"Owned!" Yelled Luke, shooting yet another person in the head. High on the thrill of the kill, he whipped out a knife and stabbed two other people before he was taken out by a rocket launcher.
He respawned and rushed out into the streets. Luke loved this map. He knew every corner, every hiding place, every choke point.
He turned a corner and saw three enemy soldiers. He fired, killing all three of them in a messy exchange of gunfire.
Reload. He rushed into another building, and found himself behind another group of enemies engaging some of his team mates.
He stabbed several of them before whipping out his rifle and finishing off the rest.
"Oh my god, I was shooting at you and you didn't die, you hacker!" Someone had used voicechat to complain.
"Learn to play, noob," Luke said casually.
Everyone noes that AK-47 is OP! Some fool had typed into the chat feed. Typed! Probably too useless to buy a headset.
"The only thing OP is me, you scrub!" Luke replied, using his own headset. Suddenly, the game froze for a few seconds. A message popped up on the screen.
You have been kicked from the server, the game told him.
Luke stamped his foot in frustration. He quit the game and logged on to his E-mail. Sifting through the clan invitations, a certain e-mail had caught his eye.
Congratulations, Luke Chandler, you have been selected to compete in Killzone!
Luke's heart skipped a beat. He closed the browser, then started up the game again.
He was going to need some practice.
Shane walked into the bar, like the start of a bad joke. Slowly, he approached the counter, focusing on random objects.
"Gimme the usual, Fred," he told the bartender without looking at him.
"Comin' up," Fred replied. Shane's 'usual' was really just a couple of bottles of beer. Reaching behind the counter, Fred took two bottles of ice-cold beer from the fridge behind him and placed them on the counter, along with a large mug.
Shane had thought of twenty four ways to kill the bartender.
I wasn't always like this, he reflected, trying to drive away the thought of murdering his only friend. He was drafted during the war. It was either that or jail. He couldn't remember how long he had been in the army. Eight years, at most.
Army life. He had missed it. The discipline, the order, the physical conditioning.
He shook his head to clear his thoughts. He filled the mug with beer and took a big gulp from it.
His thoughts drifted back to the army. Trying to pinpoint exactly when he started to enjoy the violence. He never wanted to leave.
That all changed when someone had tossed a grenade into the foxhole he was hiding in.
He had got out just in time. The medics took him to the field hospital, and he survived. His arm was weak, one of his eyes couldn't see as well as he used to, and there was probably some shrapnel in there somewhere, but he was fine.
Not good enough for the army, apparently. He was given an 'honorable discharge', and booted out of his barracks into the real world.
"By the way, Shane," Fred said suddenly, Shane looked up from his drink, his thoughts interrupted. "Some guy in a suit came here a few hours ago. Dropped this off for you," Fred continued as he reached into his pocket and retrieved a letter. He handed it to Shane.
Shane took the letter, and opened it slowly. It looked like some kind of contract.
Congratulations, Shane Johnson, the header said, You have been selected to compete in Killzone!
Shane's eyes widened, and he stuffed the piece of paper into his pocket. Maybe once he won, once he was done killing, maybe then he would have enough.
Maybe the nightmares would stop.