Peer Review by AminahMcBina (United States)

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Where Am I?

By: helloohello


FREE WRITING

 “These are the so-called hard work you have put this year?” Father asked. I stayed silent. Sometimes, silence is the best answer. It gives nor gains any problems. Silence is truly golden.
 “You’re a waste, why are you showing me these shit results? You think you can go anywhere with this?”, he continued.
The words cut deep into me. I felt myself shrinking, getting closer and closer to my chest. I felt fear, fear of what? My future? My parents? I don’t know, but it’s that weird gut feeling.
“We could get him to work at my brother’s supermarket” Mother remarks.
“I’m not even sure if he will take such an idiot!"
            A new feeling emerged from my gut. It’s that hot righteous feeling of anger. Of course, I was angry, why wouldn’t I be? I could keep belittling myself but there is so much a boy can take right? Besides, the neighbours would start hearing us.
I stood up, but they took no notion of me. I walked casually towards the stairs. A few steps. Then, I bolted up, taking three steps at a time. I was wearing black socks, a necessary requirement for school but for unnecessary needs. My steps were muffled. I entered my room and shut the door. My gut was still on fire, whispering me righteous lies which drowned the fleeting rational thoughts. Do they ever understand? It is not entirely my fault!
There was a toilet roll sitting on my couch. A joke from my sister? I tossed it away and sat on my couch. It was an energy-based couch, stimulating every nerve of the body. I clicked start and heard a familiar hum of the machine. It was soothing.
Whirrrrr
 My VR helmet emerged from the side of the sofa by a metallic arm. It was sleek black and shiny, reflecting off the golden rays of the evening sun from my window. I placed it on my head and it moulded itself to perfectly fit me, like a mask. I laid back and let myself into the Virtual Apocalyptic World.
The Virtual Apocalyptic World was a game that I had begged my parents to be bought. They said no, so I stole their money to buy it. The VR sofa set, however, was a birthday present. The game has a simple plot, it will generate random real-life settings, and you will fight the zombie, werewolf, vampire etc. apocalypse. Its ultra-high price tag boasts an ultra-high graphics.
The fiery letters of Virtual Apocalyptic World appeared in front of me. I raised my hands, virtually, to set up a timer for two hours. It is truly a short time but I don’t want to push it with my parents. The thought of it reignited my gut. The timer started counting down in the top right of my Heads-Up Display (HUD). I pressed start and heard the female voice countdown:
“3, 2, 1”
The stage was the pyramids of Egypt, an unfamiliar place. It was a mummy apocalypse this time. I breezed through it, all the frustration and anger from the day was venting out.
A new stage? It was a room in ruins. Seems as though I had finished the previous stage much faster than expected. I seemed to be in the top floor of a two-storey house. I peered out of the window of the room. It looked dark outside. It was a typical city ruin stage, perfect for zombies. I had to play it smart. Gathering supplies was the expert’s way. I scoured the place and immediately found a bandage. What luck!
            I moved out of the room and found a chasm of empty space between this floor and the floor below. I backpedalled, then took a running start and jumped.
CRASH!!
            Pain shot up my legs as I landed. “Dammit!”, I cursed.
I will have to turn down the pain sensitivity later. Suddenly, I heard a groan. A zombie! This floor had a dark passage with golden light at the end of it. Another groan. No wait. Three different groans. I held my breath and stayed silent. No more noises. Seems like I hadn’t aggroed* them. Slow steps. Then three steps in a breath. I hid outside the lit room.
            I checked my HUD for any zombies within my radius. Top right and left corners empty. My health and stamina were full though. I silently entered the room. Half the room was in ruins, out in the open. I heard a groan. I immediately crouched and looked for the source of the noise. It was a zombie. It was holding a knife.
            “Shit”, I cursed. My luck was bad. Armed zombies were very rare and it is especially unusual for one to be next to a spawn point. The other three were also wielding knives and all turned to look at me away from the endlessly ruined city that they were looking at. Armed zombies are slow but powerful with their strikes. The tactic needed was speed. I dashed in quick and grabbed the first zombie’s wrist. They were truly disgusting to look at. There were wisps of decaying golden hair on its head. I twisted its wrist and the knife dropped. A catch. Twist and plunge. One down, two to go. I threw the knife into the head of the other zombie. Another down.
            The third one started groaning louder. I was unarmed. It charged towards me, swiping its knife. I smirked at how slow it was, in fact, even short. Its short arm reach allowed me to evade. I backed away and found myself at the edge of the floor. Another step and game over. Why was my luck bad? Why is everything so difficult? I got angry, the afternoon’s events replaying in my head. How similar it was to this situation.
            I had to play to my advantage. The zombie groaned very loudly and stepped towards me. My ears hurt, but this was just a distraction. I immediately shot out my arm and caught its chin, or what was left of it. It dropped the knife. Another catch. Twist and plunge.
            I realised I was panting. My stamina was extremely low.
“Hahahaha!”, I laughed. I must be the very few who had successfully solo killed three armed zombies. 
            Creakk! Groan?
            Another zombie! I retrieved the two knives and sneaked towards the noise. Groan. There were multiple groans. I started moving but suddenly, a flash of golden light blinded me. Five zombies entered my HUD radius. Groan? One of them advanced and cocked its head. I backed away then heard a load scream. No, a groan. The zombies charged aggressively. They were fast!
            My heart was pounding. My stamina was low. I was running through the ruined city, hoping to get out of the aggro* of the zombies. Is it a bug in the game? I looked behind me to see twenty zombies. Bad move. Two golden lights rammed into me from the front. I shouted with pain. What was wrong with the pain sensitivity. The zombies approached from the golden lights. I was on the ground as they surrounded me.
            A flash of golden light and then darkness.
I woke up in a cell. It looked like a jail. There were bars, but beyond that, it was empty and chaotic, like the chasms where players die. Wait, no. It was shimmering.
            “Ah, whatever”, I looked for the menu button. Must be a bug since the game wasn’t responding. I put my hands on my face and slowly removed my mask. I closed my eyes as I pulled them off. I felt it inflate like a helmet again. I kept my eyes closed for a while. When taking of VR helmets without quitting, it was necessary for such things.
I opened my eyes again. I was in a prison cell. It was grey and cold, there were bars in front of me flaked with gold. I was confused. Where is my sofa? Where is my room? Where am I?
            “Hello!”, I shouted. “HELLO! ANYBODY!”
            Silence. “WHERE AM I?!!” Silence again.
*Gaming term for attracting the “Attack Field” or attention of an NPC. Originates from the word Aggressive.
 


Peer Review

It was intriguing to be in the POV of a person in a VR. We don't normally read stories like these. So this was fun.


It'd be great to know why the narrator is now stuck in a cell, what had happened to his/her reality? Will they escape?


Reviewer Comments

Well done on this piece, I absolutely enjoyed it! Never stop writing!

-Mina