Paul did everything he could, firing at what felt like a wall of monsters that toppled over him, but it was only a matter of time.
An icon flashed on the screen. It was a stick of dynamite. Paul smiled. As one monster loomed in front of him, Paul shifted his aim to the explosive and fired. An explosion flashed through the entire screen. Monsters cried out in agony as they burned away, Paul reloaded and took several deep breaths. Jordan took care of whatever aliens remained after the explosion.
Then they heard the roar. The monster they’d been working their way toward was just up a small ladder, and they’d finally get to see it. The game’s camera panned and bounced, simulating Paul’s character climbing a ladder.
As he climbed, he made sure to shoot at aliens that seamed to fall from nowhere. A tentacle that had to have been thirty feel long swept across the screen, and the ladder his character was on toppled over.
Paul was ready for what came next. An alien scurried from a corner of the screen, but Paul was already aiming at the place where it skittered to a stop. Paul fired. They’d done it! The last time they played, the saw the tentacle, but that last alien caught them both off guard. Whatever happened next, they were further in the game than they’d ever been.
They pace of the footage increased, indicating the characters were running through the burning structure. Paul took an instant to smile at Jordan as they shot their way through a hallway and up a stairwell.
They reached a door that read “Roof Exit.” Paul saw a hand reach for the doorknob, but the screen flashed red. That was bad. It meant they’d taken almost as much damage as they could before dying and losing the game.
“What!?” Paul yelped. “There weren’t any enemies.”
The flashing faded, and the scene seemed to shatter apart. Bricks and metal flew everywhere. The creature, whatever it was, had knocked out the wall. The camera panned up and backward to reveal something that looked like a combination of a rhino and an octopus. It was massive. It easily took up three quarters of the roof.
“The damage must have come from when this thing knocked out the wall,” Jordan said. “The game wants us to take this thing on without have any hit protection.”
The beast roared. One of the tentacles flew at them, and Paul only barely managed to shoot the red target area of the appendage and force it back. Then the monster lunged at them, opening a mouth full of long teeth. Each tooth had its own hit target. The monster chomped on them, and the “Game Over” text flashed. The word “Continue?” appeared with a timer counting down from ten.
Paul reached for his card. No way they were’t going to try again.
“It’s our turn.” The comment drew Paul’s attention behind him, where two other boys stood.
“Dude, we have more charges on the card,” Paul said.
The boy on the right, a square boy with scowl, chuckled. “I don’t care. We waited for you to die. Now it’s our turn.”
Paul noticed the boy’s posture stiffen. Whoever he was, he looked like a bully. He probably didn’t have the first clue who he was about to try and pick on.