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Error #261

by Yenn Dano 6 months ago in Series
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Ang iyong ganday umaabot sa buwan. (Your beauty reaches the moon)

"How could you have possibly known you can do that, Camdyn? How did you know that you can switch minds? Blake and I — we're strictly told not to let anyone know about that, because if it's abused, it can be bad." Said a woman's voice, meaning with the limited options, it'd have to be Shyrene's.

The man she was calling after yelled out some lame excuse, something along the lines of it being common sense that we can basically do whatever we want, because this isn't real life, but a product of thought, which can create a lot of things that don't exist. From here, I couldn't listen to him word for word, but I got the gist, and it's not like why he talked about was dumb. He's probably right. I just don't want to listen to anything he says.

"Well, we're all okay, aren't we?" He shouted back, that being the one piece I can hear flawlessly.

"I guess," the woman answered, facepalming. "Don't have too much fun with it though, you hear? If your brains get stuck in each other's bodies by time we're done here, you'll be leaving the science side of things baffled. Ellie may be a little out of this world of a case, but let's try to stay in it as much as we can, yeah? Otherwise people get hurt."

"I got you! It would've been nice though if I could've stayed in the world instead of coming here, 'out of it' to chill with you homies," he responded, brushing her away. Because of that, Shyrene gave up and began approaching me, in an area I managed to by some miracle, get to myself. Evidently that arrangement didn't last forever. Isn't in ironic how in my own head I still can't get the peace and quiet I wish for?

"You alright?" She asked, welcoming herself to take up the space beside me.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm good. Fine," I said, a bit awkwardly, as I faced my entire body in the opposite direction. The more information from my body language she had to catch onto, the faster she'd get to interviewing me more than an initial greeting. I knew I couldn't win to her in that regard, so I relied solely on drawing out some time until I had to face it.

"I know you're not, Ell, and that's okay. That's normal. Being here, getting through this; it's not easy," she explained. I was tempted to turn to look at her with how deeply I knew she was looking at me. "You can't hide things from me. Not when it comes to your feelings. I don't have your brain, so I don't know everything you've been through, but I can tell when you're hurt. When you scratch your knee, blood clot cells will do their job to stop that bleeding and heal you up. That's what I'm here for Ell. I can give you answers, and solutions, as long as your brain gives me permission."

I was taken aback by such an approach, because as smart as it could sound when it's literally being said out loud, the connection she made was weird; something I wasn't used to. When I was curious about things, I tend to ask about them, and I was getting the feeling she knew that. That's why she was taking this approach. I groaned, deciding to just get whatever it was out of her system. "What do you want to know?"

"Bold of you to assume that I want to know—." She defended herself, but with one unbelieving look out of me, she dropped that shield, figuring it was useless, which she'd be right about. "Okay, hear me out. I want to understand why Camdyn is the one chosen to be here if you're really so against him like you claim to be. You two are off and on with getting along, but at the same time have a very unique approach to getting things done. The last level a perfect example."

"So?" I asked. I didn't get where she was going with it, and it made me unbalanced in how I should feel about where it could head.

"I have a theory, but technically speaking I don't have any proof," she admitted, leaning back more, her arms behind her for support. She seemed to get more comfortable for my sake than of hers, like it was going to contribute to me being more open or like it would soften the atmosphere. She went to an extent, we can call it, to get this out of me, and I nearly gave into this pang in my chest to just make it easier for her. "So, I need to know what was going on in the hours leading up to the surgery. The emotions you were feeling and what information was going around, stuff like that."

"Well," I began, the natural pause lingering around forcing her to give up her comfort and lean in nearer. I wanted to laugh at how strong of an ambition she had for this, when it didn't concern her, but I kept my composure, going on like I hadn't seen it. "There were a lot of things going on. I just entered a beauty pageant, where I publicly told the crowd I'd be known as Ellie Reyes from then on, the name my mom wanted to give me and the last name of my step father, instead of Saturn Marie Matalines, which only carried around what my blood father wanted and also carried around by the surname of my mom's that was proof she wasn't married when I was born. In our culture, it's such a look down and it's stupid.

