D H S Davis would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

A Game without a Cure

By D H S Davis All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Scifi


Rodney Tavistock felt compelled by the offer, no two ways about it.

There were simply no more exciting immersive reality platforms out there in the gamespace than the one that had wormed its way into his inbox with the sharpness of a bolt shot by a deranged Phrenologist into the side of an unsuspecting patient's violently-trepanned head.

The offer, in the first instance, seemed simple enough: you could become any major pathogenic disease. Become surely wasn’t right, he thought, catching himself fall prey to the knee-jerk sceptical questioning response so systemic of this age.

But no, they had it right. His eyes scanned further, looking quietly dumbfounded. You were rendered as a floating digital “interact”, seeing out from one of a million nanocams seeded throughout the general populace of the earth. The aim, novel, he thought, before remembering he’d seen something similar in a treasure hunt book as a child. The nanocam Intellibot had to return to sender or, in Rodney’s case, to him. Still, the subset game… that was infinitely more complex: you would work your way through as many people and population centres as possible, seeding unwilling victims with your particular strains of diseases, infecting along the way.

Terrifying, the feeling sat within his gut and made words a struggle, numbing the tip of his tongue inside his mouth. He was hooked: one quick digipay transact here, a few affirmatively ticked limited liability conditions there and before he could think encephalopathy he’d saddled up, entered his head-feed, greedily entranced in readiness for the multi-sensory foray.

Rodney, who had somewhere in a forgotten past been known to leave his apartment from time to time, dived into Pathogen-X with abandon, losing sense-time roundabout three months in. The benefits of his medical condition lay in being amicably funded and fed by the state for at least six months before the deskbound food dispenser ran dry, the poop-chute macerator packed in and his monthly stipend soon followed by electricity got cut.

He was among the most serious of gamers and felt he must weather this risk for the chance at reshaping game history. He would return to the only sender that mattered: himself. Moreover, he would be the first.

His interaction unit sat at his studio apartment’s centre like a beached, craggy island of calmness at the heart of a rapidly rising sea of volatile organic matter and rubble. The apartment might have once passed for living space. Now… he started to notice his own smell, along with an inability to articulate the lower extremities, four and a half months in.

As every good multi-interactionist knew, you weren’t worth salt unless you could game as a panoply of semi-simultaneous virtual entities. If you weren’t serious why else would a person assimilate with their chair?

In the AM he was AIDS, attaching himself to sexually prolific philanderers of all ages, sizes and genders, as well as intravenous users who thought they had dreamt the subtle whirr the nano cams made while attaching themselves to their needles and coagulating syringe-wounds.

Afternoons were devoted to highly viral, esoteric viruses like Zika and Ebola, but no-one could be expected to wait for microcephaly mutations to manifest nor spend any serious length of time watching people bleed from beneath the skin. Evenings belonged to avian and pig influenzas and these were the most fun of all. Oftentimes, the imaged overlays of symptoms were so realistic that Rodney furtively wondered if these were actual diseases, carried by the nano floaters. The prospect he might have wound up taking part in an international human culling programme disguised as a game was too shudder-inducing a plausibility to calmly withstand.

When his ticket came up trumps on some long spread bets he’d placed aeons ago, he knew he’d bought himself a further six months of gaming. All seemed well with the world.

Things took a turn when he realised the game mirrored his own condition. Gamer Syndrome, or rather Gamer Sclerosis, a title whispered by those in the medical profession that gave it just enough credence to be considered an epidemic by mental health departments, affected the hands first, followed by the rest of a gamer’s inactive muscle areas, both internationally and across every state.

Gamer Syndrome sufferers were mentally palsied by their physical inability to do anything but game, exclusively using their minds, without suffering a kind of toxic physical and perception shock due to doing anything else. Critics warned gaming stopped being an appropriate term when it ceased to be fun and more accurately mirrored the circular nightmare of a junkie’s pains. In Rodney’s mind, his was a disease for which he was secretly fearful there might one day be a cure. He was under no illusion that his love of games was anything but potentially fatal.

A prolific and talented player, Rodney felt a sense of pride and elation when he neared and arrived through the vent shaft to sit staring back at himself through the nanocam Intellibot perched near-microscopically at the edge of his desk.

The calls would follow, magazines and gamers worldwide wanting to congratulate and bask with him in the glow of his audacious win. He had done it, the first to arrive at its end user.

He removed his head-feed and withstood the pain of manually raising and taking a thirsty sip from the real, bottled beer he’d set aside for this very occasion. Imbibing slowly, he didn’t notice as the floater’s autopilot sent it up and into his nasal passage. All he felt was a sudden awkward itch.

It wasn’t long before he started to cough. He dropped the beer as all but ocular articulation failed. Rodney gagged, incapable of raising his hands to see himself in the prismatic memory disc he typically used as a mirror. Had he been able, he would have seen what he had become: bulbous, discoloured and dourly blinking through spider vein beset eyes, Rodney was now a rotting skeleton of the gamer he’d once been. Even if only for a brief moment.

Meanwhile, in a small gaming cafe under broken streets in a poverty stricken town above her head, the player that hijacked Rodney’s nanocam floater watched with a smile as her name rose above his on the digitised leader board.

She watched with a detachment that bordered on meditative, utterly impressed by the digitally artisanal overlay that showed this corpulent man’s bloody, detritus-covered chest becoming even more covered, by the slump springing forth from a mouth seemingly incapable of anything but hopelessly blubbering into the unknown.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, D H S Davis
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Drew C. Elyon: I've only read one chapter so far, but from what I've seen, this is steampunk at its best. The narrative flows so beautifully I could envision every scene in an almost cinematic fashion. I believe in the complexity of simplicity, and this story has that in its descriptions.

Sara Huppman: My only pet peeve was that there were spelling errors. In one of the last chapters there was a mistake it said Melanie handed the hanky back to Chrystal. It was supposed to be Jess. Great book great plot. Didn't need some of the references to modern day culture like the line about frozen. If ther...

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

DarkWolf .12: Very interesting plot! Had me up for the entire night. Keep up the good work 👍

Aditya Harikrish: It had me on tenterhooks since the very first page. Excllently developed plot and characters. You've done an amazing job of building a fantasy world from scratch. Hats off to you!A sequel is a must.

Maja1111: Nice, plot, great characters, lots of metaphors. Something really worth reading. Great!

Sammy Styles: It is one of those stories that keeps you on the hook till the last moment. A roll of pictures were piling up and with continuous moving, it was like I was watching a film. The scenes were dramatic with a bit of every emotion. The story contains every essence of mystery, romance and adventur...

greatbooks: Kudos for writing such a masterpiece. I would like to feature your Inkitt book for free to my list of newsletter subscribers. If that is alright by you then please email me at exzordersplrwso AT gmail.com to book your spot, thanks. Only 40 spots are left.

More Recommendations

Laraine Smith: This should be a movie! You are talented! It is that good! Keep it up! It is visual! It grabbed me! Don't give up!

iann4701: I'm no expert but I know when I have read a good book and this was one. From the beginning it had me wondering where it was going next and what the outcome would be. If you fancy a read with a slightly different perspective from the norm then I would certainly give this book a read. I will look o...

Chevonne Prinsloo: I loved this book.. I didn't want to stop reading it! just my kind of book... I really love how the plot of the story carries along. I hope there are more books to follow after this one! I like the way she describes how Rogue is feeling and the way she shows the emotions going through Rogu. I als...

thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.