Having lost some sort of Norse-influenced epic battle of huge, oversized swords and immensely heavy armor in the distant past, our family was fated one day to have to fight again. We spent all our lives in the kitchen and upstairs rooms of our house, for fear whatever monsters dwelt in the basement would come forth before their time to do us harm. On the ceiling of the kitchen were strung all kinds of weapons and tools, which I knew we had practiced with endlessly, graduating to bigger ones as we grew: bows, crossbows, hammers, meat saws, spears, axes, crowbars, swords. Many were rusty, some were shiny and new.

The fated day had finally come, and we excitedly plowed down the stairs and cast ourselves onto the pristine couches and chairs of the living room, which hadn’t been used since our youth. It was exhilarating; the knowledge that we were tempting the monsters without fear sent a rush of adrenaline through me. I knew we had to arm ourselves soon; I went back upstairs, and my dad pushed a button or something on the wall that caused part of it to open up, revealing the floor-length mumuish armor and ridiculously huge cartoon fantasy ax that I remembered from long ago.

As we were getting ready, who should appear through the door of the house but cousin Lucas, shirtless, tan, and ridiculously cut. It had begun–he warned us that a touchstone of the family had fallen deathly ill, and could not be saved unless the fated battle was finally won.

We took up our weapons and donned our armor, and descended the broad gilded stairway into the vast arena hall that was our basement. Ferocious beasts of all shapes and sizes awaited us–giant cats, rhinoceri, bulls, chimaera, and tentacled things for which I had no name. I brandished my cartoonish axe gimli-esque, and leapt from the banister to split a huge displacer beast in two with a single stroke. We fought for a time, unstoppable, slaying all that approached us. Then the bell rang to signal the end, and we all filed out into the locker rooms.

In the hall I ran into Jon Rogers, looking rather small and uncharacteristically mundane in a green short-sleeved polo. He hit me with his usual manly greeting. “DeLuca!” “How did it go?” I asked him. “We lost,” he said. He was on a different team, of course. I knew my family had certainly won. I felt bad for him, and patted him consolingly on the back. But he didn’t seem too distraught. After all he only had to wait another hundred years.

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