Simulator

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Very quick read.

The room was smaller than most, an office actually. It still had the same tile floors and incandescent light bulbs, but it was a bit more homely.  Two scientists sat in the room facing each other, each with an incredible amount of anxiety.  The one at the desk, fidgeting with a pen, stared at his colleague with confusion.

“Natalie Parker? Where did you hear her name?”

“I was down in the file room…I just happened to see her name.”

“She doesn’t have a file Ben! That’s the whole point of this operation! Don’t lie to me, I know you better than your own mother.”

“It doesn’t matter how I know, what matters is-“

“It does matter! We have been down here for three and a half years and you never once spoke her name. Not once! And now all of the sudden you come tearing into my office and demand I tell you what happened.”

“I didn’t sign up for this crap, has this happened to other people?”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about, get out!”

“No, I’m not leaving until I get an answer.”

The two scientists continued to stare at each other for the next few minutes, neither moved a muscle. Then the one at the desk was back to the fidgeting, adjusting of glasses, and glimpse at his watch.

“Be here at noon tomorrow, the story is much too long to tell right now. I have a meeting with the maintenance crew regarding the oxygen shortage last night-“

“What? What oxy-“

“Forget it; just be here tomorrow at noon.”

That seemed to satisfy Ben for the moment. He got up and walked out mumbling something under his breath. The other sat in his chair remembering Natalie…her hair, her beautiful face, but most of all her exciting personality. She used to be his other half…she completed him. He could still hear her voice, but this time it sound much closer.

“See what you did George…you blew it all to-“

“NO!  I HAD TOO! YOU GAVE ME NO CHOICE! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

George grabbed his head and tried to get her voice out. She stopped speaking. He looked up and saw her standing there at the door with a rifle.

“Natalie? W..wha..what are..how did…”

 

TEN YEARS EARLIER

Natalie Parker walked silently down the dismal sidewalk. She past a few storefronts offering “great deals” and was tempted to shop, but she couldn’t bale out on her family again. She continued walking down to the corner and took a left.

 “I swear this walk gets longer each year” she muttered under her breath.

Dodging a pile of snow in the middle of the walkway, she ran across the street. It was Christmas Eve and her husband’s family’s most glorified tradition was eating Mexican food and getting wasted until they got kicked out of the restaurant.

“You’re here!” cried Dan, her husband. “It’s about time.”

“I tried to call, but my cell is out of batteries”

“Okay, okay. Hurry on in, were about to order”

“Give me a second; I need to freshen up a bit”

She walked into Carlos O Kelly’s with her husband, but departed and headed for the restroom waving him on. She looked in the mirror.

“Well Natalie, try not to look at Uncle Bart suck the cheese out of his chimichanga and you might not have to come back in here.” She said as she fixed her hair up into a pony-tail, put on some lipstick, and a little eyeliner.

All of which were kept in her very large purse.

“Okay, let’s do this!”

Natalie walked out of the restroom and over to the bar where she thought for sure the rest of them were. When she got there, to her surprise, the bar was empty. She turned back and went to the dining area, but she still couldn’t find them. She had checked every table in the place, so finally she asked the waiter if he had seen where her husband had walked to…

“Did you happen to see where my husband went?”

“I’m sorry, but how would I know who your husband is?”

“Right…he was the man I walked in with remember?”

“You were alone ma’am…” said the waiter, a bit confused.

“No I wasn’t, you looked right at us both! You have to remember!”

I’m very sorry, but I didn’t see you walk in with anyone.”

Natalie didn’t know what to think. This guy was obviously blind. She started asking random people if they had seen her husband and describing him. When that failed, she asked about Uncle Bart, nobody could miss him. Sadly nobody had seen him either. She walked out in the parking lot looking for their car. The gold Mini-Van was nowhere to be seen. They must have left me to get some stuff…She couldn’t think of why they would leave so she decided to go and wait for them in the restaurant. As she turned around, she almost passed out. The restaurant wasn’t there. She didn’t know what was going on. I must be dreaming, yes that’s it. You’re dreaming Natalie! Wake up! She pinched her arm, but it didn’t work.

“WHAT IS GOING ON!?!?”

