Frank felt his head drooping and his eyelids closing. He struggled to keep his attention focused on his computer. He glanced around at the tall, cloth covered walls of his cube, and wished that he could put something on them; a picture, a poster, maybe a small army of action figures for his desk. However, decorating his workspace was forbidden. He felt his head droop again. Taking off his glasses, he rubbed his eyes. Carter, who worked in the next cubical, leaned over the top of the cube’s wall.
“Did you get the e-mail I sent you? The video with the people dancing at the wedding?” Carter’s voice was enthusiastic. Anytime he had a chance, he would slip onto the internet and look for pictures and videos which were not quite pornographic, but definitely of a lurid nature. The video in question was taken at a wedding and was of a girl gyrating in a short dress; he could glimpse her round buttocks as she danced. Of course, he needed to share this with someone, and Frank was that person.
“No. I have too much to do right now.” replied Frank.
“It isn’t that long, and she’s really hot. The way she moves is just mesmerizing.” Carter was becoming lost; he looked as though he were staring at the sun. “It’s a beautiful thing.” Frank groaned and then decided to check his e-mail.
“Why did you send me all this?” he asked as nine e-mails popped into his inbox.
“Slow day for me. Data is processed. Mails mailed. I’m free until noon at least.”
“I’ll have to check this out later.”
“Why not now?” asked Carter, sounding disappointed.
“Unless you want to help with my pile…” said Frank, pointing at a short tower of invoices threateningly. Carter slowly sank back into his cube. Frank looked at the list of ten e-mails from Carter and deleted them without even reading them. Then, something caught his eye; it was a message from someone named Aurora. The name sounded so familiar to him, but he couldn’t place who it was. Disregarding the chance that it was a virus, he opened the e-mail and read the contents.
I doubt you remember us. How long has
it been, Francis? Ten years? Twenty? How
long has it been since you’ve ridden a
dragon? Swung a blade? Your armor is rusted,
and your sword is broken, but still we need
you. The land is blighted by darkness, and
only you could bring the light again. The
Marmots have taken the crystal castle, and
I do not know how long we can hold out in
the hills. The White Lord has gone alone to
war; he needs you! We need you! I need you!
Frank looked at the message in disbelief as the fog rolled back from his memories. He thought about the world in which he used to play. He called it Brightsphere, and he was a king there. Well, first he was a warrior and then briefly a cowboy, but mostly he was a king. The lord of his own land of imagination. This has to be a joke, he told himself convincingly. He tried to think of who he had told about his old childhood games, but no one was coming to mind. He had no brothers, sisters, or even any cousins that visited. His childhood was pleasant, yet lonely. Until he saw the message, he had forgotten about his imaginary world, but now the details had come rushing back in vivid flashes. Quickly, he moved the e-mail into a folder that he marked ‘BS’. He wasn’t upset about this prank, but he definitely wanted to know who played it.
The day passed slowly, and the e-mails he sent to his few friends about the message from Aurora had yielded no confessions of guilt. On the drive home, he thought about Aurora. She was a princess, and she was both young a beautiful. She was literally the woman of his dreams; she was more like a friend than anything else, though as he grew older she did become more interesting. But the adventures they had were incredible! The White Lord had opposed Frank rise to power, and it was Aurora that always rode beside Frank in his wars against the pale lord. The White Lord. The name brought with it a feeling of foreboding; he was an old man even those many years ago, and he lead a ferocious army. Frank remembered the White Lord’s glassy blue eyes and their cold gaze the day that he and the pale king had a duel.
Frank was jolted out of his musings when a car horn blared; he had started to drift into the high velocity lane and nearly caused an accident. He shook the images out of his head and focused on he road ahead. Turning up the radio, he sang to commercialized rock and roll music as he drew closer and closer to home. Annoyingly, his cell phone began to rattle against the plastic cup holder he always left it in when he drove. He picked up the phone and flipped it open. He knew that it would be his girlfriend Claudia. He heard her pleasantly saying hello and asking him to pick up a few things at the market before he got home. Jeremy needed food and a flea collar while she needed tampons, Midol, and Pepto Bismol. Frank heard himself agreeing to drive a half an hour through rush hour traffic to pick up the requested items. When he flipped the phone shut, he tossed it back into the cup holder. He felt pissed off at Claudia for calling him; sure, she asked politely, but he just didn’t feel like going to the Wal-Mart.
He turned the radio up even louder and sang out of tune as loudly as he could. He needed to push away some of the anger he was feeling. The rational side of he knew that this was anger that he shouldn’t direct towards anyone but himself. He didn’t have to go to Wal-Mart, he elected to go. However, he wondered how much choice he actually had. He was thirty-five years old and he was certain that he couldn’t just dump Claudia over some errands he didn’t feel like running…