Chapter 41

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For a moment nothing happens

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For a moment nothing happens.

I'm still stood in the temple like room. Cupid and Cal's eyes are fixed on me.

Then I blink and everything changes.

I gasp and take a step backwards. Cupid jumps forwards and grabs my arm - preventing me from falling over.

"Easy there" he says.

I nod then move away from him and look around.

The floor is now cobbled stone, the chair Cupid was sat on now looks like a bench, and a worn out diner stands at the other side of the space.

We're in the Forever Falls town square. Or we almost are. I can't put my finger on it but there's something not quite right.

The whole area is desolate and painted in twilight. Even though I presume we are still inside a cool breeze tickles my skin.

I walk over to bench - realising why the square looks slightly different than it should.

"This isn't in the right place" I say, running my hand along it.

Cupid nods.

"The program creates a kind of blanket – wherever there are objects in the actual room it covers them with an image of something that won't look out of place in the hallucination." he explains "There's a chair there so the program shows you the bench in the square."

"It feels like a bench though." I say "And it's longer than the chair. Can I sit on it?"

Cupid nods.

"Your brain is telling your senses that all this is real - and your body will act accordingly." he says. "Probably worth bearing in mind for when the enemies get here." he adds "In the Sim they aren't real but they can still hurt you."

I look at Cupid slightly alarmed.

He smiles gently.

"Don't worry, it's only a sensation. Once you take out the microchip any pain experienced will go away."

I roll my eyes.

"Reassuring" I say.

I continue to gaze around the square – it all looks so real. I cast my eyes to the middle. The worn fountain stands there like always, a tired trickle of water dribbling into the stone pool below it. If it wasn't completely deserted I could have almost fooled myself into believing I was there.

I shake my head.

"This is insane." I say – peering up at the deep orange sky. "What happens if I leave?"

I locate the place where I remember Cupid's door to be. Now it looks like the alleyway that leads to the Love Shack.

"The program will recreate this image in the next room you enter" says Cal.

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