[WP] It turns out life is a video game. You know this because you just found a bug.

It started out as such a tiny thing.

I was watching TV when it started: a tiny line seemed to fly through the room. At first I figured that it was just a product of my being incredibly high, and so I ignored it.

Three days later, I saw it again. Only this time, I was completely sober. A black line seemed to float through the air just a few feet in front of me. I initially passed it off as a floater...only I had never seen a floater that was so well defined. No, I thought to myself, this was no floater.

I began to do research online, and quickly came to the conclusion that I either had a brain tumor, or a rare tropical disease...thanks web MD! This prompted me to schedule a doctor appointment. Tests were run, and all results came back normal.

By the time I had been given a clean bill of health (other than a case of irritable bowel), the line had become a familiar presence. I had even begun to ignore it. That is, until the fateful day that it appeared in front of me while I was jogging through the park.

It appeared, and I ignored it...and ran right through it. A flash of light nearly blinded me, and then I collided with a wall. I guess I was momentarily knocked unconscious, because the next thing I know, I was on the floor. I opened my eyes, and was surprised to find myself back in my apartment.

I was so confused. Wasn't I just jogging? I swear I was just in the park. I looked over as a very attractive woman walked past, and then back in front of me, and then the line appeared...

I stood up and looked around. I was in my apartment, all right, but things were slightly...off. My refrigerator was empty, there were no dishes in the sink...I could go on, but I think you get the point. Oh, and the black line was in the middle of my living room. Just...there.

I cautiously approached it, this strange anomaly hovering in my world. It was just a black strand of nothingness. I reached out and swiped my hand through it...and was instantaneously back at the park.

Over the next few days, I experimented with the black line. I found that if I concentrated on a particular location when I touched it, I was suddenly there. This was quickly followed by discovering that I could only use it to go places that I had been before. As an avid gamer, I dubbed this as 'fast travel'.

All the while, I was keeping notes of my observations. I noticed that, while the trips seemed instantaneous, there was a gap of about thirty seconds between touching the line and arriving at my location. It was around thus time that I had the bright idea of recording the trip, both from a fixed location in my apartment, and with a camera strapped to my chest. What I found while watching the footage from my chest cam was the first hint of what was to come: as I transitioned over, there was about a half-second of static. I opened the footage in a video editing program and looked at the footage frame by frame, only to discover that the static was in fact millions of numbers flooding the screen all at once. I didn't know what to do with it, so I sent a few screen shots to a buddy of mine who works for a big computing firm.

Almost immediately, my phone rang. It was my friend, and he was demanding to know where I found the pictures. I told him what I could (while leaving out the parts that made me sound crazy), and he wanted me to send him the footage. I edited out everything but the static, and I sent it to him. Two days later, he called me. He was ecstatic, saying that what I had sent him was an extremely advanced version of what he had been working on: programming language for a quantum computer.

I was blown away by this revelation. What had I really stumbled into? My mind reeled at the possible implications. It was at that moment that I decided to level with my friend. I set up a meeting, where I told him everything. Strangely enough, he believed every word. He then told me what he had been working on: a virtual simulation of life. Next, he told me that he had run the numbers through their most powerful computer, and that when they ran the program, two images emerged: one of me in my apartment, and one of me at my fast traveling destination when I shot the footage.

Over the next few weeks, my friend and I delved more deeply into my anomaly. We discovered many things, but one thing was clear: we had discovered that our entire existence was a program, a simulation.

The mad across from me slowly shook his head. He jotted a few notes in his notebook, and then looked back up at me.

"See? I told you that you wouldn't believe me."

He looked around the room, and then back at me. "Do you...see the anomaly right now?"

I sighed aloud, frustrated at his complete unwillingness to understand. "No. Like I told you last week, and the week before that, they fixed the glitch."

He slowly nodded. "Tell me again."

We continued to experiment with the anomaly. After a while, we started having fun with it: we would pop into a place, mess with people, and then pop back to my apartment. Once, I scared the shit out of a little girl by appearing in her room late at night, screaming at her, and then popping back home.

I still remember the very last time that I fast traveled. It was a routine jump. I pictured my destination and reached for the black line. This time, however, just before I touched it, a tendril of electricity jumped out and grabbed me.

I found myself in a white room. There were no windows, just a single door towards the other end. Inside the room, there were hundreds of people sitting at desks, all typing away on their keyboards. Nobody noticed me at first, and I quickly looked around, trying to locate the anomaly so I could return home. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be seen. I didn't know what to do, so I simply cleared my throat. Almost simultaneously, everyone stopped typing and looked up at me. Most people simply returned back to typing, but the man at the desk in front of me seemed surprised.

"Can I help you?"

"Um, I don't know. Where am I?"

The man seemed confused. "Where are you? This is the programming department. Aren't you a programmer?"

It immediately dawned on me: somehow, I had traveled outside of the simulation. "I...uh...no. I think that I'm, uh..."

The man suddenly gasped aloud. "I know you! I...you...how? You shouldn't be here!" He jumped up and grabbed my arm. "So lifelike..."

He pulled me out of the room and through the door at the rear of the room. We were in another room, this one with screens covering the walls and hundreds of people watching them. While I knew what was going on, I gasped aloud as I saw my city, my apartment, my friend waiting in my apartment. The man leading me let go and told me to stay right there. He walked up to someone who was sitting at a large desk in the middle of the room, whispered something, and then pointed back at me. Voices were raised, and then the man came back over to me. He just looked at me for a moment before saying, "OK, it's time to send you home!"

He led me to another room, this one with just one blank screen on the wall. "Just put your hand on the screen and you'll be home." I walked up to the screen, and before I touched it, I looked back at the man. He walked over to me. "You've turned out better than I expected." He just looked at me. "I'm sorry for staring, but it's so rare to see one of your creations in person!"

I felt chills run down my spine as the reality of what he was saying hit me. I opened my mouth and managed to croak out one word. "God?"

The man laughed aloud. "Nope, just a simple programmer. Now, off you go. And try to enjoy your life! You worry to much!"

I put my hand on the screen, and was instantly back in my apartment.

My friend was standing there, looking at me. He seemed confused. "What? How did I get here? What the hell?"

I could only stand there, speechless.

"So, you say that they fixed the glitch. What about your friend? Why doesn't he remember any of it?

I shook my head. "I guess they erased his memory of the events."

"Ah, yes. They programmed our reality, so they could easily change something as trivial as memory." He leaned forward in his chair. "Listen, you've been with us for six months now, and still you cling to this delusion. You're never going to be released if you don't face reality." He jotted a few notes in his notebook, and then sat it down on the small table next to his chair. "Well, that's it for today. I'll see you next week."

I stood up and left the room. Back to my room, my home for the last six months. Really, this hospital isn't so bad. Three hit meals per day, a warm bed to sleep in, and all the anti psychotic medication that I can eat! Still, it would be nice to be home again...maybe I could just agree with them. None of it ever happened, let that be that. The end.

But I have to be true to myself, and I have to be true to reality.

And this reality is just a simulation.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread