Hiddley-ho, neighbourinos! We are now up to the third instalment in what is shaping up to be an enjoyable series for me to write. I have some idea of where this season of the series is headed, with numerous new characters and weirdness to come. Here’s hoping that I have added enough mysteries to be solved in the long-term.
As always, I welcome the feedback. It helps me produce fiction that people want to read and I admit that I am sometimes not aware of issues where my writing falls down. There will be logic and technical errors, grammatical issues and language that can be tightened. That is somewhat normal for early drafts of a manuscript, but it can also be a bad habit that a writer isn’t aware of. That being said, there is something to be said for just getting a scene out there rather than over-thinking the entire process.
Until next time, I wish you all an awesome week.
Over the next few days, Thomas and his mother adjusted to their new life in the small country town. It was a bit of a culture shock for the young man as he’d grown used to having large shopping malls and fast food restaurants nearby. That being said, Peggy and Allan’s house had access to broadband which meant that he could still enjoy playing computer games.
As for Egg, he’d spent much of his time playing in the horse paddock with the little dog whose humans referred to as Nacho. Throughout, Nacho had periodically taken it upon himself to inform the newcomer of a variety of rules which Egg had accepted willingly. The other humans had seemed to appreciate the presence of another dog in the household, as it offered companionship for their own.
The horse had found the extra noise a little off-putting, offering a tortured expression at Peggy as she moved into the yard for regular grooming and feeding sessions. The mare hated the extra yapping and barking, but it wasn’t like the dogs were able to understand her. She didn’t blame either of the dogs, understanding what it meant to have a companion. At the thought of the loss of her sister several months before, the horse felt waves of sadness.
On the third day, the lone figure of Maia Dunham entered Daisy’s field and moved up to the frazzled equine. The woman’s hair resembled that of her own human but was less grey. Both had the same gentle smile, the same look of understanding. However, it was only after the woman spoke that Daisy knew that the woman truly understood.
“You look upset,” the woman had said, placing a hand on Daisy’s forehead.
“I am sad. My sister is gone and the dogs are loud.”
“I am sorry about your sister. Would you like me to talk to the dogs so that you can have some peace and quiet?”
The horse snorted in approval. Unlike Egg, Daisy was completely aware that the woman understood what she was saying. The horse decided that she especially liked this kind woman. However, she sensed that the woman was not well.
“Are you sick?” she asked the woman.
“Yes. Your human female is my sister. She offered to let me stay here in the hopes that I will get better.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“I get tired easily. The doctors do not know what it is, but I have my suspicions.”
There was something ominous about the way that the human woman had spoken that unsettled Daisy. She lowered her head and Maia cuddled her face. The mare experienced a kinship with the woman but wondered how long it would be before she too left.
“Don’t worry, girl. I don’t have any intention of leaving anytime soon. I have a plan to deal with my problem for good.”
“Dude, there are a couple members of red team headed your way,” came a male voice over Thomas’ headset.
On the television screen, Thomas’ soldier avatar knelt with his back against a wall next to a doorway. He could hear shooting in the distance but held still as the sounds drew closer. After all, there was no sense in giving away his position before the opportune time.
“I hear heavy arms near my position, Spanksauce.”
“Get those assholes, Nutsack!”
Not long after that, the gunfire stopped and he couldn’t help but wonder how far away the two were from his current position. Near his avatar’s left foot, an animated rat moved back and forth in a loop. It was small, with a deformed head that reminded him of a webcomic that he briefly read. It chittered away, a graphical glitch occasionally causing the body to go through game assets such as trash and chunks of concrete.
Moments later, Thomas could hear the faint sounds of footsteps heading up to his building from the left. They were trying to be stealthy, but the game implemented encumbrance penalties for merely having heavy arms in a character’s inventory. Miniguns could easily rip through buildings and armour, but it made the player easier to detect.
