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“Why did I agree to this?” I thought as I dispiritedly limped my way back to my dusty wooden bench by the bubbler. I hopelessly squinted through my bleeding eyes at the score board, wishing the numbers displayed were a malfunction. The score flashed: Ralph Anderson, 0. Brandon Stanley, 13.
Brandon looked at me in mocking triumph. Soon I would be his next soul. Another person who thought he could best the devil. To avoid looking into the eyes of my future overlord, I looked down at my dirty, holed up Nikes, thinking back to why I’m playing the devil for my life.
I thought about one of the main reasons for my trouble. Rachel Green. Voted president of the student body. Voted most popular. Voted most likely to be voted for. Blond hair almost as white as the snow on the ground. Hazel eyes that cut through me like glass on impact. Anyone who said blondes are dumb never met Rachel Greene. She is going to be valedictorian when she graduates.
You can tell by the way every guy, and I mean every guy looks at her that they all want her. But no one in the school would date her because of her father, Roger Scott. Roger is at least 6’6 and 225 pounds. He is the basketball coach, and he will kill anyone in the school for even looking at his daughter.
I have filled up at least two notebooks in Mrs. Hartline’s Creative Writing class about Rachel and me. We do a bunch of things like having a romantic picnic. Or we stare into each other’s eyes as if nothing else in the world mattered. Once, I wrote how we would get married, but the honeymoon was cut short because I didn’t have enough money.
She is the reason I’m about to die. I gave up something that can never be replaced. I have foolishly sold away the one thing that can’t be taken back. And for what? Jordan-like basketball skills? Dazzling good looks that make the ladies scream out at me. Looks that make other guys stare daggers at me? To impress Rachel so my dreams become Reality? I thought to the beginning of the end of my life.
My name is Ralph Anderson. I am 17 years old. I am a scrawny, bespectacled loser. I have the perfect Halloween mask residing on my bony frame. Pockmarked, bucktoothed, a huge mole on my cheek. You get the picture. Definitely not a Greek god. When I walk down the hallways, I get noticed about as much as that Snickers wrapper lying untouched on the gym floor.
Except of course for Jake Nelson and his cronies. Jake Nelson has been suspended three times for beating kids up. He’s been suspended five times for swearing at teachers. He’s also been suspended twice for trying to slash Principal Carl’s tires. Jake has a military haircut, coal black hair, and five piercings on his body. One on each ear, two in his nose, and one on his tongue. His buddies, Gordon, Chad, and Mitch are his robotic slaves. They do whatever Jake says because they’re too stupid to listen to themselves.
They are all sports fans. Their favorite sport is Ralph hunting. All day long I need to double check where I’m going. If I don’t, I end up with no lunch money, a black eye, and an unwanted shower by way of toilet. What’s worse for me is the fact that no one punishes these guys.
They are the stars of the Football field, Baseball diamond, and mostly the Basketball court. Our teams have been pretty good over the last few years, but Coach Scott held open tryouts anyways.
I should have just walked out of the door when I first got in there. Jake took one look at me and said,
“Hey Ralph, you must be confused buddy. Girls team tryouts were yesterday.”
Why does everyone laugh at his jokes? Coach Scott, who didn’t hear Jake, quieted everyone and gathered us in a circle.
“Alright, if you guys want to make the team, you’ll have to earn it” Coach Said, “You will play a member of the current Basketball team. If you do a great job, I will consider a roster spot for you. Remember, I never miss a thing.”
Coach threw me the ball and blew his whistle. I turned towards my opponent and almost fainted. My opponent was Jake. I immediately didn’t run or throw up, that’s usually a good sign. I saw an opening to my right. I dribbled there and found myself right up to the basket. Excitement poured through me as I released the ball.
“What am doing on the ground, I don’t remember being on the ground” I thought. Then I heard Jake laughing his head off.
“Oh my god, Ralph” he choked out, “That was the lamest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“How did I get on the ground?” I asked.
“You shot the ball, and it hit the backboard, bounced back, and hit you on the head” Jake laughed. I didn’t need the coach’s sympathetic pat on the back to know what happened next. I was never going to make the team.
I live in a run-down Brick red house in the slums of the city. But this in no way compares to my wasteland of a family. My dad, Arnold, is a surly, bad tempered drunk or so I am told. I have never seen my father since he ran out on me when he learned my mother, Sarah was pregnant. I don’t really know if my mom is worse than my dad. She didn’t leave me, it’s true, but she doesn’t really care about me. She’s addicted to Cocaine and Acid, and she will do anything to get more. She’s had so many “business meetings” that I have lost track trying to count.
