0.2 - Junkyard Dog

0.2 - Junkyard Dog

Sixteen thousand people were playing for a shot at the prize. I got to read that much before I was sent hurtling towards the Earth from thousands of feet above. The sky filled with players all trying to aim their bodies and select a landing location. A few hold hands, trying to link up and work as teams. Others tried deploying their parachutes early to have more control over where and when they land. Personally, I’m trying to win and that means taking out the competition. Usually, I try to go non-lethal, but seeing as how nobody loses any progress in this game, I can pull out the big guns.

I equip and assault rifle and go to town. First taking aim at people who already opened their parachutes. It’s going to be a tough landing when your chute is torn to shreds. Then I take aim at those teaming up. It’s not against the rules, but I’m a hater and I don’t like seeing that. Others start to angle their bodies, trying to float away with the madman who has a gun. A few people like my idea and start firing their own weapons. When the sky is full of chaos, that’s my cue to escape.

I nose dive, picking up speed; the wind forces me to close my eyes. A beeping noise in my ear lets me know I’m close to impact. I straighten out my body, slowing my fall before pulling the cord for my parachute. I’m yanked backwards as the chute catches the wind. I’ve never taken the opportunity to go skydiving in the game before, so I’m not sure how to guide my parachute. I’m content wherever the wind takes me as long as I land safely. That shouldn’t be a problem, except I started a gun fight in the air above me and now I’m a gently floating target.

A junkyard comes into sight below me. Must mean I’m at the South Side of the city. I can already hear gunshots mixing with the wind as it passes my ears. The first bullet passes by me as I’m about 5 feet from the ground. I open fire with my assault rifle; hoping to clear some room for a nice landing. I ditch the parachute as soon as my feet touch the ground. I dive behind an old car and land in a puddle of something brown that smells horrible. I really enjoy how immersive this game can be, but I hate it too. I switch to a shotgun and prepare some grenades. I wait for a moment of silence as everyone reloads.

I rush out into the open flinging grenades like a mad man and firing at anyone I see. I feel bad as fill the chest of a teenager with lead from my shotgun. He let’s off a string of expletives only a teenager just learning to curse would as his body vanishes from existence and he’s booted from the tournament. A shot pierces my shoulder from behind. I turn and return fire on someone’s grandmother. Maybe someone’s grandmother. Might just be someone who wants their character to look old. I keep sprinting until I make the exit, not thinking of anything but survival.

I smash the window of a garbage truck parked outside and turn the key. For a moment I pause to think what’s wrong with me. Why am I doing grand theft? Because I want to get rich, there’s no other reason. If I can get somewhere safe and hide out, I’ll be good. Daamin has a few safehouses in the badlands I can hide at.

A small group of people armed with guns has made their way to the junkyard. They’re probably working together and looking for groups of players to take out, or heard all the gunshots. I duck down and hope they don’t see me. Glass shatters and falls onto me, letting me know they saw me. They had a great view of me because they knew exactly where to shoot. I could probably step out and get shot up with some dignity.

I hold my hands up to surrender and nobody shoots. I slowly rise up and back into the seat. There’s probably close to twenty people blocking the exit, all with guns drawn. I slowly open the driver’s side door. Wait, there’s no permadeath, I’m not going to get a chance to try this again. I take a deep breath and slam my foot on the gas. The truck shoots forward with more speed than I expect. I fire my own assault rifle. If this was an action movie it’s the part where my bullets smash into theirs and nobody gets shot. But it’s not a movie, and I get hit plenty of times. My health is low but they stop shooting as the truck turns the first person into a speedbump and follows up with a few more. I can’t help but laugh like an insane person as I make it through the gate and onto the road. I can’t believe that worked.

A sudden warmth fills the air around me, my hearing fades away, replaced only with ringing and slowly my vision turns white.

”Thank you for playing, please enjoy the consolation prize,” a disembodied voice speaks to me from the white void.

When my vision returns I’m standing in my apartment wearing a t-shirt that says, “Hunger Pangs Participant.” I don’t even know what that means. I’m sure it’s a reference to something Daamin could explain.

I pull up my player camera to see how I died. A rocket launcher, some bastard hit me with a rocket launcher. I couldn’t have done anything about that.

“Oh, hey, you’re back,” Kai calls from my couch.

“Yeah, I lost.”

“Don’t feel bad, I got eliminated two hours ago.”

“I thought you weren’t playing.”

“You know I’m always broke,” Kai laughs. “How’d they get you?”

“Rocket launcher,” I take a seat next to him. “What about you?”

“Funny thing,” he throws his head back and laughs. “I had my drones out scouting, thought I picked a good hiding spot. Someone shot me right in the ass with a poison dart. It didn’t kill me, but I jumped when I got shot. Jumped right off building, barely survived that and some level one kid shoots me with a handgun. I was so embarrassed.”

We share a laugh before I realize he’s been watching Daamin on TV. “I thought Daamin said he wasn’t playing either.”

Kai laughs to the point where he snorts. He blushes and regains his composure, “you know that dude thinks he’s in an anime.”


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