes in peak physical condition, climb out of the vehicle and enter the mansion in silence. They walk through the empty kitchens in solemn single file, heads down like they’re entering a stadium for the big game.

They assemble in Room 17, a large, square, windowless space with a rough, concrete floor and no furnishings. Each of these young men has been generously compensated for their attendance of this weekly event because in participating they may well incur serious injury, in some, unfortunate cases, career-ending. For these men have to fight each other.

Not one-on-one. This is no fight club. There are no rules down here. Room 17 is a controlled free-for-all. Controlled in the sense that there is a time limit. It’s every man for himself. Any style. No style. They’re there to kick the living shit out of each other till Casey sees fit to put a stop to proceedings. Bare fists and open wounds.

Casey sits back in an original Eames armchair constructed of stainless steel and black, Italian leather, watching a small, old-fashioned monitor, one deeper than it is wide to accommodate the sizeable cathode ray tube relaying the images of men doing their best to take one another apart.

These sessions have produced several stars, the men who walk away more or less in one piece, their clothes soaked with sweat instead of blood. Once a season Casey will invite this all-star group back to the mansion and take his turn in the ring, rolling up the sleeves of his designer hoodie and going in hard. Both times this has happened he has won the bout, won in the sense that he has made at least one of the other participants cry quietly as a lost child. Casey fights dirty. He fights cruel, vicious as a cornered animal, no rhyme, no thought for the consequences of his actions. After the fight they can all enjoy a cold beer together, maybe sit around and watch reruns of famous moments in American sporting history on a large flat panel television screen. But Casey’s dilettante appreciation for the various sporting disciplines does not go unnoticed, and fairly soon he will be subjected to a subtle form of psychological bullying by the other guys, to the point where, on the last occasion, Casey made his excuses and walked along the empty corridor to his bedroom, to where his lovely wife was quietly sleeping.  


If you enjoyed this sample, go ahead and help this book get funded by telling someone you know about it, get them to pledge. Just a few more people and Versailles will go into production. Here's the link, please share: xxx

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