Being an only child means that I have nobody to take care of anyone except for myself. But it also means that no one else is there to protect me from my mom. When she doesn’t have drugs, she gets really angry. I am her personal outlet of abuse. If I didn’t get a black eye from Jake, chances are I’m still going to end up with one before bed. My mom has called me,
“A stupid runt with fewer brains than a pile of dirt.” I will never amount to anything more than a stupid rat.” And a whole lot of other things that I can’t even print on paper. I do my best to withstand my mother. After all, she’s the only family I’ve got. Right now her door is closed with a hat on the door. A very clear message to me. Disturb and die.
I go to the living room and write a new story for Mrs. Hartline’s class. As usual, my topic was Rachel. This time I wrote about how I saved her from a burning building. How she is forever in my debt and she would consider it a privilege to date me. She vows to spend the rest of eternity with me. We then climb aboard a horse and travel off into the sunset together.
My mom’s door opens and her friend leaves. My mom comes into the living room completely lost in her own world. I try to hide, but she sees me and grabs my notebook. I sit motionless as she reads my latest story. I listen to her cutting remarks about how I’m a queer for writing when I should be playing sports or normal boy stuff. I quickly flee the room, hoping she didn’t see her queer son cry. Later that night I sat in my bed. I finally came to a decision and sank off the bed to my knees, head bowed in prayer.
“Is there someone out there who can help me? If there is, please help me. I will give anything. Thank You.” I then crawled back into bed eventually drifted off to sleep.
“What is that tapping noise?” I thought waking up with a start. I stared at the alarm clock. 1:30. Great. I’m just about to go back to sleep when I see it. A rock hitting the window. So I go to the window and look out. I see someone staring back at me. They are signaling that they would like to come in. Every part of me screams delusional serial killer. But curiosity gets the better of me and I bolt out of the room. I cross the hall on tiptoe, but my mom looks dead to the world. I quickly undo the lock and open the door. He is standing there.
Okay, even I had to admit that this guy was hot. Perfect bronze skin. Not quite a body builder, but very powerfully built. Perfect bright sky blue eyes. Brown, wavy hair flowing in the chilly morning air.
“Good morning, Ralph” The stranger said. I didn’t know how he knew my name. “My visit will be brief. If you could just let me in, I’ll tell you why I’m here.” He had a cool, reassuring voice. A voice that promised everything will be alright. Despite only meeting him, that voice made me feel that I could trust him. So I let him in.
Back in my room, I finally became able to speak.
“Who are you?” I asked
“Brandon. Brandon Stanley” he replied, shaking my hand. His felt so warm even though he just was out in the cold. “I understand you have a wish. Well I’m here to grant it.”
“Really” I asked, “you can give me superb Basketball skills?”
“Yep” Replied Brandon.
“You can give me looks like yours?” I asked
“Sure can” he answered.
“You can give me a loving mother, popularity, and a bully free pass?” I questioned uncertainly.
“I can give you anything you want, but here’s the catch,” Brandon said mysteriously, “At the end of the basketball season, everything disappears. You go back to your old life. If you don’t give up your new life, I will take it from you, along with your mother. Do we have a deal?” he asked, extending his hand.
“Let me get this straight” I said “You give me a whole new life, but after the season, you just take it all back?”
Brandon just grinned, which I assume means yes.
“Do we have a deal?” he asked
I looked at myself in the mirror behind Brandon’s back. What I saw was a tortured soul given a chance to escape. My reflection stiffened my resolve. I shook Brandon’s hand. At once the world started spinning. It felt like my whole body was on fire. I felt a jolt searing me in my chest, right in my heart. Then the world dissolved into nothingness.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! I literally threw my alarm clock against the wall. It smashed into tons of pieces, leaving a large dent in the wall.
“It was all a dream” I thought as I slowly got up and tiredly made my bed. “I dreamt that someone named Brandon Stanley promised to make all my desires come true.” I stretched and crossed the room to pick something out for school. When I got into the view of the mirror, I glanced at the mirror and walked on. Then I froze and turned around.
I blinked. So did the pair of blue eyes staring back at me. I then ran my hand through my hair. So did the person in the mirror, except his was exactly the same color as Brandon’s.
“Ralph, honey your breakfast is getting cold” called my mother in a singsong voice.
