Gerald Russell is a writer, a gamer, and aspires to write for video games as well as short stories, novels, and has recently taken up poetry and songwriting. He specializes in the fantasy genre, and has dabbled in thriller and comedy.
Gerald grew up in Miami playing Halo and Need for Speed, the latter to which he attributes his love for cars. Drawing inspiration from the amazing campaigns of his favorite games, movies, and books, he wants to write stories equally as compelling either as a novel or a video game. Gerald is currently studying Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University.
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Feel It Still
Alex woke to the sound of bustling downstairs. Looking around he realized he just had a dream and got out of bed to see what his family was doing. Moving down the steps, he heard the doorbell ring. Alex paused, suddenly he thought he was forgetting something. His wife opened the door before he was down the steps.
“Honey, did you order something?”
Reaching the bottom of the staircase, he could see a box on the doorstep.
“No, I didn’t. I wonder what it might be,” he said.
Again, he paused, there was a note attached to the box reading:
“What does it say?” his wife asked.
“What does that mean?”
He picked up the box wondering what was inside. Turning to head inside, he saw his wife frozen in place, a neutral expression on her face. He nudged her; her body was stiff as concrete. Alex tried to shake her out of her trance but had no success. He turned to his two kids that were playing in the living room. They too were frozen in place, in the middle of a game of tag. Again, he tried to move his wife, only to watch her disintegrate at his touch. With a look of horror on his face, he turned to his children to see them too turn to dust. With tears running down his eyes, Alex threw the box at a wall. The box exploded on contact, ending his life and thrusting him into darkness.
Alex woke in his bed, the sunlight streaming through already open curtains. Figuring he had another dream, he walked downstairs to the kitchen to make breakfast. The doorbell rung as he passed through the living room. Looking through the peephole, he could see nothing and figured it was a package being dropped off. Opening the door, Alex saw a box on his doorstep with a note attached to it, reading:
The box is the key.
Alex didn’t know what the note meant. Shakily picking up the box, he could feel that it was extremely light and shook it lightly to discern what might be in it. Alex opened it about halfway when it burst into flames. He screamed in pain as the flames ate at his skin, quickly engulfing his body. Alex dropped the box, beginning to lose consciousness. Feeling himself slip away he heard voices seemingly from his head.
He’s witnessed the death of his family. The brain deals with trauma differently among people. The box must be the key to solving it.
Alex was at the door again before the doorbell rang. There was nobody there but the box, which told him he was still dreaming. He touched the box and his hands began burning. The pain, it was agonizing. It spread through his arms and the rest of his body. He could feel himself losing consciousness and thought this might be worth the pain if he could get out. He fought to open the box, tears streaming from his eyes. When he finally did get all four flaps open, he dropped to his knees and screamed. The box was empty.
Alex once again trudged down the stairs, still recovering from the last dream. He’d been through the same scenario more times than he could count, all ending in some type of torture, only to wake up in bed again. He hoped he was nearing the end of whatever this dream loop he was in. He opened the front door to see the same box. He lowered his hands on it expecting more pain. He instead awoke to completely new surroundings. Bright lights, white walls, and a lot of lab coats. He could make out one man with black hair that was combed back and greying. He was speaking to a nurse, and his voice was familiar.
“You,” Alex said. “Your voice…”
The man made his way over to him.
“Yes, Alex,” the man said. “I was able to end your dream cycle.”
He was restrained to a bed, only able to move his head. His arms were wrapped in casts. He saw on a shelf in the corner of the room the same box, his key out of here. Alex struggled against his restraints, shouting that he needed to get to the box. It was the only way he could spare his family his fate.
“Let me open the box! You said it was the key out!”
The man from his dream simply looked down at him with a disappointed expression and put a needle to his neck. Alex relaxed, and the world faded away from him once again.
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