I dragged myself upright, trying to focus on my surroundings. Almost immediately a dark shape was lunging at me out of the pixelated fog but somehow I managed to sidestep Mephisto’s blow and stagger away from him. The air resounded as a stack of corrupted files collapsed around us. Then he was on to me again, his eyes blazing as only an old devil’s can. I fled, stumbling over the litter of old programs until I sensed the sheer black walls of the social network looming out of the clouds.
But my enemy had outrun me and was standing there smiling with an old fragment of virus held aloft, waiting for the gun turrets to swing towards us.
I don’t think it was until right at the end that he realised his mistake – not until the ground flung out metal tendrils and held him fast, not until the black wall crumbled into lumps of outdated machine code. It wasn’t cyberspace at all, just a hastily disguised hard drive on a disconnected old desktop. Leaping out of the terminal I yanked its plug from the wall and fell back in exhaustion, my final glimpse of Mephisto’s fury burned indelibly into memory.