Fantasy Becomes Reality
We are in a time where video games can and do rule peoples lives. People will get so lost in the fantasy world of games that they will lose touch with reality. There is even a vast amount of rumors on the net about individuals who had allowed themselves to become so absorbed in the games in which they were playing that they fail to eat or sleeps for days on end and have in turn allowed themselves to starve to death. Games can be good as an occasional escape from the harsh reality of the world but, it is when we allow the games to take priority over necessary life functions that they can become a problem. This story tells of three troubled teens from around the country, whom are joined together by strange circumstances in which there descent into there next game may be there last chance of experiencing the reality here in this world and there existence itself could be trapped inside the game.
For Anthony it was another routine day of school. Alone, wandering down the halls he would walk directly from one classroom to the next without stopping to make conversation as a lot of the other high school students did. Once he made it to the classroom he would often be first in the room which meant first choice in seats. Most people would find first choice of seats to be a good opportunity to seat yourself and reserve seats for the rest of your classmates but instead Anthony used this advantage to find the seat furthest in the back and the most likely to be out of view of others. As a result of constant ridicule Anthony had not been much for friends and tended to keep to himself. Ever since he could remember Anthony had been the shortest male in his class and often the shortest overall. At 18 years old in his final year of high school he stood just taller than 5 Feet and about 100 pounds and often was mistaken for someone much younger. It was almost the end of his final class and Anthony glared at the clock dreading the impending moment coming when the bell would ring and school would come to a close.
The bell rang and Anthony knew that he had to go finish off his school day with the part of his daily routine that he feared the most. At the beginning of the school day Anthony would go to his locker get out everything that he would need for the day that way he did not have to make another return trip until the end of the day.. It was this trip back to his locker in which he feared. As Anthony came closer to his locker there stood the root of his fear seemingly put there only to cause him anguish. Anthony paused considering his options before he moved to his locker, and came to the realization that in the real world there are no invincibility potions and that he would have to face his fears. Now standing in the middle of the danger zone he was surrounded by two seemingly towering forces that made him thinking of a small room where you could be trapped between its small walls at any time as both sides close in on him. In reality the two towers were in fact far more aggressive and instead were Jeff and Jeremy, two seniors that unlike Anthony were not small in stature but instead both stood over 6 feet tall and were part of the football team. Ever since middle school Anthony had been positioned in the locker between the two juggernauts due to the fact that the lockers were assigned alphabetically and by chance he happened to have similar last name to the others. For near 6 years Anthony had dealt with torment and embarrassment by the two bullies. As Anthony made the final approach to his locker and as if on cue Anthony heard one of the boys ask him the same question he was often asked of the the two boys.
"Where’s your locker rental fee" Jeremy said.
"Yeah mine too." Jeff snickered.
Anthony stood there and proceeded to open his locker and act as if he was not aware of the situation around him. As Anthony began to open the door he noticed a slight movement at the bottom of his bag. At the same moment he had made this realization Anthony heard Jeff yell something to Jeremy.
"Yeah bet it’s in there"
Anthony had been used to a game similar to this before in which he would just stand there as the two giants would begin tossing the bag back in forth followed by them rummaging through his bag and stealing any money they found. This time they had gone to fare and instead of taking the bag instead Jeremy had taken a switchblade and cut the threads on the seams of Anthony’s backpack releasing the contents falling spread across the hallway. In a panic Anthony began to scatter about the hallway picking up his scattered belongings. Books, pens and pencils, and scores of pages of paper were strewn across the floor. By this time Jeff and Jeremy had left Anthony to tend to his spilled belongings having not seen any sign of money they had quickly became bored. Anthony gathered the remains of his stuff, packed away most of the school books and put the loose papers into his backpack. Anthony sighed as he put the papers into his bag realizing now that some of the contents had been damaged. Its was not the torn school papers that had Anthony distraught but instead it had been the least of his worries. As long as Anthony could remember he had two passions games and drawing, both of which usually included some element of a fantasy theme. Anthony drew dragons, and knights, creatures that appeared to be conceived from mythology, nothing he drew could be found in nature. He stood there for a moment staring at a ripped picture of a wizard he had drawn, he had been very proud of it and had spent hours perfecting it striving to create a portrait of one with great power and intellect. Fantasy was Anthony’s escape from the real world and it was fantasy games that were his ultimate escape where he could be a hero and be admired instead of shunned. Sometimes he wished that he could be a great wizard and have amazing powers that no one else could imagine. Anthony had no idea at that time but, he would soon be venturing further out of reality than he knew it and closer to experiencing his fantasy life for real.
