"C'mon! Just a little longer! Please?" Roido begged.
I growled at his persistence, "No! We need to get back to the hotel before it closes its doors!"
Enick sighed, "Roido, we've been at this stupid arcade for hours! You've spent all of your today's spending money. You wouldn't be able to play anything anyway."
He pouted and whined, "B-But, I can get like… a million prizes with these tickets! Please? Let me get just one thing for all my hard work!"
"Playing games isn't hard work! It's laziness!" I argued. "Get that fat butt moving or you're on your own!"
He grumbled, "Fine."
So we walked out the front door to go back to the hotel, but Roido refused to even glance at us, so Enick and me had our own conversation.
"I hope he doesn't turn completely American," I told myself.
Enick raised an eyebrow at this statement, "What's an American? And what do you mean turn completely American?"
I rubbed my head, "Well, this country we are in is called the United States of America, anyone living in America is considered American. This country has a big problem with obesity, laziness, our rights, our wastes… things like that. So far Roido's been developing laziness."
"He's been lazy. He's not acting any different," Enick told me. "Even though he's been in several near-death situations."
"I would think that'd motivate him… not lazify him."
Just then Roido stopped us and gave me a big hug, so I just stood there confused, but then he let go and gave me a big smile. Seeing the warm grin, I blushed a bit.
"Sorry for being a spoiled brat," he told me still smiling.
We looked at him weird.
"Are you feeling okay?" I asked.
He nodded, "Of course! Got everything I wanted from that hug!"
Enick and I glanced at each other, asking in our stares what was going on, but both of us found neither had an answer so we just stared at the fire demon.
"That's… nice to hear," I replied unsure.
He giggled and started pushing me along, "C'mon! We got to get to the hotel before they close!"
"Hey! No pushin'! We have an hour!"
Before I knew it, we were standing in front of the hotel about to walk in, but we stopped when the greeter said, "Welcome back, when will your friend return?"
I gave the man a weird look, "What do you mean?"
"The giddy one with the red headband hasn't come back."
Enick turned around pointing, "But he's right th—"
He stopped. He started to look around at the crowd, confusing me.
"Where did Roido go?"
Roido walked back into the arcade smiling deviously, but then noticing a certain game, he walked over to it with confused eyes. When he reached it, he examined it from top to bottom, then coming to the conclusion he wanted to play it, he put in a couple coins.
"Emma, forgive me. I'll pay back this money, I promise," he said to himself.
He started to play and pounded on the buttons like any other game addict, but then he found himself defeating level after level until once again, he defeated another game. He sighed and rubbed his head realizing that he was alone in the place and the games were starting to bore him.
"Jeez, aren't there any challenging games?"
Just then, as if responding to his question, one of the machines suddenly started up. Not knowing what else to do and also a bit curious, he walked up to it and examined the games title "Kiss of Death" and the sign on the top reading "OUT OF ORDER".
He raised an eyebrow at it but then, out of curiosity, went to put a coin in. A voice interrupted him.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," a person stated. Roido looked over to see a janitor cleaning the floor. "It's a waste of time."
"What do you mean?"
"That game isn't a game that you can win or lose. You just lose. Every game addict who's played that has spent weeks or sometimes months trying to beat that game until they give up or in one case die."
"In the game?"
"No, for real," the man explained. "Just dropped dead from… disappointment or exhaustion. It was somethin weird."
Roido raised an eyebrow at the machine again, but the man continued. "Besides, you wouldn't be able to shove paper into those coin slots. Clogged up with somethin."
"So how come it's on when it says 'out of order'?"
The man shrugged, "Dunno, just turns on and off randomly. Even though it's unplugged."
Roido looked behind the thing to see that it was, indeed, unplugged from the outlet, but Roido didn't understand why he shouldn't play.
"Why do you still have it?"
The man sighed and looked at him, "Well, when the owners first bought that some years ago it was a new game; test run, so to speak, but then the producers of it realized after that boy's death it was impossible to beat. they tried giving it back, but they refused to repossess it, so here it is, getting dusty and wasting power."
Roido looked at it again, but when he went to click "Start" the man cautioned him again.
"Don't do it boy," he warned. "Something about that game hypnotizes people… puts them in a kind of vegetable state only capable of playing that game, and only that game. That machine has something funky about it, and I'm afraid you'll only be another victim."
Roido drew his hand back but then thought about it.
"Hm… well, either go back to the hotel full of consciousness and get killed by Emma for pick-pocketing her when I hugged her, or lose consciousness from this game, turn into a veggie, then have no purpose but to try and beat it. I think I'd rather be a veggie."
He pushed start, making the man sigh, "I warned you."
Roido chuckled and looked at the janitor with a smile, "Don't worry, if I turn into a veggie my life won't be too much different."
Hours later, Roido had gotten to the twelfth level of the game, the janitor was watching, and the poor fire demon was exhausted.
"Jeez, this game's taking forever…" Roido stated. "How many levels are there?"
"Bout five hundred."
