"All I ever wanted was to live!"
Year 2048, humanity had gone to shit.
War, famine, plague, Bieber, and monsters.
Magical portals appeared out of nowhere, endlessly spewing monsters.
Just as humanity was about to fall, the Awakened appeared. They were superhumans that had crazy powers. Throw fireballs, lift buses, be invincible, fly, they had it all!
After saving the world, they became celebrities. A new age of Peace ushered, and everyone and their mother dreamed of Awakening. All besides Jack, that was…
He was far too busy trying his goddamn best to survive. He just wanted to live! Surviving is easy, you say? Not when your name's MF Jack Bright!
Jack Bright had always been unlucky, cursed even!
One could say his luck was -999.
- He was always at the wrong place at the wrong time.
- He was always getting injured or sick
- He'd go bankrupt every other day
- Catastrophes befell him
- It was unending…
Meanwhile, this curse had sapped nearly all happiness from his life.
Long ago, he had been happy, truly so.
A loving dad, an even more loving mother, and the sweetest sister ever. They had been the holy trinity lighting up his world.
But now they were all gone, and he was sure it was his fault. This curse of his had to be contagious, but he had realized that far too late.
His father got electrocuted by lighting on a sunny day.
His mother succumbed to her fifth cancer in a row.
His sister…he actually put her up for adoption.
What had once been a happy family had been torn asunder by his curse, and he now spent every waking moment trying to find a cure.
He had often wanted to end it all: jump off a bridge, faceplant into a truck, eat eternal-nap pills, or take a warm hot bubble bath with his toaster….but he couldn't.
His mother's face was still vivid in his memory. Even bald, Lydia Bright had shone the brightest. How often had she given him a reassuring smile in between blood coughs?
"Jack, remember this well. Once I'm gone, you can't wallow in sadness. You have to live and live well. Do this for my sake, will you?"
Not only had he promised her, but his sister was out there somewhere. He had broken all bridges with her for her own sake, but one day he'd find her again.
Even cursed, Jack's dreams were brighter than stars. He'd break his curse, earn an honest decent living, reconnect with his sis, spoil her silly, and maybe…even find love?!
Still, how many Awakened Healers had he consulted without success?
Recently, he compulsively bought anything mystical he could get his hands on, hoping for a miracle. He wasn't foolish…he was desperate!
To pay for it all….he delivered pizza.
That day was a usual delivery for him."1337 Capone Street, eh?" Of course, the destination was a mafia den, just his luck!
It didn't take him long to reach the shadiest district in the City, one that had even grown men cry in terror. He expertly navigated the smelly narrow streets until—
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Without missing a beat, Jack tilted his head, avoiding the stray bullets. Stuff like this happened to him so often that he had somehow developed a Sixth Sense against danger.
"Let's see, 1337? It was…right here!"
— Knock! Knock! —
"Hello! Pizza delivery!"
"It's Jack, the same guy as last time!"
— KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!—
Something was Hella wrong! Not only did the door swing open, but a decapitated head rolled on the steps. Then the putrid stench assaulted him.
Anyone else would have long run away, but not Jack. He knew that whatever he didn't face head-on would come to haunt him later. It would just add to the trouble…
The floor was soaking wet.
Blood, lots of it.
He was used to blood, but this time it was different. It was far too messy. Far too gruesome. No matter how perverse, gangsters remained human.
This wasn't a human's doing. Far from it! This whole thing was unnatural! But even then, he had to keep going. But as he reached the hall room, even he froze.
"W-what the FUCK?!"
Corpses piled up on top of one another.
Limbs stuck to the walls and ceiling.
Dread on the face of the victims.
Blood red and flaming candles.
A bloody reversed pentagram.
And a pitch-black portal.
A freaking portal!
This thing was DEMONIC!
Jack could feel it call to him as if whispering demons. ~come ~step forward ~finally here ~after all this time ~Jaaaack ~the other world awaits
He could sense its sweet promises. As long as he stepped over, he'd become powerful. He'd have it all, money, power, women, fame, everything he could wish for!
