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Game Over?by Shannon Wolff
Sweat dribbled down Manny's face as his heart sounded in his ears like a jack hammer. He screamed and yanked back on the controls to the space fighter craft seconds before he would have crashed into a rouge asteroid as enemy energy pulses continued to bombard his ship.
"What's that psycho throwing at me now?" He howled, pounding the button to return fire, a task that had proven much easier when he played the computer game from the outside. "If I get out of this I'll never date another computer geek again!"
The enemy fire intensified at his words, almost as though the game he found himself trapped in had taken offence.
"Sadie!" Manny cried, maneuvering his craft through the enemy fire with less then the greatest of skill. "Sadie! Don't you think you're over reacting a little?"
No sooner had the words left Manny's lips then another squadron of enemy fighter craft flew out from behind an asteroid and opened fire, pounding Manny's battered craft mercilessly.
"It was just one night!" Manny shrieked as he engaged the overdrive thrusters in a futile attempt to outrun the newly arrived craft. "I swear I didn't mean for it to happen! I just met her in a club!"
Still more fighters appeared before Manny's terrified eyes, springing forth from the blackness of space like a disease.
"You didn't even want to go out that night! You said you had a cold, so I went without you! I wasn't looking for anything to happen!"
As he spoke the newly arrived fighters opened fire. Manny screamed as he whipped around only to find himself surrounded and hopelessly out numbered. Whatever modest skill he had playing computer games was no match for chaos he now found himself in.
"I'm sorry!" Manny screeched as his ship shook under the force of enemy fire, his health level plummeting before his very eyes. "You hear me Sadie? I'm sorry I dumped you for that blond! I'll never be so insensitive again! I'm sorry!"
As suddenly as the bombardment began it stopped. Manny swallowed back the lump in his throat as he inched his eyes open only to see the swarm of enemy ships frozen in place around him. Awaiting orders to releases him …or to blast him into oblivion.
Manny forced his heart back into his chest and he struggled to breathe normally. Surly, if Sadie wanted him blown into a million little pieces she would have given the order by now . . . right?
No sooner did Manny open his mouth to ask Sadie if she was still at the controls then a face began to form in the darkness. Manny's breath caught in his throat as colorless eyes manifested themselves under thick dark eyebrows against heavily blemished skin. A ludicrously small nose appeared below the eyes and was soon joined by a wide mouth with thin dry lips.
Trembling, Manny could only stare as the face completed its heinous development and proceeded to glair at him with a hatred far too real for this computer generated world.
It was a face Manny knew all too well.
"You didn't dump me for that blond, Manny. You cheated on me with her." Sadie huffed, narrowing her eyes at her ex-boyfriend.
"Did I mention I'm sorry, Sadie?" Manny squeaked, quivering as he forced the words past the lump in his throat.
"And what? That's what you wanted to hear isn't it? That's why you stuck me in this game, isn't it? You wanted to make me apologize."
"No, I wanted you to be sorry. There's a difference."
"Well, I couldn't be sorrier then I am right now."
"Oh, you're sorry all right. But not sorry enough." Sadie huffed with a smug look on her face. "But as I'm in a compassionate mood, I'm ready to offer you a deal. If you can give me one good reason to, I'll set you loose out here in the real world."
"You'll set me free?"
"If you can give me one good reason to, yes, you'll be free to break some other girl's heart."
Manny all but laughed at the thought of Sadie's offer. Surely, he could come up with one good reason for her to let him out of the computer game she'd imprisoned him in. All he had to do was convince her of his sincerity and he was as good as home, and it's not as though he hadn't been able to fool her before. After all, she honestly believed this blond was the first girl he'd hooked up with since he started dating her.
Yes, there'd been others, and Sadie had believed him when he told her his excuses and spun his lies. "Oh, her, she's just my out of town cousin." And "No, there's nothing going on, she's just a girl I went to high school with. She cornered me to show off some pictures of her kids." And his personal favorite. "Honest, it's not what it looks like. You see that girl was being fallowed by some guy and she figured that if she could make him think she had a boyfriend he'd leave her alone. I swear I'd never even seen her before, but what kind of creep would I be if I just left her to deal with the guy on her own? He looked like he was dangerous."
Yes, Manny had fooled Sadie at lest a dozen times with his excuses and explanations. He might have been able to explain away the blond too if Sadie's cousin hadn't been a bouncer at that club. All he needed to do was fool her one last time and he'd be free. And then he could run straight to the cops and claim she kidnapped him. He wasn't sure how long he'd been in the game but he was sure someone was looking for him by now. Just one more excuse and Sadie would know how it feels to be the one locked up.
"I'm waiting." Sadie grumbled and rolled her eyes.
"Sadie." Manny cleared his throat and looked at Sadie with his best puppy dog eyes. "I realize now that I was wrong to go to that club without you. I should have stayed in and help nurse you back to health. I should have been the kind, considerate, caring man you deserve. Not the thoughtless louse that I am. It would serve me right if you never let me out of this accursed game. It would serve me right if you never forgave me. I know I have no right to ask you for another chance, and if you never want to see me again I'd understand. But, Sadie, I promise that if you let me out I will never ever do to another woman what I did to you. I've changed Sadie, I swear it. And I can only pray you'll set me free so I can prove it to you. Please let me redeem myself. I want to be a better man."
"Now tell me something I'll believe."
"Do you honestly think I don't know about the others? Do you really think I believed you were only letting that girl hang all over you so some guy would leave her alone?"
"Enough! I've had it with you lies and false promises Manny. It's obvious that you haven't changed at all. If anything, you've become more the lying louse I thought you were! And it will take a lot more then a pretty speech to get me to let you out."
"What more do you want me to do?" Manny howled and pounded his fist against the instrument panel of his craft. "I've begged, I've groveled, I've pleaded, I've apologized! What more could you want me to do?"
"Suffer." Sadie sneered as the enemy craft suddenly lurched forward so Manny had no hope of escape. "Good-bye."
"No! Wait!" Manny screamed, terror flooding his veins.
The last thing Manny saw was the brilliant light of a hundred energy blasts hurtling towards him at once.
At the game controls in the real world Sadie leaned back in her rickety desk chair and chuckled darkly to herself.
"Poor Manny." She sighed as the "Game Over" message continued to flash on her computer screen. "He really hasn't learned his lessen yet, has he?" She continued to no one in particular as she shook her head moved the cursor towards the reset option. "Oh, well. Maybe he'll learn next time." She added with a click of the mouse.
Shannon Wolff was born in Alaska and grew up in a little town called North Pole. This fact has lead every one of her relatives not familiar with Alaska, and complete strangers, to ask if she knows Santa Claus. She now resides in Cartersville, Georgia and is having mixed results with informing her new neighbors about her previous residence.
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