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An NPC's Reality

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When three best friends, Ben Drewer, Matt Benders, and Grayson Engle discover that their world is a video game, they go on a search for truth and meaning. They stick together through every challenge and opponent that tries to stop them. Through using newfound powers to find portals, deciphering clues, and speaking to the creator herself, they must grapple with an unknown future and the potential to lose everything they love. Will their friendship and drive for free will save their world? Or will hope not be enough to make a difference?

An NPC's Reality is created by Samantha Kuban, an eGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1: San Francisco Life
I skate down the road down to Matt's house and then Grayson's. Our houses are right next to each other, mine first and a dark red color, then Grayson's that is forest green, and Matt's last which is navy blue with beige trims. This might be a daily occurrence but I enjoy the routine of hanging out with the guys. Some people say it's too dangerous skating down the hills of San Francisco but screw them. We do what we want to do. I look over at my friends and say, “We going to the usual places? Or is today gonna be different?" “We should go to the beach! Or maybe go eat some tacos. I really love tacos." Grayson says as he runs his hands through his short and curly brown hair. “What about the carnival? I mean we could do everything. We go over this every day." Matt says as he swerves to avoid hitting the same old woman always walking her dog at the same time we skate. “Let's do what we always do, the beach, food, and then the carnival. Sound good?" I usually end up being the decider of everything. Since the guys aren't really ones to talk much about themselves, I'll give you the rundown. We grew up as neighbors and best friends throughout our school years. Just so you know, I'm Ben, eighteen years old, and have the best hair out of the three of us. Anyways, next up is Grayson, also eighteen and the most reckless one usually. As for Matt, he's nineteen and tries his best to stand up for us and is the voice of reason. He always carries sunscreen and wears a helmet. After skating for about ten minutes, we made it to the beach. It's always packed with young couples, visiting kids, and the same two guys riding on boats in the water. We walk over to our spot where we can see the carnival and our favorite taco food truck. “You guys should wear sunscreen, I don't know how you never get sunburn." Matt says as he starts lathering up his chest. “You shouldn't worry so much man. Live a little. You get too worried." Grayson says as he starts running towards the water in just his boxers. He never seems to have a swimsuit. Meanwhile, Matt and I like to lay in the sun and wait for Grayson to come back complaining about little crabs bothering him and the tide pulling him back to shore. After about twenty minutes he comes running back and I sit up. “Guys, what the hell is with those crabs? They're vicious. And one of these days I'm gonna make it past that stupid tide." Grayson says as he pats himself down, puts his gray jean shorts and white graphic tee with Tony's Tacos written across the chest on. He grabs his board and starts walking back up to the sidewalk. “I don't know why he doesn't give up or want to do something else. He's crazy." Matt says to me after we grab our stuff and get going. We all go over to Tony's and grab our usual orders of beef tacos in hard shells with as many toppings as possible. Grayson already finished his and is sitting on his skateboard rolling back and forth. Matt and I sit next to him while we eat and take in the view of the water and the Golden Gate Bridge. “Do you guys ever get tired of the routine? I just feel different today. It's all fun and good but don't you want more?" Grayson says as he looks out at the carnival. “I'm not sure. We live good lives. What else could you want?" Matt says while stuffing his face. “What about you Ben? Am I just crazy?" Grayson says as he looks back at me. “You're not crazy. Unless all of us are. But today does seem a bit sunnier than normal. I think we just need to go have some fun. Nothing's actually wrong so why dwell on it?" I say as the three of us stand up, throw out our garbage and skate over to the carnival. “I'm gonna beat both of you at the water shooting game! I want the biggest frog stuffy they have." Grayson yelled as he ran over and sat on the middle stool. Matt and I reluctantly sat down on either side and let him win. Otherwise, he would be pouting for at least the next hour and no one wants that. “I did it! I'll take the biggest frog you have, good sir." Grayson said proudly. “Here you go, enjoy." said the man running the game while handing Grayson the stuffy. “Let's get going guys, we're gonna start losing daylight." Matt said while getting up and walking further down the boardwalk. After going on the Ferris wheel, me throwing up on the Gravitron, and Matt insisting we take pictures in the photo booth, we decided it was time to head home. We got back on our skateboards and headed to our street. “See you guys tomorrow." said Matt as he walked up his steps. “Ditto. See ya!" Grayson said as he almost tripped up his steps. “Bye guys!" I said as I walked up the steps of my house and walked in. I put my skateboard down in the closet next to the door and started walking up the steps to my room. I walk past my parents' room as they are watching a movie and laughing as they like to do before bed. I opened up my door and stood in front of my window, watching the sunset in pink and orange gradients. I turned around to go take my shoes off and as I went to put them down in my closet, they disappeared. I gasped and tried to feel for them, they were still there but I couldn't see them. I grabbed them and put them outside of my closet, and I could see them again. “That was really weird. I'm probably just tired." I whispered to myself, playing it off.

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