Eight-Bit Dragon

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

a bet turned dangerous!

I knew it was a bad idea. I knew we would get in trouble. I knew something horrible would happen. So, why did I? For the money, of course.

It all started when I was bored. I was at my friend Matt’s house, watching TV.

I groaned. “I’m so bored.”

“Yeah, me too,” Matt said, grabbing the TV remote. He was kind of pudgy and wore a South Park t-shirt.

“Why, don’t we play Call of Duty?”

“Nah, I don’t feel like it.”

“Then, what?”

“Hey, wanna make a bet?”

“Huh?”

“I bet you can’t last one hour in that run down video game store on Main Street.”

“No way, if Dad catches me, he will ground me permanently this time.”

“OK, I understand. How does it feel to be such a wimp?”

“Knock it off!” I exclaimed, changing the TV channel.

“I’ll pay you,” Matt replied.

“How much?”

* * *

“I cannot believe I’m doing this,” I said, looking up at the dark store. “For fifty bucks.” I ran my hand through my red, curly hair.

“If you’re scared, I understand,” Matt taunted.

The door’s lock was old and loose, so it wasn’t too hard to force it open. I gave my friend a dirty look, took a deep breath, and walked in. Cold air rushed over me as I crept around. I could barely see as I walked to a display case, layered in dust.

A rattle made me jump.

I looked but saw nothing. Must be my imagination. I continued wandering around. Man, this is boring. Nothing in this dump, no games, game accessories, action figures anywhere. I pulled my phone out. I sighed and started playing Warhammer.

Thump.

Someone was there.

I felt chills race down my body as I crept toward the bare display racks. Letting my phone be my flashlight, I shone it around. All I heard was my own heavy breathing as I searched.

I heard something scrape against a shelf.

“Hello? Is someone there?” Silence. “Hello?” Still no reply. Get a grip on yourself, Noah. It’s probably a mouse. I let a long sigh out as I continued searching. I walked by the counter and held my bright screen over it. I leaned forward and checked behind… nothing there. I sighed and continued patrolling the dark store. It was so quiet that it was kind of eerie. I walked around some more, my footsteps softly tapping on the torn up floor. I checked the time on my phone: 8:09. I had been in here for only nine minutes. I sighed and looked ahead.

Thud thud thud. I heard heavy footsteps behind. Chills shot down my back as I slowly turned around.

I screamed as a glowing green dragon took a step towards me. It loomed over me with its long serpentine neck. It was solid, but two dimensional, angular and low-rez, like an eight-bit videogame character. It glared at me through its firey digital eyes, uttering a low, menacing growl. Silver squares dripped down its mouth and clanked to the floor as its body danced up and down like Mario. I slowly backed up. It uttered an earsplitting roar. I felt even colder air blast over me as I realized it was the dragon’s breath. Combined with the frigid air in the store, it was like opening a refrigerator in the arctic. The dragon snarled at me, its eyes locking onto me. I turned around and ran. I heard crashes behind and felt rapid footsteps chasing me. The dragon leapt and flew right above my head, air gusts ruffling my hair. Turning around in the air, it landed in front of the door. “Damn!” I exclaimed as the pixelated dragon roared. I covered my ears. It snorted, glaring down at me. I gulped. “Uh, you don’t wanna eat me. I’m too bony.” I knew it was a stupid thing to say, but I could not think of anything else.

The dragon reached down and grabbed me with its digitized claws. The claws felt extremely cold through my hoodie.

“Hey!” I hollered as it raised me to its eyes. I could see two red squares for its pupils. It growled, licking its chops. “NO NO NO NO NO NO!” I shouted, struggling to break free. But it was no use. Its claws imprisoned me. I closed my eyes, waiting for my doom… when I heard a CHOP CHOP CHOP. Opening my eyes, I saw a glowing, pixelated helicopter flying towards us. The aircraft zoomed close, shooting blazing missiles at the dragon. The evil beast jerked back and before I knew it, I was falling. Screaming in sheer terror, I landed in something cold and bright. I looked up and saw a bright pixelated face. My heart still pounded in my chest.

“You’re OK, young man,” the pixelated guy spoke in a deep, heroic voice. His voice had a little electronic hum. The dragon roared as I looked up and saw the helicopter shoot more missiles at it.

“Uh, thanks,” I said, dazed and trying to process what had just happened. The man helped me to my feet. He glowed, just like the dragon and wore a camouflaged suit.

He took a cigar out of his pocket and lit it. He took a puff. “The name’s CDog81. I’m the Commander of SkyTroop 6.”

“Uh… OK. That’s good and all, but we should get away from here.”

“Don’t worry about it; we got it covered.” He gestured towards the chaotic air battle the helicopter was waging at the dragon.

“But…”

“Hey, wanna meet my girlfriend?”

“Uh…”

“Great!” he exclaimed and a big, green blob popped up next to him.

I yelped, jumping back.

“This is Brianna.”

“O…K.”

“She’s my Blobby- Poo.”

“Uh…”

“Hey, let’s have dinner on the moon.” He snapped his fingers, and we were in an eight-bit digital restaurant, sitting at a table with a red and white checkered cloth. I looked out the window and gasped at the gray lunar surface and the black spacey sky.

“OK, what the hell is going on? One minute, we’re in the videogame store, fighting a damn dragon and the next minute, we’re on the friggin’ moon with, uh… your girlfriend?”