“Be down in a second” I called. I froze again. My voice was a cool, reassuring voice. A voice promising everything would be alright. Just like Brandon’s voice was. It slowly began to dawn on me. Pleasant voice. Gorgeous looks. Nice mom who’s making me breakfast.
“He did it” I think. Even my thoughts have that pleasant voice. When I entered the kitchen, the beautiful smell of French toast greeted me. While the sizzling in the pan meant bacon was frying. I love French toast and bacon.
“What took you so long, sleepy head?” snickered my mother, setting a big plate on the table. I took a bite of the bacon and almost fainted. It tasted so good. I hungrily ate the whole plate, savoring each bite as if it were made from the gods. “Slow down, Ralph. It’s only toast and bacon.” My mother said.
I stood up from the table. “I’m going to school now” I said, walking toward the back door.
“Have a great day, Son” She said, kissing me on the cheek.
I walked into the school through these ancient oak doors. I went straight for the Fieldhouse, fancy for gym. I knew that if Jake and the robots weren’t stealing some kid’s wallet, they would be shooting around. Sure enough, the closer I walked to the gym, the more I heard of the ball smacking the polished wooden floor.
Jake looked around and saw me. “Hey Ralph, want to shoot with us?” he asked.
“Why not” I replied, dropping my bag on the floor. They passed me the ball and I took my spot behind the 3 point line. Straight across from the basket, set myself, and fired. Swish. I took the shot again. Same result. I went to different spots around the basket. From the sideline, behind the hoop, I even made a basket from the top of our bleachers. Jake and the robots started cheering and dancing around like monkeys every time I made a shot.
“Wow” a voice said behind me. A soft, simple voice. A voice full of youth and life. The voice of Rachel Scott. “You should be on the Basketball team. My father could use a player like you.” She was wearing a pink American Eagle T-shirt and simple blue jeans. Looking as beautiful as ever.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if I remained mute for the rest of my life. So I was really surprised when I heard myself reply,
“Well, it depends,” I asked questionably, “Will you come cheer me on if I join the team?”
“I don’t know, Ralph” she replied evasively, “Would you like it if I came to cheer for you?”
“I don’t know,” I answered, “Do you want to watch me and cheer for me”
She was about to answer when the bell rang signaling the start of the day.
“I’ve gotta go Ralph, see ya later” Rachel says, walking past me to go into the girls’ locker room. Nice mom, friendly bullies, Rachel talking to me. This is great I thought, walking to my Creative Writing class.
“Ralph, Coach Scott wants to see you now.” Mrs. Hartline says to me. Yay, I think. An excuse to get away from that fat, curly-redheaded, bong smoking hippie Mrs. Hartline. I know that may seem like a harsh view of Mrs. Hartline. I mean, she’s the nicest, most organized teacher in the school. Plus she never questions what we write about, so only I know how I feel about Rachel.
“Okay” I say, picking up my things and leaving the room. I had to use the restroom, so I make a quick detour. As the door swung shut behind me, I saw only one familiar person in the bathroom. He’s familiar because until yesterday I was that person.
“Sup, Ralph” he says, clearly unfazed by his transformation. “Just thought I’d check in to see how you’re doing.” He had a scratchy voice. Is that really what I sounded like? No wonder I was beat up.
“I don’t know how you did it Brandon, but thank you” I say. “Because of you, my mom made me breakfast, Jake didn’t kill me, and Rachel Talked to me.”
Brandon smiled. “Seems like you’ve got some fun to be had. I’ll leave you in peace. Remember, if you ever need me, my number is 612-6346. Bye.” He says, walking out of the door. When I finish my business and leave, he’s gone.
I enter Coach Scott’s room, but it looks more like an office then a room. Half of the room is covered with folders containing information on other teams. Who their top player is. What their team’s tendencies are. What their coaches favorite types of food are. Sitting at his desk is the man himself. Gray haired, brown eyes, and a beard that could rival Santa’s except its gray, not white.
“You wanted to see me, coach?” I asked, closing the door behind me.
“Mr. Anderson. Please sit, please sit.” Coach Scott picked up a giant stack of papers off a chair. “I told you yesterday you wouldn’t make the team, Ralph.” Coach began, “However, Jake, Gordon, Chad, and Nick all were shooting around with you this morning. All of them say I should give you another chance.” I sat there, shocked. Jake never compliments anyone. Period.
“What are you saying?” I ask
“Ralph, how would you like to be our starting point guard?” Coach asks me.
