Martin let out a snarl that was caught between a roar and a growl. The Wi-Fi had been screwy all evening, and he wanted to unwind by playing his favorite video game.
It was the latest installment of a popular RPG — role-playing game — set in ancient Greece. The game crashed and froze several times, and Martin, frustrated, tried once more before calling it a night. He turned off the console and checked the router (it seemed to work fine). He restarted it anyway, just in case…
Martin drummed his impatient fingers on the arms of his gamer’s chair as the game loaded. Outside, the wind howled and Martin felt a tinge of apprehension crawl up his spine. He choked it and forced it down with one dense gulp. Martin hated admitting that storms freaked him out. It wasn’t just childish; he felt canine too.
The storm was coming, and the wind ululated its dire warning. He hoped his game would keep the storm at bay, but it was loading at a snail’s pace.
“Yes!” Martin heaved a sigh of relief as the game asked him to choose a character.
Martin cupped the controller with both hands, his fingers embracing their best friend. A soft, delighted smile crept up his lips as the game’s music blasted from the home entertainment system.
His fingers moved the tiny joystick and pressed buttons as his character, a Greek oracle in golden armor, moved forward in a seamless stream of motion that contrasted with the staccato click-click of the controller.
His character arrived at a ravine where a bloody battled raged.
Martin bared his teeth, the thirst for pixellated blood triggering his adrenaline.
This was it, the ultimate battle, he only had to find the Nemesis and vanquish him. Then he would win the game. He would be the first to beat the game since its release.
The Greek Oracle obeyed all Martin’s orders and fought a deft and valiant battle. Fallen enemy after fallen enemy piled at his feet.
He came upon the hoplite phalanx, a wall of armored soldiers with tall shields protecting them and long spears pointing at the Greek Oracle, their faces obscured by the bronze helmets.
Martin smirked. He made it. He only needed to get past the phalanx and the Nemesis would appear.
Faster than he could say “abracadabra”, the Greek Oracle cast a spell to slow down the phalanx’s movements. He fought and jumped and slaughtered them. Game-blood filled the screen.
The phalanx retreated, and as the smoke from his myriad of fireballs cleared, the Greek Oracle stood mid-screen, ready to fight the looming figure that was forming in the background.
Dark, smoldering and menacing, the Nemesis advanced. Martin’s thoughts rushed through the arsenal of powers and spells at his command, formulating a battle plan.
The Nemesis raced a fiery bow and arrow. He pointed it at Martin’s character, the Greek Oracle, and before Martin wondered why there was no monologue, the Nemesis shot.
The storm raged into the morning. It was still sprinkling as a police officer knocked on Martin’s door.
“Mr. Ludo,” the officer called, “I’m here to do a wellness check. Are you in there?”
He knocked again, but no answer. The officer glanced around and shrugged. He was about to leave when something caught his eye. He peeked through the living room window.
Martin sat on his gamer’s chair with his hands still clutching the controller. The officer gasped when he stepped sideways for a better look and saw the arrow buried in Martin’s chest.
The TV screen blared “Game Over”.