Sunday, February 2, 2014

~~For Love of Minecraftia: Chapter Eight--Lovely Reality~~

I think that that moment was when I decided something huge….I was going to get rid of this gift.

More scared than anything, my dad and I ran right to the computer. Wrenching the memory stick out of a pocket, I opened the file, and started to play. I joined a multiplayer, and unsurprisingly, there I found Legolas, still informing the world about how the Hobbits were being taken to Isengard.

I didn’t need to see anything more than that. Trembling, I removed the memory stick and looked up at my dad. He hugged me tightly, saying to me very quietly, “We’re gonna be fine….”

“How do you know that? Did you go through anything like this when you were my age, huh? Did random characters show up in other people’s paintings?” I muttered angrily, biting my lip.

He sighed. “Mitchie….No, of course not. Nothing like this has ever happened before, not to my knowledge. We should be okay, because I have faith in the world being able to see us through.”

There goes my dad again, going on blind faith in basic human goodness I knew all too well how often that belief of his wound up causing him trouble. I sighed, hugging him back before stepping away, hugging myself now. I didn’t feel like being touched.

This had gotten out of control. Before, when it was just me being effected, it wasn’t that bad. It was kind of an adventure, and no one could get hurt. Now that others’ lives were being changed by my ability, I knew I needed to find a way to stop it.

And what better way than to break Minecraft’s hold on me?

Of course, it wouldn’t be easy. Nor would James understand, especially because I knew I’d stop making blueprints when I stopped playing. He obviously liked them, and from what he had said in the hospital, he was adamant about people expressing themselves creatively.

A thing I would need to find a new way to do….

Swallowing, I looked up at my dad and said, “How and when did your gift stop working?”

He thought for a moment, looking back on his life. Finally he said, “When I was twenty five. That’s when I got obsessed about your mother.”

I nodded at him. “I guess that makes sense…..So to get rid of my gift I need to replace my obsession with something I can’t get into?”

“I believe so. Either way, we need to figure out how to stop this before it gets too far.”

My dad hugged me, and he went back into the kitchen, calling back to me: “What do you want to eat, kiddo? I could make you some of your favorite food. Spicy grilled cheese, right?”

I smiled. He remembered, even though he hadn’t cooked anything for me in months. I usually was self-sufficient enough to get my own three square meals a day. “Sure, that sounds great. Oh, could you fry it up in some soya sauce, instead of butter?”

My dad paused his work in the kitchen, the rustling of plastic and movements of tools going silent for a few moments. He turned around, walked into the room, and stared at me. He shook his head slowly. “Well….Doesn’t that sound interesting? I’ll see what I can do.”

Knowing he probably thought it was weird—most people thought I was insane for a lot of the things I cooked—I shrugged and told him, “It tastes a lot better than it sounds, trust me. Gives it all a nice flavour to tone down the all-encompassing, taste-bud murdering spiciness in it.”

He rolled his eyes, said simply, “I don’t doubt you at all. You’ve got my creativity in you, Mitchie Rich….Now get your skinny butt all nice and comfortable on that couch while your dad brings you something to eat. You definitely need your energy.”

With that, he turned, walked right back to the kitchen, and went back to work. I grinned to myself, doing as he had told me and snuggling up under a large cozy blanket. However, I couldn’t really get comfortable. Have you ever tried to curl up on a leather couch? No? Well, probably with good reason. It’s not comfortable. The stupid thing just sticks to your skin and squeaks with every move you make. I gave up after a while, deciding I was as comfy as I would ever get.

Eventually, I said, “I think I’m starting to get obsessed with James.”

My dad rolled my eyes, saying with a grin, “I figured, Mitchie Rich. Well….Sounds like things will be all clearing up soon, eh? You just need to talk to James, fall in love with him, and we’re good.”

Fall in love with him? Could I even do that? It was nothing like I had ever done before. Before now, I couldn’t recall being even vaguely interested in...anyone. Hell, I never even had a crush—which is something I knew most girls go through at least once a month.

But, then I thought about how his eyes crinkled at me when he smiled, or how he’d stood up for me in the hospital. I thought about his impressed look as he paged through the folder, his eyes getting wider with every turn of the page. I thought about how he would grin and laugh with every attempt at a joke I made, even the ones that were bad. I thought about how cute he was. I thought about how smart he was.

And, the more I thought, the more my cheeks started getting red. God, I wanted to kiss him….

