TITLE: POINT BLANK
GENRE: YA Futuristic Thriller
The Phoenix is watching. As the walls of the virtual simulation room flicker around its flames, the legendary bird stares me down with its scarlet, ruthless eyes, as if it knows what I have planned.
Quickly, before its image can fade away, I get out my pistol from my pocket and fire, again and again, taking revenge for all those years I spent alone because of it, for all those people that died in the fire it caused. The beast shrieks and takes flight, but despite this reaction, doesn’t seem at all harmed by my flurry of bullets.
I pause, and then continue to shoot at it, aiming at its head this time. The flames that make up the phoenix’s feathers bristle for a moment, crackling like a hungry forest fire before quieting down like nothing happened. The phoenix’s fire somehow absorbs the bullets, just like it absorbed all the heat and energy from the bomb, the grenade, and the rocket that I’d used against it in previous simulations.
The gun had been my last resort.
There’s got to be a way to kill it. I try to remember the list of weapons in one of the books about primitive warfare that I’d read before entering this simulation. After mentally going through that list, I decide on one of the weapons.
I then do what my weapons-instructor told me never to do in the midst of combat.
I drop my gun, and wait with my hand outstretched beside me.