about the author

William Hoffacker is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Cartridge Lit, an online literary journal dedicated to poetry and prose inspired by video games. His work has appeared in NANO Fiction, The Matador Review, Threadcount, and others. More information is available at williamhoffacker.com.

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Attempting to Dodge a Scorching Ray, You Roll a 7

William Hoffacker

The wizard whom you angered clenches his fingers like he is scraping the air and whispers words you cannot hear in a language you cannot understand. You know not what spell he is casting, but you know to get out of the way. You run, weaving like a serpent through the tall grass, trying to make a hard target of yourself. You do not look back to see what hits you before it strikes your shoulder. It burns through your leather armor and scalds your skin. The pain summons a childhood memory of when you stuck your hand into a pot of boiling water, ignorant of the danger, because you wanted to play with the bubbles. You hear a popping sound that could be from the crackling dry grass or from your flesh cooking. You cannot twist your head far enough to see the wound. It feels as large as your father’s palm whenever he would slap your back when he meant “toughen up.” The heat is so intense that the spot might be on fire. You collapse and roll in the dirt. On your back, you see five rays of light soar over you, one by one, shooting stars that would scorch the earth if they flew any lower.

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