“How do you know this?” Brent asked Kris, looking at the back of a Xbox game.
“Remember when you walked out to the huddle and Derek shoved you?” Kris asked.
Brent nodded. “Yeah, but what does that have to do with the Xbox?”
“When I walked over to you, I saw the Xbox laying on the ground near their sideline,” Kris said. “It looked like it was smirking at you.”
“Huh. Well, now we know to watch out for him now. We’ve had the Syrium, but that was just the beginning. Who knows what Derek’s planning with him right now?” Brent said. There was silence in the store. Then Brent said, “it’s a good thing we came to Game Stop, it’s more peaceful and quiet here than Just Press Play.”
Kris crouched down and picked up a game on the bottom shelf. “I’m getting this game,” he said raising a copy of Assassin’s Creed II. “What are you getting?” Kris looked at Brent with his head cocked to one side. “Brent? Brent…”
Brent was not paying attention. Instead, he was looking at several Xboxs in their packaging and stood motionless. Kris tapped him on his shoulder, but Brent brushed it.
Kris smacked Brent in the back of the head. “Hey, Brent!”
Brent was startled. “What?!”
“Are you okay?” Kris asked.
“Oh, yeah,” Brent said. “I just think we need to go and, you know, talk to Derek and see why he would want to help an Xbox. I mean, does that sound a little odd to you?”
“Well yeah, but-” Kris drew a blank. “I’m not sure. He might have a reason, but it probably isn’t a good one. Or it could be… I don’t know, I’m just a boy in a chair right now.”
“Let’s find out. I’ll buy the game for you, we’ll drop it off at your place and we’ll go talk to him,” Brent said. “Do you know where he lives?”
“No, but my mom does. I’ll ask her,” Kris said. “My mom knows his mom from a book club a couple years ago. I know it’s weird.”
Brent looked at Kris. “Doesn’t matter if it is or not. Let’s go.” Brent bought the game for Kris and rolled him out of the store. They both stopped by Kris’s house. They dropped off the game and got the address for Derek’s house. They walked to the eastern part of the city to Derek’s house and Brent knocked on the door. The door opened.
“What do you want?” a voice snarled.
“Are you Derek Trenton?” Brent asked.
“Yeah, why?” Derek mumbled.
Brent looked back at Kris and back to Derek. “We have to ask you something that really concerns you. Is that okay with you?”
Derek thought about it. “Uh… I guess. What do you want to know?”
Kris spoke up from behind Brent. “If you are, why are you helping the Xbox with its plans?”
“It’s simple. I don’t actually want to die with everybody else. Especially you two. No offense,” Derek said.
Brent and Kris looked at each other with looks of bewilderment. “Really? That’s your excuse. That’s why you’re helping the Xbox?” Brent asked.
“No. It’s not an excuse. It’s more of an explanation than an excuse. Now, is that all you want to ask me?” Derek answered.
“Not yet. Tell us the truth, Derek. There’s more people to care about than you. So, what’s the real reason?” Kris asked.
Derek sighed. “Fine. The Xbox… has my little brother. It said that if I didn’t cooperate, then I wouldn’t see him again. I just did it to get my brother back.”
Brent looked down at his feet then looked back at Derek. “What’s his name, Derek?”
“Tyler. Why do you want to know?” Derek sniffed.
“Because we’re going to get him. Me and Kris will bring him back to you,” Brent said. “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure that the Xbox doesn’t hurt him, okay?”
Derek nodded. “Okay.” He sniffed again and looked right at Brent. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being rude and acting like-” He corrected himself. “No. I’m sorry for being a jerk.” He motioned his hand to Brent, hoping he would shake it.
Brent grabbed his hand and shook it. “No problem.”
“Thanks,” Derek said.
Brent nodded. “Don’t worry, we’ll get your brother back.” He glanced at Kris then back to Derek. ‘Even if it’s the last thing we do.”
Derek sniffed again. “I really appreciate it. But I’m not going to just sit here, I’m coming with you.”
Brent and Kris stared at Derek inaudibly. Several seconds passed and finally Kris broke the quiet. “Uh… okay. But Derek, won’t the Xbox kill you if you fight against it?”
“Probably, but I’d do anything for my brother,” Derek said.
“Would you die for your brother?” Brent asked.
“Oddly, yes. I love my brother and nothing will stop me from either helping him or being there for him,” Derek said.
“Alright, let’s go!” Kris said.
Derek grabbed his jacket and his car keys. “We’ll take my car,” he said. The boys went to the end of the driveway and stood still gaping at what they saw in front of them. Sitting in the driveway was a red ‘69 Jaguar. “Get in,” Derek said.
“Amazing. He’s got the car, the hair, the good looks… and did I just say that out loud?”
Derek stood quietly with a look of confusion and Brent was trying not to burst out in laughter. “Yes you did,” Brent spoke.
“Anyway, all he needs now is the girl,” Kris finished.
“Actually…” Derek pulled out his wallet and showed Kris a picture.
“Never mind. This guy is ahead of the game,” Kris said, pointing towards Derek.
The boys got into the car and fastened their seatbelts. “Do either of you two know where the Xbox would be?” Derek asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe we should go to Just Press Play because that’s where Kris and I saw it last,” Brent said.
“Okay,” Derek said. He put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway. He then put the car in drive and drove down the black pavement. Several minutes later, the three boys arrived at the store.
Again, the store looked worse than when Brent and Kris had visited.
“Ugh…” Derek said, disgusted.
“Just a heads up, the inside walls are electrified,” Kris said.
“Plus, we fought a Syrium. So watch out for the Xbox’s minions,” Brent added.
“A Syrium? I heard of that before. The Xbox told me that it was creating a whole bunch of creatures. So, we’ll either see one now or we’ll see one very soon. The Xbox also said that a creature with advanced technology like the Syrium shouldn’t have been beaten by you two. It’ll probably make the next minion even tougher than the Syrium was. Trust me.”
“Come on,” Brent said. The boys entered the store and looked around. There was silence, but only for a brief second.
“Welcome back, boys,” the Xbox said, sitting on the counter. “I knew you couldn’t stay away.” It looked at Derek. “Very good, Derek. You’ve succeeded in bringing them to me. You shall be rewarded.”
“No, I didn’t bring them to you. I’m here with them. I’m not your assistant anymore,” Derek announced.
“Oh. Well then, I guess I’ll have three times the fun instead of two,” the Xbox chuckled.
“What do you mean?” Kris asked.
“Have fun,” the Xbox laughed. The Xbox then disappeared leaving the three boys alone. The lights shut off and the doors locked.
“Derek!” a voice screamed. A spotlight shined in the middle of the room. A rope hung in the air holding a boy chained to a chair with one of the Xbox’s minions. It looked like a crocodile, but it’s teeth were much more sharp and they were filled with poison. The creature walked all over the chair, it’s teeth inches away from the boy’s neck.
Derek spoke. “Tyler!”