Chapter 8 - Moving Targets
In a blink of an eye I'm not in the game anymore. I can't stand being in my room anymore so I get up and walk to the kitchen. Nia is already eating breakfast which is strange because Nia is always late for everything. She doesn't have to be late but somehow she manages to be late anyway. The other thing that is strange is that mom is there. She never bothers to do anything she doesn't have to and she doesn't have to get us our breakfast, the food processer can do that all by itself. I sit down to eat my eggs and toast. I stare at Nia. There is something that's not right. I thought this was my real life but I'm not so sure now.
"Are you okay Katy?" Nia asks me.
"Yeah, I'm fine" I answer.
"Why are you looking at me weird then?" She continues.
"I'm not looking at you weird." I say while I finish eating. I was looking at her weird but I wasn't going to admit that to her.
"Do you still want me to help you pick out some clothes later?" She asks. I don't remember her saying anything about hanging out today. Something is really wrong here.
"Nah, I think I'm going to hang out at the arcade." I respond casually. I really need to figure out what's going on.
"But I was looking forward to spending time with you." She says. She sounds disappointed.
"Why don't you just spend time with Bobby?" I shoot back. Wait? Where did that come from. It sounds right but it also sounds wrong.
"Who’s Bobby?" Nia asks confused.
"You know, the guy you like at school." I say sarcastically.
"Katy, I've never liked anyone at school named Bobby." She answers.
"Yes you did, you were just saying the other day how he asked you to the dance." I say but my voice trails off at the end. Then I remember it was the Nia in the game that was going to the dance with Bobby.
"You never spend" I start saying but then stop. I'm thinking that maybe I have my realities mixed up, "time with me anymore." I slowly finish. Nia and mom both don't seem to remember that the doctor said my mind was being rewired. It's like it never really happened, just like Maddie said that we never played the VR game. I need to go talk to Maddie. "I've got to go" I say abruptly and hurry out the door. I head over to Maddie's apartment. When Maddie comes to the door I'm out of breath.
"Hey, what's going on? You run a marathon or something?" She asks me when she sees I'm out of breath.
"I need to ask you a question, did you take me to the diagnostic center the other day?" I ask.
"No, do you want me to? Are you feeling okay?" She asks.
"I'm okay. Maybe I just dreamed it." I offer as an explanation.
"Look, if there's something wrong, we need to get it checked out. Come on." She says.
"What? I don't want to go to the diagnostic center." I protest.
"Well, I'm not taking no for an answer. Let's go." She orders.
We go to the diagnostic center and it's like deja vu. They don't seem to remember I was just there. The nurse scans my brain and when the results come back the scan is completely normal and they send me on my way. So my brain isn't being rewired after all? They said that reality would blurr with my condition so maybe this is just another episode.
I'm having a hard time now telling what is real and what isn't. When I find myself in the game everything makes sense but when I'm not, it doesn't. It's like I'm stuck in some kind of dis-jointed dream.
"Well, even though you're acting weird, I guess you're fine. So what's going on?" Maddie asks.
"I don't know." I answer not wanting to go into details.
"You know I'm not buying that." Maddie responds.
"You'll think I'm crazy." I offer as an explanation.
"I already think you're crazy." She answers.
"Okay, I know this guy who got me some security chips. we used them to play the virtual reality game at the arcade. Ever since I played that game, things have been happening. First I'm in this simple little village, then the doctor tells me my brain is being re-written and now you have no memory of either of those things." I tell her.
"Are you telling me that you are hallucinating?" Maddie asks.
"Yeah, I guess you could call it that, but everything seems so real when I'm in the simple little village and everything here seems out of place." I confess.
"Are you telling me that you think that I'm a hallucination?" Maddie says making the whole thing about her.
"I don't know. The doctor said that with my brain being re-written that the blurring of reality will get worse. So I don't know what is real and what isn't." I conclude.
While I'm talking to Maddie I find myself back in the game. I'm playing in a Park. I'm younger now than when I was before. Nia is sitting on a bench reading a book when something catches the corner of my eye. Some teenagers are just standing there and one of them looks really familiar. It is an older version of Nia but the thing that catches my eye is the boy standing next to her. He is holding some kind of cube with tiny holes in it. After a moment he looks into one of the tiny holes and they both disappear. It seems the other player is still in the game. I only thought that I had gotten rid of them. That boy must be the other player in the game. I need to find out who he is.
Nia takes me to the movies and buys me a hot dog for lunch. We then have ice cream and go home. Nia goes out of her way to make sure I have a good time and it is really nice to hang out with Nia again like that. Nia used to hang out with me like that all the time and I really miss it.
In a moment I am standing talking to Maddie again. This whole thing is getting weirder and weirder. I need to find out who that boy I saw with Nia is. There has to be a record of him somewhere.