Chapter 3 - Stuck in the game
When I get home I go straight to my room. I don’t talk to anyone. Nia is no doubt trying to improve her love life and mom is indulging in hits of dopamine. Dad tells her if she keeps it up she’s going to fry all the synapsis in her brain but I wouldn’t be surprised if she already has. I put on some headphones and start singing to “Steal your heart” by “Wrench in the machine”.
I want to steal your heart
And throw it on the ground
You won’t feel a thing
And I won’t make a sound
You won’t understand
What’s happened till I’m gone
You’ll wonder what you did
You’ll wonder what went wrong
I only sing the chorus part. I play some interactive games and before I know it, it is time to go to bed. I dim the lights and on my ceiling is a representation of the night sky. I can identify the constellations and I even see some shooting stars. I play some soothing music and it puts me to sleep.
When I wake up, Nia is already dressed for school. She’s wearing a uniform which is strange. The other thing that is strange is that she is already dressed for school. It doesn’t take me long to realize that I’m not at home but still in the game. It messes with my senses. I was sure that I left the game and came home but maybe I didn’t. If I’m still stuck in the game I am wondering how to get out. I try to step outside the 9ft by 9ft playing area but I can’t. I’m not sure what is going on.
“Okay, who are you and what have you done with Nia?” I ask accusingly. There’s no way this person is Nia and something really strange is definitely going on.
“What are you talking about you little squirt?” Nia shoots back. Now I know something is wrong because Nia has never called me a little squirt before.
“Nia has never gotten up early for school a day in her life and she has never been on time for anything in her life either. Mom even jokes she was late to her own birth” I explain.
“Relax, I had a bad dream and it woke me up. I thought since I was awake I would be ready on time for once. You know there’s a first time for everything. Why am I explaining myself to you anyway? “She answers in an annoying voice.
“Okay, but I’m keeping my eye on you.” I say. Maybe the game is projecting how I really see Nia instead of how Nia actually acts.
“Whatever” she responds.
I go into the kitchen and another wonderful breakfast is waiting for me. Although breakfast is always waiting for me in real life, there’s just something different about it being made by a real person that I can’t quite put my finger on. I take the time to enjoy my breakfast.
When I walk out the door. Nia is walking to school with Lidia. I would make sense that Lidia is also in the game. Maddie catches up with me and we walk to our own school together. School today is even more boring and torturous than it was yesterday. If I have to go through another day of school I think I’ll go crazy. During recess I noticed that all the girls hang out together and all the boys hang out together and they steal glances at each other. The thing that is funny is that they think nobody notices when they do it. They think they are being sneaky when it’s really obvious that’s what’s going on. I don’t know what the boys do but all the girls giggle and try to guess which girl the boy that is caught is staring at. They also tease each other about which boy might like which girl. I think the whole thing is silly.
After school on our way home I see Nia going into the Library. That is also something that Nia wouldn’t be doing in the real world. I tell Maddie I’ll catch her later and follow Nia into the Library. She goes to a section of the library and looks at the titles of several books and puts them back. She then walks up to one of the librarians and starts talking to them. While she is talking to the librarian I take a look at some of the titles. They all seem to be books about history. I check a few of them out and I’m not familiar with any of the historical events that they describe which is strange if the game is reading my mind. I wonder why Nia would be interested in history since it doesn’t have anything to do with fashion or boys.
While I’m standing there the Librarian takes out a book in the historical section. I ask the woman if I could see what book it is and she shows me the book. The book seems to be about a computer with artificial intelligence. The librarian gives the book to Nia and Nia actually starts reading it. I wait for a while but I get bored because all Nia is doing is reading, which is something else she would never do in real life.
When I get home Nia isn’t there yet. When she does get home I just look at her. There’s something about this game that just doesn’t feel right and I’m starting to think it has something to do with Nia.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than stare at me?” She says.
“Where did you go after school?” I ask in a voice that lets her know that I know where she went.
“None of your business” She shoots back.
“I followed you to the library.” I state.
“So ...” She responds.
“Nia has NEVER gone to the library. What were you doing there?” I demand.
“I don’t answer to you” She says.
“I bet you were there with that boy your like, sneaking around.” I offer. I don’t want Nia to know what I really think just in case.
“You can think whatever you want” She says.
“Nia and Bobby sitting in a tree ...” I start teasing her. Since I’m stuck in the game, I thought I might as well have some fun with it.
“You are so annoying ...” She says as she heads in our room. I follow her.
“Okay” She says, “I was sneaking around with Bobby, are you happy now?” she says clearly frustrated with me. I leave the room and tell “mom”.
When we are all sitting around the dinner table, our “dad” gives Nia a lecture about sneaking around and how she needs to set a good example for me. She promises dad she will do better. She also lies about the reason she went to the library. The game has been fun up until now but I think I’m ready to get back to my real life.
When Mom and dad send me to bed I wait up for Nia.
“I know you’re not Nia. I don’t know what you’ve done with her but I know you’re not her.” I say when she comes into the room.
“Why do you think I’m not Nia?” She asks.
“Because you’re acting weird and you never play with me anymore” I state and then start to cry. She buys the drama and put’s her arms around me. Nia never buys the drama in real life.
“When people grow up they change. I’m sorry you feel like I’ve left you out. I’ll always be your big sister and I’ll always love you.” She’s piling it on. She’s trying too hard to convince me she’s really Nia. I’m starting to get the feeling there is another player in my game, but who is it? I nod my head so she thinks she’s fooled me.
“Now we should get to sleep, okay?” She tells me.
“Okay” I say back. She tucks me in bed and gives me a kiss on the forehead. Soon I’m fast asleep. When I wake up I’m not in the game anymore. I get up and go over to my window and look at the high rises. Was the whole thing just a dream or am I still stuck in the game? I start to wonder what’s real and what’s not.