So, how does a story begin?
Hmm let’s start the old fashioned way, with a youth. A one that cannot express himself in the constrains of the normal world, and an event that shatters normality as a whole. For this story it’s a young student, a youth of 25 years of age. He lives in a country with old and rich history, due to some unlucky circumstances the country lost its glory during the second world war so it’s not a good land of opportunity, yet it has aged quite well on tourism.
And our MC to be, lives at the very center of it in the country’s capital of humor, he works part time most of the time to support his hobby, a hobby common across the globe.
Its 2020 and he is in excruciating pain waiting for the release of his favorite game, alas fate has other plans for the world, and death and war and all those deities, he will be the hero of his own story. Just like the thousands of others shall soon be.
And where is the hero you might ask? Well at home, in front of his computer of course. Playing his maxed out multi-player character and moping the floor with the noobs in multiplayer, he is the type that will grind to death instead of spending a penny for buffing his character. And with less than a week away from the sequel of his favorite masterpiece he is going to suffer a good news bad news kinda of situation.
As to where he lives, it’s in the city outskirts, and since the city is quite narrow but quite long, it’s quite broad of an area. His flat was left by his parents who went to work abroad and took his little sister with them. And his grandma passed last year so now he lives all by himself, the bachelor life. He never got too attached to any woman of his age so he is still a gentleman.
While we were talking it became around 8pm and since the game series has always come at march this time of the year has come again. He has almost won the PvP match but alas he will never finish, as darkness covered the room
“What the? Oh come on I was 40min in the match. Huh seriously… well a blackout hasn’t happened in a while and I payed the bills so it aint my fault. I hope it won’t take long”
He took out his phone to look at the time 20:04. He turned on the flashlight and looked for the blinds. Looking outside the window he noticed that the whole block is out.
“That’s odd. The street lights are on a separate line than the neighborhood.”
He opened the window and look at the whole length of the boulevard. All it greeted him was darkness. As the full moon was covered by clouds.
“No lights in the distance. I guess the whole area is out. Even the clubs down at the city center aren’t using their floodlights. Now where did I leave that flashlight. I hope the food in the fridge doesn’t spoil”
He walked all the way to the closet and checked for a real proper flashlight.
“Damn where is this thing I know I put it somewhere...”
He didn’t remember leaving the flashlight in the kitchen from last time when he fixed the pipes so his search is in vain. His godly concentration was interrupted by the sound of something falling.
“What the… Ha! Probably the couple next door falling in the dark. Oh,I hope they didn’t hear me”
Although he likes black humor like any other guy, it’s a lot darker than he thinks.
Thud… thud… thud…
Banging could be heard over and over. He is wondering what’s with the noise and finally…
After all the banging a crack could be heard. Our hero is quite wise and has a bunch of trivia packed up in his cranium so he could easily know that something is wrong. The sound also indicated that something banged against the door until it broke and most of all, it was from inside out. In other words, whatever came from the apartment next door was strong and determined. As any human, curiosity will lead to interesting situations as such our protagonist decided to use the doors peep hole.
Due to the darkness he could see only a rough shadow, it was short and in an aggressive pose. He could determine that it is looking around, until it stopped and stared straight at his door. For some reason his heart was beating, his instincts screaming danger, and his mind telling him that something is wrong. Unfortunately, the body’s instincts froze him in place, unable to move he could only look as the shadow turned its head to the side in order to expose its ear. Like it could hear something, like it could hear his heart beating.
Bam… Thud… Bam… Bam…
The shadow jumped at his door and he fell down. It continued to ram itself against the door like it was its nemesis. Sprawled on the floor our MC didn’t make a puddle out of fear not due to the lack of trying but due to principle. He usually emptied his bladder before a long game session and tonight he was just starting. While the banging continued he got back on his feet and ran to the kitchen, he lived in this apartment for years so he knew it like the back of his hand, forgetting about the tool box an arm’s length away.
