Fun Fact: This flash fiction ended up being the inspiration for my full length novel of the same name. Obviously a lot changed in the transition to 80k words, but the essence is still there. I made it Marcus’ birthday in Level Up as something of an easter egg back to this story 🙂
You can find out more about Level Up the book here – Books
I lay in the dark counting down the minutes until my birthday, my eyes wide open, waiting for the chime and the little green box. I wonder which random stat is going to get boosted this year. Last year it was +50 horniness and -10 judgment. That one really hurt, my judgement wasn’t that great to begin with, and it’s not like I was short on horniness. It’s been a pretty rough year for everyone as I adjusted to my new stats. I really hope this year will be a boost to my charm. I could use a lot more of it, particularly with the ladies. Right now I’m as good at picking up as a snake.
The clock strikes midnight and the box pops up. I squint to read it, looking for the stats, but there are no numbers. It just says, “Level 18 PVP zone activated.” What does that mean? I close my eyes and dream of birthday gifts and cake.
I’m shaken awake by my Mother. She’s not smiling. She slaps me across the face, “Happy 18th birthday!”
My face starts to burn where she connected, “Ow! What did you do that for?”
“Just testing that it works.”
“Level 18 PVP mode of course. I’ve been waiting for this day for years! You remember that time you gave my expensive high heeled shoes to the dog?”
“I was five!”
“Exactly, it’s been a long time coming. If I was you I would stay away from your Father. He’s been waiting to have a word with you about crashing his car into that hedge last year.”
I’m still rubbing at my face as I sit up, “What is going on?”
Mum sits down on the end of my bed, “Surprise! When you turn eighteen you automatically go into the advanced PVP zone. Up until now you’ve been off limits, nobody could lay a finger on you that wasn’t also under level 18.”
“Why did no-one tell me?”
“Are you kidding? Imagine what irritating little shits teenagers would be if they knew they couldn’t get a smack around the head. You were bad enough as it is. Did you not wonder why we were always so calm and understanding about everything?”
“I thought it was because you loved me!”
Mum smiles, “Good one! Anyway, welcome to the grown up world. Just be prepared for a rough couple of days, there’s normally an adjustment period where the adults like to repay old debts. Don’t worry, as long as you stay out of everyone’s way for the next week or so you should be fine.”
“But you’ve invited the whole extended family over for my birthday party!”
“Yes, about that, they insisted. You’ve been rather annoying these last couple of years. A few birthday bumps and you’ll be fine.”
I’m still getting over the shock when my little sister casually strolls into my room. She punches me hard in the arm, “Happy birthday!”
I instinctively try to retaliate but find myself unable. A warning box appears above my head, “This user is not in your PVP zone.”
She smiles and hits me again, a little harder this time.