We all need to escape sometimes. That’s my view, anyway- especially around this time of year when the nights are a little colder in bed by yourself and you’re always in danger of those depressing thoughts. If you can afford a little unreality, you should go for it.
I’ve built up quite a collection now- slotting the CD into my disc drive- and this one is pretty good, even by the standards of the rest of the series. Nothing to drive away a rainy winter night than to sit in my jim-jams with a cup of cocoa and the adventures of my heroine. At the moment I’m halfway through Chapter Four. A wizard has stolen a crown containing my soul, and I have to get it back.
Compare that to the news today. The man-woman has failed in his/her attempt to cross over; he/she is having another baby. A genocide somewhere. Someone’s been going around London killing young men. Charming. If there’s no romance to be found- I think- we need to make our own.
Mum actually calls about that last one.
I’m just saying, dear, you should be careful.
It’s men he kills, Mum. I’m not in any danger.
It says here, she replies, and she’s probably not even listening to me any more, that the last victim underwent enucleation. Enucleation!
Do you even know what that means, Mum?
She goes quiet for a few moments.
I’d better put the tea on, she says.
I emerge into a still landscape. Princess Ellesmira is waiting for me. Her golden hair is wafting over the water of a chill-running stream.
Lady Gora, she says. I have to curtsey.
I can reply;
1) YOU ASKED FOR MY HELP, PRINCESS?
2) WHAT DO YOU WANT?
3) A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU, PRINCESS.
or, as a sort of funny joke,
4) SO YOU’RE THIS SO-CALLED BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT? I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS GETTING SO JEALOUS ABOUT.
I assume the men can’t say that one.
You’re in grave danger, says Princess Ellesmira. Lady Gora, you’re in grave danger, even as we speak.
A thrill runs through me. I scroll to all four corners of the map. There aren’t any enemies to be seen. I put on the ring which allows me to view the hidden and the invisible. Again nothing. This is clearly more than a normal test of cunning.
If you aren’t ready, says Princess Ellesmira, then you’re going to die. Do you understand me?
I equip my shield. I’m ready for anything. My armour shells outwards to maintain the curve of my fine breasts. As I breathe, they swell. I hate to think what sort of pervert came up with that one.
This is peculiar. Princess Ellesmira, by some feat of game mechanics, is weeping. The dialogue options flash up onscreen again.
WHO ARE YOU? I ask her.
The reply reads,
I am one of those who went first.
I am unable to help you. I can’t even move.
And as if to illustrate that, she jerks about for a couple of seconds.
Another sentence comes onscreen.
He’s watching you from over your shoulder, Lady Gora.
I spin around. The meadows are empty.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
The phone is ringing. Damn it. I pause the game and jog back into the kitchen.
Hello- I begin, glancing back.
The light of the computer screen reveals his face in flashes. A cold, stubbled mouth. Hair flattened over his brow. He’s been standing outside in the rain. Jaunty music is still blaring from the speakers. He steps into the doorway. I can no longer speak.
My eyes, I think. Enucleation. He’s going to take away my eyes.
Walter? Walter, are you there?