Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
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

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

Raymond Keith Moon: Great story arc. Nice command of the balance of overview and detail. Feels a bit like a multi-player computer game, but provides satisfying explanations for all the apparent magic. Please keep writing!

John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...

pikagirl311: Katie Masters has definite skill when it comes to plot work and characters. The story is well-paced and pulls you along with the tide, keeping you hooked until the very end. The only reason I did not give it five stars across the board is due to a few minor quibbles with misspellings and such lik...

Kayla Wentz: This book had me hooked from the beginning! I kept coming back for more. It only took me a day to read! I couldn't put it down! Absolutely A-Mazing! This book keep the story going and there's never a dull moment!

Nate_L: I started to read this, excited about the story line. The writing style only made me more excited, I was stunned by Mikes ability to put this kind of story into words. It's Dashner-style, simple but sophisticated... (Makes sense to me, lol!)The beginning was a tad confusing, as I thought she was ...

thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

LeoDuhVinci: Absolutely loved this story. I'm a sucker for Sci Fi and Forever Roman knocks it out of the park. Read it- you won't regret it.Good concept with immortality, great story with fast paced development, and incredible execution. Extremely creative.To the author: Keep the great work coming! I can'...

_JosephJacobson_: I don't understand why this has such low ratings. I really enjoyed it!I think that the whole idea behind the plot had something very special and that was something that I really enjoyed. It was new, unique. I think that some of the writing was a little strange in places but overall it made sense ...

More Recommendations

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
Iosaghar

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."