Friday Fiction- Reality Check

iOptik lenses from

iOptik lenses from

Andrew pushed the bedroom door open, pausing just prior to the inevitable creak of the hinges. He peered through the crack into the semi-dark room.

Aurora laid on her back on the mattress. Her eyes were closed and her chest rose and fell with shallow, even breaths; anyone else would have thought she slept.

He opened the door and let light spill in from the hallway as he walked to the side of the bed. Aurora’s eyes shifted beneath her dark-smudged lids. One corner of her mouth twitched occasionally in the closest thing to a smile he’d seen from her in weeks.

Andrew sighed and slid a finger across the tablet on the nightstand. He tapped the wireless connection icon and then tapped the button which read disconnect.

Aurora’s random movements ceased. After a few seconds, her eyes opened. He could see his reflection in the lenses that covered her blue eyes.

“It’s time for dinner,” Andrew said softly.

“I’m not hungry.” Aurora’s tone was harsh and irritated.

“You need to eat. You need to get up and move, Aurora. It’s been three weeks.”

“I don’t need to do anything.”

She reached for the tablet but Andrew caught her hand. Her skin felt cold and dry, the bones protruded and rolled beneath his fingers. Aurora narrowed her eyes to thin slits and jerked her hand away.

“Aurora, please,” Andrew pleaded.

Her face softened somewhat, and then a tear formed in the corner of her eye. She turned her head and let it fall; another chased it over the bridge of her nose.

“I can’t,” she whispered.

Andrew opened his mouth to speak, closed it, and finally nodded.

He stood and turned to go but paused at the end of the bed.

“You know, if I have to take you to the hospital for an IV they won’t allow personal VR equipment.”

Aurora touched one of the wireless receivers along the top of her scalp which allowed the program to interact directly with her motor cortex, making her think that her body moved in response to what her lenses showed her.

She didn’t look at him. She stared at the tablet on the nightstand, waiting for him to leave.

“Aurora, you can’t stay in the past forever. He’s gone.”

Aurora’s fingers moved from her scalp to the tablet.

“It feels real. I can hear him and see him. Andrew, I can still feel him in my arms. That’s the world I choose.” She tapped the screen to reactivate the wireless connection, then tapped a picture of a blue-eyed little boy who smiled and spread his arms as he prepared to jump into his mother’s embrace.

Andrew closed the door behind him as he left his wife alone with her memories.

The End

This is the brief seed of a story that came to me this week and it got me thinking:

If you could go anywhere, or experience anything, through virtual reality (or a virtual environment) what would you do?


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12 Responses to Friday Fiction- Reality Check

  1. Donna says:

    It’s a fascinating concept, but I couldn’t live there…I wouldn’t mind visiting places I’ve been before (or want to go)-briefly.

    • Nicole says:

      It is fascinating. I think I would try all of the activities that I may never have the opportunity to do, or wouldn’t choose to do, for real. I would definitely try “traveling” to places around the world. I wouldn’t want to live there either, and I would prefer to have real experiences, but I think the virtual environment would be so cool. I do think there are people who would live there and ideas like the one in this story make me wonder how people would really use that kind of technology once it became so easily accessible.

  2. D. D. Falvo says:

    “the bones protruded and rolled beneath his fingers”– that was awesome. This sounds like the start of a sci-fi piece–or maybe the continuation of the one where the woman’s baby was taken away. Either way, I love how you keep creating wonderful stories– you’re going to be another Isaac Asimov aren’t you? :P

    • Nicole says:

      D.D. I love the idea of linking this with the previous story, Safe…hmmmm…you always manage to get the wheels in my mind turning toward the next possibility. I love it! Thanks for your kind words. As far as being another Asimov, well, one can dream. :)

  3. I agree with D–but I think the whole thing was AWESOME! There is something very alluring about the idea of visiting the past, even if it wasn’t ‘real.’ If this were a novel’s opening, you’d have me, hook, line and sinker! You are prolific, aren’t you, Nicole! :-)

    • Nicole says:

      Thank You Vaughn! In the same way that we would escape into our favorite books, or some people would live out their perfect future, others would sink into the past when things were easier, happier, etc. This is definitely one of those fun What If? ideas that I love to think about until it develops into a full story. Maybe this will be the opening for a novel some day! I’ll try to live up to your belief in my prolificacy. ;)

  4. Hm, quite a scary concept, I think. Just like people live in their virtual worlds on the internet now, I think with that kind of technology people would get carried away, too. Personally, I am not sure I would want to revisit the past at all, but perhaps like yourself, visit places and try things I haven’t in real life. I bet that could get addictive, though.

    • Nicole says:

      I completely agree, Sonja, about people getting carried away as well as not wanting to revisit the past. It would be a fun way to learn new things and see new places, but if it were as accessible as an app on your phone…yeah, I can see that being dangerously addictive! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I can’t wait to see your latest drawing when it’s complete!

  5. James says:

    I love this idea…the technology is cool, and even more interesting when you pair it with the concept of continually reliving old memories. The consequences of that reminded me a little of the film Strange Days (which you might want to check out if you haven’t already, it’s a great movie), and Mace’s line ‘Memories fade for a reason’. I could totally see this story being the central theme in a larger work.

    • Nicole says:

      Memories fade for a reason, what a great line, and isn’t that the truth. I haven’t seen Strange Days but I will definitely look it up (what would I do without Netflix?).

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you liked the idea. I’m excited about virtual reality as a theme, there are so many possibilities. It’s what I liked the most about Tad Williams Otherland series, the characters could end up absolutely anywhere that the imagination (or the program?) could create. I’ll have to see what else I can come up with!

  6. Story Addict says:

    Very interesting bit, Nicole! I thought of Sleeping Beauty first because of the name Aurora. I always find it brilliant when sci fi is implemented to bring out more sensitive moments, since we typically tend to align it with entertainment and science. So it’s a pleasant surprise when it serves a more emotional purpose :) Well done!

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks, Margaret! That’s an interesting point, and I’m glad that you like this application of science fiction. I prefer stories that make me feel strong emotions so I’m trying to write those kinds of stories as well. Thanks for your thoughts and I hope all is going well with you!

I would love to hear from you!