Leilani Poltorak, age 15
This story was inspired by a video game prompt from a WriteGirl writing meetup.
In the Game
“Who are you?”
Hajime Hinata is looking at me. Make no mistake, he is a 2D character on a screen, but for some reason I feel like he can see me. Like the television is simply a window, and we’re standing on opposite sides.
I press the X button on my controller, but the dialogue doesn’t advance. He still stands there. Watching.
Glancing around the room to make sure no one else is there to hear me, I gulp. “Can you … see me?”
His sprite changes to one of affirmation. “Yes … you’re on the TV … in my room.” The line appears in a text box as he speaks.
My heart pounds in my ears. This has to be a trick, right? Something set up by the developers to make players think the fourth wall is being broken?
“You’re on mine,” I try replying, feeling slightly dumb for talking to a video game character.
The image on screen changes once again. Hajime’s hand is pressed up against the glass. “What … is this?”
I put down my controller. As if in a trance, I stand, walking up to the TV and overlapping my hand with his. As soon as my palm touches the screen, I get the sensation of being pulled. Violently, I’m whisked off my feet. White light envelops my vision and I’m …
I hit the floor with a thud, eyes shut to brace for the impact. I open them slowly.
The room I’m in — it’s not my room. I hastily push myself to my feet. No. No, it can’t be.
That voice came from the TV, didn’t it? I start to move toward it, then freeze. I know what’s happened. It seems impossible, it must be impossible, but there’s no other answer.
If I’m right, that means —
“Hey! Are you there? You’re in there, right?”
“Hajime?” I manage to say. I’m shaking. He’s there. He’s on the screen, but he’s not in the game anymore.