Let's Play a Game - Chapter 1

I stared at the ceiling of my bedroom while a complex menagerie of feelings churned through me. I was angry, sad, frustrated, and depressed. I've been lying on my bed for hours now; too lethargic and emotionally drained to do…anything really.

It had been two weeks since the locker and a week since I left the hospital. Luckily, I had only a minor infection from the fucking toxic waste I was covered in. The bigger concerns were the heart arrhythmia and the mental breakdown, but after some observation and a near trip to the psych ward, I was discharged without any issues.

Winslow paid for the hospital visit and not much else. Dad and I just couldn't afford to do anything else. The police weren't even investigating anymore. I only caught half the rant from Dad on the house phone, but apparently Winslow's administration convinced the police that it was just a prank gone wrong, and no one saw who pushed poor Ms. Hebert into her locker. Fucking figures.

I…still haven't told him the specifics, but I know it won't change a damn thing if I do. My word against theirs, like always. If not a single one of the dozens of students who saw Sophia fucking Hess push me into that fucking locker said anything yet, they weren't going to all of a sudden do it now if I said anything.

And without any hard evidence like that, the police won't be able to do anything. I closed my eyes tightly, as angry hot tears start to spill. Not to mention Emma shitty Barnes has her own lawyer dad to help her there too if it even gets that far.

There's no winning here is there? I was going to be stronger than them. I was going to weather everything they shot at me and carry on... but I don't think I can do it anymore. They've won. I've lost, and god do I feel broken for admitting that even to myself.

Who am I fucking kidding… They almost killed me and no one but Dad seems to give a fuck. If the janitor didn't let me out at the end of the day, apparently after I had passed out, would I have been there all night? Would I have gotten toxic shock or have had a heart attack? And even if I did die…would they still weasel their way out like they always fucking do?

I start breathing faster and faster. No, fucking no. I'm not going back to that hell hole. I physically can't do this shit anymore. They'll just fucking escalate and escalate until I'm dead, won't they? Until one of their pranks does it or they finally drive me to do it myself… And god, how fucking messed up is my life that the second option there sounds even the slightest bit appealing.

Dad's got a box knife in his tools in the house somewhere. Just a little pressure on the wrist, and no more fucking Winslow, no more fucking bullies, and no more fucking worthless piece of shit Taylor Hebert. No more pain… I'm outright sobbing now, feeling a sense of gratitude that Dad's out at work right now. Really, a single knife stroke and all my problems would be gone…

I shake my head. No…I can't do that… Even if Dad's practically shambling through life right now as a robot after Mom's death, and even if I kind of resent him for just…shutting down like he has, I couldn't do that to him. If Mom's death affected him this badly…mine would end him for good…and I still love him even if he hasn't been around like he should…


I don't know what to do… Oh, god, what am I going to do? I… My mind blanked. Time passed as I wept. Eventually, I cried myself to sleep.

You've rested in your own bed. Your HP and MP have been restored to full and all status effects have been removed.

I blink. I blink again. I blink a third time. Nope…the hallucination is still there… Am I dreaming?

I raise a hand to my face. Nope, my face is still a bit wet from the monsoon of tears…and yes, there's still a rather large amount of snot running down my nose. I pinch my cheek. Ow. Well, that's that. I should really clean myself up in a few minutes…but first things first. I reach my hands toward the floating blue box... and I feel resistance.

My eyes widen. I turn my head slowly towards my clock. Six-Thirty PM.

Ooookay; that means I've been asleep for about two hours now, Dad's going to be home soon…so I should probably start dinner. Huh, I haven't fixed any food for dad in a while and I should real- Wait. I shake my head back and forth rapidly. WaitWaitWait…

Wait a minute here. Something's off. I stare back at the message that may or may not be a hallucination. Unless I developed a mental disorder in the last few hours, it's probably not. I quickly run through my memories of my thoughts before my nap, and wow were they dark…

Geez, I was actually thinking of suicide there for a minute, and now…I'm…not… I feel…content actually. Sure, there's still anger and frustration, but not enough to distract my thoughts…and the sadness is only slightly there. Those feelings are just kind of…muted. Most importantly, I don't feel depressed at all anymore…

I read the blue box again. While poking it...and yup, still feeling a thing there… Okay, so if this isn't a hallucination…and I'm not dreaming…then that must mean…

"Depression's a status effect?"

My eyes widen, as the full conclusion finally gets into my head.

"I have super powers! I'm a cape!"