Sep 03
BorayZ's picture

Summer 1870

Every summer my grandparents leave the sweltering, moist weather of Florida and return their summer cabin in Vermont. The outside is wooden and slightly rundown with that classic old cabin charm, but in the inside is modern with every shade of grey and beige you could think of. Tapestries from countries around the world hang on the walls and small abstract statues sit atop the floor cabinets containing old games I don't understand the rules to. The cabin is part of a grouping called The Bridges built in 1870 just off a country road, across from what used to be a small hospital.

    I arrived at the cabin suitcase in hand, I was only staying two nights but I had plenty of clothes to account for the warm days and freezing nights. The screen door was always left closed and the main door always open, even when the air conditioning was blasting like on a hot day like today. I entered the short hallway leading to the kitchen and living room. I took a left into the bedroom I would be sharing with my cousin, Ally, who was two years older than me. She came from New Hampshire and had already been there for a couple days. Once I shed the weight of my suitcase I went into the living room where Ally was watching tv.

    We looked a lot alike, Ally and I, both with short and wavy gold hair, and dark brown eyes, but I wore glasses.

    “Oh hey,” said Ally, turning towards me.

    “Hi,” I respond. “Whatcha watching?”

    “Say Yes to the Dress, want to join?” she asked.

    “Yeah, sure,” I answered.

    I said hi to my grandparents then I sat on the couch beside Ally.

    Ally turned to me and locked my eyes with hers. She looked more serious than I had ever seen her. She leaned towards me and whispered.

    “You won’t believe anything I say, but you have to trust me,” her voice was forceful, but I could sense the fear behind her words.

    “What are you talking about?” I whispered back.

    “This isn’t real, none of it is.”

    “That’s ridiculous, we’ve been coming here since we were babies, how could it not be real?” I smirked.

    “You have been coming here. Just you. You are the only thing that is real.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “This whole thing is a computer simulation. It’s all in your head.”

    “Like a dream?”

    “A dream you have been trapped in since the day you were born. It’s not just the cabin. Everything around you is fake.”

    “If everything is a computer simulation how can I trust you aren’t?”

    “I hacked into the system and I have roughly ten more minutes until I’m caught, and you are stuck here forever.”

    “If this is generated by computers how do I know you are even my cousin?”

    “I’m not.”

    “Come on, this is just some sort of practical joke, right?”

    “No, you have to follow me now, ok?”

    “Ok, the worst thing that could happen is you make a fool of me.”

    Ally, or whoever she was, stood up and told my grandparents we were going for a walk. I followed her out the door and into her car. She began speeding down the road.

    “Slow down! You’re gonna kill us both!” I yelled.

    “We can’t die, our bodies are lying on beds in the real world, this is all in our heads.”

    “What is wrong with you?!”

    “I told you, you just have to trust me.”

    “This is crazy, you’re insane! Pull the car over, I’ll walk back to the cabin.”

    “No, look out the window.”

    I turned my head to look out the car window, the trees were still there, the sky was still above us and the road below, but there was one big difference. Everything was pixelated. The trees were just squares of green and brown. The farther we drove, the more distorted everything became, until the world outside was reduced to the grey and black storm you see when the tv is connected to the wrong station.

    I screamed.

    “Do you believe me now?” Ally asked.

    “Yes. Get me out of here!”

    Ally stopped the car and opened her door. She instructed for me to do the same. We stepped out of the car at the same time. There was no longer a road below us, just the grey and black pixel storm. As I stepped out of the car I began to fall, I couldn't see a ground I could land on. As I fell it felt as if my body was being ripped to shreds. Everything went black, and I was sure I was dead.
    I opened my eyes. I was in a dark room, the only light coming from a heart rate monitor I was connected to. I was lying down as Ally had said, and there were wires attached to my head. I sat up and ripped them off of my head. Then I got off of the bed and tried to find a door, once I did I walked into a light brighter than I had ever seen. When my eyes adjusted I looked down, I was wearing a hospital robe and nothing else. My hair was still gold, but it was very long and rugged like it had never been cut or washed. All of my joints were sore, stiff, and weak.

In the room I entered there were no electric lights, but sunlight poured in from the windows. It looked like a hospital but all of the rooms were separated by sheets hanging from the ceiling. There weren’t any machines that I recognized from my altered version of reality. Patients were in pain, with no IV connecting them to medication. The floors were cracking and unpolished, and though it must have been the middle of the summer based on the heat, there was no air conditioning or fans. In fact, I didn’t see any electricity being used at all.

I was worried I would be caught and dragged back to the dark room, so I ran out of the hospital onto the street. It was less of a street and more of a dirt road, being used by a horses and horse-drawn carts with people on them. Across the street was a plot of land with builders constructing small buildings with wooden planks. There was a painted sign in front of them that read The Bridges.

I was in the past. But the past was the present. And my reality had been a projection of the future.

Oh god, no electricity, no running water, no women’s rights, no air conditioning. Get me back to that computer simulation!