I run. I can’t stop running. I’ll die again if I stop running. Why did I run this simulation? Why did I decide to do this to myself? I run. I can’t stop running. It’ll catch me if I stop running. What is even chasing me? Why can I not see it? I run. I can’t stop running. I’m terrified. I have died twice now, to my memory, and this is the worst by far. Where is it? I can’t hear it. I begin to slow down. I jog. I can’t stop moving. If I stop moving it will catch me. I hear a crash. I jump a little and run again. I run. I can’t st-
I sit up, screaming. My hear races. My body aches. My mouth is dry and my hands are clammy. My face is okay though. No burning or charring. I’m wearing the white slacks and black shirt again. But my coat is hung on the corner of the table. The room is blue this time, but it does still have the red circuitry and colorful wires on the floor. How do I keep ending up in the first room though? I start to wonder if I am alone again. Surely not, otherwise how would these strange things happen? How could I move from one table to the next? How could I write notes to myself? I can’t be alone. It isn’t possible. Before moving to the next room, I try to think of a way to catch whoever is doing this. With nothing to record visual or audio, I give up and walk to the next room, following the baby blue arrow on the wall.
What I find makes me gasp in excitement and astonishment. Aside from the seemingly normal things, the screen, table, and note, there is a camera and appropriate wiring. I almost run over to read what “I” wrote to myself. Almost. I’m still sore from waking up. I avoid looking at the screen, fearful of what I may find looking back. I reach over to the camera and wonder how it got there, but try not to think of how. Once again, too afraid of what I may find. After inspecting it for a few moments, I place it where I found it and look at the letter. Dreading what it may tell me, I begin to read.
“If you are reading this, then you are, for all intensive purposes and for all you or your conscious mind know, dead. If everything went correctly, you were caught by an unseen force while you were incredibly terrified. You were eviscerated and the pain was so intense that you likely blacked out before your death. The entity that caught and maimed you was nothing. That is to say it didn’t exist before you appeared on that planet. The entirety of your last planet’s inhabitants are comprised of the visitors’ most violent fears. If the simulation went as planned you lasted eight days. The entity that hunted you needed time to manifest. Aside from the last day or two, your stay there should have been mostly pleasant. The longevity of this trial was not relevant to the study. Hopefully you remember the last letter I wrote to you. I spoke of what you shall not be experiencing from now on. You will now not be experiencing pleasure, fear, nor despair. This trial sufficed for all three. The planet you just visited was named Iberu. That planet as well as any inhabitants left, including other visitors are now gone. They no longer exist. You were thirty two years, five months, and sixteen days old. Hours, minutes, and seconds are not relevant to the study. Because of the way you died you were under for a little longer than you should have been. As such, your age is now thirty two years, five months, and twenty eight days. Hours, minutes, and seconds are not relevant to the study. As you may have noticed, you now have a camera at your disposal. You do not need any other wires or devices to start it. It does not yet have any files on it and has enough storage space for your next trial. You will find that it is magnetic and as such will stick to the walls. You may not like what it is that you find waiting for you when you return. You have forty seven years, five months, and nineteen days left to complete the study. You are alone. Good luck.
I set the letter down and think. I try to figure out where to best place the camera. Looking at me? Then I could see if I get up. I think that is a good idea. I’ll go with that. I set up the camera, as high as I can reach, aimed at the table’s raising point, and recording. I wave at it, and give a thumbs up, as if anyone is on the other side of it. Afterwards I go over the screen after pressing the appropriate button on the remote. I begin to type in code again. At this point I’ve realized that no matter what I type it, the computer will change it to fit the parameters of this “study” I am performing. Because of as much, I type in some wackjob scenario where I am left stranded in a forest. Thinking like the smartass I was in the first simulation I took part in, I program in a weird baby monster. Large head, with massive eyes, pupiless and irisless, a mouth the gapes open and a jaw that splits in two, hundreds of teeth that are razor sharp and completely disorganized in placement. Breath that smells of a lifetime eating corpses, and a tongue long enough to snatch you from three meters away with ease. A large centipede-like body. Instead of the claw like legs, it has baby legs and hands, the body is fleshy. And finally the sound it makes, it starts out as a crying baby, but quickly degenerates to a scream of anger when it spots its prey. There, I do believe that would be terrifying. Good thing I won’t be meeting it. I hit the enter key and an orange table slides out of the ground after the blue one recedes.
I forget to avoid the screen when I am done and I see my face. Burnt. Lacerated. My elated mood is immediately destroyed as I begin to worry what will become of me before I am through. I drag myself over to the table and lay down, hoping for some release this time. I lay down and let myself slip into the next simulation.