The sound of a disrupting shriek wallowed in one of my ears and out the other. Ugh. I sighed. It’s that moronic barn owl once again. Whenever I’m coding or studying for an upcoming test on the Zero Point Field, the owl always seems to know. It shrieks and wails and tries to be as annoying as a plump little bird can be. I shudder with annoyance. Can’t that thing shut its beak for one minute?
I try unsuccessfully to ignore the owl while coding and tapping away on my computer. I, Cyril Barlowe, am currently trying to create a mobile game. It’s really supposed to be just a battle royale, with only two characters, (And two armies that must fight against each other) and that’s it. But it’s really become a hobby. I like coding! And to be honest, I’m pretty happy with the characters I came up with.
First, there’s Anubis, a tall, human-like cat with purple fur and a sarcastic, playful, and brotherly personality. He wears black shorts and a matching black vest with pistols, ammunition, and assorted explosives strapped to his garments.
My second character is Bastet, a fennec fox with evil intentions. She, like Anubis, is bipedal and very tall, like a human. She wears Egyptian clothing, such as a pharaoh hat and a kilt. The clothing has hieroglyphics imprinted on them; curses and spells that kill if somebody has the curiosity to translate the writing. She doesn’t have guns like Anubis, but she has the powers which she uses for -you guessed it- evil. She can make a good person bad and can hurl spheres of utter, incomprehensible death at its poor victims.
To be completely honest, I feel like I’m best friends with these characters, seen as I’ve been working on, or with them for such a long time. I’ve been working on this game for years now, living alone in the back of the supermarket’s storage room. I go to school, keep under cover, buy groceries, and live the life of a 13-year-old who secretly lives alone in the back of a literal shopping arena.
Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?
My parents died a while ago, and all my relatives didn’t have the money (or care) to take me in. So, I live alone. My relatives and I aware of my unusual responsibility.
And I’m okay with that.
*Pound! Pound! * A sudden eruption of bangs behind me scatters up my spine. Did they finally find me? I think to myself, hoping that the Child Services hasn’t found me. Shaking with spine-chilling horror, I lifted my twin mattress, leaned it against the wall and hid behind it, peeking out slightly. Finally, whoever was behind the door sighed deeply and opened the door. As soon as I saw who it really was, my heart started to beat again, and my blood started to flow again. It was my two friends, Valerie and Siebold.
Oh, thank god.
I tried to move, but my body was still frozen with fear and literal emotional agony. “Where’s Cyril?” Siebold mumbled quietly. Then again, he always mumbles quietly as if he raised his voice he would explode or something. I knew Valerie saw me, but she played dumb. “Hmm, y’know...” Valerie began. She smacked her lips, put her hands on her hips, and shook her head. “I don’t have the foggiest idea! That Cyril, always playing hide and seek with his imaginary friend. What was his name? Anubis?” Valerie smiled slightly, trying to contain her laughter.
I shook my head and grinned.
This was an inside joke between Siebold, Valerie, and I. Siebold looked puzzled at first, but then spotted me and played along with Valerie’s theatrics. “Gosh. I cannot believe that Cyril. Um... Like, he’s always on his phone, coding, and stuff. Kids these days.” Siebold cracked. I mean, he tried. Siebold is a horrible actor. Valerie chuckled, but she really wasn’t laughing at the joke, but at Siebold, really. “Where could he be? Oh! Siebold, what could that be? Behind the mattress? Where is that a rotund, plump boy?” Valerie asked.
“Okay, wow.” I finally said emerging from behind the mattress like a caveman walking out of his domain and seeing the sun for the first time. Siebold smacked his hands on his cheeks and raised his eyebrows. “Whaaaaaat?! Cyril?! Could that be you?” Siebold exclaimed. Valerie, Siebold, and I cracked up.
You may be thinking, “Yeesh. Some friends. They’re pretty rough.” And yes, they are. But it’s like a cycle. Soon I’m going to find something to make fun of them about. It’s 8th grade, after all. And yes, I am a tiny bit plump. Not rotund, like Valerie mentioned. Some things Valerie will tell you aren’t always true. She loves to gossip with the other girls at school. If it was a sport, Valerie would be winning gold Olympic medals left and right.
Valerie has long, straight, jet-black hair. She throws it over her back, because apparently, it’s ‘bothersome’. She wears a purple and black bow in her hair. Her outfit is indescribable; she wears a purple and pink skirt with black leggings and pink and purple high heels. She sports a glass butterfly tied around her neck as a necklace, and assorted fur coats. It stuns me how that girl chooses what to wear in the morning.
Siebold, on the other hand, wears fancy, black shoes. He also wears black jeans and a leather belt. He wears a buttoned, blue varsity jacket with shoulder pads. (Tucked into his jeans, obviously. He wouldn't be caught dead with the jacket loose and unruly like that.) He has blonde hair but with a tuft of the same blue that splashes his jacket with color. He was just born with it, believe it or not.
I have very, very short light brown hair. Valerie and Siebold joke that I’m “almost bald but not quite.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean. I usually wear a white t-shirt with a lightning bolt on it and with peach khakis. I’m pretty short, too, and really bland to be honest.
Maybe someday I’ll grow abs of steel and long, glamorous hair, I thought.
