Virtuell

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One of the theme ideas I've seen (and really like) is the theme of technology. I actually wrote this short story an hour before it was due in my creative writing class. It's very relevant to the theme of technology and how we evolve with it. While I disagree with the people who full on believe technology is changing human nature in a bad way, I do think it has a major effect on us which we tend to ignore. Ignoring it is the most unsafe action we can take. Anyway - hope it's relevant to someone!


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“Are you ready to begin?” Dr. Allen’s hand levitated over a record button. Zack leaned back into the too-heavily-cushioned therapists’ couch. While running his hand through his sandy blonde hair, he took and let out a deep breath. He closed his hazels eyes, inhaling and exhaling yet another breath, then opened them again.


“Yes,” he managed to croak his response. Dr. Allen made to push the button before Zack interjected, “wait.” Her pale hand quickly pulled away.


“What is it? She asked with her alarmingly patient tone.


“Where…where do I begin?” he felt like a child about to tell his mother why he broke the rules.


“How about we begin where you are comfortable?” Dr. Allen smiled. Zach noticed her use of “we” and silently noted this was her fifth time to use the word during the session. He knew the word to be one of her many ways of letting patients know they are never alone. Yet, he’d never felt more alone in his life than he had in the past month. Her voice interrupted his thoughts, “Just tell me when you’re ready.” Zack took another breath and nodded; the pale hand pushed ‘record.’


*


My name is Zack Goodwin, and I should be dead. They tell me I never died, and that every breath I take in this new world (which admittedly resembles my old one) is the same as the breaths I took before. They tell me I’m still 19 years-old and that I will continue to age. I don’t believe them because I know I died. I died on April 1st 2044. I remember the blood and the screams so vividly that the idea of survival is more outrageous than believing in fairy tales.


I woke up late for class that day – probably a result of gaming all night. I remember taking gaming more seriously then. I enjoyed it, and my life revolved around it; I even blogged about the games I would play – giving the games positive or negative feedback. My ViewMe account had accrued over half a million subscribers. In fact, my ViewMe had become so popular that companies often asked me to review their games. Unfortunately, I think they always expected me to give the games good reviews since I had gotten them for free. That just wasn’t and still isn’t my style. I was honest with all of my subscribers; if a game sucked – I’d let them know. I think that’s why I died.
Deciding class was not going to happen for me that day, I remember lying in bed for half an hour after I’d woken up. Eventually, I decided I wouldn’t completely waste the day in bed. I could feel the sunlight gliding through my window and dancing on my skin; my body felt warmed as if the dancing light had caused some sort of friction. Rolling out of bed, I grabbed the nearest shirt and clumsily slid it on, the top of the grey tee caught on my head as if it had swollen overnight.


I remember that after finally succeeding in putting my shirt on, I felt a sudden urge to eat. It was as if I would have to eat immediately or my body would crumble. I quickly grabbed and put on my shoes, following the pattern I went through every day of adjusting my shoelaces so that they would never come untied during the day. After grabbing my wallet, I ran out the door completely forgetting the existence of teleportation.


I found myself wandering the street until I found a café which seemed to be made completely of windows. The thirst for a mocha cappuccino and the scent of bacon lured me into the café after the door swung open and closed after a seemingly satisfied customer. I remember seeing suits. A lot of suits. They were all wearing black and white like a bunch of penguins, but with alarmingly bright red ties. The customers and even the barista looked as if they had been to a lame party where everyone was expected to wear the same thing. I wish I’d considered how odd things were at that time…


I approached the bar after having considered leaving; I could always get the order to-go, after all. I looked to the specials menu as the barista approached. “Your date is wrong;” I couldn’t help myself from mumbling the words.


“Excuse me?” The barista’s tone was of complete confusion.


“The date. On the specials menu,” I pointed toward the printed sign “it says 2014. You’re 30 years behind.” I laughed, knowing that it had probably only been an unfortunate misprint.


The barista’s faced contorted into one of confusion and then suddenly into understanding, “Oh. April fools!” He was laughing as if the entire world suddenly made sense, “what can I get for you today?”


I ordered my cappuccino and the bacon – and found myself utterly confused when he offered me eggs since the owning of chickens had been banned 10 years before. Still, the comfortable exchange between the barista and myself made me forget to order the food to-go.


Everything about that day was unusual; I should have expected the outcome of the day before it concluded. I had clearly been set up. How the company knew I’d miss class and choose that café on that precise day is beyond me, but they did. They knew where I would be, and they knew it would be their best chance to kill me.


Walking to a nearby table, I balanced my plate of bacon in one hand and held my cappuccino in the other. That’s when it happened; the worst set of sounds I’ll ever hear (the last set of sounds my live self ever heard). I heard the screeching of a chair, the scream of a woman, and after I turned around to see what the commotion was about I saw the man with the gun which let loose the sound of multiple gunshots. My plate shattered as it hit the ground, and the cappuccino spilled all around me. I looked down to see where the bullets had gone; they were in me. I couldn’t see the bullets though; I could only see the marks they had made on their way in and the blood which responded so immediately. The red liquid escaped quickly and without mercy. Without permission, my body crumpled as I fell to the floor unable to control any limb. I tried to breathe in, but I could not. I tried to breathe again, but I could not. In my final seconds of consciousness I looked to the man standing above me attempting to make my last evaluations, but it was too late. I was gone.


*


Dr. Allen stopped the recorder. She looked at Zack with a different expression now. She wasn’t smiling this time, her face showed only evidence of concern. He knew what was coming next, but still felt as unprepared as he had felt the first time Dr. Allen tried to explain his death. Why couldn’t they stop trying to explain something he obviously knew more about? He felt the gunshots as vividly today as he had felt them the day he died.


“You never went to the café, Zack” he could tell she was trying to be as comforting as possible; unfortunately her evaluations were never comforting for him. He wanted so badly to hate her and everyone else for not understanding. Everyone was so sure he was in denial, but Zack was sure everyone else had been in denial about where they were now. He pitied them They had all died somehow – even if he didn’t understand why they would move to a place so similar to their original lives, he knew they had all moved on. Maybe there was something they had to fix before they went all the way to the other side. He didn’t know why they were there, but the one thing he was sure of was that he died.


“‘Virtuell,” Dr. Allen quietly explained “is a German virtual reality game.” She stared at him expectantly, “Do you remember it?”


“No,” he grabbed his bag and placed the jacket neatly over his arm “I can’t remember things that never existed – and quite frankly I’m tired of telling you about the things that do exist - my death being most prominent.” He inhaled a deep breath before turning the doorknob, and exhaled as he left the room. He could hear the pleading voice of his therapist loudly ask “why was it so hard to put on your grey t-shirt, Zack?”

Created: Apr 11, 2014

Tags: short story, advancements, technology, virtual reality

Issaness Document Media