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How Shoes Protested in Australia
“No, no! You can’t do that!” said the man, who was holding a gun to his head with one hand and gesturing wildly at the screen as if it was somehow not showing what he meant. He pointed the gun straight down at the floor and pulled the trigger, sending an arrow through a rabbit’s skull. The rabbit let out a yelp of pain and fell over with its mouth open. “That’s for you, you asshole!” the man said, shaking with anger. He fired another round into the rabbit, causing its body to explode. “Fuck you, bitch!” he screamed, turning around and aiming the gun at the camera again. It was now pointing directly at Arthur’s face. He felt sweat dripping from his forehead. “You think I care about your stupid story?” The man shouted at the camera. “It doesn’t matter! My life will always be better because of that shitty fucking rabbit! Fuck you, fuck this world, fuck everything!” Tears ran down his eyes. “If it wasn’t for me, my family would still be alive! Fuck this whole world!” With that the man turned on his heel and slammed the door behind him. Arthur could hear footsteps walking away in the distance. He closed his eyes shut.
Arthur opened them slowly. He glanced at his phone. There were four missed calls from Gwen. One had even woken up Shaggy. His friend was sitting beside him on the sofa watching cartoons while Arthur sat up. The TV show that they were watching ended but Arthur wasn’t paying attention anyway. He didn’t have the energy left to concentrate on anything.
He stood up slowly and headed to the kitchen. Shaggy followed behind him. Arthur picked some fruit up and held it out to him. “Do you want some, boy?”
Shaggy jumped back like Arthur had suddenly shot him. He shook his head vigorously. “Naw, thanks dude, but I got some cereal already.”
Arthur nodded. His appetite was gone. He ate half the apple before going into his bedroom and closing the door behind him. He threw himself down onto his bed. He stared up at the ceiling for a few minutes. When he finally forced himself to sit up, he grabbed his laptop off the bedside table and put in headphones. He switched it on and pressed play. A few minutes later, he found himself lost in thought again.
This time, he was standing in front of a large mirror. He looked very different without the beard. His hair was much shorter than it used to be. But when he looked into the mirror, all he saw was the reflection of the man that stood next to him.
It seemed like his reflection mirrored him perfectly. The same piercing blue eyes. The same thin lips. Same strong jaw. The same slightly receding hairline. The same muscular frame. Same tattoos. Same scars. The only difference was the red beanie on his head.
The man looked like a completely different person. But then again, so did Arthur. This is how he saw the two of them. Different versions of each other.
But why did they both look exactly the same? That was impossible. He was convinced that he had changed his appearance forever in order to find Arthur. They had searched everywhere. Arthur never left England. He spent more than 10 years looking everywhere but here, in Australia. So why…
Arthur sat there staring at his reflection for hours. Eventually, Shaggy entered his room, knocked on the door twice, and said that it was dinner time. Arthur told him that he was coming but didn’t get out of bed.
His reflection started talking again. “Arthur, come eat something or we are going to go hungry. We have to leave soon if we want to beat traffic.”
Arthur ignored him.
Finally he heard Shaggy leave again. As soon as he was gone, his reflection continued talking.
“Why don’t you listen to me?”
Arthur groaned in frustration. He wanted to be alone right now but his reflection wouldn’t give up so easily. “I am listening, alright?!”
His reflection chuckled.
Then he spoke again. “I know how important the game is to you, Arthur. And you need to win it, otherwise you won’t have any reason to stay here.”
Arthur sighed. “What are you getting at, Rooker?”
His reflection took a deep breath. “If you lose, you will disappear forever,” he said. “And you can’t lose this time! You need to stay. If you die, I die, too. We can’t just leave each other behind, okay? Please, Arthur. We have a lot of memories here together.”
Arthur sat up, finally facing his reflection in the mirror. “So what do you suggest?”
“We win the game. All we need is to get past these obstacles and find your old house. Then, we destroy the house. Afterward, you can go wherever you want.”
“Are you sure?” asked Arthur. “What if I fail to defeat the challenges? Won’t we end up here forever?”
“We won’t know until we try. We can’t let ourselves run out of ideas. We have to find a way.”
“Fine,” replied Arthur, resigned. “What obstacles are we supposed to be fighting? I’m pretty sure I know what I’m going to face.”
Arthur turned back towards the mirror. “Let’s see…there should be a dragon somewhere along the path leading to that house. Or maybe a bunch of zombies.”
“Zombies? You mean those things that killed our friends? They’ll just walk right through us. What is that even supposed to prove, Arthur?”
“Maybe this isn’t what we have to work with,” answered Arthur. “Look, I’m willing to bet that the dragons will appear after a certain amount of time. They’re bound to appear. But they’re also bound to attack. So either I fight one, or you do.”
“You expect me to fight three dragons?” asked Rooker.
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