"What the—?! How could they even make this game?! And why didn't you tell me?!"
"Hey, you didn't ask."
I laid in bed with my back to Enick so that if he was awake, he wouldn't know I couldn't sleep. He worried excessively about my sake. Kind of annoying sometimes. Well, I just couldn't help but feel we shouldn't have been stubborn and angry and decided that he could sleep in the arcade if he would rob and trick his best friend just to play a few more games because when I thought about it, he could beat any game in a matter of minutes and we had an hour. We could've given him a little more time.
What's in the past has happened already and unless someone has a time machine, we can't change it, but my gut was telling me that it was stupid, mean and we were going to pay the price to have made such a cold decision just over a couple dollars. Well, I felt horrible.
I heard soft footsteps walk over to my bedside followed by a rough grab on the arm… and it hurt. I wasn't used to it anymore, so I jumped up and yelped, but something covered my lips. I found Enick covering my mouth with his hand and staring at me with the emotionless eyes as he normally had.
"I have a bad feeling."
Lav gave us a ride down to the arcade, and when we got there the place was all locked up, but neither of us were surprised… I mean, twelve o'clock at night? We banged on the door loudly and constantly until a man wearing a janitor suit came up to the door and peeked his head out to talk.
"I know, but our friend… borrowed some money and ran away from us. We think he might still be here," I explained.
The man seemed surprise, "Ya mean, complete game master? Unusual red colored eyes? A bit giddy?"
"Giddy? Yep. That's him." "Yes! I think that's him!"
Enick still didn't look satisfied though, "Can we come in and see?"
The man opened the door nodding. "Sure, come in."
We entered, and he showed us where he was, but as soon as we laid eyes on him we ran over to him to make sure he was okay. He was lying against a game machine unconscious.
"Rei?! Roido?!" I shouted, shaking him. "Wake up!"
"Roido!" Enick called.
The man got our attention, "He was playing this game, here when he… passed out all of a sudden."
Roido pressed and smashed the buttons successfully making it to level twenty, but as soon as it ended his head and chest felt weird. No, his entire body felt weird, like something was sucking out his insides. His head began to hurt and his heart felt strained like he was having a heart attack or something, so not knowing what else to do, he slowly let himself down onto the floor and leaned against the game machine so he wouldn't fall over and hurt himself.
"Son? You okay?"
Roido tried to answer but ended up making a pained gasp instead of a response. His vision started to go weird on him for some reason. Everything was bending and curving, along with moving in strange directions like something was distorting his eyesight, but then everything started to look white. Slowly but surely, his eyes shut on him, and he lost consciousness.
As I listened to the story, my brain popped trying to understand the signs of his falling asleep, but Enick seemed a bit afraid as if he knew what had happened, so just to test my theory and see if he really did know, I turned to him.
"I have no idea what could have caused that, but I don't know, you might know, doctor," I stated.
He didn't give me a funny look like he normally would at a strange comment but just stared at his brother with his lips sealed.
After a moment the janitor got worried, "It's… not too serious, is it?"
Still without answering, he knelt down and made sure he was alive and not just sick because he would've had to hurt himself if his bad feeling was just about a little virus he got. No fever and all vital signs positive. What more could he think?
"I think…." he started.
"What?" I asked.
He stopped again.
The janitor seemed even more worried, "Is it serious…?"
Enick turned sharply to me with both fear and sternness in his eyes. I could tell by his trembling hands that he was extremely confused by the clashing of his emotions.
"I think he might be—"
Roido suddenly moaned and opened his eyes, but when he made eye contact with me I stopped breathing. All I could do was stare, wondering why his eyes were blue. Enick also didn't understand. The janitor, though, thought something was wrong with us.
What made this situation even weirder was whenever he came near death the few times I was around, his eyes turned an ice blue but now it was a deep blue.
"Roido?" I asked.
"Who?" he asked back.
"Roido, you're Roido, aren't you?"
Roido sat up straight and looked at us weird, "What are you talking about? That's not even a real name. I'm Brian."
The janitor gasped and dropped the mop he was holding, "Brian…?"
'Brian' nodded, "Yeah… why? Who are you guys?"
Enick just stared at him, no more shock, no more fear, just a serious expression staring him in the eyes. Brian shifted a bit, feeling uneasy by the stare. Suddenly, Enick grabbed his shirt and lifted him up into the air.
"Roido! Snap out of it!" Enick shouted. "If you don't I'll burn all those hard earned game tickets in the fireplace!"
All of a sudden Brian seemed to be in pain so he closed his eyes tightly, but they unexpectedly shot open, revealing red eyes and a confused expression.
"Enick?" he said panicked. "What's go—"
He suddenly gasped in pain, closing his eyes, but when he reopened them they were blue again, confusing the crap out of the three of us. Enick just dropped the guy on the ground stunned.
Roido/Brian glared, "Hey! What's the deal?! That hurt!"
I stared confused but then knelt down and poked his nose a couple times, making him stare at me weird.
"Wow, now I am really confused…" I stated, still poking him. "So are you Brian? Or are you my best friend named Rei, a.k.a, Roido?"
