I am swinging on the swing, swaying back and forth. I always did like the feeling of the wind brushing against my face. All my friends have gone home already. Mom’s always late like this.
It gets really boring here at school when I’m one of the last children left. Suddenly my phone starts ringing. I quickly hop of the swing and open my school bag. After searching around a little I pull out the phone and answer it.
It’s mom. “Hi mom, where are you?”
“Sorry about that sweetie. Mommy’s going to be a bit late.”
“You’re already late.”
“I know dear, just wait a little bit longer okay. Just play with your friends so long and I’ll be there before you know it.”
I sigh, what friends. “Sure Mom.”
“Okay, I gotta go, luv u sweetie.”
I hang up the phone and return it to my school bag. I stand there a while pushing the swing aimlessly while I try and pass the time. I can’t but help think about what my friend Mary-Anne was telling me about today. Could my mom and dad really be lying to me?
I know parents don’t tell their kids everything and that the world of adults is pretty complicated. But this? This is kind of a big deal.
No. I need to find out for myself. I find my resolve and head for the school gate. My mom always comes to pick me up after school, but she is very busy at work and often quite late. I wish she would let me walk home after school ends, we do live really close by. A lot of my friends travel home by themselves and they’re also in third grade like me. Honestly, I think Mom is just being too fussy.
I’m probably gonna get in big trouble for this and normally I’d just put up with Mom being late, but I have a mission today.
As I approach the school gate, I quickly look around to make sure that no one I’m familiar with sees me leave the school grounds on my own. Then I quickly slip out the gate and run down the sidewalk until I reach a portion of the school fence that is covered in tall bushes and hide in front of that. Right now no one in school should be able to spot me.
Next is to cross the road. I look left, then right, then left again. No cars, good. I quickly cross the road via the pedestrian crossing. I follow down the street for another three blocks, carefully crossing roads as I go.
Oh no! I quickly duck behind the wall. I spotted uncle Larry exiting the shop in front of me. If he spots me it’s game over. Uncle walks to his car, parked just a bit up ahead and gets in. A few moments later he drives off.
I exhale a sigh of relief, that was close. I carry on with my trip, after one more block, I turn left. Another two blocks down, I finally reach my destination, home.
I unclip the side gate and close it behind me. Chocolate immediately notices me and comes to greet me. Hey boy, you doing a good job guarding the place? I pat him gently and his tail wags, quite pleased with himself.
I walk up to the front porch and search the pot plant for the spare house key. Found it! I quickly unlock the door and enter. The alarm keypad starts beeping at me. I only realise now that I’m too short to reach it! I quickly go around the corner, into the piano room. If I don’t hurry, the alarm will go off.
I grab one of the short stools that are located in this room and drag it across the floor and hallway, back to where the keypad is. I quickly climb up the stool and deactivate the alarm. Dad made the alarm code easy to remember, it’s my birthday. Although I don’t think he realised the fact that it would be easy for me too remember as well, not just Mom. Probably not what he originally had in mind.
I climb back down the stool and head down the hall and up the stairs. Upstairs, the first door left is my sister’s room. I open the door and enter. I quickly put down my bag and push the silver power button on her computer, to turn it on. This is the reason I ‘escaped’ to home early today.
About two weeks ago my sister suddenly left home to go study in America. She did so suddenly without even saying goodbye to me. This made me very sad. Sis hasn’t even called me once to say hi. Mom says it’s because she’s really busy at her new school, but something about the whole thing has seemed really strange to me.
The computer has finished starting up and is now asking for a password. I climb up onto the chair and enter the password. I’ve seen my sister enter the password a bunch of times, it’s really simple, just her boyfriends name. My sister used to let me play games on her computer a whole lot.
Mom didn’t know, she didn’t like me playing games, says their not good for young children. I have to admit she was probably right. A lot of these games can be quite violent and are probably not suitable for most kids, but I never saw the harm myself, I mean they are just games and should not define how a kid behaves in real life.