No answer. Natalie, just go home, get a goodnights rest, and in the morning…it will all be over. So, she walked back to her tiny apartment. She opened the door to turn on the lights, but the light switch wasn’t there! She fumbled around in the kitchen cupboard for a flashlight, which had no batteries. She gave up on making dinner and crawled into bed. She woke up on the ground, or that’s what she thought it was at first. It took her eyes a few minutes to adjust to the new lighting. She got up and took in her new surroundings. It was very white, and the white just kept going on and on and on. Everything had lost its color. She looked down at the ground, and saw little squares everywhere. It was as if she were standing on a grid. She looked up and saw the same kind of grid up in the air, but very high up. The white hurt her eyes so she squinted. That’s when she saw it. A little quiver…and she was in a small cylinder capsule. She was standing up, her back to a padded gel material. She tried to move, but her arms were tied down. She couldn’t reach the door. She looked through the window on the door and saw other people in cylinders across the room. A red light flashed in the corner and then another quiver. She was back in the white. This time there were floating red numbers in front of her. They fit together like a clock, the numbers started counting.  They went faster and faster until they reached ten years. Then another quiver and another and another! She tried desperately to get out of the restraints between each quiver. Then they stopped. She saw a man in a white lab coat walk by the window.

“HEY! HELP! HELP! GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

The man whirled around and stared at her. His mouth dropped open and his face turned as white as a sheet. He ran away shouting for somebody named George. Natalie tried to clear her mind…memories…memories she didn’t have started coming back. She remembered being outside in the room. About to get into the cylinder….a scientist had been there, not the same one she saw just a few seconds ago. Greg…Jim…no...George! George helped her climb in, fastened her wrists down, gave her a kiss, and sealed the door. This man had done this to her. Whoever he was, he would pay for trapping her in here. The red light flashed again, and she heard a woman’s voice.

“Enter voice command”

“Wha…?”

“Voice Identification matched”

“Welcome back Mrs. Parker. How may I be of assistance?”

“Uhh…you can start by letting me out of this….this thing!”

“One moment please…”

This girl’s calm voice was really starting to tick Natalie off. Her wrist restraints unlatched and the door opened up. She scrambled out through the small opening and fell out on the cold tile floor.

“Where am I?”

There wasn’t any response. She wandered out of the room and saw a few more scientists in the hallway. She called out to them, but they had the same reaction as the other guy. She followed them until they ran into a room labeled “Armory” and locked the door. The voice came back.

“Sorry I left you like that; we had an issue with a patient escaping.”

“Where am I?”

“What do you mean?”

“Where am I!?!?”

“The question was not understood. Please phrase it differently or ask a new question”

“I want to know where the heck I am and how the heck I got here!”

“The question was not understood. Please phrase it differently or ask a new question”

“OH MY GOSH! Ok…just unlock this door for me.”

“One moment please”

The door clicked open; she walked inside and saw both scientists dead on the floor. It looked like suicide. Is this because they saw me? She picked up a rifle and kept moving to a door on the opposite end of the room. She went through and ended up in another hallway.

NOW

George grabbed his head and tried to get her voice out. She stopped speaking. He looked up and saw her standing there at the door with a rifle.

“Natalie? W..wha..what are..how did…”

“Shut up!”

“Natalie…Listen I-”

“I said shut up!”

“Just put the gun down and we can talk about this…”

“That’s right; we are going to talk about this. Sit down!”

George sat down terrified.

“Where am I, and how did I get here?”

“You are at a Jaycon Facility, and you came here fifteen years ago after you murdered your husband and son.”

“What? They disappeared when we were at Carlos O Kelly’s a few hours ago.”

“No, that’s what the program is for. You get into the simulator and it makes you your very own alternate reality.”

“Wait…so how long have I been in here?”

She started to tense up and held the rifle up at his face.

“Like I said before, you have been here fifteen years.”

“You really expect me to believe all this?”

“Yes, now please put the gun down. When the simulator malfunctioned it messed you up.”

“No”

She pulled the trigger.


Submitted: November 02, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Jason Tipit. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Kyle Stead

I like this story for two reasons: 1. The pace keeps my attention and you were successful at building suspense. 2. I like stories that do not have happy endings. I think they sit longer in the readers mind that way. One criticism I would give is that it seems a little rushed at the ending. Maybe taking a little more time to explain the murder or the story behind why she came to the facility would lead to a better pay off at the conclusion. Great job though. I look forward to reading your other stories.
If you are interested, I have a story on here called Rosie's Game. I would appreciate some feedback if you would like. Thanks- Kyle Stead

Fri, November 2nd, 2012 6:24pm

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