“I hate this,” I mutter.
I sat on my flat, steel bed, imagining what it must feel like to be a normal teenager. Being an average guy meant getting girls. Being average meant having friends, and being average meant having fun. But I’m not average, and I don’t have any of those things.
For as long as I can remember, David’s Laboratory has been both my home and my prison. According to Nelly, it isn’t safe outside the glass; but I know better. Why else would the scientists be so eager to leave the lab at nine o’clock sharp?
“Marcus,” Nelly calls, “it’s time for your examination.”
I answer her with a grunt; I hate this part of the day. And she knows it too.
Nelly flicks her long, fire red hair from her amber eyes, giving me a warm smile as she does so.
I glare at her, letting her know she can't charm me. Just because Nelly takes care of me does not mean I’ll let her get the best of me.
Nelly lets out a sigh. “I know you don’t like this. I don’t like it either, but it must be done. You know how David gets.”
Knowing she was right, I follow her outside of my glass chamber. She leads me in to the big room labeled “Subject Zero,” and inside there is a silver platform in the middle of the room. The platform is huge, roughly the size of a football field. Scientists sit in an isolated glass chamber near the high ceiling, watching my every move.
Nelly’s eyes soften, and she whispers a good luck in to my ear. I give her a quick hug and turn to the silver platform.
As soon as I stand on the platform, the room turns stark white and a robotic voice beeps, “Authentic Reality mode, engaged.”
Authentic Reality is a realm created by scientists – mostly everything created within the world is false, but it seems more real than anything.
The steel walls, ceiling, and platform dematerialize into pixels, reconfiguring themselves into ancient rubble and stone. Crumbled, worn down pillars surround this particular Authentic Reality, and there are curved rocks that act like bleachers. Sitting there are the scientists, still watching my every move.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say we were in the Roman Coliseum.
But, of course, I do know better.
The stones here have a bit of a holographic shimmer to them; the wind that musty, indoor smell of recycled air.
I hate this place. Everything about it is an utterly horrible lie.
“Good luck," a husky, deep voice resonates from seemingly everywhere. The words make my skin crawl. The voice belongs to David, the man who insists I call him “father.”
Pixels swarm my hands, and swiftly transform themselves into a ruby red sword. Two soldiers spawn in bright light, ready to engage in combat. Soldier One is in front of me, while the other stands behind me. Both are armed with guns, and I feel a hollow sadness grip my heart.
The soldiers don’t stand a chance.
The first man fires and my mind reacts immediately, alerting me where and how fast the bullet will strike. My arms and muscles move on their own; I sidestep and evade the shot easily....