“You want Coke or Dr. Pepper?”

A huge roar erupted outside.

“Don’t worry about that; it’s just the dragon.”

“Excuse me?!”

“It will be fine, now, do you want Coke or Dr. Pepper?”

“I want some goddamn answers! What are we doing at a restaurant? Why is a dragon following me? Why does everything look like a videogame? And why aren’t you doing something?!”

“What do you want to drink, boy?” he asked, slowly enunciating each word in a demanding tone.

“I don’t want anything to drink,” I replied, throwing his tone right back at him. “I want answers.”

The dragon roared, and there was a loud crack above. I looked up and saw a big rift in the wall. The rift began to widen as the entire building seemed to rise. I saw the dragon lifting the ceiling up. Eight-bit ceiling plaster fell all over the place. I watched the blocky people scurry round as the dragon’s head invaded the restaurant.

Right before my eyes, the dragon turned fiery red. The dragon’s jaws snapped down on a blond-haired girl who wore what looked like a Pac-Man shirt. Red squares dripped down the dragon’s mouth, and I cringed because it seemed so real.

I ran, following the digital people out the door and on to the moon’s surface. I spotted CDog81 down in a digital crater. He cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted, “JUMP IN HERE, BOY!” He didn’t have to tell me twice. I ran and jumped. The gray moon surface floated away as I leapt high into space. My body fluttered down and landed in the crater.

Something appeared in the sky above the crater. It was red and appeared to be suspended in midair.

The damn dragon let out a thunderous roar and I felt the ground shake.

“WHOA!” I cried.

“HURRY, SOLDIER!” CDog81 barked behind me as I ran closer. I was close enough to the suspended object to see that it was a red box with a plunger on top.

“GET THAT DYNAMITE, SOLDIER! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!”

My heart thudding in my chest, I ran.

The damn dragon flew down and landed in front of me. It roared and snapped its jaws.

I rolled under it and jumped. I reached for the detonator and grabbed it. I floated back down as the damn dragon twisted its neck towards me, its jaws inches from my face.

“PUSH IT DOWN, SOLDIER!”

“But, it isn’t hooked up to anything.”

“Are you questioning my orders, soldier?”

I took a deep breath and pushed the plunger down. BOOM! The damn dragon exploded into a digital fireball.

I stood there, my heart racing as I realized the dragon was gone. The fireball continued rising up and rolling for a couple of seconds then vanished without a trace.

“Good job, soldier!” CDog81 patted my back. It was so sudden that I jumped. “You saved everybody! You’re a hero!” He stuck his cigar in his mouth and puffed on it.

A black screen a little larger than an iPad popped up in front of me. “YOU WIN!” flashed on the screen in big, green letters. A fresh screen appeared along with a floating Mac keyboard.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Enter your name,” CDog81 said as the blob thing scooted quickly over to him. He put his arms, embracing her… or whatever.

“Uh… why?” I asked, staring at the weird couple.

“Why, what, soldier?” CDog81 said, his arms squeezing the blob.

“Never mind.” I turned to the screen, typed Noah05 in the space, and hit Enter.

Some music played and my name zoomed in as a high score screen came into focus. My name thudded into fourth place with a score of eleven thousand. Stars burst out of my name along with generic upbeat eight-bit music.

Two rockets appeared on the lower edge of the screen and ignited. The screen blasted off into space.

“You fought well. I’m proud of you, soldier.” Cdog81 patted my back once again.

“Thanks,” I replied although I didn’t really fight.

“At ease, soldier,” CDog81 said and saluted me.

* * *

And I was back in the dark store. Just like that.

I blinked and looked around. “Wow!” I exclaimed and thought, “What a trip! No one was going to ever believe me!” I looked at my phone, an hour had passed. I put my phone away and smiled, walking toward the door. Pushing the door open, I saw Matt sitting down on the curb. He was looking at his phone.

“Pay up.” I reached my hand out and wiggled my fingers.

He made a disappointed “pssh” noise and reached into the pocket of his pants. Pulling a crumpled bill out, he handed me a fifty. “What didja do in there?”

“Oh. Played games.”

* * *

When I got home, Mom stood up and crossed her arms. “Where have you been?”

“Studying at…”

“Uh, huh.”

“What? It’s true!”

“You hung out with Matt.” It was a statement, not a question.

“No.”

“Noah.”

“Yes, we went to the park and hung out.” No way would I tell her where we really went.

“You’re grounded.”

“But?—?“

“No, buts! Go to bed.”

I sighed. “OK.” I trudged to my room.

I put my newly acquired fifty-dollar bill into my desk’s secret compartment, then changed into a clean t-shirt and some shorts and hopped in bed. At least I got fifty bucks out of this whole crazy night, I thought to myself. I pulled the blanket up to my neck.

I was almost asleep when a bright light burned through my eyelids. Blinking, I looked and saw CDog81 standing just inside my door.

“Ready for Level Two, soldier?”


Submitted: January 11, 2022

© Copyright 2022 charliemmurph. All rights reserved.

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Stories by Boz

Good story, much enjoyed it.

Wed, January 12th, 2022 12:39am

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Thank you. What did you like about it?

Tue, January 11th, 2022 4:57pm

Alexander Byrne

I enjoyed the imagination of this story.

Wed, January 12th, 2022 8:20am

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Thank you

Tue, July 26th, 2022 10:52am

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