The Game

by Joshua Taylor Brown

The Game

By Joshua Brown

Dennis's legs and lungs burned with each step as he ran. The pain from the bullet wound in his side screamed at him, and he could feel the warm blood gushing from it when his feet hit the ground.

He looked back. The figure was still chasing after him. The figure seemed to blend in the dark urban scenery, like a lizard, and with the same amount of stealth. His footsteps were light, but loud enough to be heard by Dennis. The figure picked up speed, its dark cape-like clothing rippling in the rush of wind.

Dammit!

Dennis grasped his gun and pulled it out from its holster. He turned around and aimed it at the figure. He pulled the trigger. The bullets went past the figure. The pain was distracting Dennis. His vision was beginning to blur; he was losing blood. Fatigue began to overtake him.

Dennis started running again. He took only a few steps before he collapsed onto the pavement. He tried to get back up, but the pain spread to his whole body, and he was getting tired. He fell back down, face-first, into concrete of the sidewalk.

It was night-time, but Dennis could see the urban neighborhood around him. Cars were parked, and the lights in the buildings were on, but everything felt deserted.

He tried yelling out. ''Help!''

Nothing. ''HELP!'' There was no one else around. Everything around him began to spin.

He could hear footsteps. He strained to look. The figure was coming closer. Its dark, featureless shape approached Dennis. Dennis tried to crawl away. The footsteps still came closer. John could now see the figure's shadow approaching, stretched out in the beam of the streetlights.

Dennis tried to find his gun, but it was gone.

Fuck!

Dennis became desperate. His mind raced. Deep in the back of his mind, a prayer came up. The ''Lord 's Prayer''.

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name... He turned that first sentence over and over in his mind, unable to go any further.

He still strained to crawl away, but it was too late. The figure walked up to Dennis and stopped. Dennis looked up. He pleaded, but only a whisper came. The figure pulled out something. Dennis saw it was his own gun. Oh, God! The figure pointed the gun at Dennis.

''Game over.'', it said in a sinister voice.

Then it pulled the trigger.

Jonathan checked the game screen. In large, bold letters, the words END OF TEST flashed on the screen.

Through the giant window, Jonathan could see the big testing room, and Dennis laying in the testing chair, which looked like the ones dentists put their patients on to work on them. He was wearing the e-vision goggles, and electrodes which monitored his vital signs. An array of testing equipment lay around the room. LED lights flashed all over.

Jonathan checked another screen, saw Dennis's vital signs were okay, and then turned on the speakerphone and spoke.

''Okay, Dennis, test over. Time to get out.''

Dennis groaned. He moved around slowly and got out of the chair. He took off his e-vision goggles and electrodes and set them on the chair. He put back on his shirt and then he walked out of the room.

Jonathan opened the door and walked up to Dennis.

''So, what do you think?''

Dennis gave a surprised chuckle. '' It's so realistic.''

Jonathan smiled. ''We strive for only the most realistic in virtual gaming.''

''But the pain.....Jesus Christ, the pain.....''

Jonathan smiled again. ''Again, we strive for only the best in realism. That means making NO sacrifices. Weakness, pain, emotion, etcetera.''

''I see.'', said Dennis.

But that's one sacrifice I'm willing to make.

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