1. The Rough Ride by Andrew McGourty
A red Chevy Cruze had just pulled up to a park bench, where a man, in his late 30’s sat. He was a white-skinned gentleman, with brown hair. His shirt was grey, the pants brown, and his shoes were black. He had his hands in his pockets and his head was slumped down. The moon was high in the sky and the only other illumination came from the streetlight by the bench.
As the man slowly lifted his head up, he saw a car, with two people in it; one in the driver’s seat and the other in the back.
The driver yelled, from the rolled down window, “Hey, Rob! We’re here! Let’s get this movie night started!”
Sighing, Rob got up from the beach, opened the car door, and got into the passenger seat.
The lights came on in the car, revealing everything in the car; five car seats as black as the night, but only down the middle, with silver on both sides. Its ceiling was silver, while the black fur floor was as soft as marshmallows. However, it was not always easy to feel it with the floor littered with crumpled up papers. A Pikachu bobblehead, from the Pokémon series, was on the car’s dashboard, below it the clock flashed 7:15 p.m. In the back was another white male in his 30’s. He had a huge smile painted on his face and was wearing an orange shirt, black pants, and a white cowboy hat.
As the car started to move, Rob pulled some sunglass out of his pocket and popped them on, while saying, in a low tone, “Let’s just get this over with.”
The man with the hat gently tapped Rob’s shoulder and said, in an Australian accent, “Don’t feel down, mate. Your best pals are going to turn that frown around.” Giving a thumbs up, “Fair dinkum.”
After driving for a bit, the driver, an African American woman, wearing an oversized blue hoodie yanked over her head, silver pants, and thick-rimmed frames that matched her jet-black hair glanced over at Rob. She asked with care, “So how you feeling, Rob?”
Rob spun his head, to look out his window, and exclaimed, “I don’t want to talk about it, Sam!”
Sam sweated a little and lightly chuckled, before she said, “Okay, change of subject.” She scratched her head, with her right hand, while keeping the left on the wheel, “Um, Chazz. You got a joke?”
Chazz tipped his hat, crossed his arms, and shouted, “Of course, mate. I’ve got heaps.” Raising one finger with his left hand, “Why do seagulls fly over the sea?”
She replied, with a smirk, “I don’t know. Why do they fly over the sea?”
“Well if they flew over the bay, then they’d be called beagles!” He began to laugh, as he wrapped his hands around his chest.
Sam stifled a small chuckle with just her right hand. However, Rob did not laugh. He was slumping in his seat and leaning on the door. Sam and Chazz looked at him before they turned back to face the road. Before either could say anything else, the car jumped up an inch, and a loud pop could be heard. Everyone would have fallen to the left if his or her seatbelts didn’t stop them. Chazz’s hat fell off, as he shouted, “‘Oly dollie!”
Shifting the wheel to the right, Sam pulled over to the dirt road and parked the car. Looking at the others she asked, “You guys all right?”
Sitting up straight, Rob exclaimed, “You mean other than being pissed?!” Throwing his hands up, “Then yes! I’M COMPLETELY ALL RIGHT!”
Chazz asked, as he picked up his hat and put it on, “Crikey! What the bleedin’ ‘ell happened?!”
Sam said, as she crossed her arms, “Based on the pop we heard, I’d say a flat.” She pulled out a cell phone from her right pocket, “I’ll call a tow truck.”
Sometime later, the three were waiting in the car for the tow truck’s arrival. Luckily, the car’s ceiling light was on, they could see and purge the darkness around them. Rob had returned to slumping in his seat, with his arms crossed. Sam was reading through the ragged pages of a Star Wars comic book, while occasionally bouncing the Pikachu’s head up and down with her right hand’s finger. Lastly, Chazz was twiddling his fingers.
After much dark silence, Chazz asked, in his soft voice, “So, aftah we’re towed, do you mates have an idea for a movie to watch tonight?”
Rob replied, with a growl and throwing his hands up, “I don’t know, an action flick!?”
Chazz replied, with a finger to his chin, “I don’t know, I’ve seen heaps of action shows this week.”
Sam said while lifting her head up, “How about some Sci-fi, maybe Star Wars?”
Chazz, taking his hand away from his face and raising one finger, said, “How about one of the Equestria Girl movies, from the My Little Pony series!”
Rob slumped further into his seat, with a groan, “Really!?”
Turning his head to Rob, with a smile, Chazz continued, “Yeah, nothing better when you’re feeling down, then a happy, colorful movie. Fair dinkum.”