Suddenly, translucent notifications appeared before his eyes as if a game interface!
[Step forth and Conquer Eternia!]
[Accept the Dark One's Summon? Y/N]
Power? Fame? Women? What for! He longed for something far more simple. He wanted to live and live well. That was all. "Besides, this thing's way too suspicious!"
He had to get rid of it before monsters spawned!
He hurriedly made a mess of the entire set-up, destroying the reversed pentagram. Instantly, the whole portal collapsed amidst strident demonic screams.
[Destroyed Evil Summoning Ritual!]
[Congratulations! Gained 42 XP!]
[XP Unavailable in this world!]
[Error! Error! Error!]
"This freaking sucks…but I did come here for a delivery…."
Jack turned toward a pile of bodies, gently deposing the pizza box on top of it as if a hat on a grotesquely nightmarish monument.
"Ta-da! Delivery completed!" Doing a victory sign, he turned around.
This should have been the end of it. Everything should have been fine, but another flurry of notifications flooded his vision.
[Congratulations! You've Awakened!]
[Unlocked Curse of Obliteration!]
[Good Luck Surviving!]
Jack Bright was the most unfortunate Awakened ever. His magic ability was to be cursed?! What kind of BS was this?! He wanted a refund! But before he could cry about it…
He felt a new energy rush through his body, engulfing him as if a swarm of mosquitoes. He felt his blood boil and his skin freeze. What was happening?!
[Ding! Received Dark One's "Gift"!]
[Absorbing Corrupted Mana!]
[Curse Amplified X 1000!]
[Curse is Now Affecting Earth!]
[Planetary Destruction Inevitable in 10! 9! 8!—]
"What the fuck is this?! There's no way that's true, right?!"
But then he sensed it, his Danger Sense blowing up. It came from outer space and was about to sway toward Earth.
WTF?! A meteor?!
There was no way to avoid it.
He was doomed, they were all doomed….unless?!
Jack grabbed a piece of bone lying in a puddle of blood.
"Sorry, mom, I really tried. I swear I did…." He used the bone as a stake, plunging it deep into his chest, a bright and sunny smile on his face.
"Wherever you are, sis, live on…."
[User Has Died!]
[Curse Temporarily Nullified!]
[Planetary Destruction Averted!]
Thus ended a pointless life, or that's how it should have been.
But before the last wisp of Jack's soul could dissipate, a bright magic circle appeared on the floor, soon followed by more translucent letters.
[A Certain Goddess Is Searching For A Hero!]
[Answer Her Call And Reincarnate? Y/N]
"Hero? Me? I mean, YES!!"
[Error! Error! Erro—]
"YES! YES! YES! A thousand times yes!"
Was the damn thing stuck?! Never in his life had he spammed a button so quickly. But just as it finally registered, some more notifications appeared.
[A Certain Evil God Is Searching For an Apostle!]
[A Certain Mad God Is Searching for a Test Subject!]
[A Certain Horror Is Searching For a Meal Delivery Boy!]
It kept going, crazier and crazier stuff appearing.
But before he could inspect the full list, all the "YES" from before finally registered all at once. He tried protesting, "C-cancel! Cancel! It's bugged!" but it was already too late.
The magic circle exploded with light, white filling his vision as if an atomic-grade flash-bang had just gone off.
Still, reincarnation, was it? It couldn't be worse than dying, right?
This time he would live, truly…
This time, he'd enjoy life…
This time, he'd…
[A/N] Hey y'all!
A LOT has happened IRL since the last time.
But I'll be back to writing diligently from now on!
Now, without further ado...
— Clears Throat —
From the genius (dumbass) that brought you Classless Ascension, MMO Rise of the PP (Peerless Pumpkinmancer), and TUG...here is yet another masterpiece!
This is the entry for the OP Fantasy contest! Make sure you comment a TON (feedback is great), and let's get this journey started!
*PS: Yes, the Author note section is canon.*