“I’ll vacuum now! “ Kitts shouts to me. I stand completely frozen in front of the TV. So is everyone in the TV, just standing and looking at Michael, who is the only one in motion.
“Yeah, I definitely know this guy! “
I can hear Kitts vacuuming as the studio slowly sets in motion again.
“What – What did you say boy? “ Someone asks Michael.
The host grabs him.
“Answer us! “
“I-I said I know him. He is that guy from the crowd who lied to us! “
“What do you mean? “ Michael looks nervous.
“He shouted at the crowd so we went to another house, he must have protected Phoenix or something “
I sigh of relief. Yet again, I thank god for the stupidity in this world. However, I think a moment too soon.
“Could it maybe be that Phoenix was the one who shouted? It would make sense, wouldn’t it? “
“Yeah it would! “
“We might be able to guess his identity then! “
“Call in the experts! “
“Sir, what about the policy? “
“Forget the policy! This might be the biggest thing in the century for our channel! “
I drop the remote. It hits the floor with a clank. The vacuuming noise disappears. Even though everything is moving in the studio I feel like a statue.
What… is happening? Why? How?
I keep questioning what’s going on in the TV, just standing here doing nothing.
It takes a while before I return from the abyss. I shake my head. It is not like he recognized med at all, just my voice… but will he be able to piece it together? Could he? Well, obviously he couldn’t. but could any of the so-called experts? What if they find me out? What will I do?
I gasp after air. I forgot to breathe there for a moment. I shake my head. I have to look at the bright side of things. But first of all, the hoodie is going in the trash. I feel a little sad. It was my favorite. Even though I have two more like it- DARN!
I decide to just throw them all in the closet. I pick up the remote and turn of the stupid painbox. I really feel like kicking it, but that would only result in more trouble. And you must believe me when I say, I have had more than enough of that. I think I should just go to bed, hide myself from any further disgrace. But it is only 3 pm. It’s gonna be some long hours before bedtime.
I think I have homework for tomorrow. I just don’t remember what. I decide to open my computer to check it out.
I go to my room, careful not to interrupt my sister in cleaning up my mess. I smile at her as I walk by, and yell a thank you as I close the door to my room. She won’t come in here. We have a pact to never enter one another’s room without direct permission. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen her room in quite some time. Never mind!
I open my computer. Ah, we have French due to Monday. Just grammar tasks. Repetition. The usual. I also have a chemistry report for Wednesday, but I have already made it. Nothing else I haven’t gotten done. I find my bag and pull out my French books.
French is not all that hard when you get the hang of it. They don’t demand too much of us, well, at least I don’t think they do. Matt on the other side, he is dying every time he sees we have homework.
After I’m done with it, I look at the clock. It’s only been half an hour. I don’t really know what to do now. I sigh. Maybe if I play a game time will go by faster. I go to an online game side to see what new stuff they got. Something called Phoenix simulator pops up everywhere. Probably just a very bad game that drives on the fan base. I decide to check it out anyway. It is fun to see how exited fans get over me sometimes. Other times it is just plain scary, but right now I need a little cheering up. It takes forever to load. As soon as I’m in, I notice that the graphics are bad. Of course. I didn’t expect it to be good in any way, so I don’t really care all that much. Basically, it is one of those how-far-can-you-get games, just with a chat forum added in top of the screen. It is very distracting, but it is funny to see what some people think. When you’re on the internet people get a lot more open about themselves. I take a look at the chat.
- I am such a HUGE fan of phoenix! I mean, I could kill someone just to see him!
- You know, it could be a her
- NO WAY IN HELL! Where have you been? You are sooo stupid!
- LOOOOOOOL WTF
- Why are you writing stuff like that all of a sudden?
- Cause you are stupid, that’s why
- Lol yt
- Y in the fck ded u write d@t?
I could keep on going, but the chat is endless. Not many write about Cami, but he have some dedicated fans as well. I try a few rounds in the game. It might seem a little hard at first, getting the character through the portals, but when you get the hang of it, the rest just comes to you. I beat it in no time, even though it is supposed to be endless it has a boss after 999 portals or so. My score immediately pops up on the screen.
- ThEgAmEr have just beat the game
People react right away.
