Arcade After Dark
Issue #13
by Tom Zjaba


Chapter 13
Late Night Intruder


    The men came and took Demon Realm away. The kids in the neighborhood were sad to see it go. No one in the arcade had conquered it yet. A few kids made it pretty far in the game, as it was nothing but a memorization game. But no one was able to defeat it yet. And now it is gone. There is a big hole in the arcade that was filled by Demon Realm.

    Danny is reading the latest video game magazine when he is approached by a bunch of kids. "What happened to Demon Realm? We heard you had to sell it because you were going out of business." Danny puts down the magazine and looks at the kid. "Who told you that nonsense?" The boy steps back as he was expecting Danny to get mad. "A kid at the mall said that if an arcade like Upper Level could not stay in the business, then all arcades are doomed." Danny laughs at such a ridiculous statement. "Do you even know why Upper Level closed?" The kid pauses as he looks to his friends for answers. They just shrug their shoulders as they don't really know. "They ran out of money?" This really makes Danny laugh. "No, it was because they didn't pay all their taxes, so the IRS came and closed them down." The kids all look at each other with surprise. They never expected an answer like this. One of the kids in the back speaks up "Is that why you had to get rid of Demon Realm? To pay the IRS?" Danny breaks out laughing. "Puleeze. We pay our taxes. The reason we got rid of Demon Realm was because the warehouse is sold out and offered us a good deal for it. For your information, we have four new games coming. Does that sound like a store that is closing?" The kid in the back then says "Great, we are gonna get more games like Bi-Plane." The kids all break out laughing. Danny motions for them to be quiet. "For your information, I went with Mike to pick out the games this time. Trust me, they are some hot new games. No dogs this time." The kids are all talking as they try to guess which games they may be. The kid up front asks "What games are they?" Danny smiles as he says "You will have to wait until Friday to find out. But trust me, you will want to save your quarters." They all get excited and rush out the door.

    After the arcade is locked up for the evening, the game characters all come out to talk. Once again, the talk is about Demon Realm. Toygirl looks at the empty spot and frowns. "Just think, one day I will be in the arcade and the next day, I will be gone. Just like that." Toyboy comes over to comfort her. "You have a long time to go. Don't think about it." He gives her a big hug, which seems to cheer her up a bit. Roadkill Bill decides to lighten the mood a bit. He makes devil horns on Billy the Block and says "Who needs Demon Realm when we have Demon Block!" Billy turns around and glares at him. "You know some people eat squirrels." Roadkill Bill just laughs as he zings him back "And babies play with blocks. Goo Goo, baby wanna block." The whole time he is pointing at Billy, who gets mad and runs after him. "Come here so I can knock your block off. You stupid rodent."

    While the rest of the group watches the two of them running around, they hear a strange noise. It is the sound of breaking glass. They all turn to see what made it. They hear two voices talking. "Stick your hand through the hole and open the back door." The other voice says "You stick your hand through. I'm not getting cut." The first voice responds "Then get out of my way, you baby." The sound of more shattering glass is heard. This stops even Billy the Block and Roadkill Bill, who both look towards the direction of the sound. Toyboy speaks up as he says "I think we better get back in our machines." The rest of the group looks at him and nods in agreement. And like that, they all scatter and run back into their machines.

    With the glass out of the way, the two burglars open the back door and make their way into the arcade. The first burglar says "Let's get the Demon Realm and get the hell out of here." The second one responds "Yeah, the last thing I want is to get caught." As they make their way through the arcade, the first burglar hits his knee on Bi-Plane. "Damn it, turn on the flashlight." The second one grabs the flashlight and turns it on. "Thought you didn't want to use it? You were afraid someone would see us." The first burglar turns and says "If I break my leg, then we will surely get caught. Now just give me the flashlight and shut up." He grumbles some as he takes it and turns it on. "Now where in the arcade is the game?" The second burglar points to the front of the arcade. "It is over there." The first burglar turns and shines the light on him. "We are in the dark. Don't point to it, tell me. Front of the store, back of the store. Just give me some idea." The second burglar says "It is by the front door. You see it right when you walk in." The first burglar turns and says "That's better. Now go ahead and lead the way." He hands him the flashlight and follows him as they head to the front of the store.