And the cheekbones that the gals go crazy for. Let’s add those to the cart, too. Yeah, as if.
After Siebold, Valerie and I stopped dying of laughter, Valerie asked me, “So. Cyril. What’s up?” I raised my right eyebrow into an arch and left the other flat. “It’s literally 6:47 as of right now. What do you mean by ‘what’s up?’” I remarked. Yes, it was true. I usually wake up at, like, 6:30. Not gonna lie, it’s not the healthiest sleep schedule ever, but, like, coding is my passion. And sometimes you gotta work around a few things. Valerie and Siebold on the other hand, well, Siebold’s parents are rich, are quite careless, so he can slip in and out of the house whenever. That is, if it hasn’t rained the previous night. Siebold will stay in his room the whole day if it means he avoids getting his precious, fancy shoes tarnished. And Valerie just says she’s going to a friend’s house. Which, technically true, if you call this a “house”.
Valerie glanced at Siebold worriedly. I had a feeling there was something they weren’t letting me in on. The room ran silent as we all stared at each other, mainly me simply staring at the two of them and them staring at me. “Well, this is, *Ahem* y’know the same day that stuff happened, and...” Siebold managed to say. Valerie improvised from Siebold’s stumbling and stuttering. “Today was the anniversary of your parent’s death, so we just wanted to check up on you.” I hadn’t even realized what day it was. Then again, I didn’t really care what day it was... It didn’t really matter. I was okay, at least. Though it was nice of them to check up on me. “Yeah, I-I’m good.” I muttered.
Wow. Fantastic job, Cyril. That statement matched your personality, you imbecile.
Valerie sighed in relief. “Good.” Siebold grinned sheepishly. “Also, Valerie needed help with the upcoming math quiz.” Siebold said. Valerie blushed, her face burning with either embarrassment or defiance. I sure couldn’t tell. I strutted towards my mattress and let it fall to the floor, thinking of my emotions when I thought the childcare services had found me. I shuddered and got two metallic, rusted chairs from storage, put them next to my chair, and opened my math notes. I turned to Siebold and Valerie who were waiting patiently. I smiled and lifted my arms up, displaying my excuse for a study room, “absolute luxury,” I said jokingly.
We all giggled as I threw my arms backward in a display of amusement. My hand hit my plastic cup filled with kiwi juice, which spilled all over my illuminated keyboard. I gasped in utter horror.
The keyboard sparked wildly, and you see energy riding up the wires connecting my keyboard and my monitors and other electrical appliances. The room started shaking in horrific, jerky spasms. I stepped backward instinctually, bumping Valerie and Siebold.
“W-What’s going on?” I was mentally combusting, wondering how kiwi juice could cause my whole desk to erupt in sparks, and purple flames. Wait... purple fire? I was starting to think of Bastet, my video game character. Magenta flames? Shaking rooms? Could it be?
“Cyril!” I whipped my head around, to see Valerie drilling holes in my eyes. “What’s happening?” I paused. “You’re a riot, Valerie!” I exclaimed. Suddenly, a white light formed in front of us. It seemed to be some sort of sensation, an energy I don’t know how to explain or comprehend. It felt like fear, and agony. A fox wearing a green, red, and beige kilt formed from the white orb that used to be in front of our very eyes. You guessed it. Bastet was here, ready to rip apart its creator. A toothy grin stretched across Bastet’s face, and she chuckled.
“Children,” she muttered blankly and with no explanation.
She dug her claws into the tiles, which tore into pieces, like an earthquake. Siebold and I were separated from Valerie, just missing our outstretched arms, trying to reach her across the chasm. “Siebold! Cyril! Help!” Valerie cried. Bastet grabbed Valerie by the neck an pulled her forward. “Please! I... No! Help!” Valerie stammered, struggling to breath in at Bastet’s grasp.
Siebold and I just watched in terror.
Bastet released Valerie, who tried to run towards us, but Bastet grabbed Valerie’s pink fur coat and hurled her backward. Valerie was prisoner.
“But it’s fake fur.” Valerie managed to say, lying against the crumbling wall.
Bastet laughed an evil laugh and said words I don’t think I’ll ever forget “Children don’t realize the monsters they create. The evil, abominations they think of now and then. Guess what?” I didn’t answer, frozen on an island of tile Siebold and I were standing on. “W-What?” Siebold said. “They die.” Purple fireballs formed in her hands.
The walls were caving in.
We were trapped.
There was no hope.
Then, there was a gunshot. Bastet’s eyes bulged out her head in surprise. She fell to the floor, a purple-furred cat standing on its two legs. “Well, that was an easily-avoided dilemma.” Anubis said, casually. I grinned, relieved and full of surprise. “Anubis!” I was wondering where Anubis was this whole time! “I will never criticize you again.” Valerie muttered, chuckling. Anubis turned his head, to see Valerie collapsed on the floor. “Oh my.” Anubis said, seeing a wide scratch on Valerie’s cheek. Anubis knelt down and licked her face. “That’s just gross,” Valerie said. And we all laughed. Anubis had won the battle. Maybe not the war, but definitely the battle. And, hey! Now, I’ve got my very own five-and-a-half-foot-tall speaking cat named after an Egyptian god! And two amazing friends.