Chapter 4

Flop: Fun

Once upon a time there'd been a storage center. The storage center had been a simple case of plaster walls and cheap tin garage doors, the. Poorly ended by the owner and abandoned by it's tenents life had gone on. Deteriation had come in degrees, the pealing of green paint, the rusting of gears. Soon such unsightly features were masked in the growing dark of the towering behomiths as an ambitions downtown grew around the lot. Shade crossed and criss-crossed in bulky garages of the storage center. And all was preserved because it was forgotten, and for being forgotten it continued to rot.

Ambition had come and gone, the towers now swayed like drunkards in the gathering gloom. Surrounded by a modern day ruin, she crained her neck up to consider the broken bloody teeth of glass. Steel frames poked out of the crumbling edges of fallen enterprises, and the world was stained a haunting skin of illusionary red as the sun continued it's callous descent into nights maw. Even the flesh, exspecially the flesh...

She shivered, and Tom drapped a companionable arm over her shoulders, offering a bit of warmth if nothing else.

From descent they rose only to be guilded to these ruins. Her favorite drop off place from the Basement was this abandoned storige center. It offered a short walk from the present local to home. It also had the dubious convenince of being near a bus stop. Not taht she would dare catch the bus by an abandoned lot. Someone as well dressed as she was should have been driving a car or in worse case scenario should have the were withall to call a cab. But cars had to be parked, and cabbies asked question so to avoid both she walked. Absently paralleling a bus route in hopes that if anything "happened" there could be witnesses and perhaps heros.

It was at the garage, or other broken down places scatered around town, that the players were released. Like wild animals they were sent out to the wild to mingle and meld. From the edges, circling in, they slipped from there rotting waystations back to the real.

Some gamers faded from the gameworld in a state of shock, others left on edge, those were the easy to spot ones. Those players had hollowed out gazes of those seeing heaven and being denied. The hopeless grew to hate the "real" world. Being "unplugged" for them lead to a ephiny. Long ago, before the fed's and various other govormental bodied had laid down there prohibitations those few player had come to realize that they held power and were being forced to recind it again and again.

All because the world they came from would never respect them, never know then...

Such was the plight of the desperate, the wild eyed, the eternally frusterated. For one such as her the fangs of frusteration hadn't sunk in yet. Too wound up in the pains of her present reality that consitted of the aches of a weak body and the melodrama of a mind caught in an extended adolescence, the fangs hadn't hit home.

Picking her way over rubble and walking alongside walls scarred by bullets and doors that were dented or riped out so someone could take and sell the tin the unusual pair made there way through the ordered rows of discolored company patened colored building with there patches of vibrant graffetti. On the edge of the uneven grounds Tom stopped, let his arm drop.

"Tell me about your day."

So she did, detailing every event from log in to drop out, and Tom smiled wide, flashing browning teeth and even indulging in a laugh.

"Damn good day then."

She snorted at that coment, not quite laughing, -she hadn't laughed, not in years- but it was close enough to make Tom laugh again like he was joining in with the greatest laugher in the world.

"You had fun evenin' score wi' Doggie."

"That was fun." She replied, saying what Tom wanted to hear, as always. Then, in honor of the irony of the moment she flashed him a quick smile that was returned in length and warmth by brown-yellow teeth. "It would have been better if he hadn't descided to drag me out into traffic to get even." The gamer tagged on, rolling her shoulder's in a half hearted shrug.

"You had fun." Tom countered. Then, having used up all his talk, he turned on his heel and made his way back to the one garage in the lot that had the way back to the Basement set up.

At least it was the one that lead down for this week, they'd change it next, as always.

It was only when she slipped out of the dark and began to walk down the red tinted road that she realized that the fighting aside she'd had had fun.

For the first time in years.