By Nojh Livic
He floated in an infinite space, quietly watching the small bits of light as they zipped to and fro. He liked to bask here. There was probably some sort of existential or psychological reason for this odd behavior. Why hang around in the space between places? There was nothing to do and barely anything to see. With no sensation save sight, it was like being disconnected from everything, viewing it all from a distance, except there was nothing to view save the little dazzling bolts of light..
A small chime that only echoed between his head informed him that he didn’t have a second more to spend on his dalliance. Ghost wanted his attention. With a sigh he drew out a small charm from the pocket of his jacket. It began to glow almost immediately and he gave it a squeeze. “Yo yo yo, Blitz! Where you at?” A gauzy image of Ghost projected itself from the stone, from its shoulders up. The stone already gave most people a translucent quality. With Ghost he was near invisible.
“Just watching traffic. What’s the score?” Blitz asked. The lights and space began to blur as he began flying through the space, letting the tails of his jacket whip around behind him. He preferred to stand while he traveled, rather than assume some sort of pose that suggested he obeyed some sort of aerodynamic rules.
“TryTex. Off the Hou-Dal-Ft link. You’ll want to come in hot. Surly already woke the beast.” Ghost chuckled when it saw Blitz roll his eyes. Surly was Ghost’s nickname for Surreal who was the third of their little troupe and the most hot-headed. She was also on the record, having found the best scores yet, so if she got them into a little trouble now and then he wasn’t going to complain.
“I’ll be there in a cycle,” Blitz said, increasing the speed of his flight. He could have been there faster, of course, but he wanted to prepare. Stowing away the glowing stone he began pulling more objects out from under his jacket: A few rings, three bangles, goggles, a pair of daggers, a pair of ornate slug throwers with shiny black leather holsters, three different necklaces, and finally a long wooden staff. Nearly all of the items glowed in some form of fashion, as his jacket did each time he pulled out something new. Finally he buttoned the leather long coat up. As he did, it shifted from its usual brown to a shiny black with faintly glowing blue lines following the seams. Re-checking that he could reach his equipment and weapons through various pockets, he lifted his staff high and struck what would sure to be an impressive pose and readying an offensive maneuver just in case he needed to keep Surreal’s ass out of a sling.
He arrived at TryTex exactly one cycle later. Darkness and blurry lights gave way to an immediate cacophony of alarms and a kaleidoscope of shades of red intermixed darkness. He saw Surreal between the flashes of darkness, in her dragon form, but rather than tearing a swath through the entire area, was instead pinned down by hordes of tiny red skinned devils with pitchforks. He flew directly towards the melee, staffed pointed, words already on his lips that would send bursts of wind and force down upon his cohort’s foes.
Then a net surrounded him. Disoriented, he flew backwards, only to find himself caught in another net. He let go of his staff to draw his daggers but the net suddenly glowed with blue flame. Ignoring his jacket completely, the flames sent sharp painful chills down his arms. His fingers went numb, letting the daggers slide from his grip. The net grew tighter, surrounding him until he couldn’t move his arms or legs. He squirmed and each time was rewarded with another blast of cold that numbed him even more.
On the ground, Surreal jerked spasmodically, frozen, then slowly began to grow transparent. The devils began cheering, pumping their pitch forks up and down. Blitz tried one last effort, summoning all his strength to try to break the net that surrounded him. That is when he blacked out.
Ronald tore the headband off and threw it on the ground. The pain lancing through his head was enough to blind him but despite that he leapt for the wall and jerked the connection cord out of the socket. That done, he curled up into a ball of pain, trying to ignore the smell of charred metals and plastic that used to be his hacking rig. After an eternity he let his eyes open. The tiny enclosed space that was his apartment surrounded him. No star filled landscape. No flashing lights. Just darkness, smoke, and pain.
So I wanted to go for a fantasy vibe that turned out to be kinda science fiction. The premise is based on a roleplaying game I used to play called Shadowrun. Think The Matrix, but less “super real” and more “fantasy real”. I’ve also recently read Ready Player One and The Dresden Files, which made its way unconsciously into this story I think.