I’m about to blast a Grunt when the game freezes. Mom’s commandeered the link, and now she appears, in her old chinos and a tee-shirt, among the rubble of the Axis bunker.
“Mom! Get off!” As long as she’s on, my avatar is frozen like an idiot and open to attack. I text Katya my situation although it should be obvious.
“Don’t speak to me in that tone, Ian!” Mom says. “Log off and come to the kitchen.”
There’s no point in arguing. I shut down my avatar and sign off. I hope Katya makes it to the next level. If not, no way is she partnering with me again, or sitting next to me at lunch.
The 3D shuts down, sucking the setting sun up to the foreground rubble. The wall fades to beige. I flop back on the floor. It’s always startling how small my room is when the screen is off. My toes touch the wall where the screen was, and when I stretch my hands up over my head, I can feel the curved join where the opposite wall becomes the floor.
I get up, slide the door open and yell, “What do you...
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By day, Rebecca Schwarz is a mild-mannered editorial assistant for a scientific journal, by night she writes science fiction and fantasy stories. Her work has appeared in Interzone, PodCastle, Bourbon Penn, New Myths, Luna Station Quarterly, and Daily Science Fiction among other venues. She is the current coordinator of the ArmadilloCon Writing Workshop. You can read about her writing life at www.curiousworlds.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @curiousworlds