by Lisa Scuderi-Burkimsher
Joey pounded the PlayStation remote, screaming at his favorite video game, Wizards and Warriors. He couldn’t tolerate losing and he threw the remote on the couch.
Rain began pounding on the windows and the sky roared with thunder. Fourteen-year-old Joey blacked out when a bolt of lightning illuminated the dismal sky and blew out the electric. A glimmer of golden swirls surrounded the unconscious Joey as his body lifted into mid-air and disappeared. Joey awakened inside the video game.
Joey blinked and looked around at the colorful wizards and angry warlords striking blows at one another. “Wow, what is happening here?” Joey felt something on the ground behind him. It was a beautiful handmade silver steel sword. He rubbed his hand gently over the shiny blade and caught a glimpse of his reflection. Chaos with the wizards and warriors continued around him without any notice of his presence. He pricked his finger, jolted and that’s when he noticed a note that said: ‘Beat me and I’ll send you home.’ “What does all this mean?” Joey asked, but no one answered. Had he gone crazy?
A tap on his shoulder startled him and he screamed flailing the sword.
“Goodness, my friend, there’s no need to be afraid. I’m here to help.”
Standing in front of Joey, was the grand wizard, Thumblewood, in his long black flowing robe and pointy black hat. In his hand, he held a golden wand lighting the area.
Joey lowered his sword and stared dumbfounded. “Thumblewood?”
“Yes, and you must listen to me if you want to go home. Come, we have much work ahead of us.” He swirled his wand and in an instant, they were in Thumblewood’s home. “Can I make you some tea before we get started?”
Joey ignored Thumblewood’s question and asked his own. “Why are you the only one that can see me?”
Thumblewood poured himself a cup of tea and sipped. “This is a magical world. I put a spell on the wizards and warlords to protect you. The sword you have clutched by your side is magical and your way home. Come, I want to show you something.” He guided Joey with a wave of his hand to another room. You see this book; it has magic spells which I use to control the wizards and warlords. I choose who wins and loses the battles. Unfortunately, while I was saying the spell for your computer to win, the lightning struck and you were sucked in. I apologize for the inconvenience, but what’s done is done and I will help you.”
“So you are going to say a spell and send me home.” Joey smiled.
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple. You need to fight a warlord. But you have the advantage with the sword. It’s enchanted. If you were meant to win, then you will be sent home.”
“With all the magic you have why can’t you just send me home now?” Joey asked, puzzled.
“Young Joey, that’s not how magic works. You must obey the rules. If it were that simple, battles wouldn’t exist and we’d all live in peace.”
Thumblewood’s sincerity and nonchalant attitude irked Joey. How could a wizard with such power not be able to say a simple spell and get him home?
“Okay, young Joey, I have chosen Axelwood as your opponent. He’s a strong warlord and waiting outside for combat.
Joey peaked out the window and his legs trembled at the sight of Axelwood. He stood at approximately six-feet-tall, muscular and wearing a suit of armor. With one stomp of his foot, Axelwood’s strength would crush Joey’s body, or kill him, with one blow of the large wooden axe he held. “I… don’t remember this guy in the video game.” Joey nervously commented.
“He isn’t. I created him.”
“What about my training. You said we had work to do.”
My work is done. I told you the sword is magical and now it’s up to you to use it wisely. Good luck, young Joey.” Thumblewood swirled his wand and disappeared.
Joey wanted to get home in the worst way, but not by fighting a vicious warlord. But what choice did he have. He took a deep breath and went outside. “Uh, we’re supposed to fight.” No response. Axelwood just stared and had his axe ready.
Joey closed his eyes, lifted his sword and hoped for the best. After he opened his eyes, Axelwood came charging. Joey froze and stood wide-eyed. Suddenly he heard a voice.
“Joey, wake up, Honey? Joey, are you okay?”
Joey recognized his mother’s voice and opened his eyes. “Mom, is that really you?”
“Honey, you blacked out. We had one heck of a thunderstorm. Are you okay, Sweetheart?”
“I had the strangest dream. I’m glad it’s over.” He rubbed his eyes and looked at the television. The news was reporting outages, due to the treacherous storm they had just encountered.
His mom rubbed his hair gently. “How about I make you some pancakes, Sweetheart.”
“That sounds great. Mom, can you buy me an e-reader for my birthday? I’ve had enough of video games.”
His mother nodded, smiled and kissed his forehead. “Of course.”
When Joey and his mother left the room, Thumblewood appeared through the television and smiled.
His work was done. He had taught Joey a valuable lesson about video games and the horrors behind them.
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Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher was born and raised on Staten Island, New York. She realized her love of writing came from her love of reading. Several years back, she took on-line writing courses to hone her skill and is currently involved with an on-line writing critique group and a fiction book club. Her short flash “The Big Duke,” was published in September of 2015. She had several micro flash shorts published the same year including “The Plunge,” and stories published in several different anthologies. Lisa currently resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband Rick and dogs Lucy Lu and Breanna Sue.