“But coach,” I say “Jake has been point guard for three years. Shouldn’t he-“
“Jake agrees to move over to shooting guard if you wish to play.” Interrupts Coach Scott, “Do you wish to play?”
“Yea, I’ll play. I’ll see you at practice tonight Coach” I say.
“Okay, Ralph. Have a great day” Coach Scott says, turning to his stack of papers on his desk.
Did I ever have a sweet day. It went by in a blur of unexpected happiness. I wasn’t bullied once all day for the first time in my life. Everyone complimented me on everything from my dirty Nike shoes to my K-mart bought shirt. Rachel walked up to me and gave me a high five. I swore I would never wash that hand again. Then I spilled some paint and had to break that promise.
It seemed like Brandon gave me more than just great shooting skills. I seemed to do anything I wanted on the basketball court. I didn’t have to even think about that no look pass to Jake. Even though I was sprinting as fast as I could, I somehow became even faster. I officially became the first person to block Coach Scott’s legendary scoop shot. Within one week of practice, I became the team captain.
“Great practice, boys” I shouted after one practice. “I think Oshkosh North is going to have another thing coming” Oshkosh North is our greatest rival. They are the top team in the country. Every single starter on their team signed full scholarships by sophomore year. “We’re going to win for three reasons. One, they underestimate us. Two, I’m on your team. Three, if we win, coach will make us his famous pizzas.”
“YEA, PIZZA” my team shouted as they sprinted off to the locker rooms. Coach Scott has a hidden talent. To make extra money for fundraisers, Coach will make some of his pizzas. They are some of the best pizzas ever designed. We have some of the best fundraisers ever. Coach Scott has enough money from selling pizza to retire now, but he loves coaching too much.
I have just stepped out into the cool, October air when I hear footsteps behind me.
“Heading home, sweaty?” asks the dreamlike voice of Rachel. She’s wearing this beautiful blue dress that ends just above the knees.
“Yea I guess” I reply. She joins me and we walk away from the school. “President meeting get out early?” I ask.
“Yea we finished early, so I figured I would wait for Mr. Highlight” she answers teasingly.
I laugh. It’s a sort of joke around school. Everybody at school comes to watch our practices now. They do this because at every practice make at least one super awesome play. One time, I heard someone shout that I was Mr. Highlight and the name stuck.
“Listen Ralph” she continues, “I was wondering if we won maybe would you like to hang out after the game?” I thought for about five seconds before replying,
“Why only if we win?” I asked.
“Well, you know, I don’t date losers” Rachel says tauntingly.
“Neither do I, so I guess I can’t date you” I responded.
Rachel laughed. “Well we’ll see. I’ve gotta go. See ya, Mr. Highlight” she says, turning at a side street.
“Bye loser” I waved at her retreating back. I walked away feeling a sense of accomplishment. I have successfully gotten a date with Rachel Scott. Well, maybe not, if we don’t beat Oshkosh North.
Oshkosh North and Oshkosh South have the best rivalry in the state. Even if one team is horrible, our scores are really close. Coach Scott is still famous for his 70 foot shot at the buzzer that beat us and sent north to the state title. I heard that North is trying to get a statue of the occasion. It really upset them when Coach left to coach the enemy. They quickly got over it though with the help of this superstar class. No one gave our team a chance. However, no one on their team was the second coming of Michal Jordan.
It was a back and forth game. Even though they had all those stars, they were no match for me. I had 42 points, 10 rebounds, 18 assists, and 13 steals. But they were still ahead by 8 with 23 seconds left. The coach had called time-out and gathered us all together.
“Okay team” coach said sadly, “We gave it a good run, played them tough. But we came up short”
“WE DID NOT COME UP SHORT. THIS GAME IS NOT OVER” I shouted, “GIVE ME THE BALL. I WILL GET US THE WIN”
“Okay Ralph calm down” Jake said. “We’ll get you the ball, get us the win.”
“Alright team, let’s go for it.” Coach Scott said.
“GO TEAM” my team shouted as I walked back onto the court.
Jake threw the ball into me. I immediately spin dribbled to the right corner of the three point line and made the shot. I then promptly stole the ball from their team and made another 3. Oshkosh North called time-out. 5 seconds remained. I walked back to my bench.
