JUNKIE by Steven Havelock
 
Luke saw a distant sun burning brightly in the hellish orange sulphuric sky. All around him he heard the cries and screams of the damned.
 
Lucky for me I’m not stopping, just visiting, he thought with a wry smile.
 
Luke looked to his right and saw a demon rushing towards him. He aimed his rocket blaster and let rip. The demon exploded into a million pieces.
 
Whoa! I’m nearly there! I’ve nearly reached my highest score.
 
Suddenly the miasma of hell first faded to blue light and then vanished altogether.
 
“Sorry, Luke, that’s it, we should have been shut thirty minutes ago.”
 
“Aww, maan! Come on, just another ten minutes!”
 
“Sorry, Luke, some of us have families to go to,” said Jason, the owner of ‘VR Experience 1000’.”
 
Luke’s surroundings changed from the deepest darkest scenes of hell into a large warehouse building with sensors on all of the walls.
 
“Okay. Well see you guys tomorrow for some more fun demon blasting! You know I nearly reached the world record on that game ‘Demon Spawn’!”
 
“Yes, we know, Luke. You’ve been trying get to that record for the last twelve months.”
 
“Okay, laters,” said Luke and exited the building. He felt thoroughly grumpy at having to stop playing.
 
I was nearly there!
 
Outside the dark, solitary moon hung brightly in the winter sky.
 
God, it’s cold out today.
 
Luke turned around and headed home. As he walked down the empty lonely streets, he thought to himself.
 
I’m a junkie. Not your typical drugs or alcohol type junkie but a junkie none the less. My vice is the latest craze in hi-tech games. I’m a junkie for sure. A VR junkie. Day after day, week after week and month after month I’ve been playing ‘Demon spawn’. I can’t wait until tomorrow to try and beat the world high score, I need to do it tonight.
 
 
 
The time was 12 midnight. The whole area was deserted and empty of life. Luke had parked his car several blocks away and now he approached ‘VR Experience 1000’ premises. He had with him a black sports bag which he now opened and pulled out a large crow bar from.
 
He took a quick look around.
 
No one about, good.
 
He placed the crowbar in place, seeing by the light of the moon, and jerked it all the way back. There was a loud cracking sound as the door gave way.
 
Now it’s fun time!
 
He entered the premises and switched on the computers. Soon he was ready to play. He put the VR headset on and initiated the game.
 
After forty minutes he was sweating.
 
Nearly there! I nearly beat the world record!
 
Then he came to a scene he had never got to before. In front of him was a giant, twenty-foot, red yellow fire coloured demon.
 
This is the final boss! Bring it on!
 
“I am your death. I am total darkness. I am the Devil!”
 
“Okay, okay come on then little doggy. Don’t just yap all day!”
 
Luke brought up his weapons from the HUD display and selected the most powerfulest ones—the rocket launcher and laser pistol.
 
“Let’s see if you have some bite!”
 
The demon just laughed. For some strange reason it gave Luke the creeps.
 
Let’s do this! he thought, wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans and adjusting the VR display on his head.
 
Luke let loose with all his weapons, attacking when the chance presented itself and dodging and defending when needed.
 
God, this demon is a lot tougher than the others!
 
Luke gave it his all and eventually the demon collapsed to the floor.
 
He heard the sound of a till ringing and then the words.
 
‘New high world record reached!’
 
Yes! I have been trying to get this record for the past twelve months! I’ve done it! I’ve finally done it!
 
Suddenly the demon on the ground started to rise.
 
What?
 
“Now let’s play a proper game!” the demon screeched.
 
“What? What do you mean?”
 
The demon attacked. Luke fought back with all his weapons and might but the demon seemed to be on another level, and none of Luke’s attacks seemed to work.
 
God! I’m totally exhausted. I can’t go on. Got to get out of here.
 
Luke pressed the ‘end simulation’ button but nothing happened. He hit it again a few more times but still nothing happened, and now he heard the demon’s laughter ringing all around him.
 
“I’m taking you to hell!”
 
Luke grabbed his headset and pulled. Suddenly the landscape of hell was transformed into a normal dark quiet warehouse.
 
He walked slowly to the exit, sweat dripping of his forehand and arms, and his tracksuit damp with the sweat.
 
I entered that hellish landscape willingly but now am so glad to exit! Never again as long as I live am I playing this game or any other VR game ever again! High score or no high score!
 
His blood seemed to freeze as he noticed something. In his left hand was the rocket launcher from the game.
 
What the—?
 
The boss demon was standing in front him.
 
“Now let’s play for real!” it screeched.
 
Luke lifted the rocket launcher and let loose. It struck the demon in its face, it collapsed to the floor lifeless.
 
What the hell is going on!
 
He turned to leave. As he reached the door his blood seemed to chill again and the hairs on his neck rose. He looked behind and saw the demon had arisen.
 
Oh God no! This can’t be happening!
 
It moved towards him. Luke dashed for the exit but in his haste dropped the rocket launcher. In the dark empty street, he started to run.
 
He looked behind once.
 
It’s after me!
 
THE END
 
 
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