It was dark and dank in the room. The miasma of old permeated everything; old food, old air, old god and bodies washed long ago. There was a weird sense of desperation further tainting the air. This was an old shrine, not the old of a well-earned patina, but the old of countless pop cans left on the alter, their rings no longer distinct, but instead a sticky, slightly furry surface that seemed to draw new damage to itself like a suicidal squirrel. But it didn’t matter, none of mattered really, because the god was the important thing. It drew them there, everyday it drew them in. A moth to a flame is too gentile a comparison, even when the moth explodes into flame, doomed from the moment the flicker caught its eyes, this drawing was something beyond the pathetic flaming death of a bug. This was worship. The god drew them in ever deeper and they willingly gave the demanded offering.
It started the moment the novitiate awoke. They crawled from their filthy nest of whatever bedding was at hand, and came with shaking hands to begin the act of veneration. The breaking of the fast was whatever lay at hand on the alter, the remains of the previous night’s worship. The glow from the god, surely a sign of favor and love, was the only true light allowed. Yes, some wretched strips of daylight may have found a way to creep between the slats of the metal vertical blinds, but it quickly lost its strength in the face of the gods glow. The novitiate remains still the entire day until driven mad by their bodies desperate need to empty themselves of endless cans of pop, then worship is paused momentarily to allow for such mundane tasks. The god is benevolent and does not seem to mind. Its punishments are subtle. It allows you to gain ground in the world it creates for you, then casts you down, causing explosive moments of loathing as the worshiper feels the hopeless sting of betrayal by their god.
When the deep of night comes and the weary apprentice can no longer see enough to continue worshipping, it is time for him to give his offering. The greedy god awaits. It amorphous hands reach out to accept the offering; it has won again. The worshipper stands on unsteady feet, he has somehow lost the ability to walk surefootedly in the gloom. He carefully takes out a knife, a beautiful silver knife that never seems to tarnish or fade even though it is never wiped clean after each offering. Lifting his shirt he carefully cuts out another slice of his life and places the grisly offering before the glowing screen. It is done. Another day, another offering, another lost piece of life. The shaking worshipper crawls to the bed and curls up tight. Tomorrow is another day to worship.
Revised Title: The Gamer