“Alright team, we just need one more steal” Coach said. Everyone just stood there in silence until the referee blew his whistle. Everyone in the crowd was screaming at the top of their lungs. Even amidst all that noise, I heard Rachel shout,
“You’ve got this Ralph. Go team”
North’s player threw the ball, but he didn’t see me. I grabbed it out of the air. I then dribbled to my spot at the top of the three point line. Straight from the basket. I released the ball just before the buzzer sounded. No doubt the ball was going to go in.
A bomb could have gone off and you wouldn’t have noticed it. Everyone was screaming and yelling and storming the court. My teammates mobbed me. It took a while to escape from my teammates, but I finally did. I then walked into the rib breaking grasp of Coach Scott.
“I’m proud of you, Ralph.” Coach said. I would have liked to reply, but the wind was still knocked out of me. “You have improved so much so fast. Keep this up, and you could play in the NBA.”
“Thanks Coach” I gasped when I was finally capable of speech. “Could you please let go of me now.” Coach Scott let go of me. I made my way towards the locker room to change when he walked out of it wearing an Oshkosh South shirt.
“Great game Ralph very impressive” Brandon says.
“Thanks, Brandon” I reply. I then look on either side before adding quietly, “How did you do it?”
“Oh, it was easy” begins Brandon, “I walked into the school store, picked out a shirt, and then proceeded to-“
“You know what I mean” I interrupted impatiently.
“Ah, a good magician never reveals his secrets” he answered in a mysterious voice. “You’ve got company” he added in his normal scratchy voice.
“Ralph” Rachel says in this whiney voice, “Why are you talking to losers when you should be paying attention to me.”
“Sorry Rachel” I say.
“You should be” she replies, “I mean look, zitface isn’t here anymore.” I looked over my shoulder and sure enough, Brandon was gone again.
I turned back to Rachel. “So Rachel” I say, “I won, so what do you want to do?”
“Well” she responds seductively, “Let’s start with this” and she leaned in to me.
It was blissful oblivion. I never knew how soft or warm Rachel’s lips were. Or how her snowy white hair smelled like flowers. One hand flowing through that gorgeous snow. One hand cradling her back. She was clinging to the back of my neck. We just stood there, kissing even though I knew everyone was watching. It was when the people started wolf-whistling that broke us apart. I just stood there staring at those hazel eyes for what felt like an eternity.
“Does this mean I’m your boyfriend?” I whispered.
“No, brainless” she whispers back sarcastically, “I’m making out with you in front of all these people because I’m your sister.” I’ll be waiting for you when you are done changing Ralph” she purrs
Weeks and weeks went by. I kept dominating games. We kept winning and winning and winning. I got to kiss Rachel every day. Since I was his star athlete, Coach Scott pretended not to notice me walking down the hall hand in hand with his daughter. I’ve started to receive scholarships from some big colleges to play basketball. Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina have all contacted me about playing. Our only loss this season was to Oshkosh North when they beat us by four points. Rachel would barely talk to me until we won the next week. Then she was kissing me like there was no tomorrow.
We made it to the title game. Our opponent was Oshkosh North. Rachel tried to give me extra incentive for winning. When I asked for a hint she said,
“Let’s just say my father wouldn’t approve of what I had in mind. I won’t be so young and innocent anymore.”
Inspired by that promise, I played my final game with reckless abandon. I scored at will. I passed flawlessly. Whatever I wanted done on the court it happened. I played probably the best game of
Basketball ever played. I finished with 63 points, 15 rebounds, 23 assists, 15 steals, and 10 blocks. We killed the Spartans by over 40 points. We won the school’s first ever championship. I felt empowered. The whole team took a victory lap to our screaming fans. Coach Scott got a Gatorade bath. I felt like all my dreams had come true.
The only downside was my mother’s absence. She has been front and center at all of my games. Everyone on the team likes her because she bakes cookies for them so often. She has been clean since my transformation. She never really yells at me anymore. Instead, she does everything to protect me. She is always the loudest supporter at my games. However, it looks like she had to work or something.
Rachel showed up and gave me a hug. Because her dad was standing right next to me, she had to whisper in my ear,
“Ralph, I’m in room 14 of the team hotel. No one is rooming with me. I get sooo lonely at nights. So maybe you could come and keep me company. Hi daddy” she added, waving at Coach Scott.
I never made it to room 14. As I was walking down the hallway, the door behind room 13 opened. I took one look inside and continued on. Then I did a double take. My mom was in the room. Her arms and legs were tied behind her back. Her mouth was covered in duct tape. Her eyes were staring at something in fright. I ran into the room trying to help her. I just started to undo the first knot when the door slammed behind me.