Sam added, “Quite literally, on that last account.” She adjusted her glasses, with her right hand, “I must say I do love Twilight Sparkle, especially the Equestria Girls version because she wears glasses.”
Turning his head to her, with a raised eyebrow, Chazz said, “Really? I think Fluttershy’s the best.”
Rob put a hand on his chin, set his elbow against the door, and said, while shaking his head, “You’re both fucking idiots!” He shook his head, a bit, before whispering, “Besides, everyone knows its Rainbow Mother Fucking Dash who’s the best pony and human Equestria Girl!”
Turning his head to Rob, with a raised eyebrow, Chazz asked, “Wait, wha?”
Rob growled, “Nothing!”
Sam soon said as she lifted up her hands, “Oh, come on. Just admit you like it. There’s no shame here.”
Starting to tap his foot angrily, Rob replied, “No!”
With pleading eyes, Chazz said, “Come on, we’re your mates. No need to hide away.” Shaking his head, “Besides it’s a fully sick series and spin-off.”
Sam put her hand on her chin, “It’s good, but Star Wars is definitely better.”
Turning to face her, and shrugging, “Now that’s not really a fair comparison. That series has been constantly ongoing and expanding the story for over thirty years.”
Raising her eyebrows and replying, “Really? I don’t think length should be the deciding factor.” Closing her comic and turning her head to face Chazz, “Remember the Pokémon series? After the first 13 seasons, the show went downhill from season 14 to 16.”
Lowering his head and shivering, “Uh, the Best Wishes era. Never again.” Shaking his head, “Never agai!”
Shaking her head in agreement, and then turning back to the road, “Let’s just be thankful for season 17 to 19.”
Bringing his hand to his chin, with a smirk, “The X and Y era. Gewd times.” A small frown began to form, “Better than these. Fair dinkum.”
“You don't like the Sun and Moon era?”
“It’s okay, but X and Y had-.”
Sam finished for him, “Serena.”
Chazz threw his hands up, “Yes!” Crossing his arms, “I can’t believe she’s gone now. Plus, she and Ash never got together.”
“Yeah, buddy. I wish they got together to. It’s always sad when a relationship doesn’t...”
Just then, Rob stopped tapping his foot, threw his hands up, causing them to hit the car ceiling, and shouted, “Can you morons just be QUIET! Can we just fucking wait for the tow truck QUIETLY!” He folded his arms, and slumped even further into his chair, with a scowl on his face.
Sam shrugged and sweated, before saying, “Sorry. We forgot how you feel about relationships.”
They all remained quiet, for what felt like an eternity, each staring out a window.
Finally, Chazz turned to Rob and said, “Sorry we made you mad, mate. We just wanted to cheer you up, with a gewd movie.”
Soon, they both noticed a tear fall past his sunglasses. The light reflected off it like a diamond. They both put a hand on his shoulder.
Rob turned to them, dropped his sunglasses to the floor, which got covered in papers, revealing his red eyes, filled with water. He then said softly, “I know. Sorry, I lost it. I just miss her so much.”
…Rob sat alone, in a green armchair, with a lamp on a brown table on his left being his only light source. He stared at a crumpled-up piece of paper. After looking over the opening, ‘Dear Rob, Being with you these past two and half years has been great, but I just think this relationship is over. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m lea...” Before finishing it, he growled, crumpled it up even more, into a ball, and threw it into a corner in the room, with tears streaming down his face…
With a small smile, Sam replied, while patting Rob’s shoulder “We know, buddy.”
Rob wiped his eyes with his hands before saying, “Thanks. Look how about we all pick a movie, from Sam’s extensive movie collection.” Pointing at himself, “I’ll get an action flick, like Mission Impossible,” pointing at Chazz, “you can get something from Equestria Girls,” pointing to Sam, “and you can get some Star Wars or Pokémon. Then we can marathon them all night. It will be fucking awesome!”
Sam raised her finger, “Sounds great.” She returned to her comic, “Now we just wait for that tow truck.”
Just then, the tow truck arrived, Rob crossed his arms and smiled, as he said, “Well I guess that old saying is true, speak of the Devil and he appears.”
Sometime later found Rob, Sam, and Chazz, on a blue couch in a dark room, the movies they were watching being the only light sources. The trio was just laughing and enjoying themselves.
2. Return to the Movies by Andrew McGourty
The day had finally come. I was finally going back to my local mall’s movie theater, the Aviation Mall, located in the heart of the Glens Falls Region. I’m assuming, you can guess why I was going there? That’s right; I was going to rob it.
