Congratulations! You are one of the 150 people who have been chosen to come to our game promotion. Sinister Warfare is a new game that we are testing. Please come to the Convention Center downtown at 11:00 a.m. on July 14th. You will meet the game creators, experience the demo first hand, and meet with other gamers from around your state. Be sure to come prepared to have tons of fun! The link below has your entry ticket, so please print it out and bring it with you!
As my eyes fluttered across the screen, butterflies started in my stomach. A promotion for a new game, who wouldn’t be excited? I pressed on the link provided and it took me to my ticket. Graphics from the game covered the background of my ticket, my name was plastered on the top with my ticket number next to it. I clicked print and within seconds my ticket was in my hands and a smile on my face.
I rushed downstairs with the ticket and my car keys in hand. “Dad, look!” I said waving the ticket in his face.“I got invited to try out a new video game.”
He took the ticket, looked it over, and froze for a moment. “A room full of gamers, should be really fun. You better get going, starts in twenty minutes.”
“Bye Dad. I'll see you when I get home. Love you.” I gave him a kiss on the top of his balding head.
He smiled at me and kissed my cheek. “Bye sweetie. Love you, too.”
I rushed out of the house and to my car. My old engine roared to life. I pulled out of the driveway heading toward to the Convention Center.
Fifteen minutes later I stood in front of large doors, moments from attending my very first promotion. I was overwhelmed with excitement. With one deep breath I yanked the doors open and hurried inside. The aroma of french fries and other fried food greeted me. The voices of the gamers filled my ears. They were seated in metal chairs facing a small stage. I quietly grabbed one of the chairs in the back away from others and waited. Looking for the time, I checked my phone which read 11:00 a.m.
Voices all around me quieted as a man in his mid-thirties came onto the stage and stepped in front of the podium. He began to speak. “Welcome everyone. We are glad you all could make it down here today. Sinister Warfare is a fun, adventurous game. The game has many, many different stories and each story is different. You will find that out once you experience the game first hand today. We want you to have as much time as you can to play this game so we will get you to your correct rooms.” He stopped and looked in front of the stage. Men and women began to line up in the front, all dressed in black. “As you can see there are people lined up in front of me. In the upper right hand corner of your ticket will be a letter between A and Z. The people in front of me are lined up in alphabetical order. So please find your group as fast as possible so you can move on to playing. Have fun everyone.” He left the stage and people started to get up.
I looked at my ticket and my letter was H. I slowly walked up to the people in the front and found where the person for the letter H was. It was a woman whose stare was lifeless, her stance hard. She gave me an uneasy feeling as she waited for us to gather around her. The woman waved to get our attention and without a word, turned and led our small group of eight down an empty hallway to a secluded room. The woman didn’t make eye contact, just pointed to the chairs and told us to sit. The room was bare, nothing hung from the grey walls, empty besides the eight chairs.
“Are we in the right room?” I asked as I sat in the chair. It engulfed me in a wave of comfort.
“Yes,” the woman spoke coldly.
“There’s no tv or gaming console. How in the world will we be able to play?”
She glared at me, avoided my question, and went on speaking. “Once in the game, try your best to survive. There is only one thing you have to do. Collect the objects, you get to leave. Have fun.”
She placed a microchip in the arm of each chair and they fluttered to life. She handed each person large black goggles and told us to put them on. I did as instructed, as well as everyone else. Once on my face all I could see was black and hear the mumbles of the people around me. A high pitched noise began to form in my right ear, pain took over and my eyes began to shut.
When I awoke, I wasn’t in the dingy room anymore. I was outside, in a meadow, surrounded by trees and brush. There was no one insight, I was utterly alone. Cautious, I stood up and began to move around. My legs felt unstable, my arms felt weak. I began to carefully walk toward a small path leading into the forest, when a sound arose. The noise came from the direction I was headed. Picking up my pace, I went to find the maker of the horrible sound. I ran, tripping along the way. Within minutes I was standing in front of a child.
The child looked up at me. “Where are we? Why am I here? Why do I look so young?” He asked.
