The Parallel Syndrome

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

A young man lives out the ultimate fantasy in a computer generated envirnoment.



By Mark Healey

It all happened so fast I could hardly believe it myself, but it really did happen! I am just an average guy - nobody special. I wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work,go to lunch with my co-workers, go home, make dinner, go to sleep and wake up the following morning and begin my routine all over again. Sound exciting? Not in the least. But it is my dreams that keep my waking hours captivated with the impossible ( or seemingly so ). My life is very ordinary and for many years, the redundancy of what I was doing each and every day began to wear me out. I wanted some excitement in my life; to be someone else for a change - perhaps to live the life of a famous person who was rich and powerful and who didn't have to worry about living paycheque to paycheque. Sound silly? Like I said, what happened to me would seem inconceivable to many. To fully understand the events that unfolded on that fateful day will have to be told from the very beginning.

It all happened on a Monday morning. My alarm woke me up at the usual hour, much like it did every day of the week - 6am. Depending on how tired I was from the night before, I will begin my day with a hot shower or go to my computer to either surf the net or reply to emails.I chose to sit at my desk to check emails first. This is when it happened and it all happened so fast; it was like falling asleep and being zapped into a dream....however, I wasn't dreaming! While surfing the net, I came upon a website where you can chat with various 'characters' online and live out a cyber fantasy. One such character was a talent agent who could cast me in a very big budget movie. I guess to most, this would be just another chat line and if nothing else, a scam for these so called characters to take your money and cash in. Not this time! As I read through the site disclosure, for a considerably small amount of money, I could live out my ultimate "fantasy" and virtually be "anyone" I wanted to be. Ten dollars didn't seem like a whole lot of money to me, so I didn't think I had anything to lose. I was becoming increasingly curious and the idea of immersing myself into a cyber world suddenly became rather exciting to me. As soon as I entered my credit card number into the site, I clicked the control button and the next thing I knew, I was in unfamiliar surroundings.....

"It is a rather good script if I may say so myself", said Baxter Turner, a Talent agent with Turner Entertainment Inc. I can only let out a measly reply of, " huh?", as I was seated in a chair directly in front of THIS "Hollywood " Director, only this wasn't Hollywood - but in my hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada! While Mr. Turner continued to discuss the script with me - a Mobster type flick, it suddenly occurred to me that I was no longer in the comfort of my own home, in front of my computer, getting ready for work. I was now transformed into another world that looked eerily different from my own world. I had to excuse myself away from Mr. Turner for a few minutes so I could compose myself. I needed some time to look outside a window and see what I had gotten myself into. How did I get here? What was I doing here and most importantly, how would I get back? The world I was in appeared considerably similar to my own, but different somehow. I couldn't put my finger on it, but this environment conjured up a different flare and I couldn't explain the difference. And it got weirder and weirder as I slowly immersed myself into this new world! For one thing, my family in this world did not exist ( I looked them up!)

After I had taken several minutes to wrap my head around this new environment, I quickly returned to Mr. Turner's office and we resumed discussing the new movie I was going to star in.

"Hey", I said to myself, "this could be cool!" I no longer tried to debate in my mind on how I got here - I no longer cared. I surely got more than I bargained for!

As the days quickly passed, I was becoming quite used to my new routine in the new world. I was cast in a movie called, "Life as we know it" and I was working with actors who were very well renowned in THIS WORLD, only I had never heard of them in MY world! In a matter of days, I would learn that I was a rather huge celebrity, much of the time, traveling across North America, and Europe - from set to set, living in and out of hotels and only after these projects were completed, was I able to re-locate to my five bedroom home just outside of Toronto! I was living the life of a king; I had servants, drivers, cooks, anyone and everyone who was at my beck and call at a moment's notice. I no longer had to worry about finances, I could work whenever I wanted and take frequent vacations with the snap of a finger. I truly believed this was the life I was born to live and I quickly forgot about the old world I was once a part of. I also quickly realized that I had fans; Often times when I had to go out for something and a swarm of people would gather around me asking me for my autograph or literally trying to grab the shirt off of my back - anything that would be considered a "souvenir" to take home with them. Who was I kidding? I was loving it - I was loving the fact that I was now living out my dream and I was no longer considered a "nobody"; I was loving that I was being accepted by society, that I was important, powerful - that I had something to offer the world; There were emails, letters and even gifts from adoring fans. I was living the "good life" and I felt unstoppable, even invincible, that those who knew me, truly cared about the kind of person I had become ( or always was?)

But then something changed!

