Geoff Wigington was your typical video game enthusiast. He spent most of his time inside on one of his various gaming consoles beating someone, somewhere around the world. His best friends consisted of Mario, Link and Sonic. When he was forced to leave his incredible gaming set up, he displayed his love of games around his neck with a silver triforce symbol. It came as a shock to everyone that when Geoff was on his way to the midnight release for Fallout 4, he got hit by a truck. It was like he was playing an intense game of Frogger, weaving in and out of traffic. The difference between reality and retro-gaming is that when you die in real life, there's no continue. It's game over.
Geoff died instantly. His final thoughts were unknown. The only thing anyone knew was that Geoff had made it explicitly clear on paper and out loud that when he was to die, his grave was to have something a little bit extra. Geoff Wigington's tombstone was to have the following:
June 2nd 1989- August 21st 2015
Of course, under the continue, he insisted to have a slot. For what exactly? Quarters. He insisted on making his grave in a similar style to that of an arcade game. For most people, that would have been an odd request but for Geoff, it was just another favor. He was buried later that week. His sisters sobbed as their daughters looked up at them with questioning eyes; they didn't understand their uncle's fate just yet. His father tried to stay strong but shed tears towards the end. His acquaintances exchanged sad glances; one declared they were going to rehab for their gaming addiction because of what happened to Geoff.
For the first year, the visits were frequent. Flowers always laid on top of the grave, blue and green, his favorites. People would talk to Geoff and for a moment, it almost felt like they could hear him talking back, confessing things he never said out loud. As time came and went, things changed. His sister Sarah got offered a job in California and flew out the following week to start the rest of her life. Rebecca got pregnant and that became her entire universe. His father, also named Geoff, retired and went to southern Florida. Time stopped for no one. By the second year, the visits simmered down to only on holidays.
It was three years to the day that Geoff had passed away when somebody Geoff didn't know visited him. This boy with lavender hair that often frequented the cemetery at night, not with anyone but himself. The gothic teens would often scoff at his odd fashion choices; a white Guess sweater tucked into cuffed black jeans and black sunglasses, a multicolored Puma sweater paired with an off grey pair of sweatpants and large blue clout goggles, a day-glow orange windbreaker with cuffed jeans and a pair of navy blue Jordan's. The boy stuck out of a crowd intentionally or otherwise.
This night was similar to every other night the pastel boy had in the graveyard. He approached Geoff's grave with an arm full of sunflowers -the flowers changed every day depending on what he could snatch from work for cheap that day- but where there should've been a smile, there was a face of confusion. He was expecting the standard grave with a name, his relationship to other people in his life, potentially cause of death. The basics. His thick, dark brows scrunched together as he read the tombstone internally. He was not expecting to see those three words next to someone's death date.
"Game over? Continue?" The boy muttered more to himself than the grave. "What kinda guy are you Gee-off Wingainten?" He set the flowers atop the grave and immediately dug through his pockets. He plucked a penny out of his pocket and inserted it into the slot on the grave without a second thought. He heard an 8-bit version of a song he couldn't quite place when before his eyes, a boy appeared in front of him. His hair was a deep brown and longer than most boys -it was shaggy and a bit of a mess- but what caught the pastel boy's eye was the shade of cerulean that his eyes were.
"You fucking idiot. Everybody knows you're supposed to put in quarters! A penny wo-"
As quickly as the boy appeared in front of him, he vanished. The lavender haired boy blinked repeatedly, turned on his heels and ran out of the cemetery. He wasn't sure entirely what had just happened but he was freaked out. In all the times he had gone to visit graves, nothing like that had every happened to him. Sure, he had the odd goth here or there try to give him a hard time or fuck with him, but nothing like this. Had he imagined the taller boy? He heard his voice clear as day. Everybody knows you're supposed to put in quarters! rang in his ears. He had never been one to play arcade games. It didn't cross his mind that he needed quarters. His eyes shot across the street to a dimly lit 7-11 as he ran across the almost empty street and into the store.
