2007-10-08: Zombies Now?


Niki_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Summary: The Sanders duo battles mutated zombies in an epic battle to the death: true. This happens in real life: false. Video games are fun for mother/son quality time: true.

Date It Happened: October 8th, 2007

Zombies Now?

The Sanderses

Queens, New York City

It's after school, and the numerous family sharing space in this house in Queens is cut down to just two, at the moment - three, if you count the dog. "What do you want to drink, Micah?" Niki shouts, looking into the open fridge, in the middle of a kitchen-for-snacks run. At first glance, and even second and third, today, there's nothing about this glimpse into an ordinary day that would indicate they're anything but normal. Impending doom? Doesn't mean Niki's not going to spend time with her son, at home. It's the opposite, in fact. "You might hafta fight me for the last of the chocolate milk!"

Micah definitely wasted no time in setting up the XBox 360 Elite that his father got for him. And also no time wasted in getting some games for it. "What about a Coke?" he shouts back, tilting the controller in his hands slightly as though imitating the character on the screen who seems to be firing a pistol at a zombie-ish looking creature. Who says video games cause violence in children?

"Sure," Niki answers easily from the kitchen. One glass of sugary carbonated soda no kid shoulder ever drink coming right up! Just a few moments later, she re-emerges into the living room, balancing a blue bowl of potato chips between the two drinks. Depositing it all on the coffee table, she slides down onto the floor in front of the couch. "Zombies now?"

"Yeah. Fight Night was getting old." Micah chirps back, swinging the character around and sending four rounds into the mutant bear sneaking up behind him. "Thanks mom." he adds, pausing the game to reach for his drink. Oh, and a handful of the chips too.

Niki gives Micah a silly look while she casually grabs some chips, too. "Don't get too tired of your games yet," she warns — though she's not entirely serious, given her smile as she points at Micah with snackfood. "We just got 'em. Is this one two players? I wanna kill some zombies too."

Micah sets the drink back down on the coffee table and picks up the second controller. "I won't." Though it's not like he couldn't go out and buy more games. But then he'd have to explain where he got the money from. "Yeah…see the other guy off to the side?" The second controller is tossed towards Niki as his little fingers fly over the buttons. "Two player mode….Enabled." an ominous voice says from the TV.

"Aren't there any girls in this game?" Niki teases - and has to scramble to catch the controller and wipe her hands across her jeans from the chips before her guy dies a horrible on-screen death just because she wasn't ready. "Aha." Once she gets into it, the ass-kicking mom is a pretty ass-kicking gamer, too.

"Oh! Right." Micah grins, waiting until after the dude dies before tapping buttons on his controller. Options. Graphics. Character Settings. Gender. Female. "There. Let's go." With that small adjustment taken care of, Micah resumes playing and starts grinning widely as he realizes his mom can actually keep up. "Watch out for the rabid raccoons. If they get you, they'll drag you back to raccoon city."

"…rabid… raccoons." Niki grins a crooked, silly grin and — ohcrapthere'sonenow! "Gotcha." Niki, like Micah earlier, twists the controller and leans to one side as her character on the TV screen — a pretty nice TV screen, these days — goes through some epic moves to shoot some zombie tail. "Wait, is this a sequel?"

Micah makes a noise that sounds like it's a cross between a giggle and a laugh as he swings his character around to pick off a zombie sneaking up on his mom. "It's a new one. The box said it was like playing several different zombie games at once." he replies, right as his character walks past a sign reading 'Black Mesa Facility'.

"Huh," comes the reply from Micah's mom. She's a little distracted, engrossed in the video game — there's even a look of intense concentration on her face. When there's a lull as it loads the next area, however, Niki looks over at Micah with a fond smile and leans into him. "Your dad should be home soon. I gotta go out after. Don't play video games all evening, okay? You have homework to do."

Who says the boy hasn't already done the homework? Right, who's he trying to fool? As the game loads, a familiar looking logo of an Umbrella rotates on the screen. At mention of going out, Micah peers over at his mom, a questioning look on his face. It's a tossup. Ruin the moment of normailty, or let it slide. Let it slide. "Is dad bringing home take out? Or do I get to use the fire extinguisher again?"

"I'm just going to the pharmacy and to run a few errands," Niki reassures Micah - in this case, normality isn't a facade. "And I'll make actual supper before I go. C'mon, your dad only almost burned down the house once. Right?" Note to self: buy new batteries for the smoke detector. Just then, Niki's hardcore zombie-killing skills are overshadowed by a girly shriek as her attention jumps back to the game moments too late. "Whoops. The sneaky ones always get me."

Micah attempts to read his mom's face when she responds. It's hard to tell if she's telling the truth or not, but for now he'll let it ride. There's always GPS tracking in cell phones. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Micah…."Only once?" Curls shake as the boy grins. "Try three times, mom. You just weren't around for two of them." Growls from the game, and the shriek, cause his attention to turn back to the TV. He's a little too late. "Yeah, they will if you don't pay attention."

A darker expression sneaks its way in, if just for a moment; Niki almost frowns, looking over at the boy with a sort of unspoken apology. For not being there. She's smiling brightly in no time. "Well," she begins matter-of-factly, "At least we're in good hands. He knows how to fight fires! Just not…" Cook with fire? This is not the stone age. Niki falters for a second, cracking a good-natured grin. "…use an oven."

"Yeah," Micah laughs, "…maybe we can get him a Cooking for Dummies book." It's a jab completely laden with humor. Not implying anything at all about his dad's mental capacity. If the darker expression is noticed, he doesn't say anything. Instead, he sets the controller down and reaches for the glass of soda. As he does, his character continues it's zombie killing spree without input from the boy.

In the midst of grabbing her glass of chocolate milk (she's livin' it up like an eleven year old today), Niki notices the activity on the screen, eyes it with an tentative half-smile, and eyes Micah and his controller in turn suspiciously. She sees what you did there, mister. "…hey."

It couldn't get almost any closer to normal, and Micah's loving it. Might as well act like a normal boy while he's at it and let's out a belch from the carbonation in his soda. "Excuse me." he laughs, setting the glass back down. "What?" he asks, throwing a grin at his mom when she notices what he's doing. "At least one of us lived."

Niki tips her head down, lifts a dark blonde brow, and gives the eleven-year-old a chastising look. It's not quite serious, again, but all the same… "You're cheating!" Kind of. She doesn't honestly sound too sure. Is it cheating or is he just multi-tasking?

"It's not cheating, mom." Micah says, trying to explain. "It's multi-tasking. Besides, we can go back to the last save checkpoint if you want it to be fair." His character pauses near the wall just before a corner and he reaches for some chips.

"If you say so," Niki concedes, laughing a little as she does and taking a drink as she eyes the game character. After a moment, she sets the glass down and pushes easily up off the floor. "You go ahead and save the world from zombie infestation yourself," she tells Micah, giving his head a quick kiss and his curls a quick ruffle. "I'ma go hop in the shower."

Micah nudges his controller and on the screen his character leans around the corner and lays down a line of bullets. Which all seem to hit their targets. "Moooooooom!" he protests, like any /normal/ boy would when their mothers mess with their hair. But there is a hint of levity to the protest as well. "Ok." he says, turning back to his game and mowing down another incoming line of zombies.

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