Wait, kiss him? Where did that come from? Wasn’t it a bit soon to be thinking of kissing him? I mean…I didn’t know him very well, and he probably didn’t like me….I was just some weird girl who he’d seen throw up and heard peeing, a girl who was obsessed with Minecraft. How could he like me? I was flat chested, I wasn’t hot by any means.


I look up, and there’s my dad, holding a steaming plate of deliciousness out in front of him. I have no idea how long he’s stood there. Blushing a little, I say, “Uh, hey dad. Thanks.” I take it from him, going all nom-nom-nom on it. It’s delicious, just as I had expected. Even though he hadn’t added enough hot peppers to it, it was still spicy and the soya sauce toned it down enough. Really, you guys should try it.

My dad sat down beside me, and I didn’t even need to look over at him to know he was grinning at me, and grinning widely. “You were just thinking about him!’

I blushed bright red, trying to stammer through a mouthful of food, “N-No I wasn’t!”

“Yes, yes you were. You’re blushing—oh I could just hug you! I think I will, actually.” With that, my dad reached over and wrapped his arms around me tightly. “You’re so cute, girl.”

I rolled my eyes, pushing him away a bit irritated. I didn’t like being called cute…..Well, more accurately, I just wasn’t used to it. Feeling embarrassed, I kept eating, not looking at my dad even though I knew he had to be smiling.

Fast forward a few hours. I’ve successfully managed to get my dad to hide every last thing Minecraft-related in places I will never be able to get to—mainly because I’m short and the basement storage room scares the heck out of me. With good reason, too. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve turned around to see something running away to hide in a dark corner….

Every sighting of that usually results in me dropping whatever I was carrying, turning around, and running out of the flickering lights and dank smell, heading back up to the familiar bright lights and potpourri. I still haven’t mentioned it to my dad, though….Or to anyone else. I’m kinda scared to. They already think I’m crazy—but this will be a whole new level of off for my mom. She already got me sent to therapy once; who knows what she’ll do next time?

Sighing, I eventually untangled myself from the sheets of my bed, looking around for my kitty. I wanted to pet her, but I couldn’t find her anywhere. Feeling a little scared, I glanced in my closet and rooted around a little—I knew she loved playing in the clothes in there. Finding nothing, I steeled myself and glanced under the bed, again finding nothing. Not even a monster. Well, where could she be?

Shrugging, I left my room, wandering around the house now. I couldn’t find her anywhere—not in the study, not in the kitchen, not in the living room. She was nowhere to be found. Now I was getting freaked. Swallowing, I went to my dad and asked, “Have you seen Cloud anywhere?”

He nods. “She went downstairs to the basement. I guess she smelled something she liked.”

My heart fell three floors, right down to the basement, where my poor little kitten now faced whatever was down there.

Wishing I had my familiar iron sword, I turned and ran down the steps, my mind conjuring all kinds of images of the fate that my poor little Cloud might be suffering as we speak. I couldn’t help myself from starting to cry from fear. I didn’t want to face it, didn’t want to deal with it, didn’t want to admit that the seven foot blob of black I had seen for as long as I remembered was real. I didn’t want to admit that it had been living in the basement for longer than I had been alive. I didn’t want to admit that the weird sound of breathing I heard whenever I’d gone there was real.

But…..I had to face up to it.

I was rounding the last bend on the long staircase when I heard a soft, plaintive mewl.

It sounded like Cloud was in pain.

I don’t think I ever ran faster in my life.

Screaming a war cry, and knowing I sounded more like a guy going through puberty than I did an Amazon warrior, I ran into the basement.

And what would I hear right after reaching it but the horrifically familiar sound of breathing?

Heart in throat, I turned on the light switch beside me, and ran right back up the stairs.

He was tall and very thin, and wearing a suit. He had on a plain black tie. I didn’t dare look up at his face, because I knew what I would find there on his head….A plain white blob. No face.

It was Slenderman.

In the basement.

With my cat.

Who was in pain.

Swallowing, I knew what I had to do….

I ran up the steps, looking for my dad. I found him sitting in the study, reading. He looked over at me. “Did you find Cloud?”

I nodded, falling over for a moment, needing to breathe. I was safe for now. My dad got out of his chair and knelt beside me, rubbing my shoulder carefully. “Mithce, talk to me. What happened down there?”