"I need change." Awsten was running on autopilot at this point. He was there physically but he wasn't really there at all. He handed the cashier a twenty dollar bill. The cashier said nothing, taking the twenty from his hand and opening the till. She began to count out a small stack of ones. "Quarters. I need it all in quarters." His fingers drummed on the counter as she counted out the small silver coins.
"Video games or something?" It wasn't uncommon for people to come in and ask for change. Awsten learned that at his old job at the convenience store. The older the customer, the more likely it was for the bus. The younger the customer, the more likely it was for the arcade. The arcade was a surprisingly popular place to spend time around Houston. It wasn't in the best part of town -all the walls were covered in graffiti- but it was something to do.
"Something like that." He replied quickly. When she was done, he took the coins out of her hands and raced back across the street. His pace slowed as he came to the rows of graves. He wasn't exactly sure where Geoff Wigington's grave was. He had only been there the one time after all. He went up and down the first three rows before spying the interesting tombstone.
As he was sitting in front of the grave, twenty dollars in quarters rested in his hands. He went over the calculations in his mind one more time. Assuming that this weird fucking shit works on the same principle, if one cent gets this ghost person ten seconds, that means one hundred cents gets one thousand seconds. That means a dollar gets roughly sixteen and a half minutes. Twenty dollars gets them roughly five and a half hours.The pastel boy looked past the coins and at his dark blue shoes and almost began to question his motives before saying fuck it and sliding coins into the slot on the grave. The first one goes in no problem and he hears the song from before. It crosses his mind quickly that it might be a song from the early 2000's. By the time the second coin is in the slot, the brown haired boy is materializing but the mortal is oblivious.
"Wait, if that works, why didn't anybody put coins in before?" The brown haired boy yawned, stretching his arms over his head. The grave was too tiny for his liking. He didn't even have to look at himself to know he probably had the worst bedhead. "Nobody ever tried at my funeral. Fuckers." His voice caused the pastel boy to elicit a yelp, jumping and dropping the coins in his hands. His fingers began to shake, struggling to pick up the remaining coins.
"You need to relax." The brown haired boy scoffed, reaching for some of the silver. "I'm Geoff. Geoff Wigington." Geoff slid a few more coins into the slot slowly before turning to the other boy. "Not Gee-off. Not however the fuck you tried to say my last name back there. Geoff. Got it?" The pastel boy gulped and nodded hastily, handing Geoff a couple more coins. His hands were still shaking but Geoff either didn't notice or didn't feel the need to further tease the other boy. "You got a name or something?" They continued like that for a while. Geoff inserting coins into his own grave, bursting the other boy's theory that he was a ghost. The other boy gathering the small pieces of silver. It's only when the last coin goes in that the lavender boy summoned the courage to reply.
"Awsten." It comes out softly. Softer than when he was saying Geoff's name. "Awsten Knight." Geoff turned around and actually took a look at the person who freed him this time. He looked eyes with the boy and noticed he had two different colors looking back at him; a bright green that could rival that of a cat's eye and a light blue that reminded him of his baby blanket.
Geoff sighed, realizing how badly he must've scared this guy. He reached for the yellow flowers on top of his grave and tried to consider how to apologize to this stranger when a loud 8-bit soundtrack started playing and a small, blue fairy appeared before the two of them. Awsten is flabbergasted at the scene in front of him but Geoff? Geoff's grinning ear to ear. Neither of them have any idea what's about to happen until the small blue fairy cleared it's throat as if on cue.
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Game Over. Continue? // gawstenScience Fiction
Geoff dies. His tombstone is inscribed with "Game Over. Continue?" and a slot for coins. Awsten finds it, puts in a coin and Geoff bursts out of the grave. #1 in gawsten 1/12/19 #12 in geoff wigington 11/01/18 #13 in awsten knight 11/01/18 #16 in wa...