"After that, I came into the hospital for this surgery. It was scheduled, and on live TV from there I witnessed my blood father, Camdyn, and my one full-blooded older sister be imprisoned for being involved in either my step father's murder, my attempted murder, or both.

"Ezra, one of my half brothers that I never got along with came to visit me though, and we started creating a better bond, so I was excited about that, and Ethan, the youngest brought me a painting that I won first place in a competition. The results just came out then." I finished off, proud of the summary that I created and that I actually got through with it.

"What kind of painting? What did you paint?" She asked, and it surprised me. Of all the details I've gave her, literally spilling out all of the big pieces that I can remember of what exactly led me up to this point, she asks about something so minor and unnecessary. She was targeting her good news I brought from it, which could've been on purpose as the next level was being prepared.

"My parents? Some family photos?" I answered, direct to the point. It came out more as a question than an answer with how puzzled I was at what she was getting at. "I took a kintsugi approach to it, after Ethan tore my work up into shreds. So even though it was all ruined originally, it was put back together like magic."

"I'm assuming it wasn't your idea then."

"Well, no, but why do you say that?"

"Because, you said it was originally ruined. If it was a step in the process that you wanted it to go in, there's never a stage that it's ruined in. It's planned accordingly," she explained, and it's now that I started to see the smirk on her face forming, knowing she was getting somewhere with this, and also the moment I realized I've shared too much. "So, Ell, whose idea was it?"

My heart stopped. There wasn't any purpose in lying after getting this far, but I wanted to. I knew if I did something would come up later on and escalate this topic even more. I thought admitting might allow the truth to not be so spotlighted. "It was Camdyn's, but—."

I intended to add more, an explanation of some sort, but of course, Shyrene got in the way. "Ah, ah, ah!" She teased, her index finger to my lips to shush me. "I know exactly what happened."

"What?"

"It's like that generic quote and popular saying that someone can give you a million reasons to leave them and when you truly love them one is enough to make you stay. I'm sure you've heard of it," she smiled brightly, and as she found happiness in her discovery, I didn't know at all how to feel. "You watched him go to prison, and heard him confess to being behind the trigger, but this one action and maybe more that you're not telling me was enough for you to hold on to him."

I wanted to argue with her but I couldn't find the way to, and with how she was comprehending it, I looked stupid too, to give someone a chance over a painting when they've done so much already that's thousands or millions of times worse. She'd be stuck to that story regardless, I'm certain, so I decided to finish it off. "Yeah, that wasn't it. My blood father tried to kill me that day, but Camdyn is the one that stopped him. What didn't make sense to me is that three years back, when I was standing on the same stage, Camdyn was behind the trigger, and the next time I get up on it, he's the one stopping it from happening. Maybe there's context that I didn't know and I had and still do have a hard time to trust if he's going to be honest with me about it. I can't be certain about that. Still, that doesn't mean—."

"That you're still in love with him?" She interrupted, filling in what I was going to say. "Maybe, maybe not, but what I think this is is, he's here because you did love him, and now you have the chance to find if he's worth forgiving."

I shrugged, "I'm not sure."

"But it's not impossible you are still in love with him, Ell. Just now it might've been his mind that was in your skull when he killed three of us, but he's only able to do what your body is capable of." She stood up, preparing to walk away with that comment left behind her. "You might not have done it otherwise, but what people do for love and to protect it, it's mysterious sometimes."

"Level four, nyctophobia, fear of the dark, start." That voice came along again, but this time it didn't scare me in the least. I knew that what it would bring would humble me back into my place, but after what Shyrene had said I could be capable of in certain circumstances, it that that would drive me insane over some creepy voice.

SCANNING FOR NYCTOPHOBIA 55%

ERROR #261: PLAYERS DO NOT POSSESS THE TRAIT AND/OR NECESSARY REQUIREMENT TO PLAY THE GIVEN LEVEL. GAME MUST REBOOT.

"Duh, bish," Camdyn blurted out, staring up at the lines written in the dark sky, like they were hysterical. "We had our best moments of intimacy in the dark."

