My response to Rowena DeVandal's March version of her '1000 Words or Less Challenge' (which has it's own thread on the Fireplace). The March challenge covers 'life-changing events', and I do believe the aftermath of Shino's PKing qualifies as a life-changing section of Haseo's life...

Here it is, Haseo's trauma in (about) 817 words. Enjoy!

OxOxO

Disclaimer: I most certainly do not own Dothack...now as for a set of all seven games, on the other hand...

OxOxO


OxOxO

OxOxO

When Haseo logged into The World the first day after Shino's PKing, he'd been feeling optimistic.

There were PKings all the time, he thought. Shino had just been PKed, that was all. Surely she'd be back on today, or perhaps tomorrow, and they could go back to searching for Ovan, and things would be fine.

Really.

Haseo was even more hopeful to see that Shino was already logged in. He messaged her…but there was no response. He searched through the town, through her favorite fields and the Lost Grounds…but Shino wasn't in any of those places either.

Where was Shino? Haseo couldn't find her at all.

OxOxO

When Haseo logged into The World the first day after he'd visited Shino in the hospital, he'd been feeling numb.

Shino was in a coma. In the real world, outside of the fake one The World provided, she was silent, unmoving and unresponsive.

Inside The World, inside this world of data and textures and polygons, Shino was still logged in. Didn't that mean she was here, somewhere? Shino had always loved The World, loved it with a passion that Haseo had never felt himself. So if she wasn't in the real world, it made sense that she'd be here.

All Haseo had to do was to find Shino. Where could she be?

OxOxO

When Haseo logged into The World the first day after learning about the Forest of Pain Event, he'd been feeling determined.

Shino wasn't waking up. He couldn't find her in the game and he couldn't reach her in the real world either. And it had to be that damn PKer's fault! The PKer with the red-clothed character, the one that appeared in blue fire like a ghost, like a devil.

The one whose PK victims never, ever returned to the game.

Haseo had to find him, Haseo had to find him and Haseo had to beat him and Haseo had to force him to reveal the secret of whatever he was doing to those players he was killing. And once Haseo learned the secret, he could tell the doctors at Shino's hospital and then they would be able to wake Shino up.

And then Haseo and Shino could find Ovan and then everything would be fine.

Really.

But for Haseo to find Tri-Edge, he'd have to get information from other PKers, probably a lot of them. And the only way to make a PKer talk was to beat them down, wasn't it? So Haseo had to get stronger. He had to get so much stronger…

The Forest of Pain would make him stronger. He could feel it in his bones, somehow.

OxOxO

When Haseo logged into The World the first day after he reached the bottom of the Forest of Pain, he'd been feeling angry.

The anger, as well as the ache in his body from whatever the old man had done to him, never went away.

Wherever he went, whatever he did, Haseo was just so angry. He raged at Tabby and her stupid antics. He raged at Phyllo and his unwanted lectures. He raged at the PKers and their ridiculous attempts to take him out. He raged at Midori and the ease at which she'd PKed him.

Haseo didn't care that Shino would hate him as he was now: that didn't matter at all! He was strong now, strong enough to kill Tri-Edge! As soon as he found Tri-Edge, Haseo would beat him down, tear him apart until the PKer confessed to what he'd done that made Shino disappear. And Haseo would bring Shino back, and then…

Haseo didn't need anyone's help. He had all the power he needed, right inside him.

OxOxO

When Haseo logged into The World the first day after his defeat by Tri-Edge, he'd been feeling lost.

He had found Tri-Edge…he had even found Ovan! But Tri-Edge had reformatted his character, brought Haseo back to a mere beginner's ranking from his previously lofty perch. And Haseo still hadn't found out what Tri-Edge had done to Shino. It must have been different from what Tri-Edge had done to him…Haseo hadn't fallen into a coma, hadn't disappeared…

But maybe this was a disappearance, of sorts. The players that would always flinch, that would always find excuses to walk and warp away…now they barely gave him a glance. No one could see the famous 'Terror of Death' was standing amongst them…no one recognized him.

Even those who had known Haseo before were gone…Tabby was giving up the game to be a nurse. Phyllo's player had died. No one from the Twilight Brigade was left and Ovan had vanished as mysteriously as he'd appeared.

Now Haseo was as alone as he always wanted to be. He was alone, and he was weak, and he didn't even have the mocking comfort of Shino's name on his member's address list anymore…Haseo didn't have anything at all, and it hurt more than he'd ever expected it to.

It hurt

OxOxO

FIN

OxOxO