He raised an eyebrow at me, "Brian. Now what's going on?"
Enick rubbed his head frustrated, "Oh no… oh no… oh no…"
He repeated that several times while he walked around in circles, spontaneously changing directions and looking at random things while rubbing his forehead or face in frustration.
"What is it, Enick? Gunna tell me what you're thinking or just keep secluding your thoughts from me?" I asked.
He shook his head not changing his pattern at all.
"I don't know. I'm panicked, confused, frustrated, pressured… I can't seem to sort my feelings out at this moment." He gave me an obviously emotionally confused look. "Roido's body is being possessed."
"What?" We all stated.
Brian sighed frustrated and rubbed his eyes, "So really… I'm dead…. How come I still feel like I'm supposed to be living right now?"
"The classical, unfinished business?" I stated.
He grumbled, "But it's not like I can talk to the women I love since she's on the other side of the country… and besides… the only thing I didn't complete was beating that stupid game that's supposedly impossible to beat…"
"That's it then."
They all looked at me funny.
I stood up and gave him a devious smirk, "So all you need to do to be at peace is beat that game! So what are we waiting for?!"
Brian gave me a look saying "what are you talking about?" but I just dragged him over to the game.
He grumbled but unpaused it anyway. Me, Enick, and the janitor watched him play over his shoulder, but then we realized he played just as well as Roido did! Soon level thirty-one was done… then thirty-two… then thirty-three… Next we somehow found ourselves cheering him on as he started level five hundred. Soon enough, he was on the last bad guy, so we were tensed as he played. He had gone through the entire level without an extra life and only one hit point left just like the bad guy he was fighting, but I thought I was going to pass out from how many close calls there were. Suddenly… it happened… He won!! (Woot, woot!)
We all celebrated with root beer, candy and all other things, but there was still a problem.
"I've always wanted to beat that game!" Brian stated. "Loved to play no matter how frustrated I got! It's so ironic how a game addict came here for vacation with his two friends from across the country! Imagine if it had been someone else with bad hand eye coordination!"
They laughed, so I waited 'til they were done to ask.
"It's nice and all that you completed your life-long dream, but how come you are still here? Shouldn't you be Resting In Peace?" I asked.
Brian seemed surprised by my question, but then he lowered his head and stared into the can of soda.
"I don't know…" he answered quietly. "I thought that's what would appease me."
"Roido," I stated, "I'm about burn those tickets."
Again, his head was in pain but then still holding his head, he opened an eye slowly and painfully showing the ruby color that returned.
"Don't you dare…" he muttered.
Finally, the eyes shut again, and after a second the pain passed, so Brian shot a glare at me.
"Stop doing that!"
"Sorry, just thought maybe if Roido wanted his body back enough he'd be able to kick you out," I explained.
He sighed, "Well, I don't know what to tell you because the game idea was our best shot." He froze for a moment. "Unless…" he got in my face. "I must know! What's your name?!"
"Emerale… Amethyst… why?"
He looked surprised but then fell back into his chair limply.
"You've got to be kidding me…" he muttered. He got in my face again. "I need to talk to you!"
He suddenly grabbed my arm and pulled me away to somewhere secluded. As we were walking, he started talking to me.
"I'm sorry about doing this, but I must! I think this might be why I can't leave…" He abruptly turned around and looked me in the eyes with a serious yet nervous look. "Do you remember a name like Yiman?"
I nodded, "Yeah… That's the last name of this kid I used to know. I can't remember his first name, but he was very shy and hid every time I saw him, and because of how shy he was he was always teased."
He took a deep breath to try and calm down, "What did you think about him?"
I shrugged, getting an idea on where this was going, "I couldn't say. I didn't know him at all. I just remember his last name."
He started breathing heavily and fast, "If he asked you to would you kiss him?"
I shrugged again, "Well… maybe if I had been dating him… or if it was his last wish… or maybe a dare…"
"Then I dare you to fulfill my last wish and kiss me!"
I stared at him blankly for a moment but then said, "Hi… Brian… long time no see… I didn't know you died…"
He seemed to want to cry but instead said, "Well, are you going to or not?"
I shrugged, "I… don't know… this is a bit shocking… for me…"
"Please…" he whimpered. "This is the only way I'll ever have a chance to rest in peace…. Just a peck…"
I took a deep breath, getting over my shock, then nodded. "Okay."
He gently kissed me on the lips.
I realized almost immediately that his spirit was now satisfied and wanted to leave from the pained gasp I heard, but it seemed he didn't want to leave just yet. After a second longer, he started pull away, but before he could even get more than an inch away from my face Roido's spirit took over… and he immediately jumped back with flushed cheeks.
"W-W-What the?!" he stuttered.
I looked at him surprised for a moment, but then seeing his red eyes I smiled and gave him a big hug. (Also stealing his wallet)
"I'm glad you're back!" I stated to him.
He seemed surprised and almost speechless, so he just hugged back lazily and answered, "Me too…"