I’m just kidding.
Of course, I was going to see a movie. Why else would someone go to the movie theater? But for me, it had been many years since I went to the movie theater. However, the movie coming out now was something of the utmost importance for me to see. I could not wait for the DVD or TV release. Not this time.
We arrived at the part of the mall closest to the movie theater. After getting out of the chilly night October air, my mother and I walked into the mall, greeted by the soft carpet floor. However, that was soon replaced by the clear tiled floors, which permeated most of the mall, except certain stores and the theater. We were early. The movie started at 6:40. So we went to eat. On our way to the food court our steps echoed around the mall. With barely anyone in the mall, you could hear the odd rhythm clearly. I wish I could say this was just a new thing, but unfortunately, our mall has really gone downhill. Some businesses were gone and others that were open had few customers. It was so quiet, most people were just looking at their phones, gripping and glued to them, as if they would die without them. It was even barren at the mall’s food court. There were only, like, two places to choose from to eat. I swear this mall is becoming more like a ghost town as time goes on. Thankfully, there was still a pizza place in the food court, so not all hope was lost. I think you can guess what we got.
The pizza, while a little too hot, was still filling, with its oozing cheese, slippery sauce, and steam emanating from it. My mother finished first, but I took my time to enjoy this great creation of food. Upon finishing, I asked my mom, “What time is it?”
She pulled out her cell phone to check, because we don’t use those old watches, and replied, “Almost 6:20.”
Getting up from my chair, “Okay. After I wash my hands will go to the movies.”
After going to the bathroom and washing the pizza grease off my hands, I returned, and we made our way back to the movie theater. Upon arriving, we purchased our tickets for the new My Little Pony Movie. There were many seats to choose from because the movie had already been out a few days, so most fans had already seen it. I choose seats in the middle. So, we were close enough to hear, but not so close that it’s too loud or the screen is too big to notice everything.
When we received our tickets, a guy behind us, said in a rough voice, “Really? You’re going to see My Little Pony?”
I turned around to face this scruffy looking guy, with brown hair. Tightening my eyes towards him, I replied, nonchalantly, “Yeah. I am. So what?”
He shook his head, with his hands extended out, “It’s weird! What are you; an eighteen-year-old boy?”
Arms crossed, “Twenty-one actually. I understand your confusion. My mother’s side of the family is known for having youthful appearances.”
Shaking again, “Whatever! A guy shouldn’t be into something so girly.”
I raised my right hand and put up one finger, “One it’s not that girly.” Raising another finger, “Two, so what? People should be able to like what they like, without being ridiculed for that!” I raised one more finger, “And three, society’s views on what guys and girls should like is B.S. anyways!”
Turning back to my mother, we began to walk to the concession stand, I finished, leaving the guy to get his ticket, for whatever movie he was seeing. Stopping at the concession stand, “Now to this great movie, but first.” My mother and I looked over the drink selections because while we did eat before coming here, staying hydrated is important. A drink is a must.
My mother said, “How about a medium?”
I nodded my head, with a smile, “Yeah. That should be good for the movie.”
She shook her head and turned to the counter, “One medium Pepsi soda.”
The person behind the counter smiled and went to get the drink, while my mom put the money on the counter. They came back with our drink and it was frickin’ huge for a so-called medium.
As we took our drink to share, my mom said in shock, “This is their medium?”
I replied in the same tone, “I know. If this is a medium their large must be enormous.” I spread my hands out in a vertical way to emphasize my point.
This got a laugh from my mother. I chuckled as well. We then entered the theater with the My Little Pony movie. I must say the theater was as barren as the rest of the mall. There were only two other people in there, both women. Once we sat down, I was in heaven, thanks to the feel of the new chairs. They were soft, dark leathered, recliners. Sitting in them was like lying on a marshmallow.
I didn’t get to enjoy it for long, before I got up, leaving my sweatshirt in my seat, and told my mother, “Going to the bathroom before the movie starts, so I don’t have to go during.”
She replied, “Okay. Hurry back.”
After I went to said bathrooms, which I don’t think I have to go into excessive detail of what I did in there, I returned to my seat. The promos were finishing up as I got back into my comfy position. The only problem was that my legs are long. So, as I set the recliner up, my legs lagged down a bit. However, despite this, my joy did not lag, like my legs. How could it? A nice seat, an ice-cold beverage, which chilled my body as it ran down my throat, and a movie I’ve been looking forward to.