My friend Mary-Anne says that a lot of people are talking about a computer game that makes people disappear. Apparently anyone who plays it disappears and is never heard from again. She says that the police think that they are all being kidnapped, but she knows of a bunch of people that are talking about what ‘really happened’ to the kids, that they were sucked into the game.
What got my attention was the name of the game, “It’s not a game”. I know that my sister couldn’t wait to play that game, right before she left. She was apparently going to play it with her boyfriend. It can’t be a coincidence. I think Mom is not telling me the truth and that the game took Sis away.
After logging in, I find the icon for the game and double-click it. The game starts up. I am presented with a screen with many sliders and options, with a man standing in the middle. Char-ac-ter creat-ion. It looks like they want me to make my player.
I start fiddling around with some of the options, It doesn’t take long for me to create a girl, with blonde short hair. I also find that a ‘female’ - ‘dwarf’ looks a lot like a kid my size, especially when I play with some of the sliders to make her much thinner.
I want to make my player look like me as much as I can, so that if I meet my sister in the game she can recognise me. I squint hard at Sis’s full length bedroom mirror to try and get a good look at what my face looks like. I then carry on playing with the many different sliders and options.
I sigh. I am tired. I have been trying to get my player right for at least an hour already. This is really hard work. I think the result is pretty good, I mean It doesn’t look exactly like me, but I guess it does kindof. Well it is a game after all, so it was going to be impossible to begin with I suppose.
I hit the next button and the screen asks me for a name for my player. I know that in games like this you are supposed to make up a name to suit the player you created, but since my goal is to find my sister I enter my own name, ‘Amy’.
I hesitate for a moment and then click on the ‘start’ button. Don’t worry Sis, I’ll find you.
Eh! What! The chair disappeared, I’m falling!
“Eeeaargh!” It hurts! I’ve landed on the ground, but it’s really hard. I look around, but I’m not in my house anymore, I’m outside. Does that mean it worked? Am I in the game? Will I be able to meet Sis?
I’m bleeding. My arm is cut and my leg really hurts. I fell a bit when I got here, it really gave me a surprise to just fall through the air like that, even if it was just a meter or two! I’ve landed on some kind of garbage heap, or it looks more like a wreck from some old demolished building or something.
Landing on the rubble really hurt, my head is throbbing. I trying to get up slowly. The sky isn’t exactly blue, it’s more of a grey color, there is a lot of smoke in the air, making it difficult to breath. Where am I exactly?
I look around a bit as I crawl over the rubble. Everywhere I look, all I can see is destroyed buildings, scorched ground and smoke. What is this place, it looks like a whole city was set on fire.
I limp forward and down a ‘path?’ a bit. There’s someone just up ahead, around the corner of a broken wall. I quickly limp over to the person. “Um, excuse me-”
My body freezes up. I don’t quite understand. What’s wrong with your head? Where is the rest of it? How can a person have only half a head? I don’t understand. I don’t-
My body is shaking. I can’t seem to stop it. My legs give way and I collapse to the ground. This person is dead right? Tears are starting to well up in my eyes. Sis where are you? Sis.
“Hey. There’s another one over here.” Who is that? I turn to face the man that’s pointing at me.
“Alright load her up, she’s cute. She’ll fetch a good price.”
I don’t understand, who are these people? One of the men comes over to me and picks me up in his arms. “Looks like you’re also injured. Well at least your face isn’t hurt.” The man laughs to himself. He carries me over to a wagon and puts me inside, with about seven other woman. They are all covered in various wounds and blood, but at least they’re alive.
The man closes and locks the door on the wagon and traps us inside. The wagon is encased in metal bars, even the ‘door’ is made out of metal bars.
I’m scared. Who are these people and where are they taking me?
“Alright let’s get moving. Hey, we’re gonna go ahead so long, we’re full up here.”
“Okay, We’ll see you in Detron. We’re still looking for the VIP, and I’m sure there are still more able bodies to be found here.”
The wagons starting to move. I quickly shout after the other man, “Excuse me, I’m looking for my sister. Do you know her? Her name is Jessic- Aaargh!” What’s happening. My head, it really hurts.