Brandon Stanley walked to me. He wasn’t smiling now. Not even close. He wore a very ugly look on his face.
“Season’s over, Ralphy boy” he said dangerously. “Time to go back to where you belong.”
“Can’t I just stay like this one more night?” I asked.
“Rules are rules, Ralph” Brandon answered. “Either give up you power, or give up your mother. Decide now, before I decide for you.”
“Wait, Brandon” I replied. “I’ll make you a second deal. How about I play you in a Basketball game tomorrow. I win, and then I get to keep both my mother and this lifestyle. If I lose, then you can kill me and make me your servant forever. What do you say?” I asked.
Brandon thought this over. “Okay” he said, extending his hand to me. I hesitated, remembering what happened last time. Brandon reached out and grabbed my hand. I felt that same feeling like my whole body was on fire. Then I felt that similar jolt sear my chest, dissolving the world into nothingness.
This brings me to the present situation. Brandon has taken all my powers, all my looks. He even took my mother. He told the whole school that I fooled them. I made a deal with him, the devil. I entered the court to a chorus of boos. I have lost all support in the school. The students turned their backs on me completely. I heard Mrs. Hartline and Coach Scott yelling for me to lose. When Brandon walked in, everybody started booing him. They were booing him a lot more than they were booing me.
Then the game started. Brandon Stanley started to punish me for reneging on the deal. Because we have no ref, it was anything goes Basketball. And Brandon showed no mercy. I was elbowed, punched, thrown against walls. I was being tortured for breaking the agreement. I had called time-out just to catch my breath.
“Why did I agree to do this?” I thought as I sat there and looked sadly at the crowd. At Jake, whose expression was ecstatic. He loves seeing me tortured. He’s clearly enjoying the show. I looked at Coach Roger Scott. He won’t step in because he’s angry with me, but he’s not enjoying himself. I looked at Mrs. Hartline. Although she doesn’t know me a lot, she’s not enjoying the beat down either. I looked for Rachel. But there was no sign of my beautiful ex-girlfriend. I’m just about to walk to my doom when I feel a tap on my shoulder.
“Hey loser” Rachel said, “I don’t know why there’s two of you-“
“What do you mean two of us?” I interrupted.
“Interrupt me again and I’ll slap you.” She answered coldly. “There’s one loser beating up another loser. You look familiar too.” She studied my face. Then she looked over at Brandon again. “You two look very identical. Is that your twin?” she asked me.
“Twin?” I looked from Rachel to Brandon, confused. Then I understood. The devil isn’t some horned, red furred goat. The devil is whatever we hate the most. I hate what I think is the perfect guy. I thought back to my conversation with Brandon. How she wouldn’t kiss me when we lost in the season. Then I understood. Rachel hated losers. That’s why she sees me beating up me. And when I switched appearances with Brandon, I must have hated looking at myself too.
“You know loser” Rachel continues, “This isn’t a regular game. You can fight back if you want to loser” She was right. I’ve been attacked the whole game. And if I can be hit, so can he.
“Thanks Rachel” I say. I leaned in, hoping for one last kiss.
“Gross, loser. I wouldn’t kiss you if I was paid a million dollars.” Rachel said, running to go join her father.
I limped back onto the court with renewed hope.
“Ready to die?” Brandon asked.
“We’ll see, it’s my ball.” I answered. Brandon tossed the ball to me.
I threw the ball off his head. As he fell to the ground, I caught the ball and hoisted the three. Swish. Brandon took the ball. I tripped him and made another three. Back and forth we went. Him making twos, me making threes. Within minutes, the scoreboard read Brandon Stanley, 19. Ralph Anderson, 18. If I made a three, I would win the game. I dribbled, spun around past a diving Brandon, and found myself at the top of the arc. Straight from the basket. I rose up, flicked my wrist, and watched the ball fall into the net.
A second later, I felt something hit me from behind. I turned and looked around. Brandon was standing over me with a maniacal grin on his face.
“You may have won the game, Ralph.” He says insanely, “However, we were playing by my rules. Enjoy your new home.” He lunged forward, kicking me in the head, dissolving the world one more time into nothingness.
I felt a curious falling sensation. I came to feeling very warm. Like I was lying on burning ground. I looked up and saw 50 foot high walls of fire greeting me. Then I saw my mom and went to hug her. She pushed me roughly to the ground and shouted, “YOU IDIOT! I’M TRAPPED IN HELL BECAUSE OF YOU!” The End