Chuck has given us two lists of labels this time around. I chose 'Binary' from list 1 and 'Houses' from list 2. It's late at night here, and my mind is particularly open tonight - very much in the mode of 'The Matrix' ...
I live therefore I am.
I think that’s how it’s supposed to be here.
Well, that’s what they’ve told me… whoever ‘they’ are.
It’s time to collect the mail. The front door is old and made of oak and I have to open it myself by turning the handle and pulling it towards me, and I leave the warmth of the house to walk outside into the chill of the afternoon. There’s three or four steps to the gravel walk out to the letterbox where the postie has left my letters.
It’s the 1980’s. Duran Duran, David Bowie and Queen are big on the radio and ‘Who’s the Boss’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’ and ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ are some of the best shows around – as well as ‘Mork & Mindy’ reruns.
But unlike my neighbours, I’ve seen all of those shows before.
This is an experiment on the Human Mind – to see how far ‘they’ can push us before we snap. Well, I think so anyway. Truthfully, I don’t quite remember how I got to be here. This is my third house – my third time around the decades – and I never seem to return to the same place I did before. And I seem to forget which year I started out in… but I know I began further into the future than now; as I know what a mobile phone, a modem and a Gigabyte is.
So, I know I’m not from this time.
However, I can’t tell anyone around me… well, not yet. But I am keeping a diary about this – which always seems to travel with me. So ‘they’ are controlling this in some sick way. I don’t know how they control it, but they do.
“How is she doing?” Raymond asks the controller.
Tank looks over at him, “I didn’t think this was such a great idea to start with, and I still don’t.”
“What year is she in?”
The graying man sighs, “The mid-80’s.”
“Does she remember?”
“No. And that’s a problem… what happens when she comes back to us?” Tank looks over at Raymond, who’s not looking at him.
The Irishman watches her intently, “Just keep taking her back.”
Night falls and I eventually go to bed to the near-silence of the area around me. It’s alien to me as I’m used to so much more noise of the city. I feel uneasy as I drift off – as though I’ve suffering from sea-sickness a little – but I can’t stop as I …
My eyes snap open and I find my bedroom is totally different. I’m in a water bed! Shag carpeting covers the floor and a macramé wall-hanging haunts the wall as the paisley wallpaper begins to give off a weird LSD kinda vibe.
“Oh crap! I’m in the 70’s!” I crawl out of bed and find I’m in a flimsy nightie that passes for sexy for those times and cringe, “Oh, yuk!” opening the wardrobe does me no favours as I find a collection of bad, awful colours all clashing together in such a way, I didn’t want to get dressed in any of it – but I did; managing to pull together a decent outfit from that mess they called style back then.
I spent another day in another decade of time… writing down my observations. I had to leave the house – as usual – and then I had to come home as well. It was fortunate that I knew how to use Corningware cookware as my Mum gave me some and I learned how to get in and use it a few years ago.
But it wasn’t until I left the house and went to the store that I knew I really didn’t fit in.
The people were looking at me strangely.
They knew I wasn’t from this time – this era.
I had to find my way back home … wherever that may be.
I returned back to the house and locked myself in, feeling as though I was going to be followed home by a mob with pitchforks and torches… as though I was going to be lynched. But as I watched the day pass, nobody approached the house, nobody rang the doorbell… the phone didn’t even ring. It was all in my mind. I ate dinner and went to bed after watching ‘Dragnet’ and enjoying a nice cup of tea and reading a little until around 10pm. I have to get out of this – I want to go back home… to my real home now.
Tank watched her carefully. He was becoming worried about her state of mind. He noticed that she had had a freak-out during the 1970’s excursion and noted it down on the EEG and his notes nearby. He left them in clear view for Raymond to see, but the man didn’t seem to see them – or he didn’t seem to give a rat’s arse about her. He was going to stop the experiment now.
“What are you doing!” Raymond shouted.
“She’s not dealing very well.” Tank said, “The matrix is screwing with her state of mind. I’m bringing her home.”
“No! We keep going!” he shoved his chair away from the keyboard and touch-screen, “You do as you’re told!”
Tank stood from his chair, towering over the young man, “I am doing what I think is healthy for her. She is being brain-fucked by a computer program and doesn’t remember signing on for a time-traveling experiment. So, Raymond, you better back off and let me do my job or you’ll be the next one I’ll send out into the matrix to see how far I can you send back without warning!” He took a step forward, to which Raymond backed up, “And maybe I’ll send you to the Dark Ages, see what they think of your red hair then… what was the myth back then? All redheads were vampires?”
“Okay… you do your job. Bring her back.” Raymond walked out of the room as Tank sat back down and started to bring back the woman he had plugged into the system three days ago.
I woke up in a hospital bed.
Tank was by my side holding my hand, “Sara?”
“Tank.” I think that was his name.
“Yes… that’s me.” He smiled, “You were freaking out in the matrix, so I brought you home.”
I looked around the room and thought that some flowers would be nice. Right before our eyes, a vase of flowers grew out of the table at the end of the bed. They were bright, real and vibrant, “Woah!”
He rose and looked at them, tentatively touching them, “They’re real.” He turned to me, “How did you do that?”
“I… um… just thought it would be nice to have some flowers in here; and they showed up.”
Tank stared at them. I just couldn’t understand his face as he was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, “I’m going to take you home, okay?” he turned from the bed and walked out without waiting for an answer.
We arrived home late that night and he let me stay in his guest room. I thought that was sweet of him and slept really well. When I woke, I looked around the plain white room and thought that it would look better if the room was a more appealing colour – like an Apricot colour with white skirting. As though by magic, the room changed colour and feel. Just as my feet were about to touch the cold pearl tiles, the flooring changed to white shag carpeting; which was very soft under my feet. On opening the curtains, I found it was raining and wished it would stop … as though on command, the clouds moved away and the sun spilled through.
“My God, what are you doing.” Raymond’s voice asked from the doorway, “You can’t change the world like this.”
I turned from the window, “Why can’t I?”
“Because you’re still in the matrix and Tank and I duplicated it all to make you feel as though you came home.” He said.
“How do you know he followed through with what you ordered him to do?” I said, “I could have been the architect of this whole world and you wouldn’t have known… after all, I started losing my mind in the 1970’s. So, how do you know if I didn’t take control then and just overrode the system, making it all feel as though you and Tank – and everyone else in the world…” I turned to the day outside for a moment, then turned back to him, “… were just living in an ordinary life; when really you've have been under my thumb since you pushed my mind to the very limit of breaking.”
“Well…” he stammered.
He did, tried to speak and found he couldn’t.
“Raymond, you tried to control me by sending me back in time. Yes, it was a good experiment to see how my childhood would have been like had I not been born with a medical condition. But you were going to send me further back – back before I was born – and that would have screwed with not only physics but the Natural Order. This isn’t a good thing… and the problem was that you sent me back before 1973; and this is where I could start to control the world – the matrix, the very fabric of the world – and make it my own.” I smiled, “The Binary Houses was fun, but the communities weren’t. I knew I didn’t belong and people there knew too. Now… I can change what needs to be changed and you, Raymond, must change when I order you to.”
Tank walked into the room, “Raymond, I didn’t hear you come in. Did Sara ask for you?” he looked over at me, “What are you going to do with him, dear?”“I’m going to make him pay.” Snapping my fingers I sent Raymond back to the last place he sent me back to – the early 1970’s. He was sent there without any way to come back home, but I could keep an eye on him of course …
...because I’m the Architect, after all.