A Gamer’s Grief. A short story by Ashley Houston.

Samantha was thinking back to when she had first started playing video games. Her dad had introduced her five-year old self to the wonders of his old Nintendo. She did not want to stop playing Super Mario Brothers, which resulted in her father having to forcefully pull her away from their small TV.

She pushed the thoughts of her father away as she realized that she was not paying attention to her frantic mother.

“Are you listening, sweetheart?” Her mother asked in a shaky voice, tears spilling out of her bright blue eyes.

Samantha looked blankly at her mother, trying to keep the tears within her hazel eyes. Something else her father had given to her. They both had hazel eyes…thinking about that is what broke the shield she had been trying to keep up.

The tears traced a cold path down her cheeks.

“Oh sweetie, we will make it through this…” Her mother held her arms out to her shaking daughter.

She walked into her mother’s open arms, hugging her tightly back. They cried together till they had no tears left.

“Your father was always proud of you, you know that. Let’s keep trying to live our lives to the fullest, for him.”

Samantha nodded, not wanting to speak.

Time kept going forward, her father’s memory fading yet always there in the back of her mind. The video games she played became more and more of an obsession, a way for her to stay close to her father. At least that was what she told herself.

Her mother would worriedly check up on her, often times bringing her dinner. “I really wish that you would join me, downstairs for dinner.”

She paused her game, to look back at her mother’s worried face.

“Sure, I will….just want to get past this level.”

She looked away, waiting for her mother to leave, not intending to pause her game play except for when she went to school.

Even when she was in her classes she was a ghost of her former self, no longer interested in the conversations that her friends were having. She could not wait till that last bell rang so that she could walk to her bike and ride it home.

There it was, her relief from the grief that she would not allow to pass. The grief that she held onto as she grew even more attached to her online world. She felt closer to her father as she played some of the same games he used to play.

It was the weekend so she knew she could stay up into the early morning hours, if she wanted to. She sighed as one particular game started to get on her nerves, for some reason she just could not get past that final level.

Suddenly, she remembered when her father seemed to be really upset about something, he would stop whatever it was that he was doing. He would walk over to the window nearest to him and look at the world that lived beyond their home.

“There is more to life than just us, there is an exciting world out there, my little Sammie.” She could remember him saying to her when she was little before her video game obsession really kicked in.

“Weird that I would suddenly just think about that. “ She whispered to herself.

She paused her game, deciding to look outside.

The stars were shining brightly down from their respective places within the night sky. She opened her window, breathing in the cool autumn air. It reminded her of hot chocolate and camp fires in the days prior to her father’s death, prior to her video game obsession.

For a moment she thought about taking a break from those video games, a break from her online life. It only took her a moment for her to shake the thought away and then she was closing her window, turning back to her leather gaming chair which she had inherited from her father.

It was just as she was putting on her headphones, that she heard a tapping noise which caused her to freeze. The hairs on the back of her neck raising up. Her skin was covered in goosebumps and yet she did not shy away from whatever was making the tapping noise. She wanted to know where it was coming from, what was making the noise even though she was shaking.

“This must be what irrational fear is like…” She spoke aloud to herself.

She thought back to one of the various zombie games she had played.

“Maybe there is a ghost at my window…” She spoke louder.

The tapping started up again, almost as if in response to her.

She pulled her curtain back from her window and saw something that she did not expect to see.

The glass of the window was frosted over… “Please, come outside. Don’t lose yourself to the imaginary give the real world a chance, my girl. Let go, for the time has come that I must move on. I love you.”

She was crying, her hand touching the freezing glass which was causing the words to fade. She could see outside a little, there was a dark figure looking up at her from the ground below. It was only there for few seconds before completely disappearing.

When her mother came to check up on her, she was a balled-up mess sleeping fitfully on her floor next to her window. With a sigh her mother bent down and tried to wake her up.

When she woke up she began to cry. It did not take long for her mother to figure out why she was crying.

“Shh, shh…I know sweetheart. I miss him too.”

Her mother brushed her hair from her sweaty forehead. “Come downstairs with me. I will make some hot chocolate and we can talk. I have been waiting for the wall that you built around yourself to come down.”

She followed her mother out of the room, not sure if she wanted to tell her about what had just happened.

As they were sitting down at the kitchen table, each stirring their hot chocolate, she decided to tell her mother what had happened.

Her mother smiled at her. “I am glad that your father talked to you. I know there is nothing I could have done to break through that wall you have encased around yourself, since his death. I have been so worried about you!”

The girl smiled back at her mother for the first time since her father’s death.

“So you do believe me?”

“I do believe you…never doubt that, sweetheart! Now I wonder if you will take your father’s advice? Maybe we could go camping this weekend like we used to…”

“I think, I would like that.”

 

I took a picture of my husband’s Xbox one for this short story… 😀

Hope you enjoyed reading my short story! 🙂

 

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