Come here, I want to show you something she says. You nod and follow. It’s strange, as the back parking lot behind Radwin-Sheefler is not a place you’d expect this person, your supervisor, to bring you. Rounding a corner you’re astonished to see everyone you’ve ever known gathered there. Hundreds and hundreds of people standing in silence.
You look from face to mute face—family members, friends, acquaintances from years past—and finally, in utter confusion, back to your supervisor. She was waiting for your gaze to return, and now with a perfectly neutral expression she continues.
You’ve been playing a game she says, where the only player was yourself. The creators of the game observed your life unseen, existing in the real world and not this fantasy you’ve been acknowledging as “life”.
Your family [they all step forward] is not real [they disappear from the top down without a trace].
Her detached voice continues to speak, and one by one people disappear.
Your environment is fiction [a tree vanishes, then another, then a building]. You had always wondered what was real [the ground beneath your feet disappears].
Suspended in yawning nothingness and she is gone from view now, but her voice remains, speaking from somewhere behind you, always from behind as you can never turn to face her.
Are you real? [Your body begins to blink out from the fingertips and toes inwards].
Everything that’s left, these final pieces, are collapsing into a core that is under siege, in denial and under shock.
Like a star falling in on itself the pressures involved are unbearable, unconscionably intense, beyond feeling. An explosion―
Time’s pace is lacerated at that locus and consciousness is spirited to a new vessel on an arbitrary plane, to begin the game anew.