Chapter 5 - Strange Circumstances
When I wake up I'm back in the game, or at least what I thought was the game. I'm not so sure now. Nia is preoccupied with the dance but I don't see what the big deal is. At least I know I'm going to eat a good breakfast.
I see Maddie on the way to school. I don't pay too much attention to what she is saying. I'm just looking around for clues. I know that these experiences are because my brain is being rewired but I don't know if they are real memories or fake memories. But how could this have really happened? We don't live in some small village in the Stone Age, we live in a bustling city filled with activity, at least I think we do.
I don't really pay too much attention at school either. We take another test which isn't much of a challenge. I can't shake the feeling that Nia is another player in the game, I mean a real person and not just a character controlled by the simulation. If I'm going to find out what is going on I need to watch her closely. I'm sure she is the key to all this.
When Nia goes off to the dance I sneak out and follow her. I'm not sure what I'm looking for but I hope I'll know it when I see it. Nia and Lidia go to the dance without dates. Since I can't get into the dance without a parent, I wait outside. It's really boring just waiting. I'm there a long time. I see and boy and girl sneak out but they don't get far before they are caught. I finally see Nia leave. She is with Lidia and Lidia doesn't look so good.
They don't notice me. I can tell that Lidia has been crying and Nia has her arm around her. I follow them to what must be Lidia's house. They go inside. I go around the house to see if I can see anything in the windows. When I finally see them Nia and Lidia are kissing each other. The sight makes me want to throw up. I know Nia isn't attracted to girls in real life. Now I am positive there is another player in the game. I need to get rid of them. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it though.
When I go to bed I expect to wake up in the hospital room but I don't. It's Saturday and there is some kind of community party going on at some lake somewhere close by. To get there we all ride bicycles. I've never riden a bicycle before in my life but I get the hang of it pretty fast. When we get to the lake I go play in the water. I can see Nia and Lidia go off by themselves to talk. Lidia looks pretty happy. I assume that they are talking about what happened last night. After a while Nia comes to play with me in the water. The day was really fun and I'm really tired but I'm also really worried. I have no idea when I'll 'wake up' in the hospital.
The next day I'm still in the game. We go to this community meeting but all the kids go into one room and all the adults into another. Of course I'm not old enough to go with the adults. In the kids room the kids get to play which is much better than having to sit and listen to some adult go on and on about something I don't care about. After a while my luck runs out because they tell us we don't get to play anymore and we have to sit and listen to some adult go on and on about something I don't care about.
While I'm not really listening much a word grabs my attention. The adult mentioned the word computer. So there used to be computers but now there isn't. That doesn't make any sense. I pay more attention but I don't learn anything else. I tell the adult that there's something I really really need to talk to somebody about and that it's really important. The adult tells me I can make an appointment with the preacher at school and talk to him. I decide I'm going to tell him about Nia and Lidia. I get the impression that kind of thing isn't acceptable behavior here and that might get rid of the other player.
I go to bed that night fully expecting to wake up in the game but I don't. I'm in the hospital. Nia is sitting next to me in a chair hunched over asleep. I nudge her gently.
"Nia, wake up" I say quietly. Nia doesn't wake up. I nudge her again.
"Nia, wake up" I say a little louder. Nia stirs a bit and then opens her eyes.
"What's going on?" She asks.
"You fell asleep." I tell her.
"How are you doing? Did you get any sleep?" She asks.
"I fell asleep and woke up somewhere else. It was like I was living a whole different life. But everybody I know here was there. You were there. Mom and dad was there. Even Maddie and Lidia were there." I say.
"What was different about it?" She asks.
"Well, we didn't have any computers or video games for one. For another if we wanted to go somewhere we had to walk and we lived in this tiny village rather than this big city." I tell her.
"It sounds really weird" She agrees.
"It feels real. It looks real and I do things there just like I do things here. I'm starting to wonder which life is my real life." I admit.
"You mean you think I might not be real?" She says alarmed.
"I don't know." I say.
"Well the doctor says you are going to be confused until whatever is rewriting your brain stops." Nia explains.
"Yeah, that could be it." I agree.