Or Die Trying Read Count : 15

Category : Books-Fiction

Sub Category : Fantasy
     Jason was getting tired of all these similar games. Since deep dive VR had been released, the market had been flooded with dozens of MMORPGs. He was glad some companies keep the single player experience alive. He became a beta tester with the idea that he would get to try some pretty awesome games. At first all the games were awesome till some developers started ripping off each other. So now everyone is trying to make the best MMORPG.
     He dropped his VR headset onto the desk and stretched. He just finished beta testing the latest in MMORPGs, it sucked. It relied too much on the open world concept and had a horrible story line. A lot of the latest MMORPGs had to have sex in them, don’t get Jason wrong he enjoyed games with sexual themes. The part he didn’t enjoy was when it was overdone and didn’t go with the story.
     His computer chimed, he looked over to see an email. He clicked it open, he looked at the sender. He had a few contracts with some game companies, so his beta codes would come through email. The sender of this email was actually unknown, it literally said unknown. Jason wasn’t in the mood for this type of bullshit.
     Most email mediums had an option to hide pictures nowadays, so the email would load faster. Jason clicked the show images option. His screen lit up with a werewolf biting into the neck of a topless woman and blood dripping to the ground.
     “Oh, how original.” Jason said out loud.
He scrolled down and checked out the bio for the game. Apparently, the goal of the game is to survive, every day you are alive in the game the harder the game becomes. When you die the game is over. That was all it said, it had no in game screenshots to show what the gameplay would look like. It didn’t even give you any info on what type of creatures you would have to encounter. The only other thing on the page was the name of the game “Or Die Trying.”
     It sounded like a horror game and Jason didn’t particularly enjoy these types of games. He looked over at his clock, it was a little past midnight. He was a night owl, his roommate sometimes stayed up late to game. But he had to work in the morning, so he was asleep already.
     “Screw it I have some time to kill.” Jason said as he hit the download button.
      Jason was going to go get a snack and take a piss break, while it downloaded. Before he even moved, the music started playing. He looked at the screen and the launcher was up. It didn’t have the werewolf and woman from the email. It said it big letters under the title.
     “If you play you die.”
     Jason just laughed as he got up and went to take a piss. After the bathroom, he grabbed an energy drink and some chips. Once he got back to his room, he saw the game was finally downloaded. He wouldn’t lie the whole “if you play you die” did give him a weird feeling. He settled back down into his chair, ate some chips and took a big gulp of his drink.
     He picked up his VR headset and put it on. He saw the launcher in his headset, he leaned back and hit the launch button.
     With deep dive technology, it would interrupt the signal from the brain to the body. This kept people from accidentally knocking off their gear or hurting themselves. Jason typically reclined back in a gaming chair, if he is expecting to be in for a while, he actually has a safety harness to strap him in. He didn’t strap in; he was going to just do a quick dive to see what the game was about. 
     As the gear kicked in, he felt odd. He was used to the feeling of deep diving, but he felt a sense of regret launching this game. The standard game warning of containing flashing lights, seek medical advice before playing popped up. After that screen faded, it was the terms and conditions. These were all standard too and he clicked agree. The screen froze, an outline of skull and bones appeared in the terms and conditions window for a spit second. 
     “Your soul is mine.” Came an ominous voice.
     Jason found that unnerving, he assumed that was just part of the game. He came to a prompt.
     “You should have heeded the warning on the launcher. This game is played with your soul, dying in the game will destroy your brain. Removing the helmet will not release you, it will kill you. But there is a bright side, there are ways in the game to escape it. So, you better find a way out or die trying.”
     Jason’s heart sank, he didn’t know if he was actually stuck in the game or not. He had heard of cases where the deep dive system malfunctioned and people were stuck in a game for a little while till, they were able to fix it. There haven’t been any reported deaths though. He fully loaded into the game, his first action was to try and log out.
     Like on a regular computer, the deep dive system had a system like Alt F4. Ironically enough it was saying Alt F4 out loud.
    “Alt F4.”
     Nothing happened, he tried yelling it a few more times. It didn’t do anything. He pulled up the main menu and there wasn’t a quit game option. There was only a continue button and an options button. 
     He hit the options button. An option for sound and commands came up. He hit commands. They were your typical commands. VR games switched to commands, since players standing around with their hands moving around on screens, they only saw looked stupid.
     Maybe people can only log out at a check point. It would be kind of lame to be able to log out as you are about to die, it would feel like cheating. Hopefully his roommate doesn’t remove his helmet, if the warning was true.           Jason looked around; he was in a small building like a shed. The walls were lined with the typical tools. On the right wall was hammers, shovels, hatchets and machetes. On the left wall was power tools like hedge trimmers, chainsaws, weed eaters, nail guns and a push mover.
     The door rattled. He noticed the door had a sliding lock on it.
     “Hello is anyone in there?” came a female voice.
     Jason didn’t know if he should answer, this could be a way to kill him.
     “Please, I don’t want to die.”
     Jason moved over to the wall and saw that he could grab some of the tools. He grabbed a machete and moved over to the door.
    “Are you alone?” he asked.
    “Yes. I was being chased by a zombie but outran it.” Said the voice.
     Jason grabbed the lock and unlocked it. The door came open and a woman came in, she shut the door behind her and locked it back.
     “Thank you.” She said.
     Jason could see a few cuts on her arms and a few tears in her pants. She had some damage to her. He looked above her head; her health bar was half gone. He saw her name was Seraphina.
     “That is a unique name, Seraphina.” Said Jason.
     “You can see my name?” she asked.
     “Why wouldn’t I be able too?” replied Jason.