- How in the hell did you do THAT?
- Are u a wizard?
- You SO cheated! Little f…..
- Mind the language!
- Go home grandpa, no one likes u
- Y u so stupiiiid?
I decide to join in
- You beat the game, right? How did you do that? TEELLL MEEE!
- I just played
- Yeah, genius, we know that. How did you hack it?
- I didn’t! I swear! You just have to get into the rhythm of it, then it is easy
- I tried a billion times, and I think I am better than you in every possible way
- Well, you couldn’t beat it, right?
- Would you mind joining a multiplayer challenge then?
- Sure, whatever. You invite
Been a long time since anyone challenged me in anything online. Should be fun.
An invitation to join THEslayerEHT pops up on the screen. I stretch my fingers before clicking accept. His character is red and mine is blue.
- Ready to get beaten dumbass?
- Sure, but are you?
the word ‘ready’ pops up on the screen. My fingers are shaking from excitement.
I immediately tap the speed up button. I have to show this guy how a real gamer does it. My fingers fly over the keyboard. He is not half bad, actually, but he doesn’t dare speed too much. I understand him well. If he wants victory, he should keep steady. It doesn’t bother me whether it is high speed or not, I can keep up with anyone. I fly around him a little before I decide to end it. I speed to maximum and leave him to lose. I can see his face for me. It could of course be a she, but I think it is a he. I reach the boss and defeat it with ease. I can see his position in a little square in the top right corner. He is only at 132. I laugh quietly before I write a text.
- Where are you oh almighty slayer? I thought I was gonna get whooped there for a second!
I see him crash at 164. New high score! Is written over his screen with glittering letters.
- Shut up!
- I told you I didn’t cheat
- But, how did you do it?
- I just play a lot of games, that’s all
- Do you play ‘the last standing’?
- Yes! That is one of my favorites!
- It is? Mine too! Can you friend me there? I really need help with defeating lv 567
- Of course! What is your main lead character?
We keep on chatting for a while. It is funny how you get to know people. But, hey, he seems like a nice guy after all. Even though he was a little narrow minded in the beginning, I think I’ve made a new friend. We agree on going to ‘the last standing’. I open a new window. Tap my username and password.
- Welcome back: ThEgAmEr
I love this game. Not only have I beaten all 900 lv’s, I have completed every single last quest and I own every obtainable character. Slayer is impressed when I join him in the battlefield.
- Wow, you are really good at games, aren’t you?
- I thought I told you already, but thanks anyway dude
- Np. Can we get goin’?
- Sure. You lead
His character leads the way through the masses of zombies, ogres, goblins, monsters and whatever. I enjoy every moment. This game reminds me a lot of the arena, actually. When we come to the boss battle it is exactly as the game; we are vs the boss and his minions are like other contestants (except they do not steal a key). My online character has wings like Phoenix, and is a spell-caster. This game was actually one of my greatest inspirations to begin playing, though it could never have prepared me for what was in the arena that day…
We reach the boss after a few minutes. Everything goes faster when you’re two. And when you’re with me. Sorry, have to say it. This is one of my strong points, my pride and joy is the internet games, the online MMO’s and strategy games. I have no doubt in my mind that most players are like me, and not big buff guys who have lifted their whole life.
The boss is over like a breeze. I dance through the sky, showing of some of my moves. I have made them up myself, and I actually use some of them in the arena as well. Slayer seems to notice them.
- Is that like Phoenix double shoot backflip?
- Yeah, I guess you can say that
- How do you do it?
- Well, it is really simple actually…
I explain everything in detail, except where I got it from since he obviously think I copied Phoenix.
- Wow, you have to move your finger insanely fast to pull that off!
- Yeah, I practiced a lot
- Could you show me again?
- I could show you something better
I leave the ground again and do what I call the solar phoenix. I try to pull it off smoothly. I haven’t actually used it before, but I think I will in the future.
- How in the hell-?
- I haven’t really given it much thought yet, I could probably improve it a lot…
- Are you INSANE? That was like watching the ACTUAL Phoenix in the arena!
I slap myself. What am I doing? Note to self – NEVER use it on screen in actual combat.
I completely forget the chat until I let my eyes glide over the screen again.
- How can you do stuff like that?