“Slenderman….” I said dully, unable to move very much.

My dad inhaled sharply. “So I have been seeing him down there….”

I looked up at him. “You’ve seen him, too? And you didn’t stop Cloud from going down there?” I mewled, my voice rising to a shriek at the end of the question. I bolted to my feet, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him back and forth.

“I didn’t think I was actually seeing him…..Besides, he’s had plenty of opportunity to hurt any of us. Why hasn’t he?”

Well, that question shut me down. Slenderman could have killed me the second I turned on the light and saw him—but he didn’t. He could have even killed me before I turned on the light, or any of the other countless times I had gone down there over the years. I gave my dad a shrug, but he wasn’t looking at me anymore.

He was looking behind me. I felt the room grow heavier, and saw the lights flicker and grow dimmer. I smelled something dank.

I said very quietly, “Please tell me he isn’t right behind me….”

My dad hugged me very, very tightly and swallowed, holding me to him. I clung to him, not able to open my eyes for fear I’ll turn my head to the side and find myself staring into his face that’s not a face.

A few minutes pass. We stay frozen. We do not move. My dad starts walking backwards now, taking me with him. He sits down on the couch, keeping me curled up in his lap. “I won’t let you take her,” my father stated, his voice without the faintest tremor of fear.

I felt the room grow lighter then, and I heard footsteps leave the room. The time between them was far too long—they weren’t human legs….

My dad let me go.

I looked up at him, sitting beside him now, and I could see him crying. He started rocking back and forth. I hugged him tightly, hating seeing him cry. He just hugged me back and went right on shaking with fear. It wasn’t long until I was sobbing and shaking as well, fear running through my veins. I didn’t know what was going on, what was happening to me….

I just knew I really didn’t want to stay in this house any more.

Swallowing past the wall of tears in my throat, I told him I wanted to leave, and he just nodded, his tears still soaking my shirt.

About five minutes later, my mom walked in. She was carrying some subs from the Subway down the street. She saw us crying, and asked, her voice pretty much devoid of any real reaction: “What happened?”

I looked up at her, and couldn’t find any way to answer. I couldn’t tell her what we’d seen. She just wouldn’t believe us.

My dad reacted better than I did. “It’s….It’s nothing. We just couldn’t find Cloud anywhere….”

My mom smiled, and reached around the door into the hall. She grabbed something, turned around, and showed it to us.

It was Cloud. My little meowing ball of fluff and fur. Unable to contain myself, I grabbed her, and only when she was cuddled up close to me did I see the black cloth wrapped around her left leg.

Feeling my heartbeat race, I touched the makeshift cast. Sure enough, Cloud meowed in pain. Her leg was broken. That’s why she’d been meowing in pain—the poor cat must have fallen.

I almost relaxed until I took a closer look at the material.

It looked like it had been torn from something. It was nice material. It was simple and black, but still fancy. My mom, seeing me examine the cast, said with a smile, “Which one of you did that? I found the poor thing curled up on your bed, meowing up a storm. I checked on her, and I decided she was hungry, so I went down to the kitchen. When I got back up to your room, she was wrapped up like that and tucked into bed.”

I stared up at my mom, swallowing. My dad put a hand on my shoulder, and I could feel his fear just through that one action.

Slenderman had been in my bedroom.

An hour later, my dad had packed us all up, and we were heading right out the front door. My poor cat was back in the box she’d come in, already packed up with her favorite toys and food in the van. I was carrying out my suitcase, taking with me as many of my clothes, books, and hoarded bits of junk food that I could. I was not planning on coming back here for a very long time. I don’t think my dad was either. My mom? She thought we were going on a surprise visit to my nana. My nana who I hated, but….Anything is better than Slenderman, even if he did help my cat’s leg.

I climbed into the backseat of our minivan, plopping myself between the box of Cloud and a rather large pile of bags on my other side. My parents were up in the front seat, the middle chairs stacked high with their own things. The trunk was also stuffed full. Okay, my family doesn’t pack light. Does any family of rather rich people pack light, no matter where they go?

It would be a two hour drive to my nana’s house. My mom was on the phone with her, blabbing about how we’d be there soon. They were talking like they were the best of friends, even though I knew for a fact my mom couldn’t stand her overly prudish mother. Funny how much they resembled each other….

We were about a half hour into the drive when I fell asleep on the pile of suitcases, drifting away….

Into Minecraft.

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