"Ooh!" Blake cooed out of nowhere, after not have heard from him at all since the last level ended.

"Agh, men." I slapped Blake in the arm, who just unfortunately had to be the one nearer to me, "shut up both of you."

SCANNING FOR ACROPHOBIA 42%

ERROR #261: PLAYERS DO NOT POSSESS THE TRAIT AND/OR NECESSARY REQUIREMENT TO PLAY THE GIVEN LEVEL. GAME MUST REBOOT

"As in fear of heights?" I thought out loud. I've never had any traumatic experiences from it, but I hated whenever I had to go to an amusement park. I was near to admitting that as the truth. "Technically—."

Blake took the chance to get revenge, flicking me hard in the center of my forehead. "Never, and I mean never," he emphasized, "give the game ideas."

I massaged the point that he hit, lightly. "Jeez, okay, sorry."

SCANNING FOR ASTRAPHOBIA 31%

ERROR #261: PLAYERS DO NOT POSSESS THE TRAIT AND/OR NECESSARY REQUIREMENT TO PLAY THE GIVEN LEVEL. GAME MUST REBOOT

"That's a given," I explained, unimpressed by that result. "Ethan, my brother, he represents storms, lightning and thunder included. I wouldn't be afraid of him, and Cams, you wouldn't be afraid of Ethan, would you?"

He chuckled, "what if I was, Mars, what would you do about it?"

"Throw you out a window probably. L-m-a-o."

"Okay, I've been meaning to say this since before," he said, his playful side buried up when his serious one came to take it over. "Who the heck says texting acronyms out loud? Are you insane?"

"Who the heck calls them texting acronyms?"

"Oof," Blake said suddenly, once again. It's been his style in approaching our conversations these recent times. "You're both weird, 't-b-h'." He giggled alone, overly content with what he's done. "See how shortcuts sound when it's not out of your mouth, Ell? It's funny."

Though the sentence was directed at me, Camdyn turned his head at the exaggeration of 'shortcut' and we both stared at him, faking our fuming anger. "Did I ask?" We both said, at once. "Bish, this ain't even concern you."

"Oh," Blake responded, shyly, zipping his lips for what looked like could be the rest of the night, and naturally we poked at him to ease the atmosphere. He takes everything so seriously.

SCANNING FOR PHOBOPHIBIA 24%

ERROR #261: PLAYERS DO NOT POSSESS THE TRAIT AND/OR NECESSARY REQUIREMENT TO PLAY THE GIVEN LEVEL. GAME MUST REBOOT

"Oh, why yes, the fear of phobias," Camdyn was back with the joking, and though none of us were literally doubled over laughing because of his idiot humor, at least he made sure nothing tended up before time would count down and we would have to continue. "I most definitely wouldn't have that. When I'm scared of something, I embrace that shyet."

"Close your dang mouth," I mocked him, pushing at him, and when I did, he hit Blake behind him and the two of them fell backwards like dominoes. Now, that was worthy of laughter. "I swear to God," I said between breaths, "you'll evoke the higher ups and they'll rain some real fear down on you."

"No, Mars. It's gotta be your turn this time. It was my turn twice already." Camdyn complained, brushing himself off as he stood up again. Blake whined from the floor like a child that needed confirmation from someone else that he was okay before he could stand. Since Shyrene let him be, I didn't do anything about it, instead simply worrying about what Camdyn had said.

"You donkey, don't jinx it." I muttered through clenched teeth, and with it, I did feel a little ounce of fear tickle my insides once again, returning into my body. Of course, it had to be at the wrong time, and it made things a lot worse having this feeling that Camdyn was right. Not that I wanted him to suffer instead, but it was suffocating to know what you're personally soon to be up for.

This game knew me like a close friend, but had the goals of an enemy. That's why you can never let down your guard. That's why in this world messing around should be considered a sin.

SCANNING FOR CLAUSTROPHOBIA 13%

FEAR OF SMALL SPACES FOUND!

LEVEL FOUR WILL BEGIN SHORTLY

Series

About the author

Yenn Dano

writing attempt-er + sitcom enthusiast

that pretty much sums up my entire life

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