I seem to be in a short story mood this week! Actually this was for a contest of 140 words, with a deadline I didn’t realise was for midnight of a particular day. By the time I noticed, it was exactly 12.02am. Ooops. So close, and yet so far.
Anyway it was 200 words too long, and in the end I decided to edit it and have a bit of fun with the story. A tale is never wasted in my mind!
Comments welcome, including suggestions for a better title
The Game by Chris Kouju
The signs had been there from the beginning.
Yuzor was prone to impatience – swearing, aborted quests, constant fidgeting with the controls. It had the horde on edge. They could smell death in the air.
“Get in there,” I said, when I noticed Yuzor stepping onto the final battlefield. At my command, hellhounds surrounded his avatar on all sides, jaws lunging to kill. Yuzor dispensed with them easily, but no, he’d sapped too much of his avatar’s strength. He should have held back.
Hoping the victory would bolster his spirits, I sent in the Demagorge on a cloud of black smoke. The beast bellowed until the battlefield shook.
The avatar lifted his glowing sword and charged. As he did, we prayed it would be a good fight – one worthy of holding his attention.
He died the first time, of course. This was to be expected. The horde took pride in their challenge ratings, but I had other concerns. I watched for the signs of frustration.
He died again. Respawned. Tried again, only to die with spectacular speed. Each attempt, I could sense the horde holding its collective breath.
On the tenth try, I sensed a change. He was learning – honing his power, saving it for the critical moments. He jumped back when he should, knew when to lunge and where to slash at the Demagorge. He was winning!
I began to smile.
We all heard Yuzor scream as his avatar lay sprawled beneath yet another game screen asking if he wanted to reload his last save. In his rage, we trembled.
Minutes later, the battlefield tore apart before our very eyes. Our world devolved to white, and I was forced to watch as my horde of hellhounds and arkbeasts were sent howling to the ether.
He’d given up. I cried out, but didn’t think he heard me.
Now in this blackness I must wait, alone, for the day he installs us in his heart – and hard drive – again.
NaNoWriMo Report Card