- Are you still there?
I quickly answer
- Yeah, sorry, I remembered I have homework for Monday.
- Oh bummer! Me too, completely forgot it! Sorry, have to run
- Sure, me too
I am about to close the window when a message pops up
- Can you come play with me again sometime?
- Of course, just tag me any time.
Well, that was nice, I think to myself while closing my computer. I look at the clock. It’s already 6. I stretch in my chair. Better go get some dinner.
While walking past my sisters room I hear something. I stop for a second and listen. Is that what I think it is? I listen closer. Yep, she is watching the games! And not just that, but an old episode. It sounds like the match between red and yellow… no! it is definitely something else. I lean closer to the door, listening through the keyhole.
“… will you look at that! Can this match possibly end with team blue losing?- “
It is from the semi-finals! But I know she already saw them with mom and dad, why would she rewatch? She never seems very interested in the games…
I hear footsteps approaching the door, and quickly I jump down the hallway and act as if I were just passing by. She opens the door and looks at me with wondering eyes.
“were you standing in front of my door just now? “
“no, I was just going to dine with the rest of our family, now “
She looks at me weirdly, but shrugs it off. She closes the door and walks past me into the dining room. I sigh of relief and go to join the rest of the family.
Over dinner we often discuss what we have been up to. Dad starts out:
“well, what have you been up to all day? “
“I went early home from Helene, then I made my homework “
“well, why did you leave? “
“She was annoying me “
“oh, ok. What did you do hon? “
She asks me. I act as if I didn’t hear her, and then she forgets it. She starts talking about how nice it was to be out and about with dad, and he joins in. They all laugh at times, say ‘aha’ and ‘I see’ when needed. I am not really good with small talk like that. Suddenly mom realizes she didn’t get an answer before.
“Oh, hon, you forgot to tell me about you day!”
They all look at me with high expectations except my sister.
“Erm, well, you know, nothing special, just visiting a friend”
“But that is special darling! Who was it?”
“Someone I met recently”
“Come on! What is his name?”
“Eh, it is a she, and her name is Callia”
Dad breaks in
“It had to come at some point!” he laughs
“It’s NOT like that! She is just a friend”
“but that is wonderful sweetie! Where were you?”
“You know, the Kaalika area, Baek ally”
Suddenly Kitts stands up and slam both hands in the table. Everything falls silent.
“is anything wrong dear?” mom asks her.
Kitts begins to mutter something, then out of nowhere she bursts:
“What time were you there? Did you notice anything strange?”
“It was around… 2 I think”
She runs around the table and grabs my arm. She begins to pull me up, but dad interrupts:
“Hey you! Sit down now, will you? You can talk after dinner if necessary”
A bit forced she moves away and take her seat again. She keeps an eye on me for the rest of the meal. I feel a bit uncomfortable by it, what does she want? She doesn’t give me that look often, but when she do, she wants something. Last time was a few months ago, where she thought I had stolen one of her… I didn’t really get what she was missing, but apparently it was important. She even confronted me several times when I had left my room to go to the bathroom, or were on my way to eat. When dinner’s over she comes over to my seat again.
“Meet me in my room!” she says.
After cleaning out the table I go to her room. I lift my hand to knock on the door, but it opens before I can do so. She pulls me inside with incredible force.
“What is it---“ I stop when I look around the room. Oh Jesus Christ! Not her too!
The walls are covered in posters, her shelves are filled with books about me, DVD’s and drawings she made herself. She even have a fanfiction side open on her PC. I am about to put a palm to the face when I realize it would maybe be a bit offensive. Maybe. I don’t know, she is weird at some points. Really weird.
She looks at me with an intense glare. Her ponytail is a little out of shape and the blood has rushed to her head making her face all red.
“Tell me” she says.
“Tell you what?”
“Everything about today of course!”
“Well, you went to Helene after school, mom and dad took a day off at work…”
“Not that! What were you doing with your friend, Callia - was it?
“Oh, that… Erm, we just hanged out a bit, nothing big at all”
“Didn’t anything big happen? Like, really big?”
“Hmmm, no. not that I know of”
“LIAR! Don’t you think I saw the news?”
Oh no, what if she figured it out?