Once the movie began, I would say I was on the edge of my seat, but it was too comfortable. I felt like my back was fusing to it. As the movie progressed, my eyes continued to widen, and a smile remained on my face the entire time. It was basically a bigger budget, better animated, version of the cartoon show it was based on, keeping the overall feel of the show, just much bigger. It had all the characters I know and love, either playing a major role or just cameoing. After the movie ended, my mother pointed out my big smile, while we left the mall and theater. It was much darker out and as the moon grew higher the temperature got lower. Luckily, we put our sweatshirts back on after the movie
After getting into the car, my mother asked, as she started up the car, “I guess you liked it?”
Of course, I replied in the only way I could, with a tone of happiness that could have made people mistake me for Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony, “Heck yeah! I loved it!” Slapping my hands together, “Best movie of the year! I don’t care if it’s a biased opinion! It was, in the words of Rainbow Dash from the series, ‘twenty percent cooler’ then most of the episodes of the show!” I threw my hands up, touching the soft silver carpet-like ceiling of the car.
My mother smiled back, “Glad you like it.”
We arrived home rather quickly, considering our house isn’t too far from the mall. Once we got in, we were greeted by our hyperactive dog, Chester, who had about as much energy as Pinkie Pie after she eats her massive sugary filled breakfast. After avoiding the crazed canine, I went to my room, while my mother went to talk to my dad. My enjoyment of the My Little Pony Movie was not over yet. I busted out my laptop computer and immediately went onto YouTube, so I could watch all the reviews about the movie from fellow fans like Dr. Wolf, Fiery Joker, Silver Quill, and many more. This is what fandoms do nowadays after we watch something new, we go online and watch different people talk about it, analyze it, and make jokes. Then, we talk about it ourselves in our own online forums to give our own thoughts, because nowadays everyone is a critic. I was quite busy the rest of the night. The night I went back to the movie theater, for the greatest movie ever, would be locked in my heart forever.
3. A Sick Game by Andrew McGourty
The cloud cover painted everything in dread and the air felt as if it was chilling our very bones. We walked through the city—if you can call this a city anymore. Buildings were missing their roofs or walls and rubble lay all over the place. Not only that, but moss, plants, and other forms of greenery were growing from some of the buildings. The wind kept blowing through, with pieces of trash and dirt going with it. Every few minutes, it felt like everything flicked for a moment.
My team and I continued our slow march, our footsteps being the only other sound besides the wind. I was, of course, out in front of the walk. We each wore our own unique colored full body armor. Mine was orange, Kyle, on my left, was aquamarine, and Todd, on my right, was silver. I was carrying a black rifle, Kyle a rocket launcher, and Todd a pistol. We passed by more of the damaged city, going by a broken streetlight, with the part with the light bulb hanging close to the ground next to an overturned brown bench with lines of red under it, on my right.
I stopped walking when I heard Kyle give a fake cough. Turning to face him, I asked, with irritation, “Yes, Kyle?”
He set his rocket launcher down, raised a finger with his right hand, and asked sarcastically, “Permission to insult you, sir?”
Stomping my foot, “Permission denied!”
Shaking his head, “Well, Michel, I’m going to do it anyway.” Stomping his foot, “We are lost.”
Turning away from him, I shouted, “We are not lost! We simply are not in the area we are supposed to be in!”
I heard him shout from behind, “Moron, do you own a dictionary?! That is the very definition of the word ‘Lost.’” I turned back around to face Kyle, who was now pointing at the streetlight and the bench, “We’ve passed that exact light and bench three times now.”
Gripping my gun harder, “No we haven’t!”
Kyle picked up his rocket launcher, “Yes we have!”
I aimed my rifle at him, “We can’t get lost!” Grinding my teeth, “Not with the map.”
He aimed his rocket launcher at me, “A map that’s flickering and busted like everything else in this shit hole!”
I barely remember hearing Todd squeak out, from behind us, “Um, guys.”
My finger drew closer to the trigger, “You forget, Kyle, I’m the leader of our little group.” Another flicker happened.
Kyle did the same, “Well, maybe it’s time for a new era.”
Before our fingers could get closer, Todd tapped my shoulder and said, a bit louder, “Um, guys. We’ve got a problem.”
Both of us turned to face him and shouted, “WHAT?!”
