American Chimera – 4.6

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I ain’t sure ’xactly when this happened, but it was sometime in middle school, 6th grade, ’cause it was just after Pastor Hinkley got banned from school property for bein’ mean to Dani. Not that I’m complainin’ – the man’s literally the worst. Fuh – er, screw him. Sorry.

We were just sittin’ in her room, playin’ a board game on her computer. We had the hologram shinin’ on the floor, and it was my turn to roll the dice. I picked them up and rolled, then moved my token in the direction I wanted. As I moved into new rooms, the computer invented tiles.

“Ooh, I ain’t seen that room ’afore,” Dani said. “What’s the omen do? Roll low.”

“They keep addin’ new rooms and stuff all the time. This might be from the latest update.” The haunt counter was pretty high, so I was sure I’d roll low enough to screw this whole thing up. What was worse? I had collected the Lucky Magnum – I remember for sure, since it’s the best item – and I could lose it if I did a crap job with these dice. I picked the cubes up, blew on the weightless holograms for luck, and tossed them back down to the board.

Also, the computer cheats like a biii – er, something lame.

I rolled all snake eyes, like stupid unlucky, and the computer screeched out the haunt sounds. The room lights darkened, and giant tarantulas came out of the shadowy corners of the room.

My heartbeat began to hasten at their dripping fangs, and I held my breath at the clicking, inhuman movement of their hairy legs.

“Wow, lame,” Dani said. “Want to restart?”

I shook my head and looked to her. She wasn’t the same as these holographic foes – her exoskelton is smooth, dark, and extremely hard – but God it was close. I gulped. “Sure.”

Dani looked at me with her compound eyes. I suddenly realized what I shared the room with, and I had a feeling that I’d not experienced in years. It’d been a long time since I’d thought about what she looked like, since I’d let my natural human phobias take over. And I was pretty sure she knew what I had done, that she felt my betrayal.

I hit the restart button. The mansion we’d built squeezed back down into a single, tiny room, and the spidrous haunt disappeared. The lights returned to normal, and Dani sat on six of her eight legs like she normally did. Her fangs curled in, and her poisonous saliva circulated more cleanly into her mouth.

“I’m sorry,” I managed to squeak out. “I didn’t mean to.”

She pulled back ever so slightly.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to cry, wanted to run home, but I knew doing that would just make things worse. She’d think I was still scared of her, not that I was scared of myself and my thoughts.

Dani, however, wasn’t going to just sit there and take it personally. She’s not the type to let crap comments get to her. I mean, she’s had to deal with racist crap for her whole life, so she needs to be able to take it on the chin a bit better than the average person.

She puffed up. “You know what haunt they should make? What’s really scary?”

I rubbed the tears outta my eyes. “What?”

“Some ancient Yankee hag abducts you in the middle of the night and takes you to the desert where she forces you to drag on and on about boring nothing bullshit!”

“Yeah!” I shouted. “Then to win the haunt you have to kick that bitch in the face and snork the whole place!”

So then we summoned holographic guns and-


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