by Rory Fleming
You start in your bed as a series of pixels and wipe the dew from your eyes for the first time. When your vision clears, you study the wood of the floorboards and ceilings; you know what you can and can’t do with the windows by using your special perception; you stand up. You see a glint from the tip of a blade resting under the windowsill. Light pours in through the curtains. It hits the sword at the exact angle needed to get your attention.
You leave your house and find a forest village. The people in this village, your designated home, say the same thing every time you speak to them. You make it a habit to mouth the words in exact sync with each of them to shock them into change. They do not change. Rocks sit with cursors pointing to them; they are waiting to be plucked. You throw one at your annoying next-door neighbor but it is magically deflected despite being a perfect shot. You are alone.
You do not want to leave your town. You decided this a moment ago. Even though you know you are supposed to, you want to see how long you can stay before you lose it, go back to sleep, disappear. You roll on the grassy ground, over and over without getting tired. You play in the forbidden woods at the edge of your world and hear the same song repeated. You dive into the lake and are given three seconds each time. You have a shield and a sword and you are only what, twelve? You don’t remember being born.
You wish that they would all go away so you could not be teased with company. You are more alone because they are here. In your frustrations you jump between the roofs of houses to catch up with the guy who stays on his and never leaves. His back is turned to you when you unsheathe your sword in a single moment.
Then you swing at him and to your surprise his head falls right off. Why don’t the rocks work then? you wonder, as blood shoots from his extended stalk of a neck. It puddles on the ground below. No one else hears it. They do not hear it, but it changes you.
You hear a voice tell you that your sword will become the bridge when it has taken enough. You don’t understand what that means, but you do know that there are no consequences to your actions. You jump off the roof and roll to cushion the impact.
Then you spring into action. You dash into the garden to stab the groundskeeper in the stomach and she dies on the spot. Her corpse disappears and you feel your sword pulse stronger. You find the neighbor you missed with the rocks and cut him vertically in two. You raid every house and know that you are getting closer to the end.
When all the villagers have disappeared, you feel a weight lifted from your hip. You reach for your blade and can tell that it is gone. You hear the voice from before tell you to go to the lake from before. There is now a bridge there heading out to sea. The light reflects off its metallic edges the same way it bounced off the tip of your blade when everything began. It reaches far past your range of sight.
You know that this is not where you were supposed to walk, but now you have no choice; you have done too much to reveal it. So you walk its length and you realize that the bodies that disappeared before are reappearing here, piling on top. You trip over the head of the first one you disposed of and feel your mouth graze the place where the neighbor was sliced open.
When you reach the end of the line, it feels like you have been at sea for ages. You can barely remember what you were walking on and what happened before that. In the middle of the sea of nothingness sits an island with unlimited items, infinite rations, and things to do for fun.
There is a dock where you have different kinds of boats to try out, even motorboats. There is a bow and arrow set with targets and when you shoot one, another appears in your bag. You get really very good at archery and can hit the middle of the target every time. You get perfectly in shape and age from a young boy to a young man and then to an older man.
But something is missing. You don’t know why it is the case but you cannot think of a single way to apply your newfound skills to a goal. And as you age, your memory becomes worse until the bridge has fully faded.
They are all dead. You cannot play anymore if they are all dead.
Copyright © 2012 by Rory Fleming