@zeldacroft, @freewritehouse, We-Write #10 <center>![home alone](https://i.imgur.com/L1iCcKS.jpg)</center> [Image Source](https://penelopetrunk.com/cdn/boys-playing-together-computer-blogsize.jpg) <hr> After dinner, Bruce drove Liz at her place. “Thank you, I had a great time,” Bruce said as their eyes crossed. “Me too,” Liz uttered, still looking at him. “Do you want to…” she lowered her eyes, “…to come up for a coffee?” “Yes” “Only, I don’t mean…” Liz slowed down. “Of course,” Bruce smiled, “I don’t mean that either.” They went up the elevator to the fifths floor and walked into Liz’s apartment. “Sit here,” she pointed to the chair by the table, “and I will make some coffee.” “Sure, thanks. Do you live along?” he looked around. The room was dimly lit with red and green light and Bruce couldn’t see the details of the interior, but he looked with interest inside the dark corridor where supposedly was a bedroom. Liz opened the coffee jar and poured some coffee in the filter. “No. I have a roommate, but she’s left for a couple of days.” “Mmmmm…” Bruce said as the smell reached his nostrils, “great coffee!” Liz smiled, turned on the coffee machine, came over and sat across from Bruce “So, that’s what you do - white stories on Steemit” “That’s not what I do for living, but that’s what keeps me sane, so to speak.” “How so?” “You see every person was born for something. Circumstances for his survival might demand something else, but there was something he or she been born for. It’s like a hammer was created to hit nails.” “Ok, but how do you know what to write next?” “Sometimes thoughts just come to your mind, other times it’s madam Zelda” “Who’s madam Zelda?” Liz got up, went to the coffee machine, filled two cups and brought them to the table. After they took the first gulp, Bruce continued. “Madam Zelda? She’s one of the Steemit users. Her actual nickname is @Zeldacroft. She runs the writing contest, gives everybody a writing prompt.” “Ah, how convenient!” “It is nice. Although sometimes it’s tough because the prompt takes you in the direction you never would have gone on your own.” “Example?” “Like the one have for the next week. Because it’s October now, she declared it a month of spook.” “What’s wrong with that?” “Nothing, in general. But, honestly, I don’t like it, never liked it and probably never will. I don’t care for all these movies like Poltergeist, Psycho, Exorcist, Friday the 13th … none of that stuff. My grandma once told me how the real fear feels like – she experienced German bombing. You know buildings are falling down, people die, blood and guts are splattered everywhere. So people who lived through something like this would hardly be interested in spooky stuff…, but I might be wrong. After all, Roman plebeians and patricians both liked the murders in the coliseum. Spooky stuff is something similar. It’s experiencing fear without the actual danger.” “So what was the prompt this time?” “You sure you want to find out?” “Yes, I am.” “Ok, be my guest. I printed it here, on the piece of paper.” He pulled the folded piece of paper out of his pocket and gave it to Liz. She opened it and started to read out aloud. <h2> The contest prompt </h2> >An inky air crept through the twilight hours and now pressed against the windows of the house. Inside, Nathan aimlessly flipped through the TV channels, the living room calmly lit. He was getting impatient. > >A thump, thump down the stairs made him jump, but he managed to keep his composure. His mom hurried into the room. >Her oversized coat and mittens signaled she was ready for the autumn chill outside. > >“Alright, I’m heading out,” she said. “I’ll probably be gone for a few hours, so call me if you need anything. Remember there’re leftovers in the fridge, and try not to just watch TV. You know that book from—” > >“Mom,” he interrupted. > >“Yes?” > >“You’re going to be late.” > >“I am, aren’t I?” She agreed but ran over to kiss his forehead anyway. “I’ll lock up, be sure to stay safe.” > >“Yes, Mom.” He rolled his eyes. Their corner of suburbia had always felt like the most boring. Nothing bad could happen here. > >As soon as Nathan heard the front door close, he leaped up and looked out the window. The streetlights cast heavy shadows on his mom’s car as she drove away. When she was out of sight, he whipped out his phone and texted his best friend, Mark. > >“It’s time.” > >Mark had gotten his hands on some horror games, including the much-coveted Bloodhunter 4, but his family wouldn’t let him play. > >Nathan wasn’t allowed to either, so tonight was finally their chance. Impatience turned to excitement as he switched the TV to his Xbox. Mark lived on the same street, so it wouldn’t take long for him to get there. After gathering soda and snacks from the kitchen, he heard a sharp knock on the door. > <h2> The end of the contest prompt </h2> “And…” Liz looked at Bruce inquisitively, “what are you planning to write?” “I don’t know yet. There are several clues that Madam Zelda left for writers.” “You mean that trump down the stairs?” “Yes.” “Didn't the steps belong to his mom?” “If it was his mom’s why did make Nathan jump? It was either not her steps or she was so imposing that Nathan was afraid of her. However,” Bruce rubbed his chin, “her overall demeanor didn’t impress me as she was abusive. She seems like any other single mother that just doesn’t have enough quality time to devote to proper parenting. Don’t you agree?” “I’d say so. So who might that