This story is by Jesus Mendoza and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“You guys hype!?” I asked trying to get everyone excited as we made our way to the tryouts for the city’s famous Virtuarena team.
“Man, fuck hype. I gotta pay off my next year of college,” said the large college ex lineman sitting next to me. He’d been injured out of a scholarship a year ago and had since gone on to become one of the country’s best defensive Virtuarena players. He went by ShieldWall now.
“Fuck college! If we get into the pros, we can live off that and never have to listen to a lecture again!” shouted out the girl in the back as she crunched down on chips. She was Oneshot, a great sniper.
“Keep up the hype, we here.” I said, stopping the car outside the large home housing the tryouts.
We quickly signed in, and received a device that we used to build our characters.
“Alright, no choking, guys. We can do this together.” I say my hands trembling with nerves.
“Quit worrying, Mal. We don’t choke, we’re pros.” Oneshot said
“Not yet.” I answered
“Please report here; this will be your starting area.” blared a loudspeaker a room over. We sat down in three gaming chairs there before putting our devices on. Our minds were brought into the game as our bodies fell back, immobile.
I found myself immobilized, as my character began to materialize before me, an ape like creature with robotic arms and legs with a jet to increase speed and a laser rifle. I soon took over the body and looked around. To my right was Oneshot, now a full on sniper in tactical gear. On the other hand was ShieldWall, now a medieval knight. The map formed the house we’d sat in earlier, and as it finished forming, the ground rumbled.
“Welcome to virtuarena! You’ve entered objective mode! Find and destroy the boss before he destroys the house. If you fail to defeat the boss in 5 minutes, you will be transferred to survival mode. Ready, Set, Go!” The announcer said, from the skies above.
“I’m checking the perimeter. Oneshot, find some height. Shieldwall, guard the base. We’re finding that boss before those 5 minutes are up.” I ordered before dashing off.
From the concrete below, rotting hands began to crack through, lifting decrepit corpses up. The smell forced a cough out of me and they approached, forcing my back to an invisible wall. So this is where the map ended. I raised my rifle and fired. Luckily this body was strong enough so that the recoil was no issue. The corpses flooded the streets before me as the bodies just kept rising from beyond the edge of the map. I heard explosives from far off, likely Oneshot. She made a lot more noise than the rest of us, which I noticed seem to draw more fire towards her.
“Got eyes on the target.” I heard through the voice chat. It was ShieldWall, back at the base.
“Being horded here guys. I think noise attracts them. I’ll head over when I can.” Oneshot responded.
“On my way! Hold the fort and stay safe.” I answered, sprinting to return.
A horde started to form around the base. ShieldWall was using a reloading crossbow to shoot almost exclusively north. I thinned out the horde, noting my body had grown used to the smell of the flesh now. I only smelled Shieldwall amongst them. I made my way to him and turned my sights towards his target. It was a giant mish mash of different creatures covered in mouths, eyes and horns.
“Weak points seem to be the eyes. My arrows ain’t doing shit anywhere else. You think you can take it down if I tank it for you?”
“We don’t know how much damage it deals, what if you drop? Also my damage isn’t better than yours.”
“Your damage per second is, you shoot faster. As long as you don’t miss the eyes, we’ll be fine.”
“I won’t miss…You have a stun in case though, right?.”
“Of course I do.”
“Alright, I’m gonna kite the bastard and keep him busy. Find times to stun him. If you need to tank hits, do it, but we’re gonna take this down together.”
“Sounds good, I got a buff we can use. I was hoping to use this on the damage dealer, but you’ll do in a pinch.”
A dragon aura appeared around me and suddenly my shots went from mostly glancing off the beast to knocking it back. I began to approach, getting him to attack me as I used my speed to avoid him. I kept firing with each step, but he was beginning to force his way between me and the base
I tried to draw it away from the base, but as I got too far he charged straight for it.
“Shieldwall, stun it! Don’t let it reach the base!”
Shieldwall intercepted with a mighty swing of a mace and stunned the creature, before his mace transformed into a tower shield. Bang! The beast’s fists bashed against the shield! I fired at an eye on it’s arm which blew up as he wound up for another punch. Bang. It was getting slower in its strikes, less powerful. I took another shot. The laser glanced off the beast as it became enraged. Its next strike shattered the shield, and before ShieldWall could react, he was grabbed and tossed onto the ground. A red K.O. appeared over his body.
It turned towards me. I had to stay within a certain distance or he’d destroy the base, which limited my options. I stopped to aim at the eye and fired. Direct hit. It lumbered towards me. I took a step forward and fired at an eye on the right ankle. Miss? Shit!
The beast charged and I turned to my left, keeping within the radius of the house.
“Game changing to survival mode in 5…”
It turned after me, swinging its arm to grab me.
I got a shot at its eye, its hand was knocked back with the rest of it.
Eye shot! 2 headshots, before another hit to the eye!
Is it picking up the tower shield? A Blue +Def appeared over it, it’s defense was boosted and the shield disappeared.
“Survival mode engaged. Defeat wave and win.”
My shots were glancing off. It’d taken Shieldwall’s defense, so only Oneshot could hurt it now. I dashed over there. It ignored the base now, staying right behind me.
“Oneshot, it’s you and me, alright? You’re gonna have to take out the monster. I can kite all you like. Just take some shots.”
“Hurry up, I’m going down soon.”
I was closing on the explosive fire. I traced the shots back to her. She was on the tallest building. The shots were slow enough that rushing inside was easy, though the beast was behind me. She had done a fantastic job of cleaning out the rest of the wave. I ran to the top with the beast right behind me. It was matching my speed now in its rage.
I reached the top just in time, and slammed the door shut. The beast started swinging at the door, which bought me some time.
“Oneshot, horde’s gone, fire at the beast!” I ordered before seeing the bite marks in the tactical armor…
“Fuck.” I sighed
I opened fire at the fresh zombie before me and grabbed her gun. An orange +ATK consumed me, further increasing my attack. As the beast broke past the door, I fired and knocked it down the stairs. I moved up and fired again and again and again, knocking it through the wall out of the building. I leaped down after it, blasting the creature down until a red K.O. appeared over it. I didn’t stop shooting until the game announcement distracted me.
I felt my body slow down and stop as my mind shifted back to my real self. Oneshot and Shieldwall watched on the tv, their eyes lost in thought before noticing I’d arrived.
“I’ll blow you to shreds next time speedster.” Oneshot joked.
“Yeah man, don’t get too comfortable. We’ll be fighting you in the pros in no time.” Shieldwall added in.
I thanked them both and they went to wait in the car as I signed the contract and got my check as I walked back to the car.
“Well, one of us made it at least. What are you going pro for anyways Mal?” ShieldWall asked me.
“Oh, I’m broke as shit man, I’ve been surviving off tournament money from you losers for months, now I can finally get a place to live.”
“Huh… well, good shit bro.”
“Thanks guys, gas is on me. Wouldn’t have made it without ya’ll.”
I submitted my check on my phone and we took off for home, chatting about the game.