Gichang Kim

Cruel Victory 

It was a special day for Josh. Josh went into the hall with a restless heart. In the hall there already were a lot of people enjoying the party. Josh went in holding a placard written “SkullHead”.

“There comes the SkullHead!” one of the people shouted out loud and at the same time all of the people’s heads were turned to see him.
“Wow… he is real.”
“Look at him!”

Disembodied voices were coming out from the crowd. He wasn’t only good at the game but he was also very handsome and he had a well balanced body shape. He was an envy for everybody accept that he wasn’t so successful with his academic grades.

“It’s honor to see you Mr. SkullHead.” A man holding a placard named “Innocent Boy” greeted Josh.

“Nice to meet you,” Josh said.
“How do you feel to reach rank 1?” the man asked.
“I am very happy but I’d knew I would get to rank 1 someday,” Josh answered. Suddenly Josh could hear little sounds of clapping in the crowd and soon it filled the hall and it was too loud that it was hurting Josh’s ears.
“OK now, let’s have a toast!” one of the people shouted out. Everyone took a glass of champagne and shouted “For Atlantis!” Atlantis was the game they were playing and this party was for the gamers. They had this party each year and only the top 100 players were invited.

While everybody was focused on discussing on the game, one man just came in. He was holding a placard like any other person in the hall. On the placard, it was written “The One You Fear”. As soon as he came in, the crowd stirred and whispered.

“There comes The One You Fear!”
“It’s honor to see you sir,” the Innocent Boy greeted him, just like he did to Josh. However The One You Fear ignored him and walked across the crowd and stopped right in front of Josh. It looked like Jacob was hurrying up and he was sweating quite a lot.
“Congratulations Josh. You’ve finally became rank 1,” The One You Fear congratulated Josh.
“Thanks Jacob. Finally I’ve become 1st; now you are rank 2 right?” Josh said.
“Yeah but don’t be so happy. You’ve become rank 1 because I quit playing and now I’m continuing my dad’s business. I’m not one of you anymore, not like you internet maniacs,” Jacob said.
“You are just envious of me.”
“Till when will you only play games? Hey my old friend, you should get a life.”
“The internet is the greatest man-made invention ever in this planet. I bet people in this hall will think the same as I do. It is like a religion for us!” Josh looked up in the ceiling and raised his both arms up.
“You think you can live only on the internet?”
“Of course I can. Who am I? I’m SkullHead!”
“I bet you cannot even live 1 month only on the internet.”
“Are you sure?”
“I bet 1 million dollars that you will fail.”
“OK! I’ll up the stakes though–I will live only on the internet but nothing else for a full year and you will give me 12 million! How about that?” Josh asked.
“Sure, sure. 1 year and 12 million fine. Oh and I’ll give you an advantage for you, because I know that you will fail,” Jacob answered.
“What is that?”
“I’ll support with all the financial problems.”
“Wait, so do I have to play computer all the time? Or can I have rest?”
“Yes you may you can do whatever you want to do in the room. Well, there are nothing in the room so, you will have to go on the computer or you will be bored to death!” Jacob was laughing.

After the party has finished Josh went to Jacob’s house. It was really big and Jacob was really rich. “How come I didn’t know he was this rich in high school?” Josh thought in his mind. They both went into the room. As if Jacob knew Josh would come, there was a computer, a bed and a small bathroom but nothing else. As they step inside, the sound of their footsteps were echoing in the room.

“Here you are and good luck let’s see one year after,” Jacob said.
“Prepare my money. Bye,” Josh said in a very confident voice.

As soon as the door was closed, Josh looked around the room. Where were really nothing. Where wasn’t even a window. Then, he turned on the computer and where was already the game installed. So, he logged in and started to play the game. The game was very popular with many people. It’s a game that you create a character and you have to train your character to kill stronger monsters and gain points. It was quite a complicated game. There were more than 1000 items that you can equip or use to your character and also, there were more than 2000 special abilities so, every characters were different to each other and they were all battling to find out who is the strongest player in the game.

After few hours Josh was hungry and he wanted to eat a pizza so he ordered with a telephone connected to Jacob’s phone. The pizza was delivered through a little window at the middle of the door. He couldn’t let go of the keyboard and mouse even while he was eating. Josh shouted in happiness: “This is a life that I exactly dreamed for!” He couldn’t believe this. He didn’t have to earn money but he can still play game for the whole day. Josh said, “Jacob is so stupid, I could do this for the rest of my life.”

For the first month, Josh seemed happy and nothing was wrong with him. He was unstoppable playing the game and kept rank 1 place and he was increasing his points that no-one could catch him up. He was eating fast foods every day because that was his favorite food. He thought he was the happiest person in the world. And for second month he was still playing hard. If it was other people they would’ve been sick of playing the game already, however for Josh it was just happiest thing to do and the game was still exciting him.

