Congrats! You’re the first to check out the first chapter of my upcoming book, Trapped in a Video Game 2! Enjoy, and look out for the full book in a few weeks.
What did you do last night? Sleep? Hm, you don’t say.
Want to know what I did? I talked to an Army guy. Not like someone from the real Army trying to recruit me (I’m 12. It would have been a short conversation). The Army guy I talked to happened to be six inches tall and made of plastic.
I don’t make a habit of talking to toys — I’m not crazy — but I had a good excuse. This one talked to me first. See, I met this particular toy when he wasn’t a toy, but a real sergeant in the game Full Blast. Two weeks ago, I got sucked into Full Blast with my friend Eric Conrad. We flew around with jetpacks and rode the Statue of Liberty like a rocket ship and almost got trapped inside the game for good by an alien who said our names in the creepiest way possible. It’s a long story. You should read it sometime.
Anyways, in Full Blast, we met Mark Whitman — another kid from our class who had gotten sucked into the same game. Mark stayed behind so Eric and I could escape. Now, this Army guy was telling me that I could go back into the video game to save Mark, but I had to “go back now.”
Of course I wanted to go back. I’d do anything for Mark. The sergeant asked me if I was sure. Yes I was sure, let’s go! I stared at the Army guy, waiting for him to — I don’t know, click his heels or open a portal in my closet or something. Instead, he stared at me motionless kind of like a toy would. That’s when I started feeling stupid.
“Hey, I said ‘yes.’” I poked the sergeant. He continued staring with his blank toy expression. “Do I need to press some sort of button?” I picked him up and turned him over in my hand. No button.
At this point, you might be thinking that maybe the whole talking toy thing was a dream. And I would normally agree with you, except for one very important detail: the sergeant had actually woken me up from a dream. Now have you ever woken up from a dream only to find yourself in another dream? You have not. That has never once happened in real life, only in movies. The talking sergeant was not a dream because this is not a movie, and also I am not crazy.
I spent the next several minutes talking to and poking at the Army guy. Then I got up and checked all the places that he might have hidden some sort of portal to the video game (TV, toilet, wardrobe, etc.). Nothing. I crawled back into bed and spent much of the rest of the night convincing myself I wasn’t crazy, and then I think I fell asleep.
My eyes popped open. Sunlight streamed through the window. Monday morning.
“Jesse!” my mom yelled up the stairs again.
“Mmmf,” I replied. I stumbled out of bed and plop-plop-plopped down the stairs. I took my seat at the table and waited for my dad to grab the cereal from the top shelf. “What kind do you want, hon?” he asked.
“Blueberry crunch,” my mom replied as she finished packing her lunch.
“I’ll try that new chocolate one,” I said.
My dad grabbed the blueberry only. “Can I try the chocolate one?” I repeated a little louder. My dad set my mom’s cereal box on the table and grabbed his milk bowl from the freezer. (“Freeze the bowl first. It will change your life,” he tells everyone who will listen. Not true. From personal experience, I can tell you that the only thing freezing the bowl will do is turn the milk so cold that it hurts your teeth.)
I sighed and reached for my mom’s gross organic blueberry cereal. I knew the promise of chocolate for breakfast was too good to be true.
“Did you call Jesse?” my dad asked as he grabbed the cereal box before I could.
I squinted at him and waved right in front of his face.
“Yeah Dad, I’m right here.”
My mom sighed. “I’ll call him again.” She walked to the stairs. “Jesse! Jesse Daniel Rigsby! Get down here now! You’re going to be late for school!”
I threw my hands into the air. “Dad. Dad! DAD!”
My dad finished pouring his cereal and reached across the table for the milk like I wasn’t there. I jumped up and grabbed the milk before he could to get his attention. That didn’t stop him, so I pulled the milk toward me. Or at least I tried to pull it toward me. When I did, my hands went right through the jug.
“WHAT IS GOING ON?!” I grabbed the cereal box. Same thing — I could touch and feel the box, but when I tried to move it, my hand went right through. “AHHHHH!” I screamed as I ran to the bathroom. The bathroom mirror confirmed my worst fears. I looked at the mirror, desperately hoping to see my terrified face. Instead, all I got was the empty bathtub behind me. I looked down at my hands. Real as could be. But when I waved them in front of the mirror — nothing.
I was a ghost.
And that wasn’t even the worst of it. As I stood in the bathroom, trying to figure out what to do next (What do ghosts eat? Do they go to the bathroom? What about school? Is there a special ghost school?), I heard a snort behind me. I looked into the mirror. Nothing. Another snort.
I slowly turned around. Behind me, sitting patiently in the tub, was an eight-foot-tall, bright blue Bigfoot.