How can tomorrow even exist for us if you won't fight for yourself today?

Tempest Crossing

The Grand Challenge - Chapter 6 (Reality)

Even if this whole thing is fake, I won't abandon you now.



After coughing up more blood after no longer being throttled through the air, my vision became blurry and began to flash red vicisously. The only visible and clear thing in my vision was this aggresive message that stuck to the center of my vision. Connection? Stabilize? Now I’m the only getting confused. Those thoughts came and went rather quickly as something else overtook my complete attention - the amount of insane pain that was racking throughout my body. Never in my physical life had I experienced pain of this caliber - as someone who avoided problems and confrationation, the most pain I had ever experienced was falling off my bike and scraping my face against the sidewalk. That childhood experienced didn’t hold a candle to the hyper rrealistic tension, soreness, stinging, and flashes of plain wreacking havoc to me in this VR world. This is insane, how could something like this even be allowed to exist. Shit, why does this even exist at all? Whatever, screw this mystery, screw this world, screw whatever flame or inferno I had been cast into, it’s not my problem. I hurridly attempted to open the menu overlay, but quickly was rebuffed with a new message


What ??? Why the realism here of all places, when I WANT to leave the most???

Whatever, I’ll just take off the headse-


Though shakingly and inaccurately, I gripped the area around my head where the headset would be… and gripped nothing as I slipped my hands to the top of my head.

Now that I REALLY think about it, I was so immersed in this VR world that I never stopped to think what was happening with my physical body. Am I trapped in here? What happens when I die in this game?

Will I die in real life, too?

I lived alone as my parents had died long ago due to a pandemic that ravaged the globe, and the the fear of contracting the same virus and my overabudance of caution led me to cut off all physical contact with people who I used to consider friends. If my mind gets lost here, how long will it take for someone to realize? Will I stay in bed and fester into some horrific mumified corpse?

As these horrfying thoughts began to spin in my mind, in that same instant I hear a whimper and quiet sobbing racked with pain and despair.

“No… this isn’t what I was promised. I just wanted to find him, I wanted to see him one last time and ask why… but I won’t be able to anymore… I’m sorry, Dad.”

The amount of raw sadness panged my heart, and momentarily made me step out of my personal flurry of panic. Whatever in the wind was happening, this experience was something I could not walk away from, and even if I did, this avatar, whether real or just insanely life like, was lamenting its weakness, languishing in its physical and emotional pain, and despairing over the possibility that its tomorrow was no longer promised. Closing my eyes, I tried to steady my breath and focus on aligning myself with the task ahead.

Deep breathes

Having calmed my panic temporaily, I began blinking rapidly to try and focus my vision, and caught of shining glimpse in at the junk pile adjacent to me. The ource of this shine was a mirror of full body size, and was in worse shape then the hand mirror I stumbled upon only minutes ago. Several parts of the mirror were cracked, and pieces of its surface were missing and showed the decaying base of the mirror frame underneath. Despite all these imperfections, it gave a clearer than light reflection of the state I was in, and what was at stake. In my mind, I gave a devious half-grin, but my avatar did not reflect that.

( Hey, you. It’s going to be okay.)

The avatar looks at herself in the mirror and shakes her head slowly in disbelief.

“It’s over. I am no one of notable strength, and this world was just too strong for me to overcome with you. I’m sorry you were summoned to such an unworrthy vessel.” The avatar sniffed and looked like it was going to begin crying, but before it could continue, I said to it once more.

(You… are not a vessel. You are not an avatar. This is reality for both you and me, and I believe I was brought here, to this moment, and this person, to help you.) I take a brief pause to let that information sink in. (What is your name? Mine is Vit.)

The girl’s breathing stills a bit, and she replies unnthusiatically.

“My name… is Anim.”

(Anim, huh? That’s a really sweet name, glad to formally meet you.)

Anim’s stares at the mirror quitely, then nods solmenly in return.

(Now let’s get out of here.)

No sooner had I emitted those last words that the ground beneath us began to rumble once more, and the trash behemoth made itself known before us once more.


Dialogue & Discussion