Last night I had another dream. I think I was inside a
television set looking out. There was a boy in the
room, maybe eight years old. He talked to me, and
I talked back. He asked me whether all horses were
boys, or whether there were any girl horses. I answered
him, and then he ran off, leaving me alone in the
room, save for a cat lounging on a chair in the corner.
I tried to read the titles of the books on the shelves.
I could only make out a few, with the largest lettering.
They were all hardbound, old classics, before my time.
Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, that sort of thing. After a while
I got bored, started meowing to the cat, at first to
no effect, but when I gave it a more serious attempt
the cat perked up and came over to investigate. Next
thing I knew, I was staring right into one of its
nostrils, then its chin, then the bottom of one of
its paws, and then...I woke up.
When I woke up, Laura was sleeping naked in my arms, warm
embers still glowing in the fire. After writing last night,
I put down my quill, felt her presence behind me. Then her hands
were on my shoulders, her fingers running through my hair, her
palms brushing down my back. In one fell swoop, she simply
grabbed my anxiety and pulled it out of me, let it fall to the
floor. She moved in front of me, said, "Look at me." I did. She said, "Watch me." And I did. She danced before
the fire, slowly, casually. She was the embodiment of comfort.
We made love without a word. There was no stopping it. It was
Still dark, I walked outside to look at the night sky. There was just one very faint star
visible. Or was it a planet? I recall that planets can
be the brightest spot in a moonless night. Or was it just a spot of white
painted on the boundary, a big five-point star with "God was here"
graffitoed in the center?
I stayed to watch the sun rise. It rose behind distant hills,
which for all I know don't even exist. And it was not as hot
as I remember it being, but then I've always hid from the sun so
I can't say I actually know it all that well. What does
the sun really look like? I have no idea--it's too bright to see.
Could I tell one sun from another? Could I tell a real sun from
a fake one?
My imagination is running away with me again. But after yesterday,
it's hard not to question everything. Am I really here, or is this
whole experience just being piped into my head while I lie on a table
somewhere? Or hey, maybe the scan worked after all, and even I am
just part of a big simulation, like the one we were running on the mouse a
few days ago--only I'm the mouse. But no, neither of those makes sense.
Too many things don't fit. For one, the experience is too perfect,
too detailed. Every grain of sand, flicker of fire, the finest of hairs
on the back of Laura's neck. It's not that it couldn't be done,
but rather there would be no point--not for the computational
cost involved. The universe itself is already a giant simulation. Reality
is the best simulation of reality money can buy. Simulations make
sense when a cheap knockoff will do, when you only need the essentials
and can forgo all the expensive details. But here, no detail is spared.
Even the boundary, in its tacky glory, has its intricate fingerprints.
Why would a simulation so grand employ something as tacky as a giant
mural in the first place?
And what would be the point of simulating me? Who
cares what I might think or do in the city of Eden, and if they did care,
why would they start me out in the bottom of a pond?
Speaking of Eden, I worry I may inflict the plague
on these people. According to Laura, the entire community
is free of disease, not even the common cold. She hardly has
the vocabulary for it--the only "diseases" she knows are those of old
age or injury, none contagious. Now my ears perk up every time I
think I hear her sniffle. I'm healthy, but surely not sterile. God, I
hope people don't start getting sick.
But maybe she's just wrong. I got a blank stare from her
when I mentioned the lone star I saw last night. She claims to
have never seen a point of light in the night's sky, nor to have
heard that usage of the word. Her knowledge of astronomy is nonexistent. Assuming at least one star is visible again tonight, I'll
I'm starting to grow fond of this place. Or perhaps that's just to
keep me sane until I find some hope of leaving.
No, I think I really do like it here.
From the Land of the Lost?
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