“I am not sure where we are, but I think we are in the game,” I said. “How old are you really?”
“Seventeen. Why do I look like I’m twelve and you look eighteen?”
I looked down at myself. Fiery red hair fell down into my face, the total opposite of my boring brown hair. “I don’t know. Maybe the game just generated different avatars for people to use. You just got stuck with a child.”
“How wonderful.” The boy got up off the ground. “So how the hell do we get out of this? My leader didn’t say anything to us.”
“The lady who was in my room said we were playing a demo of the game. There are objects you have to collect to get out and try your best to survive.”
“I guess we should get going. Can we work together to get out?” He asked.
“I don’t see why not. I’m Jazie, and you?” I turned to face the boy.
“I’m Mitch. Nice to meet you.”
We continued down the path. We talked about our lives outside of the game and how we came to be at the promotion. I found out Mitch’s favorite video game was Skyrim, which was mine as well. He is the middle child of three. His parents barely noticed him and he uses video games as an escape from the real world.
“I’m sorry your parents are like that.” I put my hand on his shoulder.
“It’s fine. I’ve gotten use to it. I atleast have my escape from the world.” He looked down at the ground.
“I guess on the plus side you must be really good at video games.” I smiled.
He smiled shyly. “I suppose you could say that.”
A rustle in the leaves startled us. We stopped dead in our tracks trying to find the maker of the noise.
“You heard that right?” He looked at me, a worried expression on his face.
All I managed to do was nod.
The rustling came again but this time the maker, or should I say makers, appeared. There, standing five feet from us were four large and angry looking monkeys. They towered over us. There was nothing we could do other than cling to one another and shake. The monkeys surrounded us closing off any chance of escape.
“We have to fight.” I whispered in Mitch’s ear.
“With what?” He spoke a little too loud.
“We must have weapons or something somewhere.” When I said the word weapon, a small button popped up on my character screen, which was only visible to me, that read: ‘Equip a Weapon?’ I pressed it and a drop-down list of all my weapons came up. I chose the Blade of Wonder which manifested in my hand almost instantly.
“How’d you do that?” Mitch looked at me in awe.
“Say weapon and a button pops up.”
He did as told and within seconds two small daggers formed in his hands.
The monkeys, now three feet from us on all sides, seemed angrier. One of them stretched out their hand, swiping me across the face. Flying up, my blade made contact, slicing the monkey’s arm in half but he remained standing. They all started to come after us. I sliced and chopped trying my best to fight off the two that were on me. I managed to kill one by slicing his head clear off and he toppled to the ground.
“Mitch! You’ve got to cut off their heads.”
There was no response.
“Mitch?” I turned to where Mitch had been. He was now lying on the dirt path with the monkeys coming after him. He struggled to get them off of him. “Mitch!”I swung my blade over my head and down right onto the neck of the monkey on top of Mitch. He was then able to stand to take on the last monkey.
I turned at the wrong time. My monkey rushed at me causing me to fall flat on my back knocking the breath out of me. I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t move. This was going to be how I first died,at the hands of a low level monster who any expert gamer should be able to beat. The monkey loomed over me. His eyes filled with hatred and the look of a killer. His large hands came at my face and I braced myself for the pain to arrive but it never did. I looked up in shock to find Mitch standing above me with his little dagger sliced through the monkey's neck.
“You should be more careful next time.” He smiled at me and offered me a hand up.
“Thanks.” I returned his smile.
A small little bing sounded in my ear. A message appeared reading: Congratulations! You won the Banana Trophy. You’ve gotten 1 out of 2 trophies so far.
“Banana Trophy? Weird name,” I laughed.
“I got that too. Very weird name.” Mich laughed too. “Well we better go, we’ve got one more to get.”
We walked down the path some more. The forest began to lighten up, the sun crept through the trees and the brush wasn’t as thick anymore. Our blades still in hand just incase we meet anything that was unpleasant.
“Do you think we could meet in real life sometime?” He looked up at me questionally.
