The following piece of flash fiction was originally published on Cracked Flash and was the runner up for their week 44 competition. I made some revisions based on the feedback I received from the judges.
By Sara Codair
The sword fell out of Lenora’s hand. It was over. After years of slaving away on the battlefield her ex-husband, the emperor, was finally dead. His head lay on the ground next to her fallen sword. She expected to feel some sense of excitement or victory, but she was empty, too tired to muster the smallest smile.
After fighting for years without victory, she had all but lost hope, believing the Gods were against her until the mysterious army of white knight appeared out of nowhere. These allies beat back the enemy legions and paved a way for her to reach the emperor and finally slay him. Now, she was watching blood pour out of his corpse like sand in an hourglass.
As the last of the emperor’s blood soaked into the ground, the landscape broke down. Bodies and vultures, mud and murder, armor and arms dissolved into tiny little squares.
Lenora looked down at herself. She still appeared solid. Crouching, she waved a calloused, gauntlet-clad hand through her enemy’s corpse. It went right through his pixelated body to a stone floor.
She choked on her next breath. She’d grown accustomed to the stench of blood, death and sweat, but it’d been a lifetime since she smelt melting plastic mingling with coffee and beer. It was terrible and beautiful and she sucked in as much of it as she could.
“It worked,” shouted a voice as foreign and familiar as the smell.
The battlefield was nothing more than fading dots dirtying the floor of a room filled with screens, wires and video game controllers. Two men rushed towards her. They bore no armor or weapons, and wore only ripped jeans and t-shirts.
“Nora!” shouted one of the men. “Thank God you’re back. Are you alright?”
“Ray,” she whispered as memories long buried broke through the dungeon doors. She ran towards him, all but collapsing in her lover’s arms.
“I love you,” she said inhaling the stale beer and coffee that clung to his breath.
“I love you too. You’re home now. You’re safe.”
She clung to him, crying to tears of relief to be out of the virtual hell her ex-husband had trapped her in. She was back in the real world. She was finally free.
© 2016 Sara Codair