Play With Me, pt 1
Location: Worlds of Myth
Timeline: January 12th, 4:30pm
He hadn’t waited for her after school.
She waited until every person had left, waiting at the front of the building until every student had filed out, save for those who stuck around for after school activities.
She walked to his house, wondering if something was wrong. There were cars in the driveway. Tara answered the door. Tim wasn’t home. Tara told her to do some anatomically improbable things to herself that made Melissa blush, so she turned and walked home.
Her mother was there. She asked what was wrong. Melissa mumbled something about school and fled to the solitude of her room. It was easier to be worried when she was alone. Easier to deal with her own fears and doubts and her brain insisting in a million different ways that she wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or just enough to hold Tim’s attention now that he was better.
After all, who was she but poor, shy, timid little Melissa Wilson, who everyone ignored and who could only really be anyone when she was in a fictional online world. What good was she if the only time she felt worthwhile was when she was in some stupid game?
A tear rolled down her cheek, and she slid over to her computer. She placed a bare foot on the rubber basketball she’d ‘borrowed’ from Kyle to ground herself - a trick she’d picked up from science class that seemed to be reducing the number of cheap mice she was shorting out with static shocks - and rested her right hand on the mouse. Within moments, the splash screen for Mythos Entertainment took over the monitor and Worlds of Myth began to load.
Maybe she was pathetic. Maybe the game was all she was good at, but she was good at it and it made her feel good to be the strong, powerful, confident Neferu. Maybe some time as Neferu would help her forget that Tim had stood her up.
Maybe Ankhramesses would be in the game, and she could find out what really happened to keep him from coming over. Would he have a good reason for it? An explanation that would make her forgive him and would make up for the fact that she’d offered herself to him and he’d abandoned her instead of taking her up on that offer?
Would an explanation really help, or would it just make her feel worse?
The game loaded and Melissa checked her friends’ list. Her heart sank. He wasn’t there. Somehow, she’d hoped he would be. Still, she’d lose herself in the game and forget about what had happened.
She was about to enter the game as Neferu when she noticed a friend request. She frowned. “Ushebti...” She whispered. She clicked on the request and a profile picture of a bald-headed Egyptian priest appeared appeared beside the message. His eyes were thickly lined with khol, he had a delicately cut beard along his jawline, meeting in a long thin goatee that ran a few inches past his chin.
She clicked to approve the request and entered the game. He’d seemed friendly enough at lunch, and Tim’s unease about the young man was hardly her concern at the moment. If anything, being upset at Tim made her more willing to approve the message.
There was a delay of a few moments before a follow up message came from Ushebti through the in game chat.
[Ushebti: Hey. You almost beat me logging on after school. :)]
She smirked slightly.
[Neferu: this is late for me.]
[Ushebti: Sorry for disappearing before. I’ve heard too much about Tim from his sister, and she’d be insufferable if she saw us talking!]
Melissa had to agree about Tara being insufferable, but then Tara had never been her biggest fan.
[Neferu: What have you heard?]
[Ushebti: Oh Gods, stories about him as a kid, the kind of things that just stop you from being able to hold a conversation with someone. And then at the back of my mind is the constant reminder I shouldn’t call him the name Tara always calls him. :p]
[Neferu: What does she call him? I don’t imagine it’s very nice....]
[Ushebti: Tiny Timothy.]
Melissa blinked. She didn’t exactly have any first hand knowledge of that, Ankhramesses and the tent aside. Had he shown up after school today... but, no. She wouldn’t think about that. Thinking about how Tim had stood her up would only make her more upset.
[Neferu: Tiny Tim? Like the character in A Christmas Carol? Or... does she mean...] She blushed as she typed it.
[Ushebti: I have no idea, I’ve never asked. Although she always said he was sick and that’s why he was never in school.]
[Ushebti: He didn’t look sick today though, so I don’t know quite what that’s about.]
Melissa bit her lip, wondering how much she should say.
[Neferu: He got better. He was sick. He’s fine now though.]
[Ushebti: I’m glad. Nobody deserves to suffer like that necessarily. Gotta have faith that the universe has a plan for everyone. :)]
“Heh.” Melissa muttered to herself. “The universe, or miracles, I guess.”
[Neferu: Yeah. I guess so.]
She sat back for a moment and looked at the screen as she pondered his line.
[Neferu: Do you really think that? That the universe has a plan for everyone?]
[Ushebti: I think it’s more complex than that. That if people like Thor and the Hulk exist, why can’t entities like Jesus or Anubis exist? I mean. We have literal proof that the stories of Gods from Norse mythology are based on a real individual, and more than that, he’s still alive.]
[Ushebti: What is to say that there isn’t someone even more powerful than these people, someone who decides their fate in the same way that people like Iron Man decide ours?]
[Ushebti: I guess what I actually think is that there’s a possibility for anything. :)]
She was silent for a moment as she took that in. Hadn’t Aunt Tina said something about the ancient Greek gods being real at some point? She hadn’t really put much stock in it, though she knew that her mother was becoming worried about Aunt Tina playing WoM so much all of a sudden. She knew that Tim believed that his healing was some sort of divine intervention, but Melissa didn’t know what to make of that. She went to church when her mother made her go - she didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter, at least not if she didn’t want to deal with the hassle of a failed argument that would only make her mother angry - but she wasn’t entirely sure that she believed all of the things the priests talked about as much as she was supposed to.
[Neferu: Thor is an alien, though. From another place. I don’t really get that stuff, about Thor and Asgard and that kind of thing, but, let’s say that you’re right - that there are others. Why would they care about any of us? Why would any of them have a plan for us?]
[Ushebti: Boredom, benevolent, malice. Humans are complex, why can’t they be too?]
[Ushebti: Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so deep. :) Everyone at school normally tells me to shut up when I get philosophical.]
[Neferu: No, no, it’s alright. I don’t mind. I guess I just don’t understand why someone with godlike powers would care about things that aren’t, well, big and important. There are so many things wrong in the world that could keep them busy if they were bored. Like, Thor. He has bigger things to worry about than normal people like you or I - unless you’re secretly from Asgard or something and are just hiding it.]
[Ushebti: I wish. I’m not that mysterious! I’m just a simple High Priest. :)]
[Neferu: lol... right, and I’m an Egyptian assassin.]
[Ushebti: Ohhh, an assassin? I could use the help of a wily assassin on one of my daily quests, if you feel up for it.]
[Neferu: Sure. Just loading, I’ll be in Heliopolis in a minute. What’s the quest?]
[Ushebti: Rescuing a kid in distress from some kind of rogue group of gryphons. I’ve tried it a couple of times but I need someone to grab the kid whilst I distract the gryphons. Might need you to be sneaky. :)]
[Neferu: I can be sneaky. Gryphons... where’s the quest? Greece? Babylon?]
[Ushebti: Crete. They’ve taken up residence at the top of one of the cliffs. Luckily we don’t have to climb because I didn’t invest any skill points in climbing.]
[Neferu: Useful skill. Hold on, I’ll change my ‘port in location to just outside of Knossos. Be there in a sec.]