Do you know what’s incredibly easy to find online? Writing Prompts. I’ve been agonizing over things I need to do for a while, and decided to try to rest my brain with some writing. So I went online and I found some writing prompts, and I figured “okay, let’s do this”. Here is one.
You live to a ripe old age. As you die surrounded by your wife of 52 years, your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, you close your eyes. You then reopen them to someone removing a VR headset and shouting excitedly, “You beat the game, man!”
I was satisfied. I had spent my life well. I had good jobs, I travelled the world, I had children and a wonderful wife, three generations of dogs, two generations of cats, and a self-sustaining aquarium. I wrote the books I wanted to write, I touched the places I wanted to touch, and as I thought back on it all… I realized I had no regrets. Every mistake, every stumble, had led me to where I was, surrounded by family and friends, feeling like there was nothing left to do but turn off the lights and lock the door behind me.
I squeezed my wife’s hand and she kissed my fingers one last time, before my world finally ended.
I opened my eyes as the headset was lifted.
“You beat the game, man!” A young man said, and I frowned. Did I know him from somewhere?
“What? Where’s my wife? What’s going on?”
“One hundred and twelve! That’s insane! New record definitely. The previous holder only made it to ninety-two.”
I frowned as the lights blinked and shone around me. I felt as though I was in a dream.
“Hey? Hey!” He snapped his fingers in front of my face. “Buddy?”
“Right. Right…” I said as it came back to me. It had felt so real…
“Come on, we have to try out the Fantasy version. I hear the PvP is insane!” He grabbed me by the hand–a young hand, I realized, younger than my grandchildren’s hands. My hand.
“Um, you go ahead and take the first turn,” I said as he found the helmet, and didn’t need to tell him twice. He put it on and his eyes rolled back, becoming glazed. I could watch things happen on screen. My friend (in the role of Barthlag the Barbarian) running around, getting drunk, fighting…
After a few minutes my head started to clear. Alex. My name was Alex. Not James. I was twenty-one, not over one hundred. I was… A student. Yes. A neuroscience student. It felt like my life was so long ago…
I rubbed my temples. My wife was gone. My children were gone. My grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. My books, my jobs… It was all gone. My wife. My eyes began to moisten but I blinked back the tears. Not real. Not real. Not real. Right?
Right. Right. It was just a game.
My whole life was just a game. Sofia was just an NPC.
As I tried to calm myself, my friend tapped me on the shoulder. “Your turn, I barely made it ten years,” he said. I sighed and didn’t have to think to put it on. How many times had I done this before? How many lives had I lost? Why was it so easy to–
I woke up in my hovel, ready for action. The people of the village knew me as Barthlag the Barbarian (Bart to my friends) and all I really wanted was to kick some ass and feel the touch of a woman. Something flickered in my mind but I ignored it. I was a young, healthy bachelor, after all. Why wouldn’t I want to have some fun? It’s not like I was married or something.