be?” “Well, it’s as much of my guess as yours. It could be, for example, that it was his abusive dad, who slept upstairs. Although, somehow, I doubt it. In fact, I don’t even think this guy had a father. You are laughing?” Bruce said this because Liz was chuckling, “I didn’t mean Nathan’s mom had an immaculate conception. What I meant was it seems as though it was a single mom family. Nowadays, it is kind of widespread. The entire write up doesn’t have even the slightest reference to a father. Again, if the father were in the house why would the mother be so insistent on Nathan locking up? More likely, this was a single mom household where the mother wasn’t making big bucks.” Bruce chuckled. “Why not?” Liz was taken aback by what she perceived was Bruce’s mockery, “Women nowadays can hold a high position. My mom, for example, is a vice president of the mortgage company.” “In general they sure can, but not Nathan’s mom. Or else she wouldn’t be having an oversized coat, she’d have a stylish fur coat. Anyhow, the hypothesis about the two-story house doesn’t hold water. More likely, they lived in an apartment house, and if so, why would these stamping made Nathan jump? He should have heard those stamping up and down all the time. ” “What if she inherited the house from her parents?” “Hm…you are right, she could. That’s a great idea, Thank you!” “So what’s your take on that?” “I’ll tell you a little later.” “Ok,” Liz nodded her head, “What’s the next clue?” “The next clue is a sharp knock on the door.” “Shouldn’t it be his friend Mark's?” “It could be. But to make this happened several assumptions should be made. We don’t know how much time has passed between Nathan’s call and the knock on the door, but I estimate it be around one minute – enough for Nathan to go to the refrigerator and take the snacks and sodas out. So, the only possibility for it to be Mark would be if the boys live in the same apartment house and on the same floor. The prompt only states that they lived on the same street. I am inclined think, after you’ve pointed it out, that that they lived in different houses. If this is so, then considering that Mark, but he had to pull Blood hunter from its hiding place (remember, his family didn’t allow him to play it), then dress up, run through the street, it couldn’t have been one minute. Then this “sharp knock on the door”… Why not just knock on the door and why necessarily sharp?” “Why do you think?” “Well, I am inclined to think it was not Mark, but someone whose knock made Nathan jump earlier. May not the same character, but from the same class of characters.” “Who can that be?” Liz’ face grew dim “Well, both boys were players of Blood hunter.” “So?” “Are you familiar with this game?” “Not really” “Well, this game…has a strange theme, the theme of torment, the theme of sacrifice, the theme of using evil to smite greater evil. But by using evil powers, society sees you as evil and shunt you. You are looked at as leper, as a leach, as some kind of horrible creation; half in the World of monsters and a half in the World of men. A person who is being looked upon as a monster becomes hardhearted, callous, and angry. One of the greatest fears in Blood Hunter is to become the monster yourself.” “Oh, come on. This is only the game.” “You think so, huh?” Liz looked at Bruce with apprehension, but he continued as if not noticing her expression. “No, this isn’t just the game. Or how should I put it? You see there are two worlds – the world of our reality. It’s the world where both boys live, where their parents work, where the boys go to school and so on, ok? And there is a different world, the world of the game where we have those characters that have special powers and abilities, where they can cause damage whenever they feel like. We think that without us the game is a figment of our imagination; that boys need to have X-Box to bring it to life, so to speak. But this isn’t true. These worlds are independent of each other. The boys need characters to live inside the game just as much as characters need boys to enter their brains and souls. It’s as if they cast blood curses on them.” Bruce was getting to be more and more excited. He looked in front of him at one point and as if forgot about Liz’s existence. “So that sound that was coming down the stairs in the prompt, the sound that Nathan heard and got scared of, it was inside Nathan’s head. The true portal between the worlds exists in the boy’s imagination. It was Blood Hunter warrior, the monster. He was preparing to enter Nathan’s mind to make Nathan throw fire, ice, and lightning; to make him to cause damage, to spill blood, to pillage, to kill.” “Hey, hey…Don’t wind yourself up, man” Liz waved her hand in front of Bruce’s face. “Trust me on that, I was a boy myself once and these type of things, once they got the hold of your soul, they never let you go. From the outside, he might look like a regular person but from the inside, he is either ogre, troll or demon.” “Come on! Stop it, Bruce! You are pulling my leg.” Liz laughed, but it was a made-up laugh. Inside Liz felt a little uneasy. Bruce shook himself off as if from the internal chill as if trying to get out of the comatose state. “I wish I could”, his eyes squinted in a smile, “I wish I could pull it, your legs are so very pretty.” “You’re silly,” Liz hit Bruce lightly on the hand. Bruce put his head down laughing, but while he held it down the color of his dark eyes acquired intensely white color.