The Game

When he discovered the game, it was precisely 2:46 AM. He could remember every moment of it, his pitch dark bedroom, in which the only source of light was his powerful personal computer, the subtle smell of marijuana wafting into his cracked window with the cold wind, the dregs of consciousness that remained after his past 48 hours, of which zero were spent sleeping, and the advertisement-filled digital games marketplace displayed on his monitor. He blinked, and the dark bags under his eyes seemed to inflate.

As he scrolled through the the colorful pages, something caught his eye; it was a little tile that had a picture of a muscular chrome-clad warrior standing below a towering red-and-black patterned hydra. In blood dripping italic letters were the words, Swords and Sorcery. He swiftly previewed the game and not to his surprise, it was released that day. He hadn’t seen it on any of the message boards or the other virtual retail sites that he also frequented.

When he opened the preview, he was greeted with a gorgeous landscape that was apparently screen-captured from a demo of the game. He was captivated. The game looked incredible, like something no human could ever create. It was perfect. Almost too perfect. As he entered his credit card information, he had a smile on his face. He’d forgotten what it felt like to smile.

Once the game was installed and booted up, he spent about four hours just in the character creator, so he could make a bull’s-eye accurate recreation of himself, except less fat and more handsome. His same short black hair, which looked dyed, although it was not. His same small squiggly eyebrows, his same small beady eyes which looked like little hazel dots on his relatively large head, and his same average mouth and nose. He had barely entered the tutorial when it was time for him to go off to work. He put on a dark blue suit and started the trek.

He walked out of his door and double-locked it as always. He didn’t exactly live in the best part of town, so it was a good idea to take extra precautions. As he rode down the rickety elevator again, the smell of marijuana wafted through his nasal cavity; he put his hand over his nose to block it. He’d never been one for drugs; come to think of it, he’d never been one for anything besides games since his parents had died. They’d used to play with him when he was younger. His first console was a Nintendo Wii; he’d played games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers, and Wii Sports with them. And since his parents weren’t strict and he had no siblings, he also stayed up till the ungodly hours of the morning playing games. His Wii evolved into a PlayStation, which eventually evolved into a personal gaming computer as he became more dedicated.

Walking down the stained gray sidewalk, he saw several shady-looking people. A few who were passed out, a few who seemed to be hopped up on some kind of hard drug, and a few who looked as if they would pull a gun and shoot him if he looked at them the wrong way. He was used to it; Morningdale Street had toughened him up. He’d grown up in Detroit, but in a much nicer neighborhood. When his parents died, he’d taken his inheritance and moved down. The only reason was because it was cheap, so he could comfortably support his virtual hobby.

After some walking, he finally reached his destination, a small accounting firm about 25 blocks away from his house. He hated it, but the pay was decent. It was a typical nine-to-five office job, all math and nothing else. He’d always been good at math; it was his best subject back when he went to school. His teachers used to tell him that he was smart and had potential, but he had no interest into making math a career. All he wanted to do was play games. And, that was all he did. His grades were fine, good enough to get him a degree in economics. His life was good, and he was content. Not happy, but content.

He walked into his large gray monolith of an office building looking down at the floor. Once he reached his cubicle, he sat down and looked around as always. No posters. No colored office trinkets. Just the staid gray that he was greeted with every single morning. He sat down and took a look at the enormous stack of papers on his desk. From then on, he went into autopilot, barely thinking at all as he slowly grinded his way through the paperwork, stopping only to get coffee and use the bathroom. As the hours trickled away, he began to think about the game. He was itching to try it again.

At 5:00 pm, he walked home quickly, desperately trying to keep his excitement internal as to not draw attention to himself. By the time he arrived, he had the same grin on his face as he had the night before. He stepped into his small apartment. It was more interesting in the light, although not much. A bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. That’s all. It wasn’t very well-furnished either, just a picture of him or his parents on each wall, some chairs, and a table. He stretched, cupped his hand around his mouse, and got into it.


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