Eric Teague is moments away from making history. Thanks to him, the world of gaming is about to experience technology like it has never seen before. When his new establishment, Against the Game, opens, playing video games will be a thing of the past.
At Against the Game, players experience the game as if it is real in a virtual reality. There is no TV, no console with wires and controllers. The game feels absolutely real. Kids get so much more than puppeteering cartoonish characters through a game of basketball. No matter the person’s health or physical ability, they will be the characters in a world without limits and they will experience what it is really like to compete as a pro ball player.
During test trials, kids called Against the Game “amazing,” “fantastic,” and “miraculous.” One kid declared it was the best experience of his life. Indeed, everyone knew it was going to be something big enough to alter the whole gaming industry. For Eric, it meant a long awaited dream come true.
But, all too soon, reality breaks into Eric’s moment when something goes terribly wrong. He and his best friend Lacey get trapped in the virtual reality of the supercomputer behind his establishment. It is definitely no longer just a game. The danger is real. The consequences are real. And, Eric and Lacey’s fight for survival is more than real.
To live, they must win, and to win, they must overcome the biggest challenge of all: to trust and to love.
There were more than a couple snakes, more than ten, upwards of even hundreds. There had to be thousands of them. The dirt of the tunnel was hardly visible beneath the reptiles. Indeed, the floor looked as if it moved.
It would be impossible to walk through them without getting bit. Would he have time to hit the button before he died in the game? He had to get out before the venom killed him. That was the only way he would survive.
He looked down at his bare feet and cringed. No matter, he had to do this! There was no other way out of there. He had to get to that red exit button so he could save Lacey and Paula. Nothing else mattered.
Why wouldn’t his damn feet move?
Taking a deep breath, he strived for courage. He pictured Lacey in his mind, reminding himself what he was doing this for. She needed him and he would not let her down.
After one more breath, he took one hesitant step forward, burrowing his foot slowly down between the snakes, feeling for the floor. He had to use his toes to ease in between them, even scoot a few out of his way. If he could manage not to hurt them, maybe he could avoid a bite. Maybe.
He had to force himself not to jerk away from the feel of the snakes sliding against his bare foot. This was absolute torture. It was hell.
Finally, he placed his foot to the floor and moved forward with the next foot. One step was down and he wasn’t bitten. He tried to move as little as possible, but he was helpless against the trembling that violently shook him.
Eric didn’t consider himself a coward. Only an idiot wouldn’t have been scared. He was smart enough to know he was probably one step closer to his death.
His foot hit the floor again, so he attempted step number three. He held his breath through the next few steps when he felt some very large snakes in the mix. It had to have been a python. At least that kind of snake wasn’t poisonous. The bite wouldn’t kill him. It would just cause a lot of pain.
Eric winced when he felt a sharp pain just above his left ankle. It was a snake bite. He tried hard not to jerk away, afraid that would cause more bites. It hurt so badly. This snake didn’t give a quick bite and recoil. No, it bit and started chewing.
Without any other choice, he ignored the pain and kept going, dragging the snake along. His next step was wobbly and he stepped down on a snake. It bit, a quick attack this time, not clinging to him like the other one. Then, he felt another bite. Maybe it was a different snake or maybe it was a second bite from the same one.
It was time to get moving. Going slow wasn’t working anymore.
He quit worrying about where his feet went and started moving faster. Leaping over the snakes and landing softly became the new strategy. He had to get to that exit sign as quickly as possible.
The snakes continued to bite him with just about every step he took. He kept close to the wall and used one hand for balance so he didn’t fall. If he went down, he wouldn’t get back up.
He started feeling nauseous. His head started swimming and he had to lean on the wall more and more as he went. Who knew what kind of snake venom he had in his blood stream by now? He knew one thing was for sure. He didn’t have much time or he was not going to make it to that button.
The distance seemed more and more impossible to him even though he was now three quarters of the way there. He didn’t think he would make it before he passed out. He hated damn snakes. He did not want to die this way!
His feet grew slick beneath him and Eric knew the moisture was blood, his blood. His hands began to tingle and he realized he had bites there as well. Were these stupid snakes jumping now?
Three more steps and he went down. He couldn’t help it. His legs just gave out. He had no choice but to start crawling.
The reptiles went into a biting frenzy, attacking him everywhere at once, and he let out a scream. Many of them stayed attached, flopping against him. The pain was everywhere now. He couldn’t distinguish one bite from the next. He hurt all over.
This was a terrifyingly for-real horror movie scene. He couldn’t think of a more horrific way to go out of this world, but he didn’t stop. He couldn’t. He had to keep moving!
It was definitely a miracle that he made it to the end of the hall, but he did. The exit button sat above his head, ready for him to push it, but he couldn’t get up. He tried. The tingling that was in his hands had spread everywhere. He was numb, whether from a side effect of venom or from a state of shock, he couldn’t be sure.
“Come on!” he growled at himself.
He tried again, digging his fingers into the wall to pull himself up. Again, he thought of Lacey. He couldn’t let her die because of his creation. That was unacceptable to him.
He shook violently, but his body did rise. He used his very last burst of energy to slam his fist into the exit button. Then, he let himself fall into unconsciousness.