The Simulation

by Jonathan Wallace, age 13
The Simulation

“On Mondays, some of the students — mainly boys, unsurprisingly — act exhausted, just to annoy the teachers. This usually ends in parents being kindly invited to discuss their child’s behavior in class, or just the typical, ‘Go to the principal’s office, right now!’ But today, everything seems… different.”

                   

The Simulation

I wake up on a Monday, the day that wreaks havoc across Malibu International High School, or MIHS for short. On Mondays, some of the students — mainly boys, unsurprisingly — act exhausted, just to annoy the teachers. This usually ends in parents being kindly invited to discuss their child’s behavior in class, or just the typical, “Go to the principal’s office, right now!” But today, everything seems… different. I have a strange feeling. I don’t know what it is, but I just have it.

“Mom!” I yell. But as usual, she has left for work.

It’s not that we are financially troubled. She is just very enthusiastic about her job. That kind of annoys me because it means that she’s barely around, leaving me by myself most of the time. Even on weekends. She works for a newly born scientific company called Malibu Scientific Studies and Collection (MSSC). She usually leaves before I wake up, leaving me to do everything to get ready for the day. I have to get breakfast and prepare for the day. But sometimes, she leaves breakfast out for me on the table (today is one of those days), so I sit down and eat, wondering what today will be like.

***

“Good morning, class,” says Ms. Willmur.

She aptly takes her seat and proceeds to put her blonde hair in the usual ponytail. She praises me every Monday for being “the only mature fifteen-year-old boy in the school.” I start class by turning in my homework: a pre-calculus math worksheet. I get A’s in this and most other subjects. I take my seat next to my best friend Alissia.

“How you doin’ on this fine morning?” she asks flatly.

“Eh, today feels weird,” I reply.

I can always come back to her for advice, whether it be about how to handle emotions or what to write on homework assignments.

“In what way?” she asks.

Just then I freeze. I am unable to move or speak or breathe. I faint, but so does everyone else. All I can see for a while is darkness. I am still conscious, but it’s like I only exist in my mind. I wake up in a dark room with red lighting.

“How the he — ,” I start but I stare at the room — no — spaceship I am in.

The interior is vast; I can’t see either end of the ship. I get out from my… containment pod? I realize that I am wearing headgear, and so is everyone else to the right and left of me. They all look weird. They look almost… alien. Oh god. Please no, I think. I look at myself, and I see pale, almost transparent skin. I can see my veins and my — muscles? I am afraid now. I don’t know what to do. I look around frantically, but I turn around only to find something remarkable.

“Levine, Jack. Please retreat into your pod, please,” a hovering droid says to me.

I just stare at the droid, admiring the tech put into it, before punching it in what I would call the face and running to what I think is the front of the ship. Soon, I realize an alarm goes off, with a corresponding flashing blue light. I’m running fast, faster than a human can run. I look down and see slender feet, like a cheetah’s, but with three large claws for three toes, and they are also slightly more muscular. I don’t know much about speed, but I think that I am running nearly forty miles per hour. I also realize that I have a tail, for balance. I look at my feet again, and they are completely stable, so my suspicion may be true. But to confirm it, I glance at my arms, which are the same length as my legs, if not a tiny bit longer. Lastly, I realize my posture. Hunched, I think to myself. That confirms it. I can run faster, if I go on all fours. I try it, expecting to fail, but it comes naturally. I also don’t have to hold my head up as I do it, as it is forward facing now that I am on all fours. Now, I should be clocking in at sixty miles per hour, but I am barely even trying, unlike when I was on two legs. I push myself forward as hard as I can, now travelling at ninety miles per hour.

“Yeah! New record! Take that, cheetah!” I say.

I finally realize that I haven’t reached the front of the ship and think to myself, How long is this thing?! I stop and go on two legs again. I look behind me but only see a green flash of light that blinds me, and all I see a split second later is black. I awaken in my pod again. I grunt to myself, but instead a low rumble emerges from my mouth, and the glass cracks. It doesn’t break, but it cracks. I do it again, and it breaks and shatters and is blown away from me. Another ability at my disposal. Now I can escape this place.

 

The Escape

I start my escape by playing possum. I do exactly what the other alien things do, which is sleep. My eyes closed, I think about all that I have yet to realize. And then I remember my mother. My eyes shoot open, and I quit playing possum.

“So much for the plan,” I say to myself.

Of course, the alarms go off as I break out of my pod with my “sonic scream,” and the security droids come after me as I run on all fours. Then I notice, all the pods have human names on them. Martha McCannon, I say in my mind. Jones Johnson, Johannes Johnson. I see my old friends in a helpless state, and I feel saddened, but I keep going nonetheless. I run faster, and the names become blurred, but one stands out to me. Alissia Swift. I stop immediately and stare at her seemingly dead body. I am startled when I see slight movement. She opens her eyes slowly and sees me. I give her a confused look as she awakens. She screams… at least I think so; the glass is soundproof. I use my sonic scream to break her out. However, before I can explain anything, she jumps out and starts running away from me.

***

I jump out and run away from my attacker. But as I do, I keep saying in my mind, C’mon Alissia! Face him! Her! Whatever!! But I do not want to. I have been avoiding any contact for… I don’t know how long. So it is natural for my sense of self-preservation to kick in. I stop and turn around to see that my attacker has caught up to me.

I prepare to defend myself, but all he does is scream, “Alissia! It’s so good to see you!”

I am very confused. How does this perso — alien — know me?

So I ask, “Should I know you?”

He appears to compose a look of sadness on his face. “Hey, it’s me, Jack,” he says.

My face instantly brightens up, and I throw my front appendages around him. “Jack!” I scream.

We stay like this for a while, but we both soon realize the droids surrounding us.

 

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