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The Blame Game - Part One
Not one-hundred percent sure why he was being sought by the authorities, Phillip Harris was on the run. They came to his house at 3 o' clock in the morning trying to get in, but he already had left. At midnight, Phillip received a mysterious call from a female who told him to leave. When he hung up and went back to watching his television, his cell buzzed again. "Do you think I am playing? Get out right now, you have no idea the trouble you're in!" So Phillip packed up a few things, and decided to drive to a motel just outside of town.
Phillip was an avid gamer. He would play his video games for hours at a time. Deciding only to pause when his bladder was full, or he was hungry, Phillip had become a hermit. Obsessed with this lifestyle, he was rarely seen outside of his parents' house. At the age of twenty-two, most of his childhood friends had already started their "adult" lives. But not Phillip. He was determined to make a name for himself in the world of gaming, and that is exactly what he did.
Two months prior to being pursued by the law, he had purchased a new system. It was better than all of the rest, and even had a mode called "Real Creative Control". This system was only available online, and through a secret "invite-only" link. He clicked the link without reading anything. He just saw, "New", "Video Game", and "Control", and was all-in. Obviously with hindsight being twenty-twenty, he probably should have researched a little bit. But then there wouldn't be this story then would there.
What seemed a little odd at the time was that the system cost only $10 and the game that was launched at the same time was $200. Usually the system costs a lot more than the games, but Phillip was so excited, he didn't question it. He figured, this must be an unbelievable game! When it arrived he plugged in all of the cables and threw away the manual. He was a "learn it by playing it" kind of guy, and that wasn't going to change now.
Phillip started to play the game and it seemed similar to a lot of other role playing games, or RPG's. He was able to walk around and interact with others. Decisions he made had an affect on the world around him. He felt very comfortable in his environment there and, weirdly enough, knew where everything was immediately. It even emitted scents when he walked by things like the bread store. Technology was amazing, he thought. These people knew how to create a video game!
With a clear conscience, this was just a game of course, Phillip started to test his own psychological boundaries. It started with a few muggings and burglaries. Just like in real life, this game required that you take every precaution before committing violent acts. He had learned on several crime shows he'd watched that you needed to wipe down the crime scene. So, on this game, he did the same. If you do something, do it right, he believed. The one thing that bothered him was the fact that he sometimes felt like someone was in the room with him while he played. Especially when he was committing crimes.
After getting away with several heists, his characters' bank was full. He needed to move on to something else. Stealing cars and going for joyrides was fun, but the police never could catch him. One day, he started to get bored and was going to go outside and get some air. He had grown a huge beard and even developed bed sores from the constant sitting. Wearing diapers had become a no-brainer. And the grocery delivery service had a key and knew where to bring the food. He had paid extra for their "take it away" service, so he didn't have to clean. But as he was ready to walk out, he saw something on the screen that he would never see again. An old nemesis from his past. It had to be done!
Phillip had killed a few animals during his game play. He wanted to see what would happen. Nothing happened. The animal died and he walked away, feeling kind of bad, but not really. IT WAS A GAME! But no humans yet. Just didn't seem worth it. But now that Dustin Franklin was walking around on his television screen, it was on.
Dustin was a very passive-aggressive individual, prodding until he got a rise out of you. Phillip didn't like that, and wanted nothing more than to forget the past. But now, he would be able to do a "fantasy-killing" and hope that the old memories would die with him. His on-screen character crept up on "Digital Dustin" and fired two shots to the side of his head. The screen went black.
You see, the struggle was deep for Phillip. Obviously that is sarcasm. He had everything he needed from birth. Didn't really desire anything besides self-gratification. Wanted nothing more than for his surroundings to stay the way he wanted them to. No desire to adapt to those around him. Not even a thought in his mind to forgive Dustin, even after all these years. Now, even though it was meant to be harmless, Phillip's decision to mentally destroy someone has led to a path he never could believe.
Phillip turned on the television in his motel room. After trying to find a major news network a few times, he finally found the channel. There was a report that a man had been shot twice in the back of the head. No motive, and nothing taken from the victim. There were two witnesses who say they saw a man in his early twenties with a black shirt and a long straggly beard. They said he looked like he crept up like it was not random. As though he intended on killing this victim. Phillip took off his black shirt and began to panic.
Who had called him to warn him? How did they know? And most importantly, why hadn't he woken up from this dream yet? It all felt so real. He wondered if he was still playing the game. He just could not tell anymore. There was a knock on the door.
Looking out the peephole, Phillip saw a young lady, unbelievably attractive. And she looked very similar to a teacher he had in the eighth grade. He swallowed and asked who it was. "Doesn't matter who I am, but Phillip, I know you, and you need to open the door right now for your own safety." He opened and invited her in.
"You do understand that you are in deep trouble right now don't you?" She asked. "I don't see any other way to explain this to you, but you need to leave the country." Phillip scratched his head for about twenty seconds trying to piece these things together, but to no avail. He shouted "What are you talking about! I played a game, and then got a call to leave my house. What did I do?"
She approached him. "You were chosen as one of the select few who could live in the virtual real world. We thought that you were a good person. We didn't think you would do this!" She pulled back and said "You are going to ruin the entire project!" She told him to stay put, and she would return.
To be continued....