I faced Seth, still wondering what was going on. “No shit, you’re not really Seth. You’re a digital muppet controlled by Seth in this virtual world.”
Seth sighed, “Well not exactly, but that’s not important. I wanted to warn you. You need to be aware that this is all a simulation. This is not real. You need to keep your head straight for your other interviews today or else you’re screwed”.
I had a pit in my stomach, “Shit, what time is it?”.
Seth shrugged and continued, “Do you have a plan of attack for getting a real job? What are you looking for? Do you think you’re in a good state of mind to interview?”
At this point I was getting overwhelmed with anxiety. “Dude, I have no idea. I need to know the time!”
I looked down at that panel, but it was no use. It was a number counting up, but no reference to tell me what actual time it was. I looked around in a panic and caught site of Sarah ankle deep in the lake enjoying the spray of the waterfall.
“Ok, man. I need out. I gotta get my things together for the rest of the day. Hit pause or something. Computer freeze program, come on.”, I called out ot Seth.
“No can do, man. I can’t do anything, I only have the power to talk to you and enjoy your brain world.”, he explained with a grin.
“What about Sarah?”
“She’s not allowed to touch anything either.”, he was smiling, even giddy.
Wide eyed, I looked around. I’m trapped in here and I don’t even understand what is going on.
Kneeling down at the monitor, I started to dig it out and found it plugged into some kind of socket in the ground with a 2 inch thick cable.
I lifted it off the ground and imagined the cable stretching longer, which it easily did. I then sat down and looked at the screen.
I noticed a discolored pixel in the top right corner and touched it. Immediately a bunch of icons popped up all over the screen and I scanned them looking for something that will help me.
I touched an icon that looked like a camera and the screen faded out. In a few seconds there was a picture on the screen of a grassland vista with a lake and a waterfall. I touched the screen and zoomed in. I saw a small cottage next to a stream coming from the lake.
By the lake I saw a person sitting down, so I zoomed in. The person was looking down and then I realized something, I was looking at the top of my head. I immediately looked up and saw nothing but clouds. Raising the screen above my head I saw myself looking up holding the screen.
I looked over at Seth, who appeared bored but still watching me, I then realized Seth wasn’t on the screen.
“Hey, what’s going on? I can see myself on this camera but you’re not here.”, I pressed him for an answer.
“No shit, Sarah’s not here either. You already know this.”, gesturing towards the lake, clearly bored.
“Why can’t you just fucking explain what is going on and what I need to do.” I yelled at him.
“Well, John, because if I told you what to do, then when things go bad you’ll blame me instead of yourself.” he calmly explained like it was common sense.
Frustrated, I had a thought. I brought the screen back down and used the onscreen controls to maneuver the camera angle close to the top of my head. Then I moved the camera to point right at the screen so it filled it up.
I felt a build up of energy and everything around me began to shake. Then a huge beam of bright light burst from the monitor straight up into the air and shockwaves of painful heat radiated away from it. Then the bright light enveloped everything and I screamed as my body felt like it burst into a million molecular bits.
I felt that disembodied numb nothingness that existed when I first entered the machine.
What the hell just happened, I thought. Clearly I created an infinite loop. I folded the data stream in on itself, and everything just blew up. It crashed!
I laughed manicly. “I crashed the machine!” I yelled.
But I’m still in it... ok I crashed part of the machine.
I held the thought of that familiar stone in my head and released it with my intent... sure enough the rock materialized in my hand. It felt so much easier than before, like the machine is simply an extension of my will, of my intent.
I thought about the forest clearing I made before, with the waterfall fed lake and stream. I released my intent and opened my eyes... everything materialized instantly. I was back by the lake next tot he cottage.
“Make something bigger and better than the cottage”, I heard Seth’s voice behind me as I turned around in surprise.
Seth pointed to the cottage, “Go ahead, make something better.”
I looked over at the cottage, and pooled up my intention and let it fly out. The cottage grew into a small mansion with more windows than I can count.
Seth smiled, “Is that the best you can do?”
I shrugged and walked into the house.
Inside the house it was empty. It had no rooms just one large dark cavernous shell with no windows regardless of its appearance from outside..
I turned around and the door closed behind me. Confused, I looked around and saw what looked like people all around me in the shadows.
Then I smelled vanilla again and instinctively smiled as Sarah walked up to me.
“Hi John”, she giggled.
“Sarah, how do I get out of here?”, I wated no time hoping for a direct answer this time.
“John, you are home already.”, she explained “Like I said, I am not Sarah.”
I shook my head in frustration, but she held a up her finger.
“I am you.”, then she gestured to all the people around us, “Everyone here is part of you.”.
“Do you remember how the machine works? The machine is reading your mind, then it’s sending what it reads back to your mind in a strange feedback loop.”
I raised an eyebrow and let her continue.
“You are experiencing yourself, and I am a part of you that the machine has amplified and you experience directly as something separate.”
“So I’m talking to myself?”, I was beginning to understand.
“Yes”, Sarah smiled, “You’re talking with part of yourself. I am the part of you that sees the bigger picture without all the emotional baggage.”
A tinge of excitement began to build up, “and Seth?”.
Sarah nodded, “You know the answer to that.”.
“Seth is your Ego.”