I took his question into consideration. What if he isn’t who he says he is? Well if he was I could totally take him. But what if a new relationship blossoms? That I don’t have a problem with. “I don’t see why not. How about once, if, we get out of this game we meet outside on the steps of the Convention Center?”
“Sounds like a plan.” He smiled at me.
We walked down the path into another clearing. In the middle there were three people surrounding a fire. They had tents set up around them.
“Look, other players I think.” Mitch said. “Let’s go talk to them.”
We slowly approach the small group. They looked up at us and smiled. The smiles they gave us had a sinister feel to them. “Maybe we should just leave them be.” I whispered in Mitch’s ear. But it was too late, they started to approach us.
“Well, well, well. Look what we have here.” A man with a scar across his face spoke. “Are you guys lost?”
His two buddies snickered.
“We were just passing through. Is there a town or something near by?” Mich asked bravely.
“There is a town five miles east.” He pointed behind him.
“Sweet we were just heading that way. Sorry to disrupt.”
“No need to be sorry. Come and sit with us.” The man looked me up and down, a devilish smile on his face. His friends somehow made their way around us and forced us to stay in the area.
The hairs on my neck stood up as we sat down on the logs around the fire. “So what are you guys doing in the woods?” I asked, trying to make conversation and hide my nervousness.
“We like to help lost travelers like yourselves.” The man missing an eye said.
“Interesting,” said Mitch.
We sat in silence as the three men stared at us. There wasn’t much for us to do other than sit there under observation. Five minutes passed yet none of us moved from the logs. The men shared quick glances at one another and then a sharp nod from the scarred man.
The eyeless man, who was sitting next to me, poked my side. The poke was sharp. “Give me your money and all of your belongings. I won’t kill you if you do,” he whispered in my ear.
Nerves took over my body. I thought, he’s going to kill me if I don’t give him my goods. Hewouldn’t bat an eye, he can kill me in a second. I turned my head to look at him. “May I stand up first?”
He nodded but stood up with me. I said the word ‘Inventory’ and a button popped up. I pressed it and my whole inventory appeared on my character screen. “What do you want?” I asked.
“Everything you have.”
I nodded. I pretended to be doing a trade with him. Just as I was about to press ‘yes’ to send my items to him, I stepped away and grabbed my blade off the ground in one swift movement. I grabbed Mitch’s arm and pulled him close to me. “Just let us get to the next town.”
They started to advance toward me. I stuck my blade outward. “I don’t want to kill you but I will if I have to.” The one missing the eye advanced toward me and in one movement I plunged my sword deep in this chest. He fell to the ground, the life faded from his eye.
“I warned you.” The remaining two looked at their lifeless friend with straight fear. They turned and booked it down the path leading toward the city. Once they were out of sight, I let out a deep breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
“Damn, Jazie. You showed them,” Mitch laughed.
I just smiled and thought, Damn, I’m a badass.
Another small bing came to my ears and another message popped up: Congratulations! You won the Bandit Mask Trophy! You have completed the demo. I hope you enjoyed!
With reading that message, I fell to the ground. My surroundings blurred together fusing into one confusing picture and then everything went black.
I awoke in blackness. I removed the goggles and found I was back in the dingy room with my group. The chair that I sat in dinged loudly and spit something onto the ground. I slowly got up from the chair. Everyone else was still dazed and trapped in the game. I slowly walked out of the room and came face to face with my group's leader. She handed me a small piece of paper and a pencil. I looked at it and it was a review sheet. Quickly I filled it out, handed it back to her and headed down the hallway making my escape.
I made my way out the door and right on the stairs where he said he’d meet me was Mitch. He had messy brown hair, emerald green eyes with specks of gold in them, and a red shirt that hugged his shoulders nicely. He smiled at me as I made my way over to him.
“Well, you definitely do not look like your avatar,” I said. “You look a lot older.”
“That’s good. I’m not twelve. You look different as well.” Mitch smiled. “You look prettier.”
I giggled. Looking at my phone the time read 2:30 p.m. and my stomach growled. “Let’s go get some food and get to know each other more, what do you say?”
“Sounds good to me,” he smiled.