When the footsteps were nearly outside of the building, they stopped. Thomas knew what that meant and quickly changed to pistols. As a grenade flew into the building, his avatar rolled outside, turned around and aimed handguns at the two red team players. He pushed the button of his game controller and it felt like an eternity as the bullets hit each of his opponents in a small vulnerability in their heavy armour. Their avatars crumpled.
For a moment, he thought that he was safe. The sound of a large calibre rifle sounded forth and he lunged back into the building. He allowed his character’s stamina to recover as he considered what to do about the third guy.
“Spanksauce, I took out two guys but a sniper shot at me.”
“Well, fuck! Any idea of direction? I can head that way and drop a detection drone.”
“Sure thing!” Thomas considered the trajectory for a minute and he smiled amusedly. “Funny bastard took a pot-shot at me from that clock tower. I am not sure how long the bastard will stay there given the weapon that he is using. I think he’s using one of those anti-tank rifles.”
“Sa-weet! That should drop down his movement a bit if he starts moving. Perhaps we can draw him out before the other two respawn.”
Another voice chimed in, “Guys, FatMedic and I just had three red team members try to take us out at the occupation point. I don’t think that we can hold them off for long.”
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Spanksauce said.
“That explains where the other team members are,” Thomas replied thoughtfully. “Any idea of how long it will take for Macdaddy to relog?”
“They’re back with a fourth guy. For fuck sake…” came FatMedic’s irritated voice.
“What weapon is her using?” Thomas asked.
“He is moving slow and is wearing light armour. Might be that sniper…”
“Spank, head to where they are. I’ll keep an eye on their occupation point while you guys deal with those assholes. It won’t be long before the other two respawn.”
FatMedic was CheesyPoof’s twin sister, a girl that Thomas once had a crush on. The problem was that she had a thing for Spanksauce. The young man had been disappointed but not heartbroken. In the end, he knew that there would eventually be a girl that liked him as much as he liked her.
Just then, Egg’s head popped around the corner of the doorway behind Thomas. He saw the back of the boy’s head as the young man stealthily moved to a point closer to the enemy’s occupation point. The dog padded up beside the young man’s chair and sat down to watch, curious as to what he was doing.
Just then, a figure appeared in front of Thomas’ avatar. Egg nearly leapt in fright as the armoured foe shot at him. The legendary Nutsack didn’t learn until too late that the second player had crept up behind him. He didn’t see what weapon was used, only that it was enough to take out his entire health bar.
Thomas swore, annoyed at his poor judgment. He’d gotten cocky and it had resulted in a lengthy respawn time. Egg looked up at his human and then back to the screen. He didn’t quite understand what was going on, but it seemed that the young had been controlling the figure on the screen.
“Sorry, guys. I got iced. My bad!”
“Lame!” FatMedic offered.
“Yeah, totally lame!” CheesyPoof agreed.
“Oh, look, it appears that MacDaddy is logging into the game. We might win this one after all in spite of Nutsack sucking so bad…” mocked Spanksauce.
“Yeah-yeah, mock all you want, dickhead!”
Just as he was about to respawn, the screen declared that the server had dropped him from the game.
Thomas narrowed his eyes, “You’ve got to be shitty me!”
He quickly picked up his mobile phone from the side table next to him. As Thomas messaged Spanksauce, Egg wandered over to the screen. He wondered what had happened. He barked at the television, ordering it to bring back the game that Thomas had been playing. No luck, Egg turned and rarfed an apology to Thomas for not being able to help.
Thomas looked at him and sighed, “I suppose that you might have been enjoying me play that game as well. You are such a weird dog…”
“I take that as a compliment, human,” Egg barked.
For a moment, Thomas thought that he might have understood what the dog that his mother referred to as “Egg” was saying. He dismissed the thought as mere fantasy before hearing the sound of his mother talking with his aunt on the back steps. He heard the word “dinner” and supposed that it was getting late enough for his family to be dealing with food.
Thomas got up from his chair, patted Egg on the head and switched off the console. He left the room with his mobile phone in hand, the realisation that he would not be playing again for at least a few hours. For the first time in years, he didn’t mind that idea.