For third, fourth, fifth, sixth month everything was same for him. Instead of his shape of body. He now wasn’t a muscular man anymore. His useless muscles has disappeared but instead, a massive amount of fat was replaced in. He wasn’t so health anymore. When he sits on the chair his big belly was pressing the table and it was hard for him to sit close the the table.
In the seventh month, Josh has finally quitted the game but he was watching movies all day long. Josh thought “I have already passed half of it. After 6 months 12 million dollars will be in my hands.” He was still happy and his laughter was echoing in the empty room. Josh barely had sleep for last 6 months. 24 hours was too short for him to play games and watch movies. One day in seventh month he got call from Jacob.

“How are you my friend. Are you still alive? Hahaha,” Jacob spoke.
“Thanks Jacob this is a perfect life! I don’t have to work. This is perfect!”
“Well that’s good for you. But I think you should just quit and come out of the room. I’m worried about you my friend.”
“What are you talking about just leave without getting my 12 million? You are joking right?”
“Aha Josh I’m serious. If I give you 1 million will you come out?”
“Hey Jacob, I’m totally fine in here. Now you are afraid to give me 12 million dollars. Aren’t you? I’m not going out. I can stay here more than 1 year. It’s too easy.”
“OK fine. But just keep this in your mind. You can buy everything in this world by money but lives.” Jacob hung up the phone.

Josh started to read online books on the internet from the eighth month. He ate even more because he only had to use one hand to scroll down. He was still happy. He was ordering all of the expensive dishes that he wanted to eat before. However he barely moved from the chair and he was gaining more and more weight everyday. It seemed that he was having some health problems. He was coughing often and sometimes it seemed that he had some breathing problems. Jacob was laughing while looking in the monitor which was recording Josh’s room.

For ninth and tenth month, he was sleeping almost for the whole day and woke up only to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was sleeping and sleeping. At the eleventh month, he looked he had enough sleep but he looked his health got worse. He looked like a monster. He was very fat and on his face, where were many pimples and he had dark circles under his eyes. His unwashed hairs were pointing all different directions and it looked like he had problems of moving on his legs. he was moving by the chair which had wheels on its legs.

At the last month, he was just sitting on his bed and waiting for time to go. His body was all ruined. He couldn’t stop coughing and he had stomachache and headache in every 10 minutes. Every second for him was a torture. Now, he even stopped eating. Jacob was looking in the monitor and it looked like it was a paused video. Josh was doing nothing but breathing. Josh started to regretting of himself. Josh knew that his body was destroyed and ruined that none of the treatments could make him better. However in other hands, he was still greedy of that 12 million dollars. He thought he could be back to normal and even better if he gets 12 million dollars. With some hope he turned on the computer at the like week. When he logged into the game, his rank has fall down to rank 9. Other players gained a lot of points while he wasn’t playing for few months.

“No way…” Josh was looking down and sighing. But he was comforting himself by thinking that in a week he will get 12 million dollars. However, he didn’t feel so good and he was very weak.

It was the last day. And in one hour finally that bet is finished and Josh will be free and he will get the money. Josh tried to get up, however he fall on the ground. It was too long time that he did not walk on his legs. He tried to stand up but he couldn’t. He couldn’t use power on his legs. He couldn’t feel the muscles on his legs. He was coughing again while lying on the ground. After Josh had a hard time on the ground, the finally it was the time. When exactly the second hand of the clock was pointing 12 Jacob came inside the room. Josh was looking up to Jacob and Jacob was looking down.

“Jacob, time’s up. I won… I won the bet! Now hand me 12 million dollars.” He was keep coughing while talking to Jacob.
“Sure, sure. I lost the bet. You are an amazing guy… here’s the money.” Jacob was laughing. Suddenly Josh was coughing really hard and he wasn’t stopping for few minutes and then he was coughing out blood.
“Oops! Hey Josh it’s dangerous if you cough blood while you are on the floor.” Jacob was making sarcastically sad face.
“I won… I won the bet… now I’m rich… I’ll go out…”
“Look here, who is this?”
“Who is this?”
“This is a mirror… it’s you! You look so handsome! and very muscular right?”
“No way… this is not me… who is this. I can’t believe my eyes! When have I turned into this monster!?”
“You are not a handsome, muscular ranked 1 SkullHead anymore. Capish?” Josh was keep coughing out blood and after few minutes he was choking on his own blood. The iris of his eyes were disappearing but only white was left
“Please help me… y..you were alright I…..I’m just a stupid internet maniac.”
“I’m sorry my friend it’s too late now. I can’t do anything to help you. Have a good night, hahahaaha… It was fun watching you for last one year. Wow. It’s time to go to the party it’s been a year and now I should get to go to hunt another stupid guy like you to entertain myself for the next year.” Josh was grabbing Jacob’s leg and didn’t let it go.
“Come on let me go. I’m late to the party. I can’t be late like last year. Last year the guy was holding me quite hard so it took me some time for me to come to the party. Do you remember?” There was no answer.
“Hahahahaha…” Jacob’s laughter was echoing back and forth in the empty room and soon, there was only the sound of footstep.

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