A short story on medium

Game over

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

I told her I wouldn’t do this. As we waited outside the arcade, I could feel the chill from the air biting against my skin, the weight of the backpack burdening me with how heavy it was.

I told her I was not playing another one of her games.

But her domineering voice was almost contagious. “Come on now, it doesn’t matter what you think. Just act. Remember?”

I was annoyed by her presence. I did not even look up at her. I cast my head down, and not of my free-will, followed her feet as they made imprints in the mud, toward the arcade’s entrance.

When I looked back up, I was stunned. Everything was aglow in purple-blue hues. The arcade games were lit up with activity, their monitors whirring in motion and kids were whooshing left and right to be part of the action.

“You didn’t say there would be so many people!” I yelled over the rambunctious kids playing and the noises from the arcade games.

“Okay, selfie time!” She demanded.

At first, I was hesitant and looked at her blankly.

“We have to document this remember? We are making history!”

I pulled out my phone and took a pic and I could smell her bubblegum when she made a bubble right close to my ear.

Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash

“Perfect!” She says.

I put the phone back in my jacket’s pocket.

It’s time.” She stares at me, all life in her eyes drained like the first time I saw her.

“I don’t know…”

She grabs my arm, this time hard. “Katy it’s time and you know it.”

I unzip the backpack and she pulls out a bright pink baseball bat with my name on it.

I look at her seriously.

She laughs and swings the bright pink bat right over her shoulder before giving it to me.

Do it now.” She orders.

I carry the bat over to my favorite childhood game. Space Invaders, the title encroaching upon my mind as I remember the fond memories I had with my older brother playing that game. All the good times laughing and trying to beat his high scores.

Do it now.” Her voice says again, playing around in my head like a merry-go-round and making me feel dizzy.

Then I remember the lies. The broken promises. Our whole family in ruin. How he said he was coming back, but then left. Disappeared. Without a word. Without notice. Everything changed.

The first hit comes — the adrenaline, blood rushing through like a thousand tiny needles in my right arm.

Then the second.

Glass shatters. Kids shriek.

Then the third, the fourth, and all in succession like some mad frenzy where the cycle can not be broken.

Then I’m on to the next. Pacman. Another classic we used to play. And a great power takes control of me, surging through my veins and it feels like I'm swinging harder than Babe Ruth at the World Series and everything is a blur and I can’t hear their screams and…

Next thing I know I’m tackled to the floor. The bat goes skidding underneath the air hockey table. My body is numb as shards of glass dig into my skin. And her voice whispers into my ear, “Game over.”

Thank you for reading! 😊

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Joelle Shusterman

Joelle Shusterman

• An aspiring novelist inspired by her father • Feel free to indulge in her writing!