Authors: Kevin J. Anderson
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #epic
Scott grabbed David’s arm and pulled him over to the sink while the others stared in shock.
He flipped on the cold water tap and pushed David’s raw hands under the running faucet. David made no sound, but his hands were burned, red and blistered, from when the map had … exploded on them.
Scott tended David stiffly, astonished. He went through the motions of first aid as though it could keep him distracted from thinking—from thinking about what had happened at the end of the Game.
Tyrone stuck his head under the table and came back up, eyes wide. “The burn goes all the way through the wood!” he said. “Wow!” Then he paused and swallowed. “What’ll I tell my mom? You’re going to all have to back me up.”
“And say what?” Scott asked. “That we were just playing a game but it fought back at us? They’ll say I made some explosive with my chemistry set or something.” He snorted. Water from the tap splashed on the left lens of his glasses. “I haven’t played with my chemistry set since eighth grade.”
Melanie stared at the map. A great section of the terrain was burned black and broken. A dark, charcoaled blot had burned through the map, through Tyrone’s table. He groaned and got a damp cloth to try and wipe away the dark stain. When Tyrone slid the map board sideways, a couple of hexagons fell loose from the edge like tiles in a mosaic.
But that was impossible, too, because Melanie had
on a smooth piece of wood. She had drawn the hex-lines with a drafting pencil. The map couldn’t fall apart exactly along the lines.…
But Melanie found herself feeling elated, smug. “Well, David? Are you ready to give up now? Scartaris is destroyed. You lost. That means we keep on playing.”
Over by the sink David stared at his burned hands and kept them under the water. “I still have my army of monsters. There’s still Verne’s weapon, on my territory now.” He yanked his hands away from Scott and stood dripping on the kitchen floor. “Now your characters are going to have to fight against
David twisted his head to look at her, and Melanie jumped back. For a moment, she swore his eyes were blazing yellow and
. He turned back to dry his hands.
Melanie swallowed, blinking her eyes until she felt confident again. “After this—” she indicated the devastated portion of the map. “I don’t think we need to be afraid of you anymore.
“Gamearth is learning how to fight back.”
About Kevin J. Anderson
KEVIN J. ANDERSON has published 120 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the
universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel,
, which is based on the new concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the
Saga of Seven Suns
fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the
Five by Five
A Fantastic Holiday Season
. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.