Story A Week (SAW) 18: September 10th, 2018
By Adam O’Sullivan
Another perfect day. The sun shining in through the window. The blinds left open for this exact reason, so that the sun can awaken us. I turn over and look at my wife, Maureen, who is still slumbering. The sunlight stretches out between us, as it creeps slowly towards her. I lay there and watch it start to lick her skin, washing over her until eventually to covers her arm. It takes a while for this to happen, but I have all the time in the world. Eventually the change in heat on her arm causes her to stir and awake. She turns to face me and sees me watching her.
“How long have you been awake?” she asks with the blurry voice of the newly woken. She smiles up at me, a puppy dog smile as she continues to wake up.
“A bit. Sorry, you just looked so beautiful.”
“You could have at least started making me breakfast.”
“I’m sure the kids are making breakfast.”
“Oh god, I hope not” and we giggle together. Our two kids are 7 and 10 years old, Max and Simon, and if they were awake they would probably have run into our bedroom already. If they did decide to make breakfast, we definitely would have heard them clanging things around in the kitchen.
As if on cue, Max bursts through the door and jumps onto the bed with us. Simon follows along behind, standing at the door.
“We heard you were awake.” He says.
We go down together and make breakfast as a family. The boys set the table, I cook the bacon and eggs and Maureen is on toast duty. She also sits the cereal on the table in case anyone wants that instead.
“This is so perfect,” she says, smiling at me.
“Yes,” I say back, doubt creeping into my mind. “A little too perfect.”
“Phillip, what do you mean?”
“Don’t you get the feeling that this is all too perfect?”
“Is everything alright?”
“What did we do yesterday?”
Maureen’s lips part as she smiles. “The same thing we’re doing today.”
“Exactly” I fire back at her.
“This has always been our life.” She reaches over to touch my hand.
“Do you remember how we met?” I shoot back. She takes a moment to think.
“Look, I’m sure if I think about it long enough I could remember. I’m embarrassed I forgot. How did we meet?”
“Maureen, I don’t know. I can’t remember either.”
“So there, you see? It’s not all perfect if we can’t remember how we met.”
“One of us should remember.”
“Daddy, you’re scaring Max” says Simon. He’s obviously scared himself, but using his brother as a way to express how he feels.
“I’m sorry kids, I need to go upstairs for a moment.” Maureen reaches out for me, and I worry she might try to stop me. “I think I’m just tired. I might have a nap and then I should be fine.” She relaxes again and goes back to the kids.
I walk upstairs and go back to the bedroom. Inside the cupboard is a locked safe. I unlock it without even having to think of the code. Inside, is a small box. I look down at my hand and the key is already there. I open the box to find a paper bag. Written on the outside is “Escape Plan”. I open the paper bag to find a small hand gun.
I already know that it’s loaded.
I’m still uncertain, but starting to become more convinced that this life isn’t real. Somehow, this perfect life, and this perfect family, are all part of some dream. Or some digital program that I have been fed into.
As I press the barrel of the gun against my temple, I briefly wonder if Maureen at the kids are real people, or if they’re part of the simulation. I can already sense her looking up the stairs, as if alerted to something wrong by some outside influence.
I can’t live this fake life anymore.
I pull the trigger, and escape.
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