His hands where shaking out of fear, he wasn’t some hero or a macho, he wasn’t an alpha or even a beta. He was the scrawny guy with witty comments at the corner. He wasn’t forced in that role, it’s just that he liked it there the most, peace and quiet and all that. So no big courage there no girl to impress so he was scared witless.
As he went searching for armaments the front door burst with a loud crack, and the sound of something dragging came close and closer. He hurriedly took a pan from next to the sink and prepared to swing. And as the shadow came out of the kitchen door, he could see the broken shape and its ferocity as he saw the face illuminated by the moon revealed from behind the clouds, he became almost stiff.
What greeted him was the battered face of the old lady next door, she was covered in blood and her shape broken, and her eyes were a soulless white. Just as fear almost overwhelmed him his preservation instinct kicked in as he swung the pan.
Her head swiveled at 180 degrees but she just kept walking, her right shoulder was dislocated so she could only grab with her left arm. Since she couldn’t see she blindly swung her hand, managing to nick his clothes only made him more fearful as he swung again and again…
Bang… Bang… Bang… Splosh…
He swung at her arm twice and made a desperate overhead swing caving the old woman’s skull in. As he wasn’t the sports type he was already haggard for breath. The scene was gory with brains splattered all over the floor. He felt sick at the sight he used the table to go around the crime scene and emptied his dinner in the corner. This calmed him down a little as he tough long and hard about what happened.
“What the actual fuck… She rammed down two doors, TWO solid wood doors TWO FINGERS THICK. And she was old, how the blips did she do that? And her eyes, like I was something to be devoured. Creepy as hell.”
“And now she is dead, I bloody killed her. What do I tell the police? Self-defense? She was an old lady for fucks sake. Am so getting jailed I can see the news ‘A youth pulverizes the nice granny’s head!’ first page material I tell you.”
“Ok breath in breath out, she is no normal granny she the fringing hulk in disguise. And she moved with her neck broken like… like… like some zombie or something”
He carefully took a look at the corpse and saw something odd. A small rainbow colored glowing coin close to it, without a speck of blood on it. He didn’t remember owning a coin like that and it wasn’t in the kitchen when he came in. He thought it was hers and decided to inspect it, maybe it was the coin’s fault that she went ku-ku and tried to kill him. As he picked it up he noticed that it was warm to the touch and smooth, nowadays coins are rigid on the side but this one is flawless like a gem. He looked at the corpse one more time before going back to his room.
He sat down and tried to figure what is going on, he’s evening became weirder and weirder. Since his mind was on the edge he decided to calm himself down, there was no power, he forgot where he dropped his phone so the only thing he could think of is play around with the coin. He moved it between his fingers with one hand played some cheap tricks and finally he made a coin toss. He threw it with his right hand, as the coin fell he grabbed it with the left hand and slammed it on the top of his right. When he lifted his palm the coin was changing. Its rainbow colors swirled until it became pure white and stated to shine blinding him.
When he opened his eyes he was in a white space, in front of him was a desk and behind it was a man in a black suit his features were oddly indistinguishable only his hair color of black was visible, he reminded him of slender with hair, next to him was a lottery wheel about 2 meters across with hundreds of possible selections. As the man I the suit was filling papers with god knows what, he gave off a creepy vibe due to his humanoid shape and alien presence. He took the batch of papers on the desk and tapped their bottom to neatly arrange them before putting them to the side.
“Phew the last guy made me a lot of work. I hope you will give me less. Then again it’s all on luck so hope for the best. I am.. well that’s not important. What is, is that you are here to test your luck and for me to tell you the basics.”
“How did I get here? Who are you?”
“Here we go again the same questions every single time. Can’t you humans ask something different? No? Though so. Then again shock is quite common so I can’t expect much of you. Here I go blabbering again. Let’s get back to work shall we”
“First of welcome to the apocalypse” Confetti came down from the roof with the sound of a plastic birthday whistle “Clap, clap, clap. Now that this is over we can get started. This is the wheel of fate” trumpet sounds rose in the background “You have to spin it and win something so I can go the next participant.”
