You’re playing a video game called Wizards & Warriors when, suddenly, lighten strikes the house, scaring you and causing you to black out. When you wake up, you’re trapped inside the game. The only items you have is a sword, a backpack and a note attached to your shirt that reads, “Beat me and I’ll send you home.”
“You know, this borders on humiliating. I’m talking, find a new best friend level of humiliation and shame. You suck at this.”
Okay, so that was a little harsh.
But that’s Ally for you. She’s the undefeated champion of Wizards and Warriors. Me, not so much. It isn’t for want of trying. Ally’s been trying to clue me in to the world of video games since we were five years old. Her patience is wearing thin.
“Get a grip. It’s just a game.”
Ally gasped. Totally over the top, like I’d offended her fine sensibilities. Wait, no, she doesn’t have any fine sensibilities. She’s about as subtle as a rock.
I was about to respond when the lights went out. Ally made a choking sound, and I had visions of someone springing up from behind the sofa and wrapping their fingers around her throat. And, okay, I was annoyed about her comment, but she was my best friend, so I didn’t exactly relish the idea of someone choking the life out of her.
“Thank the gods for small mercies.” I muttered this, actually relieved I didn’t have to play the stupid game anymore. On the heel of that nasty thought I felt static run up my arms, followed by an almighty bang and then it was totally lights out.
I awoke to blue skies and a rather splendid looking forest. Not my first choice, but I figured I must be in heaven and was kind of relieved my ass wasn’t sat on burning coals. It took me a second to process, and then I’ll admit I panicked. I wasn’t ready to die, and whoever heard of being struck down for having blasphemous thoughts about a video game?
Of course that’s when I realised the pretty green forest was the exact replica of the one I’d been staring at all evening, which meant I was either in hell after all, or God had a really sick sense of humour.
It took me another few seconds to consider the facts, and then I decided I’d probably been knocked out by Ally’s evil death stare, a look she’s perfected over the years. She uses it when she’s pissed off with me – which is a lot. Deciding I liked that idea more than the alternatives, I settled in to enjoy the trip.
Standing, I felt twin straps pull tight across my shoulders and recognised the backpack all adventurers wear in Wizards and Warriors. It actually made me feel better, because you don’t get a backpack until Level 6 and I’ve never made it beyond Level 1.
I continued to look around, familiarising myself with my surroundings and caught the glint of steel.
“Now that’s what I’m talking about.” I snatched up the sword, a little surprised by how heavy the thing was, but too excited to care because I’d only ever seen Ally wielding such a kick-ass weapon. This dream world wasn’t so bad, especially since I was apparently cool here and got to play with all the best toys.
On that thought I began to test my skills with the blade, gripping the handle with both hands and swinging it with barely concealed glee. When my arm brushed against something stiff at the bottom of my top, I looked down to discover a note. Curious I pulled it loose and read aloud.
“Beat me and I’ll send you home.”
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