“I don’t know what you mean by that”
“Oh you know just fine. You just don’t feel like I am trustworthy enough, that people would get on to you if you told me”
…… I don’t like this…
“Could you tell me then?”
“Why? Do you still not trust me? Or do you simply think I am stupid?”
“No, it’s not that, it’s just… I don’t know how to put it”
“Well I do. You so saw Phoenix today! You must have, or else you wouldn’t keep it from me like that!”
“W-what? No I didn’t…” for a moment I seriously consider telling her the truth. She is right after all, it is weird to keep it a secret from family, besides, I have always been able to trust her. Never once have she told anyone my secrets, even if it got her into trouble.
“Actually, I got something to tell you sis”
She jumps to her feet.
“Then you mean, like you MET him? Like, OMG why didn’t you tell me?”
“Nonono, it’s not that at all…” she doesn’t hear me at all.
“Do you know him?”
“Well, I guess you could say that…”
“OMG IM GONNA FAINT! Could you get me his autograph?”
I give up, obviously she doesn’t listen to what I am saying anyway.
“Sure. I have one in my room right now. I didn’t know you were a fan though”
She looks like she just got cured of cancer. She jumps up and down, the grabs for her phone.
“What are you doing?” I say.
“What? I’m just texting my friends”
“I want to keep this a secret if possible”
She gives me the look. The ‘pleeeease’ look.
“Argh fine! Whatever”
We shake hands on it like we usually do.
“I’ll go get the autograph” I run into my room and find a pencil. I rip out a scrap of paper from one of my notebooks and write phoenix on it. Done. I just hope she won’t recognize it…
I storm back only to find her on the computer. She is drawing a picture of Phoenix and herself, it seems.
“Here” I hand it to her. She snaps it out of my hand and starts inspecting it. She seems to accept it.
“Thanks a bunch bro!”
“You never told me you were a ‘Phan’”
“It’s called a ‘Phoenixator’ for your info, and I have been from the beginning”
“Well, you haven’t told any of us”
“Well duh, you wouldn’t understand. It is like, we’re made for each other!”
“You and who?”
“Phoenix! I am so gonna be his girlfriend! There may be an age gap, but hey, we’ll work it out, I just know it in my heart. Plus the internet test I took proves it”
I shiver. Wrong in so many ways. Maybe I should tell her anyway…
“I have it all planned out. First, I find out where he lives, the I gather my troops and storm the place…”
Or I could keep my mouth shut, you know, leave her to her fantasies.
Her monologue on Phoenix goes on for a while, and more than a few times I am pretty freaked out by what she says.
“What then after you’ve captured him and made him fall for you?”
“Well, then we will of course have children…” I shiver. Maybe I should just go to bed.
“The Cotelatio tournament is coming up soon, why don’t you go then?”
“I don’t have anyone to take me there…” she sighs. Then she lightens up with a smile that says ‘you are in for something’.
“You could take me there! It could be my birthday present if you want” she looks optimistic. I could of course get the tickets for free, no problem there, but how in the heavens would I be able to leave her side for the whole event?
“I don’t know about that, I have to do something that day”
“I understand, you’re a hater. But I will be fine by myself, I just don’t have the money to get there or get a ticket” she sends me hinting looks.
“Fine then, I’ll get you there and with a front row seat at that!”
“But those are always reserved for royalties and such”
“Don’t you worry, I know the guy himself, so I can get the tickets”
She smiles widely. I rise from her bed where I have been sitting. When I am about to leave the room, she says:
“You said you know him, right?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
“Could you possibly introduce me?” she looks at me with hopefull eyes.
“Well, he is on a tight schedule and such, so I don’t really know about that…” she looks disappointed.
“But maybe I could ask him anyway. You never know, maybe he got time” she lights up as I leave the room. After the door has closed I slap myself. Stupid stupid stupid! Why am I making such promises? Last time (earlier today at that) I got into a huge mess because of a favour! If Phoenix shows up at my house, what’ll the media do? I can only imagine the huge mobs gathering around in our garden, pushing on to get a glimpse of a real superstar up close. They would get in, and maybe run through my stuff. If they then find my safe in the closet… I shake my head. Like that would ever happen. I do live in a stupid stupid world after all. I close my door and go to bed.