There I was, standing in a dimly lit room with neon-lights gleaming in the shadows. It took more than a few moments for my eyes to properly adjust. It was fairly dark, but just bright enough to navigate throughout the terrain without helplessly stumbling over the beamed structures that was scattered across the arena.

We purposefully positioned ourselves behind covered walls, firearms in hand, body quavering as the tiny lightbulbs on our body armour blinked profusely.

I looked down at my gun. ACTIVATING in 5, 4, 3, 2…

The sounds of sirens blared through the sound system. “Woop! Woop!” It was the signal!

My weapon told me all that I needed to know. The battle had begun. Specks of Red, Blue and Green could be seen jetting back and forth behind barriers. It was now or never, and I knew it was all going to end in an EPIC bloodbath!

A week prior, I received a facebook notification titled “Another October Birthday”.

I knew October was going to be busy. It is every year. Whether it was coincidence or a planned venture, a number of my closest friends seem to have parents who chose to get their groove on in the early weeks of the year.

Ephraim’s was no exception. Celebrating his second chinese zodiac this year, Ephraim – or Eph as we call him – wanted to do something a little more exciting than the routine celebratory drinks at the pub.

Nor did he want to ride the Eph.

Through facebook, he gave us a choice between Karaoke or Laser Tag. There was no contest.

Saturday came and we assembled. There were 10 of us – a perfect amount to evenly distribute us into separate teams.

As we sat there waiting for assignment, an attendant walked out from behind the doors ushering us into a small confined room decorated with only a single television set.

“The briefing is about to begin. Pay attention and you’ll be fine,” she said with such authority.

Several minutes later, we found ourselves strapping on harnesses, which ultimately dictated the differences between frags and death.

We were told that anything that lit up were our susceptible points. These included our torso, front and back, our shoulders and our firearm.

Lock and loaded, we were given barely a moment to familiarise ourselves with the unknown terrain. A base pod was scattered above eye-level in 3 separate corners of the arena.

It was ours to claim and ours to defend.

Never did I imagine that the years I spent playing Counter Strike as a young teenager would be included in my list of skillsets I could put to use as a young adult.

Duck, squat, point and shoot. Those were the key elements I needed to succeed.

As I jungled walked through the concrete arena, everything seemed second nature to me. My laser pointer adjusted itself so accurately, it seemed like I was using some sort of real-life aimbot!

“Well done!” as I took out five in a row. “Good job!” the voice said. My laser gun was speaking to me, shouting me praises for each frag.

Each time I was taken out, I respawned 10 seconds later – repositioning myself accordingly.

Time felt like it lasted only as long as a song on the radio. In fact, the 20-minute war was over in a couple flashes.

My t-shirt was soaked, my eyes were teary. Sweat accumulated on my forehead soaked through the beanie I had covering my head.

Everyone slowly walked out of the arena and into the foyer, whilst panting words of excitement to each other.

A large TV screen hung from the ceiling in the foyer. Colors that seperated the teams were categorising the list of candidates that had just participated in the grueling laser frenzy.

To the left of everyone’s name was their overall rank; to the right was their overall score.

I gave out a hefty laugh and a beaming smile as I saw mine.

I presume that’s why everyone wanted me dead!