THE ONE & ONI

Sidron’s demons were callous & insatiable, burrowing into every facet of his life. Drilling out cavities in the quiet moments, dialing up hell when his concentration waned. He was close to his wits end. Near the bottom side of the rope & still sliding. Thats when he found it. A strange flyer that came in the mail, tucked beneath bills & solicitations & credit card applications. It read "Reverse gaming & the death of all your demons. Free trial offer. One per customer." He found the website, put in his info & sent off for the Oni Reverse Gaming System or O.R.G.S.

Seven business days later, a package no bigger than a cellphone case arrived. He opened it to reveal an onyx rectangle, a pair of ear buds & an HDMI cord. A single sheet of paper held the instructions for use.

It plugs in like any modern entertainment system, except there are no controllers. Only a pair of ear buds are necessary for the machine to operate. This is because you dont play it; the O.R.G.S. plays you. By entering you subconscious mind, it ventures deep into your personal history, eliminating the demons that plague your past & haunt your present. Warning: The system may lose out to the demons that stalk you. In this event, the system will shut itself down & you will wake, free to let it try again. In extremely rare cases, some may experience a "system lock" preventing your conscious mind from returning to your control.

He never suffered from seizures or had any allergies, so Sidron felt confident that last bit didnt apply to him. "No quick fixes," his father would’ve said. "Cant kill all your demons, son." Sidron ignored the advice, as he so often did, hooked up the system, popped in the ear buds & switched it on.

On the L.E.D. screen in his living room, he watched as his life unfurled before him, digitally animated & fluid in its consistency. The whole of his past, served up as a movie that he was now third person to. A new protagonist presented herself, mopping up the messes he’d made, rewriting the lives he’d push away. Moving him left when he originally went right. She made him finish college. Pushed him through the doors of graduate school. Even made him apply for a federal grant to fund his research into dynamic supersymmetry, a field Sid had never even new existed before this game began. All around him his environment changed. Walls fell & were rebuilt. Furniture shifted & rearranged. His life was new & every memory of it was being made in real time, right there on the screen. She was doing exactly what the flyer promised, killing off the demons he’d accumulated over his life. And all of this arrived for free.

But then he noticed a reoccurring theme. It seemed no matter how the games protagonist tried, no matter what path she took or what tools she used, one thing kept creeping up. Greed. Sid had developed a hyper intense greed that now pervaded every nook & cranny of his life. A single demon that drained her energy & blazed a path of wretched discourse through his many newfound successes.

As her health bar fell to zero, Sid expected to regain control & try again, but this would not be the case. The screen glitched & thin tendrils of smoke began drifting up from the O.R.G.S.

As his mind spiralled down into the darkened depths of a digital fracture, he thought to himself that his father was right. There were no quick fixes & you can never kill all your demons. There will always be at least one, waiting to haunt you. "No wonder the damn thing was free." Sid muttered as he tumbled down through muted waves of obsidian code.

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