“Huuuuuuh… spin the bloody wheel”
Due to his loud voice and domineering presence our protagonist rose up on command and put his hand on the wheel. Looking back at the office worker for approval after a quick nod he swung with all his might. The wheel buzzed at the high speed rotation.
“Did you have to spin it so hard? Now it will take a while. Anyway we might get started now as to not waste any more time. Just listen don’t talk. First off the apocalypse began due to unforeseen circumstance, what they are you will find out eventually for now you just have to know that you got lucky. In your area within 10 000 people you were the first to kill a zombie without dying due to infection. Fluke or not, you recovered the achievement token and got the first prize. To get a class early. Anyway you are wondering what is a class. Well you played games no? Same logic.”
“It will make you stronger from the get go. On the wheel there are all the classes. They include professions like soldier, researcher, doctor, engineer, and so on. Fantasy professions like warrior wizard cleric. Of course non aggressive profession can grow differently, simply by preforming the associated work. Killing also works but a doctor to go toe to toe with an ogre is quite unlikely. And with your disposition you’ll probably get engineer or something.”
“The wheel has also unique, rare and legendary classes, but don’t get fooled by that. Each class has its own pros and cons. A warrior can defeat a god without a problem given enough time. So don’t despair. Oh look the wheel is starting to slow down”
All that was said in a bored voice, like he repeated it hundreds of times over. As the wheel slowed down it, the letters started to be more visible. Warrior, Terminator, Plague bearer, Crusader and so on everything that you can think of and finally it stopped on a black space with white words it red ‘Custom’
“For god’s sake, why did it have to be that one? Now my work increased several fold. Huuuuuh! Ok calm down. Let’s get started. Weather you got lucky or crewed over now depends on you. You get the honor of designing a unique class and I get to fill the mountain of paperwork. So what do you want? Swords, magic, guns, light sabers anything fine the simpler the better. Do know that there has to be a balance and limit to what you chose to make.”
Our genius of a hero answered with all of his intellect
“Look I don’t have all day. If you got question just ask them. I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. That’s why I got stuck here in the first place.”
“Anything I want?”
“Didn’t I make that clear already?”
“Uhm… are you sure?”
“For god’s sake just say it!”
“Ok, ok. But I’m not sure it will be balanced.”
“Don’t worry we can work it out. If it’s too powerful we just have to make it harder to get or make it into tiers, slowly working its way up. Or make it into a weaker version which need to be upgraded and so on. You can barf a sun for all I care.”
“Is that so? Then I want to have the abilities from the character of my favorite game!”
“You sure? Ok let’s have a look.”
With a poof an item appeared in his hands. It was the DVD box from his game. It had a hard copy in it. No digital download needed all you need is in the DVD. The office man stood there for a couple of minutes just holding the box, just like a statue and suddenly.
“Whew that was a nice game. I guess I have to help you in earnest now. If this works it will be a multifunctional class. Though it will be a pain to level and your compatibility for a few of the abilities is zero so you have to work hard to just get them. It will be also resource intensive for you. And since you need a starter tool for it you have a choice. Average or growth?”
“Sorry got ahead of myself there. I like distractions so I took the liberty of making the class myself I also got a pretty good idea of what you want unfortunately if I make you like the character of the series you will be too strong so, starting on kind of equal ground with the others is a must. Now don’t make that face. Getting a class before lvl10 and after doesn’t make a big deal. It gives an advantage but not much. You also don’t have to go looking for a trainer in order to get the class down the line or something”
“So here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll disable your leveling system, since the class will be mostly about making stuff early on so you don’t need the experience, and since the class won’t use the magic system even with the psychic abilities it’s also mostly off the table. And don’t worry everything is balance to the letter mostly.”
“Yeah, the item you can gather from monsters are mostly for the standard system, you know leather, bones, mana crystals. Medieval weapons like swords and spears. Fantasy stuff I believe you call them. to top it off engineers should be able to make firearms eventually, so no need for those. And since you basically use your own power system we got lot of room for improvement. And depending on how you start it might be easier or harder and the way I see it you will need lots of energy to power the gizmos and all the other goodies. So I’ll make it so that you can use mana as fuel. Neat right?”