    Toygirl looks out of her machine with a scared look on her face. She overheard them talking about taking Demon Realm, but she cannot help but worry that they may take her instead, when the find that Demon Realm is gone. The rest of the characters look out of their machines as well. They are not used to seeing late night visitors, especially ones that break in. There is tension in the air as they are scared that they will be taken in Demon Realm's place.

    When the burglars get to the front of the store, they look around. "We are at the front of the store, so where is it?" the first burglar asks as he does not see it. "It was right here the other day." the second burglar says as he points to the empty space. "Maybe they moved it somewhere else." the first burglar says as he can obviously see that it is not there anymore. "Or it could be broke and taken in for repairs. They are known to break down allot." the second burglar adds. "Let's look around and see if it is here." the first burglar says as he starts looking around.

    A police car drives past the store and one of the officers sees a light shining around in the arcade. "Hold up a minute." the passenger officer says. The driver pulls over to the side of the road as he asks "What is it?" The first officer opens the door and says "I thought I saw a light in the arcade. Sorta looked like a flashlight." They park the car and both officers get out. The first one grabs a flashlight and they head over there. As he goes to the front door, they see the beam of light moving around in the store. "There is definitely someone in there." the second officer says as he sees the light moving around. He grabs his walkie and calls in a possible burglary. While he does this, the other officer goes to the back door. When he gets there, he sees the broken window. "I have forced entry back here." he says as he pulls out his gun. "I will shine my flashlight in here and distract them. Be ready for them to try and leave the backdoor." the other officer says. He takes his flashlight and shines it into the store.

    The two burglars are looking over the different machines when the light hits them. "Oh crap." the first burglar says as he looks over and sees the police officer in the front window. "What do we do now?" the other burglar asks as they know they have been discovered. "We make a run for it." the first burglar says as he turns and heads towards the back door. Since he has the flashlight, the other one has to follow him. "They are coming your way, be ready." the officer says as he sees them turn and start running.

    The two burglars try to run out as they find themselves running into machines. They end up knocking Billy the Block's machine over as they clumsily charge through the darkness. But as they finally reach the back door, they find themselves confronted with a police officer with his gun out and pointed at them. "Freeze!" the officer says as he sees them. Being only young men, they are too scared to put up a fight and immediately stop in their tracks and put their hands over the heads. The officer then tells them "Keep your hands above your head and come out slowly." As they comply with his instructions, the other officer comes around and gets ready to cuff them.

    An hour later, Mike and Danny are at the store, where they are filling out a police report. Mike looks at Danny and says "See, it was a good idea to trade in Demon Realm. If we didn't, they may have taken it and got away." Danny glares at him. "Good idea? I was the one who told you to not get that game in the first place." The two look at each other and then start laughing. As they are laughing, one of the officers comes over and says "You really should consider getting an alarm system. These guys were able to get in quite easily and if we didn't happen to be driving by, who knows what they would have taken." Mike looks at the officer with a sad look and says "You're right officer. I will call tomorrow." Danny looks at the officer and says "I told him to get an alarm system, but he is so cheap." Mike glares at Danny as he says "When did you say get an alarm system? Your bright idea was putting a bear trap by the back door." Danny glares back at him. "And if you did, we would have easily caught them."

    Once all the commotion dies down and everyone leaves the arcade, the game characters all come out again. Billy's machines has been put back in place. He is still a little stunned from the fall, but he tries not to show it. As they all come together, Toygirl looks at Billy and says "I was so worried about you." Billy smiles as he rubs his head. "I am tougher than I look." Roadkill Bill cannot pass up this opportunity and jumps in "Don't worry about him, he is used to being hit around." Billy turns to him and glares at him. "Isn't there some traffic you can go play in?" Toygirl jumps in to stop them from fighting. "Boys, can't we just play nice? We just went through a traumatic experience and the last thing we need is fighting." The guys look at each other with sad looks on their faces. Realizing the mood is dying, Toyboy jumps in with a joke. "I have a joke for everyone. Why did the chicken cross the road?" They all look at him as Toygirl says "To get to the other side, of course." He smiles at her and says "No, he wanted to show Roadkill Bill that it could be done." Billy the Block breaks out laughing and soon everyone else joins in. Even Roadkill Bill laughs at the joke.



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Arcade After Dark Tom Zjaba

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