We then noticed he was pointing ahead of us at a nearby destroyed building, with moss, building debris, garbage, and even a trash can shaking. Soon enough, they came out of the building pieces, moss, and garbage. They started crawling out, dragging their feet on the concrete ground and debris. The zombies were finally here. Even a pair that crawled out of the trash can, after toppling it over. Their flesh was so rotted they could be confused with the rubble. You couldn’t even tell if they were a male zombie or a female one, at this stage. They began their approach, whether they walked past debris, moss, and garbage, or just right into it, they kept their steady approach. Each of us lined up, the same way we were before, gripping our weapons with both hands.
As they closed in, I said, “So the zombies are here.” With a smirk, you could feel from my voice, “Let’s waste them.”
Kyle gave a small laugh, “That’s the first smart thing you’ve said today.”
We each fired our weapon. From my rifle came two blue energy shots, which blasted two zombies clear in the head. They fell next to broken glass and rocks. Todd got two shots off from his pistol, also blue energy shots, which took down two more, one with a shot to the chest and the other with one to the right foot. Kyle, of course, fired only one huge blue shot from his rocket launcher, which incinerated four zombies.
After which he laughed, “Ha! I got more kills.”
I was about to say something, but with some of their zombies down, the rest charged in much quicker, like they suddenly became cheetahs. Not only that, but more were coming out of the building, moss, and garbage, and even some out of the concrete ground.
Todd soon shouted, “Ah! Here they come!”
We instantly split up. I started falling back, Kyle went to the left, and Todd the right, all the while firing at the approaching creatures. Unfortunately, Kyle tripped on some building debris, landing on some park grass and accidentally fired another blast. Only this one blew up a nearby building. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t even the building the zombies were coming from; it was a mostly undamaged building.
I didn’t have time to worry about Kyle, as five zombies closed in on me. As another flicker happened, I shot two more in the head. However, one of the remaining three tried to slash my head with its claws. I ducked just in time and shot the zombie between his legs. Let’s hope this one wasn’t male. The other two jumped over their fallen friend for a ferocious attack, both slashing me in the shoulder, forcing me to tumble back. Luckily, I got up and shot them both in the chest. This gave me a moment to notice five zombies approaching Todd, who was backing up and firing like crazy. With all his shot he took down two by hitting them in the arms. Then, he tripped over the overturned bench, dropping his pistol. One of the three zombies got on top of him. I attempted to rush to his aid, only for a pair of zombies to slash at me, with me barely twirling out of the way.
The last thing I heard Todd scream was, “Oh no, not again!” Followed by the sounds of zombies ripping him apart.
It began to rain as I charged at the pair in front of me. First, I shot one in the chest and then used my left arm to slam into the other’s neck.
Once they were down, I shouted, “All right, you sons of bitches, won’t be killing anyone else.”
Then, I heard Kyle scream and turned to see him being overtaken by ten zombies. They knocked his rocket launched into a bush, then completely covered him. When they rose again, Kyle was gone. I stuttered out, “Okay, starting now.”
Many more zombies charged at me. I started firing like crazy, taking down about a dozen of them. But one soon closed in, trying to slash me. Luckily, I jumped back and got ready to fire, only for one to come up on my left and knock my rifle out of my hands. I turned to face the one who did it, allowing the one I just jumped away from to charge in and kick me to the ground. After stumbling back a few feet, I got back up. Of course, more were coming. It never ends. I pressed a button on my left arm, which caused a small orange glowing knife to pop out of a compartment on my left arm. Gripping it with my right hand, with another flicker, I charged in shouting like a maniac, “Come and get some!”
I sidestepped the first zombie to come my way and cut it across the chest. After it fell to the concrete, another one came up on my right. It tried to slash me, but I twirled to the left, stabbed it in the chest, and then kicked it to the floor. Unfortunately, my luck ran out, when another zombie tackled me on my left. We both fell to the ground. While I stabbed the one on top of me, more piled on. I grabbed a piece of nearby broken glass and stabbed another one with it, but it was too late. The rest overtook me. In a flash, it was all over.
When the flash was over, I was standing back at the entrance to this so-called city, with Kyle and Todd by my side. I sighed and slumped my arms, “God dammit! I can’t believe they killed us again.”
Kyle crossed his arms and said, “Maybe if someone didn’t get us lost, we would’ve had a better chance.”
I growled back, “Not in the mood, Kyle!” Facing the entrance, I said, “Let’s just try this again.” We clutched our weapons and walked into the so-called wasteland of a city.
A computerized voice from the sky said, “New Game Begin!” The words appearing above us in pixilated form, before vanishing.