“And since everyone got to start with a weapon provided by the system you got to choose your own. But due to the uniqueness of the class you only have one choice left. Weather the weapon will give you a head start and be redundant later on, you probably can buy better ones at the store if you find one, or you can choose a growing weapon. Those are usually quite crappy if given so early on your better off with a stick, but as the name suggest you can make them grow stronger one way or another. So what shall it be?”
“What is the weapon?”
“You should know that without asking me. So growth or not?”
He thought long and hard. What would the weapon be? True he loved the game but he couldn’t even begin to guess. Would it be this or that if it is this stronger would be better or growing would be worse? He had no idea, but he knew one thing. Overall in all of the games he played weapons which grew with the player were rare. In one game there were demonic weapons which had just base stats, attack and attack speed. And they could be fed other weapons and depending on the items it could gain their abilities. The only downside was that the demonic weapon could be fed a limited number of times. But of the weapon could grow infinitely it would be a cheat item.
“How much can it grow?”
“Well growing weapons generally can grow as long as you can satisfy their needs, some weapons are easier other are harder, and before you ask due to universality of the weapon, yours will be one of the hardest to grow. You’ll understand why once you get it.”
“If it can grow infinitely then ill chose growth weapon.”
“Whether your choice is good or bad will depend on how long you live now I got a bloody skill tree to make so taa-taa”
And with those words he was back in his room. His stare locked at the top of his hand, where the coin once was, was now a black circle with a thick outline. He tried to touch it but it was just like a tattoo. After a moment it dissolved like smoke and vanished. Leaving behind only a sense of lucidity. The silence was not kept for long as the sound of crashing was heard from beyond the broken front door. The husband of the granny he just committed homicide upon was coming. Slowly dragging himself. One foot in front of the other. Until he tripped on the debris of the door itself, falling face first in the process, he moaned as he started crawling on the ground and slowly getting up and due to the darkness our hero couldn’t see a thing but he just has to hear it to know that something is coming
“Mr. Kristov are you ok? Your wife came earlier and she was really sick. Helooo are you there?”
All that greeted him was the sound of dragging. He knew something was wrong he just couldn’t believe it. His neighbors were probably zombies, he met slender look alike who offered him a gaming experience in a life time and he really hopes the world hasn’t turned to hell. Most of the books he has read were including guys like himself dying first. Begging for their mommy while some beast is chewing their insides. And boy were they right. He was now frozen stiff from fear, again. As something was crawling closely to him. And in the midst of it he remembered the words of the slender like guy “You were the first to kill a zombie without dying due to infection.” And as the words rang in his empty head. He jumped and to the adjacent room. Fiddling until he found the key in the lock turning it counterclockwise to lock it. Since he lived in this apartment for most of his life he knows every nook and cranny while blindfolded. So moving 4 meters in the dark without hitting something is normal for him. Well he did hit his toe on the door frame but who has time to moan about the pain when something I trying to eat him?
“Ah fuck my toe… fuck, fuck, fuck. What the?”
He looked to the back windows and saw an orange light. Walking out on the terrace he noticed that in the distance a whole 5 floor building was on fire. Down on the streets it was pure chaos. When he looked he wished the moon wasn’t shining so brightly. People were chasing each other, some were braking in to shops and stealing food and anything they can get their hands on. The most striking view was the mother and child pair running along the boulevard as a group of people was chasing them like animals, until the mother tripped due to her high heels dragging her girl with her as the group fell upon them and their screams filled the night. Soon similar sounds were coming from all around. People were jumping from the windows 4 floors up, those who survive were jumped upon by the groups.
Once the groups kneeling in front of the copses stood up, went to chase the other people running around, the corpses themselves twitched for a while then stood up and joined with the rest of the groups. He stood there frozen in terror. What happened to him tonight was just the beginning and the happy birthday like memory replayed.
“Welcome to the apocalypse”