"Well," said Toby, entering the room. "I blew up the hospital."
He plopped onto the couch and covered his face with a pillow. The distinct smell of smoke filled the room. "Are they back yet?"
"Nope, not yet." I checked the list.
5, 37, 78
15, 57, 89
3, 20, 37
Before my eyes, Toby's seventy eight was crossed out and a new number appeared after it.
"Pretty good," I said. "You're up to 105."
He shot up, fist pumping the air. "Sweet! Let's see Leigh beat that-"
The ground beneath us began to shake. Vases fell from end tables, windows rattled, and bits of plaster dropped from the ceiling. Leigh strutted through the door a second later, looking unusually satisfied with himself.
I glanced at the list. The 89 crossed itself off and shifted into 120, then 340.
"I crashed a train," said Leigh.
"Kid stuff," Toby snarled.
"Into a yacht."
I gave a low whistle. Toby stared at Leigh, an even mix of admiration and jealousy fighting across his face. Admiration won out.
"Dayum," he said eventually.
"And to the victor go the spoils." Leigh headed for the kitchen. "You want anything? And has Zeke come back yet?"
"Nope," I said. "And no, we're still waiting on him."
There was the hiss of a soda can being opened. "He won't top me. I am just that awesome."
The room filled with a strange humming sound that set my teeth on edge. The air filled with an unfamiliar sickly-sweet scent that burned my nose and made my eyes water.
"Guys," I said. "What-?"
Zeke appeared in the doorway.
"You're not going to believe it!" said Zeke. His face was flushed. He was practically glowing with enthusiasm.
"What?" said Leigh. "I didn't feel anything-"
Toby frowned and sniffed the air. "What-?"
"Guys!" I shouted. "Look at the list!"
They all dutifully gathered around.
The list was going insane. Zeke's numbers shot up into the six digit range and kept on flying.
"What did you do?"
"Well," said Zeke. "You know the Thrugs from around Betelgeuse? The ones made from thousands of hive minded insects grown together?"
"Yeah. . . "
"I've introduced a sort of shell-rot virus they have onto Earth and altered it to work on humans. It's highly contagious, it destroys matter at the cellular level, and it results in a slow, painful, incurable death."
He grinned. "Ain't it great?"
"Cheater!" said Toby, punching him in the shoulder. "You went off planet!"
"Won't they just eventually evolve past it?" Leigh said.
"Uh, guys?" I said. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at the rate this is going, the planet's going to be empty by noon tomorrow."
Toby groaned. "You guys suck. Like hell am I ever playing with you again."
Leigh sighed. "A whole planet, wasted."
"What?" said Zeke. "Oh, come on, guys! Wasn't that the point? Guys?"
I sighed and closed the notebook. The list was still spinning off into the billions.
Great, I thought. Now we'll have to find a new planet.