This letter was found in the pocket of an official U.S. Olympic team sweater that washed up on a beach along the Black Sea. The note was almost unreadably soaked in seawater and blood, but expert graphologists have deciphered the majority of its content, transcribed below.
“To whom it may concern,
My name is Joss Christensen and I am from Park City, Utah. I am an Olympic skier competing for the United States in Sochi. The past several months of training have been the most intense of my life. But I did it. I won the gold.
After taking the podium, I went back to my dorm to find a note lying on my bed. To my absolute surprise, it was from none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. I was cordially invited, along with several other gold medalists, to attend a formal dinner at Putin’s local palace not too far from the resort. That night, a black SUV picked me up and took me to a harbor. The man driving it, a hired goon the size of an NBA center, put a bag over my head and walked me along the dock to a speedboat. He drove me to a secluded island about 20 miles off shore. I stepped out of the boat and the henchman took off the bag. Before me was a narrow stone path leading to a towering black keep. The gates to the driveway read “LAIR OF PUTIN”. I didn’t question it; I didn’t want to seem nervous in front of the president.
Putin’s henchman walked me up the path to a pair of massive stone doors at the castle’s front. A curmudgeonly old butler greeted us and led me through the foyer, grumbling about how he “would have a lot of cleaning to do tonight.” He took me into an enormous room adorned with an odd assortment of vivid taxidermy along the walls, ranging from mouse to Persian walrus. Scattered about the room were several other athletes—all gold medalists, I noticed. I asked if any of them knew why we were here, but none of them knew any more than I did. Suddenly, we heard a thunderous growl from the doorway, and turned to see Vladimir Putin standing there next to a fully-grown polar bear.
“Welcome to my humble home, Olympians,” he purred. “You must be wondering why I’ve gathered you here tonight.”
He entered the room, his ursine companion at his heels, and continued. “Look upon my walls. I have hunted every beast imaginable, even the majestic relatives of Chekhov here.” Putin stroked the bear affectionately. “But something is missing from my trophy room. My collection would not be complete without the most dangerous game of all: man. Since Olympic athletes represent the apex of the physical human form, you will make for a truly legendary hunt. My associate will release you into the woods, where you will have a ten minute head start before I come for you. The last standing among you will be let free to live with the glory of having beaten the world’s greatest hunter.”
“One more thing,” added the President. “Do not attempt to escape. This island is surrounded by 30 miles of treacherous waters, and if any of you were that strong of swimmers you would not be in the Winter Olympics.”
That was over nine hours ago. I managed to grab a pen and paper from Putin’s desk as I sprinted out of the room with the other athletes. I am writing this letter from the highest branch of a tree in the black forest behind the castle. Hopefully, none of the other athletes will follow me here. He already got Anton Kushner, one of the skiing gold medalists, by shooting him from the back of that god damned bear. I don’t know how much more time I have. Oh God, I can hear him. He’s whistling the Russian national anthem to the severed head of Chinese speed skater Yang Zhou. Whoever finds this letter must inform the U.N. By the time this reaches you, it will be too late to save me, but there might be hope for others. Stop Putin before it’s too late.