After the ordeal at school not much could make the day any worse for Anthony. With his schoolbag rendered useless he was stuck carrying what he needed from school home with his hands alone. Compounding things it was raining and rather than allow more of his prized drawings be destroyed he wrapped his coat around his stuff and made his way home by foot as he dealt with the cold and the rain. The house was a short distance away and it only took Anthony about 15 minutes to get to his destination. Although the trip was short, it was plenty of time to drench Anthony from head to toe but he was happy to have made it home with the rest of his artwork intact. As Anthony made his way up to the empty driveway He walked up to the house and began to pull out his keys. He had known that no one was home for his father was a truck driver and more often than not worked late hours. Since his mother died at childbirth Anthony had lived with his father in a small two bedroom house on a lower class part of town. His father worked long hours as a trucker in order to support Anthony and himself, and worked during the week from before Anthony got out of school till just after he left for school so only time Anthony saw him was on the weekends. Although they may have both been home on the weekends there were times even then when they still would not cross paths due to Anthony locking himself in his room engulfed within a game. Anthony did not avoid his father due to abuse or feeling of neglect but instead he found himself so detached from others that even his father felt distant to him.
Anthony entered the house and quickly made his way to the bathroom where he shed his wet clothes and took a brief shower. As he dressed he began to anticipate what he would do next. It was early still so he decided that with nothing better to do he might as well fire up his computer and look for something to play. He went from the bathroom and down the hall to his bedroom and made his way to the door. On the outside of the door it had been painted by Anthony to look as if the door was the exterior door of an ancient castle. As he opened the door the room revealed very little in the way of personal belongings. In the corner of his room sat his bed, a bookshelf scattered with books, a stack of movies, a small TV and a VCR. The walls of the room had been plastered end to end with an assortment of fantasy creators, unicorns, centaurs, dragons, demons, fairies, almost all of which had been drawn by Anthony many as large as posters. Sitting at the far end of his room however, had been Anthony's prized possession. His computer sat at his desk this too had been emblemized by Anthony. On the exposed side of the case a large dragon had been portrayed and at the bottom resided a wizard which appeared small in comparison to the dragon but had a fearless look and a raised hand carrying a matte finished black wand seemingly attempting to dispel the dragon with his magic.
Anthony sat down at the desk and flicked the switch on to turn the monitor. As the monitor cleared up Anthony soon realized a flashing in the corner of the screen. This flashing had been an indicator that he had received a new email message. Since Anthony purchased alot of games he would often be sent email regarding new games coming out, discounts, and just general game related information. He clicked the icon to open his email and was taken off guard when he found that his email program did not open. On the screen instead was appeared a document that did not look like an email but instead looked like a legal document such as contract. As he read the top headline on the page he became further intrigued by this strange text. The opening statement read as follows, YOU ANTHONY HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS A BETA TESTER FOR THE MOST TRUE TO LIFE FANTASY GAME OF ALL TIME. The part about being chosen to test a game had not been out of the ordinary for Anthony because often players who were found to play long hours in games where asked by developers to test new games before they were released. The part that was odd to Anthony was that as far as he could recall he had never used his real name anywhere online and instead went by a long used moniker of DARKWIZARD. The rest of the document appeared to be Terms of compliance and such but also contained another odd statement below the first one. Sick of your boring, lonely, unfulfilling existence, do you find the escape into the world of fantasy to be better than real lif then join us in this extremely limited beta to test a new game that will take you far beyond the planes of this reality than you have ever been before. This in itself didn't seem to be enough to make Anthony want to play the game before he read the rest of the document he began to search for links to the games name, or back-story, or maybe even some screenshots. After a quick scan of the page Anthony found that there was no suck links on the page. This also struck him as odd for who would want to test a game without first seeing what its about. As Anthony began to read the rest of the document he found it appeared like a standard beta testers agreement wit clauses such as non disclosure agreements and also agreeing not to make or distribute copies of the game. The final words in the document were perhaps the weirdest thing of all and Anthony couldn’t make much sense if it. The last line read, ONCE YOU HAVE AGREED TO ENTER THE BETA YOU CANNOT LEAVE THE GAME AT ANY TIME. Perhaps it was a joke because it did not make sense otherwise. How can one be expected to stay in the game at all times the thought of it reminded him of something he had heard rumored on the net of someone playing a game Anthony himself had played for days on end to the point where he starved himself to death and died. Increasingly curious about the potential of this supposedly innovative new game Anthony accepted the agreement without knowing what to expect.
Anthony expected a download screen in which he would have to get the files required to play the game but was instead surprised to immediately see a surrealistic landscape on the screen in front of him. Anthony sat at the desk for a moment waiting for a menu to come up or maybe even a tutorial. As he stared at the screen Anthony watched as the scene on the screen became increasingly more life like. He was soon startled when he heard a pop and watched as the screen on the monitor went blank. Anthony still sat there though motionless staring in awe because although the monitor had turned off he could still envision the scene he had just seen on the screen. He turned around and began to worry as behind him he did not see his room or decor but instead all he could see was the landscape from the game. He turned back around and what he saw now made him panic for where his desk had been all he could see was an endless landscape. Anthony did a 360 and realized that he no longer appeared to be in his room but in some fantasy world, it was at this moment that Anthony began to really get scared and then everything went black.
(This story is not yet finished and Anthony is just the first of 3 that will find out that sometimes the fantasy life they imagine would not be better than real life)