Urban Bloodshed: Rise of the Empires

"I hate it. That's all there is to it. I genuinely hate the fact that Urban Bloodshed gained the popularity that it did. A popularity that it gained overnight…over the fact that it’s a bad book."

Robert's eyes narrowed and his lips contorted as though Brandon had grown a pair of horns. He cautiously took a sip of his coffee before setting it on the table in between them.

"Isn't this what you wanted though? To get...I guess famous off your writing? It's been a dream of yours since High School."

Brandon snapped his fingers and shook his head, "See, that's the problem though. We wrote that book in 2003. Robert, we were kids back then. Kids who were enamored by games like Grand Theft Auto, so we made a stupid book about it. I didn’t think it was good back then, and it certainly hasn't aged well."

Robert gave a cautious shrug, unsure if the gesture would set Brandon off. "Alright. It wasn't very good, but you got to give us some credit considering we were in High School. Yes, you forgot about it for several years and it simply gained traction over some TikTok kid randomly buying it-"

"Robert. I'm a laughing stock," Brandon snapped, his face growing red.

Robert shook his head, "I wouldn't go that far."

Brandon scoffed and threw himself into the sofa, right hand going to his chin, pointer finger under his upper lip. A gesture he often did when he was frustrated. "For the past five years, I've been dead set on establishing myself as a horror writer. And I think I've been doing a good job for the most part. I won a few competitions, got some recognition on a few websites, and made it onto a newspaper. Then, this asshole comes by to slander something I did when I was what? Sixteen or seventeen? And now people by the masses are clamoring for a sequel?"

"Then write a sequel!" Robert interjected. "You had the ideas for a sequel before we graduated High School. I know you have to have those files somewhere."

Brandon did have the files for Urban Bloodshed: Tides of War. They were on a CD-ROM in a case in the closet of his old bedroom at his parent's house. Looking back, he did like the ideas he had for the sequel. The idea of writing the sequel crossed his mind when Urban Bloodshed: Rise of the Empires blew up across the internet. But then the comments got to him. The slanderous venom that you could only get from the internet. It was demeaning to say the least and it had taken its toll on him over the past six months. He felt he was just catching his stride with the horror genre...he felt he was just getting started.

He could feel Robert's eyes on him, those same encouraging green eyes that pushed him through Urban Bloodshed all those years ago. His mouth fell open for a response, he wasn't sure he backed, and then he felt the tap on his shoulder. Brandon turned around.

A lanky high school kid stood behind his seat; eyes wide with excitement behind his thick glasses lenses. His hands were wrapped tightly around the straps of his backpack. He managed a smile.

"Are you Brandon Wo-"

Brandon responded with a nod, his mind preparing him for the kid's request.

"I'm sorry," the kid started. "But I...LOVED Urban Bloodshed: Rise of the Empires. Can I get your autograph?"

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