It took only a couple of weeks, but by this time, I was going out practically every night: dinners, parties, press engagements and midnight movie premiers! As my popularity continued to soar, my days no longer became "mine" as my calendar was booked solid from 6am until 10pm every night of the week! I was constantly being told where to go, what to eat, what to wear, who to see and how long to stay! My life had become filled with "things" I no longer wanted to do and it was killing me to stay focused every minute of every hour of the day and hating it!! It occurred to me that my so called adoring fans did not adore ME - they only adored what I was or what I did for them like several characters in a movie or a TV show that they had either fallen in love with someone who they could relate to or identify with. When I was home, I spent most of my time alone; Nobody called except my agent or my publicist and it was always about business. No social calls, no "how are you doing" or " let's go for drinks or to dinner". And then it suddenly occurred to me: I didn't have a single friend in this world! My family in this world, as I mentioned earlier, didn't exist so there were no Friday night dinners, or Sunday BBQ's! It may have taken awhile to sink in, but I no longer wanted to be a part of this world anymore. All the money and fame in the world did nothing for me except make me feel more miserable than ever. The true fact was, I was happier when I was miserable! Perhaps, we all are to some extent.....

What frightened me more than anything now was the possibility of me being stuck in this world forever! I guess things are not exactly what they seem and it took me a long time to come to that realization! I didn't know how to find my way back to my own world but as I looked around my house.....all those beautiful furnishings, my open concept kitchen, the pool, the tennis court and 4 servants who I barely got to know, seemed meaningless and over valued! If living this kind of life meant living it alone, I no longer wanted it and would soon spend the rest of my days here praying to return to my own world. And.....that is what I did...prayed long and hard! I didn't know how I was going to get back. Hell, I didn't even know how I got here in the first place but I was going to try! So, I did this.....I fixed myself a very stiff drink ( a double gin and rye ), another and another and another until I could no longer stay awake. As I slept, I had conjured images of my old life: waking up at 6am every morning, hopping in the shower, having breakfast and getting ready to go to my ever "boring"office to begin work, to attend an office meeting, or go to lunch with co-workers. 

The following day, I was getting ready to attend a Red Carpet Event. It was almost 5pm and instead of getting in the shower, I went to my computer and turned it'll never believe what happened next!

Submitted: December 05, 2015

© Copyright 2020 Mark Reece Healey. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Paulad Prism

What happend next? Oh...what a perfect story...i was glued to it all the way.
You know I once wrote a poem 10 years ago called Life As we Know it? Funny right?
Nice job man...keep it up.

Thu, July 27th, 2017 1:26pm


Thank you! Is it not my best work, as I wrote it over 4 years ago. I am really hooked on 'Flash fiction' - it is my calling!

Thu, July 27th, 2017 6:30am

Christopher Patrick

Very descriptive. You do a good job of building his sense of loneliness and frustration. I liked hearing about the transatlantic trips. I felt a sense of time passing.

Fri, July 28th, 2017 2:50am


Thanks! I must confess, this story is not one of my favorites, but I've learned to appreciate it! I actually struggled to write this piece having written several drafts before adding the final touches.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it - thanks again; I look forward to reading more of your work!!

Thu, July 27th, 2017 8:07pm

Joe Stuart

I see that you posted this story two years ago but it has only recently received comments. That's odd because I think it is a very entertaining and imaginative story, with a nicely ambiguous twist at the end. I am glad to see that it is starting to be noticed.

Mon, July 31st, 2017 1:56am


Thanks. The truth is, deactivated this story because I really wasn't at all pleased with it. I guess we are our own worst critics, but I really did feel that the plot was weak. However, after reading it a few more times, I have come to appreciate it and in doing so, I am happy to see that others are as well.

It is amazing how our imaginations run wild with us. Good writing is a gift; you possess that gift. I really love the way you choose your words well....

Sun, July 30th, 2017 7:28pm

Oleg Roschin

Good story, Mark! I like the cliffhanger ending - it sort of forces the reader to re-read the story and focus on what matters most: the message, the protagonist's realization of what truly makes him happy. The plot is a bit similar to that of "Birthday", an episode from my favorite TV show "Angel". It also flows nicely and naturally, and keeps the reader interested and entertained. I don't know why you have a low opinion of it - I think it's definitely one of your best so far! :-)

Wed, August 2nd, 2017 10:07am


Wow! Thank you! I am amazed at the feedback I have been getting to date. Over time, I have learned to appreciate the story. Strictly a product of my imagination - never heard of the show, " Angel" ( I should watch it!), I was sitting home alone one day, and just wrote the story randomly.

I am going to take some time to read some of your stuff. I am very flattered that someone of your writing caliber appreciates my work...thank you, once again!!


Wed, August 2nd, 2017 3:40am

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