She had a look of sadness on her face. Jason felt like he said something wrong to her.
     “Because I already died.” She said.
     “What?” Yelled Jason.
     “Your soul becomes bound to the game when you die. I have died many times. You feel every ounce of pain.”
     “You have to be joking, how is there a game that can take your soul.” Said Jason in disbelief. “How would I know you are telling the truth or are just part of the game.”
      The anger on her face was evident, she closed the distance and slapped him. He could see the tears in her eyes.
     “I am not part of this damn game. I am stuck in it, this game was sent to me in an email and I acted the same as you. Blowing off the warnings and thought it was all just part of the game. The moment I died; I lost my HUD. There was no pain dampening option anymore. Every time I get hurt; I feel it all.” Said Seraphina. 
     She took a few steps back and crouched against the wall with her knees in her arms.
     “You think the worst part would be dying, but it’s not.” 
     She became quieter.
     “There are some monsters in this game that rape you before killing you.”
     Jason did not know what to say, he was out of his element. He didn’t know if approaching her and giving her a pat on the shoulder was the appropriate thing to do. So, he decided to just stand there, he felt she was telling the truth. He could feel the amount of emotion she gave.
     “What is your full name?” he asked.
She looked up at him and just stared. She didn’t look like she trusted him. He tried to give her a gentle smile. He didn’t know if he succeeded or not, until she giggled and wiped the tears away.
     “I would say smiling, isn’t your strong suit. Sorry for laughing, it’s a defense mechanism. My name is Seraphina Clark.” Said the woman.
     “The Seraphina Clark. She died 6 months ago. She was found brain dead.” Said Jason.
That shook him to his core. If she is the real Seraphina Clark, then the warnings were true. He is stuck in the game and if he dies, he will go brain dead. His mind was going a mile a minute. He didn’t want to die, he had so much he wanted to still do. 
     He made a mistake, a huge mistake. His first warning should have been the sender was unknown, but he was so full of himself. He willingly downloaded and launched an unknown game. One of first things you are told in this technological abundant world, is never download anything unknown. 
     “Dammit!” He yelled as his hand hit the wall.
     His eye moved over to the woman. He saw the sorrow on her face, he just told her that she was found brain dead 6 months ago. He mentally beat himself up for that. Her eyes came to his.
     “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to just say that.” He said.
     “It’s okay. I have already accepted my fate.” She replied.
      She got up and winced, she turned around and he saw the huge gash on her back. It made him wonder if there was any way to heal in this game.
      “Healing is limited in this game, the only way I found to heal is to survive a week. Every week you survive, you are rewarded. I survived for 4 weeks before I died during the 5th.” 
It was like she read his mind.
      “How did you know what I was thinking?” he asked.
     “You just had that look on your face.” She gave him a smile. “Kind of a constipated look.”
     “Shut up.” He said but he couldn’t help but to laugh at her.
     They didn’t leave the shed, for all Jason knew it was a safe zone. He could probably stay in it and never die, but he would still be stuck in the game. If he didn’t die in game, his body would perish from malnutrition. He doubts his roommate would do anything; he might just assume Jason is doing a long dive. 
Jason only ever did one long dive, a company paid him to try out their system. He was hooked up to quite a few different machines and had an IV. He was in for a week and when he got out, he decided to not ever do it again.
      “Have you met any other players?” Asked Jason.
     “No, you are the first.” Seraphina replied.
     That just raised more concerns for Jason. Was Seraphina the first victim or was there more? He pushed that to the back of his mind. Now that he was getting a better look at Seraphina, she was amazing. He wondered if she once looked like this in person.
     “Um Seraphina, does your avatar match what you looked like in the real world.”
She gave him a confused look at first, then a scowl. He felt like he just messed up.
     “Why the fuck do you want to know? Stop staring at me.” She said.
      Jason turned away. If he was going to survive, he would like to have her help.
     “Whatever, you are bipolar as hell. One moment you are chill, than the next you’re biting my head off.” Said Jason.
     “You were checking me out like a pervert. Are you a virgin or something?” Replied Seraphina.
     “How astute of you, yes I am. I bet you opened your legs for the first guy, who said you were pretty.” Said Jason.
     He put as much venom in his words as possible. He wanted her help, but he wasn’t going to let her treat him like trash. In his mind she would just shut up and maybe calm down. That was complete opposite of what happened.
      She slammed into him, causing him to go forward and slam his face against the wall. He was seeing stars as he dropped to his knees. When his eyes refocused, he saw the blood pouring onto his hands. He covered his left eye. 
     “Are you a fucking psycho?” Yelled Jason.
     “You got what you deserved, I am not a whore.” Seraphina replied.
      He was curious from all the pain, if it affected his health. He pulled up his character screen, using the mental command. Out of the 500 health he started with he was down to 480. In the few seconds he was looking at his health it dropped another 5 points.
     “Thanks asshole, I going to die if I can’t stop the bleeding.” He said.
     “Shit shit shit.” Said Seraphina.
     Jason got up and looked around, there had to be something he could use to stop the bleeding. He heard a rip and turned to the sound. Seraphina was ripping the bottom of her shirt, turning it into a halter top. Once she finished tearing, she pulled something out of her pocket and pour it onto the ripped pieces of cloth. She moved over to Jason and pushed his hand away, she tied up the bandage tight. He instantly felt better.
     “What did you do?”
     “Bandages in game only stop bleeding. I had the ointment for it but I needed cloth, so I used part of my shirt.” She replied.
     “Well I was only dying because of you anyway.”
     She had a look of regret and frustration on her face.
    “Sorry my anger got the better of me. I am not a whore.” She said.
    “Never said you were, you did. I just made an assumption that you were easy.” Said Jason. 
    He saw the anger on her face rise. He put his hands up in surrender.

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