"Come on, this way!"

The NPC waves its hand at me. I nod half-heartedly. My attention is on the shiny collectable to the side. I wander over to retrieve it.

"Come on, this way!"

I glance at her, irritated. She's still waving at me. I ignore her and gaze at the gorgeous backdrop that some artist spent a while designing, and at the wildlife that some talented people spent time animating for my benefit. I want to stand still and appreciate all of the work that-

"Come on, this way!"

I sigh. The NPC is still waving. She's moved a few steps in my direction. Any chance she can just go on ahead and let me explore this level for a while longer? I think I spotted an intriguing crevice earlier.

Advertisement

"Come on, this way!"

My jaw clenches. I bristle. I seethe. Is there any point in debating the issue with her? Will she listen to reason? Will she understand that I want to explore this level for just a while longer? The journey to fight Earth's nemesis can be delayed for just five minutes, surely?

"Come on, what're you waiting for? This way!"

I'VE HAD ENOUGH. I empty all my ammo into her face. I squeeze my eyes shut while doing so. I've been driven to this; it's not in my nature to gun down an ally. Dead man's click. Silence.

Advertisement

"Come on, this way!"

Oh God. She's untouched. How? How is this possible? I just want to check out that little crevice; it looks like I could fit in it. There might be more collectables. Or at least some cave paintings to admire. What is the damn hurry? And how are you not dead!?

"Come on silly, this way!"

I fall to my knees. A sob escapes me. I bite my fist. A futile attempt at regaining dignity and control. All of that is far behind me now. She has me in her clutches. There is no escape. There is no freedom for me, no time to explore this world at my own pace, at my own pleasure. Time is what she wills it to be. The master of destiny.

Advertisement

"Come on, this way!"

I wipe snot and spit away from my face, sniffling pathetically. Pick myself up. I glance one last time at the crevice. I could go have a look, but she's so insistent. Maybe she's right. Maybe she was right all along. It really is this way. Her way.

Advertisement

"You coming or what? This way!"

I trudge over to her, head low, defeated. I wait for her to move out of the way so we can proceed into the valley. But she won't. I try to edge past her. But I can't. I try jumping around her. Over her. I try to body-slam her. She just stares at me with a placid smile, blocking the only way out. A smile so devoid of feeling, emotion and spirit, yet somehow crooked, askew, as if there is something malevolent and intelligent lurking underneath. Something evil.

"Come on, this way!"