Prompt 357 – Game of Life

Why do you think people sometimes refer to life as a game?

Splat. Kay flinched as the rotting flesh exploded on impact. “Whoo! 50 points!” Joel laughed, pressing his foot down on the accelerator of the armored truck and twisting the wheel to aim for another body up the road.

“Why must you do that?” she gulped, closing her eyes as they sped towards the ambler. Dramamine was hard to come by in the zombie apocalypse. Perhaps she shouldn’t have volunteered for the supply run.

“Oh come on, it’s not like they feel anything,” he said. A second thump told her they’d hit the other one. “Points!” he cheered.

Kay squinted one eye open to see if there were any other obstacles on the road ahead. She leaned her head back and sighed when she saw it was clear. “They might not feel anything, but my stomach still belongs to the living and it does not appreciate your reckless driving.”

Joel chuckled. “My bad.”

“But while we’re on the subject,” she went on—talking distracted her from her nausea— “it’s still pretty messed up to treat them like targets. We could have easily gone around them. You didn’t need to make a game out of it.”

“Life is a game, Kay. It ends when we die.” His cheeky grin faltered for a moment. “They’re dead. They shouldn’t be up walking about at all. They’re cheating by coming back. I’m just leveling the playing field.”

She stiffened in her seat. He rarely got so serious about anything. “How do you figure that?” she asked.

His dark eyes sent a shiver down her spine. “There are rules. We win by surviving. That’s always been true. Even in this monster-infested hellworld, the rules still matter. And someone has to enforce the rules.” His hands gripped the wheel tighter. “Before, when we had a society, the rules were the laws and the enforcers were the cops and judges and juries. Now, we have to be the enforcers as well as the players.”

Kay peeled her eyes away from him and forced herself to stare out at the arid countryside flying by. Her queasiness no longer had anything to do with the motion of the truck. “I don’t think I like this game,” she whispered.

Notes: I wanted this to be longer, and there’s probably more I could add to this little scene, but I kinda like that last line so I’m gonna end it there.

Sometimes, with a prompt like this, I start with the literal definition of the figurative word. There are two definitions for game as a noun: (1) a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck; (2) a complete episode or period of play, ending in a definite result. I immediately thought “oh hell yeah, life is absolutely a game” and came up with a character who believes it deep in their bones. Maybe a little too deep. And maybe they take it a little too far. C’mon man, zombies were people once!

Anyway, that’s all I got for this prompt. That wraps up this week. More prompts on Monday! I’m gonna work on some WIP stuff tomorrow (today, criminy when did it get to be after midnight?) and do another 3-prompt week to get us back up to speed on multiples of 5. Here’s hoping work finally settles into the usual pace and all the insanity of the beginning of the year is behind me so I can actually do 5 prompts a week again.

Stay safe if you’re in the path of either of those major systems going across the continent! Maybe stay in and get some writing done? Have a great rest of your weekend!

PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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