There had been no choice but to escape them; escape that false, fabricated life. Escape the rules, the fake smiles and that unreal world he’d now left behind him.
It had all started when he’d found a secret camera lodged inside the broken video player. Initially he’d thought nothing of it, but curiosity had led him to recover the footage, discovering that his life was nothing more than a fabricated experiment. Of course his memory was erased, but eventually his dreams had told him the truth.
He played along with the game, played along for years. Pretended happy families with the fancy car and the shiny fake champagne parties, complete with the smooth, waxed-skinned faces. But secretly he had planned his escape and tonight was the night he was going to find out who was responsible.
* * *
He stopped, panting for breath and looked back nervously, but only the whispering wind and patter of rain greeted him.
Taking out his wallet, he pulled out his fake drivers licence and stared at his own image in the gloom of the moonlight. “Robert Jackson. Who are you really?” He dropped the card in disgust and ventured on towards a faint pulsating yellow glow in the distance.
It hadn’t taken long to find the source of the glow, it was emanating from a large window within oddly thin house. As he stepped up to the door, it opened and a deep warm light enveloped him. He hesitated and carefully crept through the entrance.
Inside was an expansive deep room, lavishly decorated and adorned with great portraits of proud-looking men. Giant chandeliers flashed on as he ventured further into the room, until he stood facing a wide control console. Above, there were around twenty screens, all filled with the fake recordings that he’d spent years creating to replace the ‘live’ footage.
As he went to touch a switch, a sound diverted his attention and a figure darted across the shadows.
“Stop, who are you? Are you the one, the one that has been playing my life, using me as a bloody guinea pig. ARE YOU THE ONE!”
There was no response and he shook in anger, fists clenched. The figure stepped away from the shadows and Robert gasped on sight of the man and fell to his knees.
“Y…..you, b….but how?”
The man smiled and stood over him. “You, dearest Richard are unique. You are so very special. We love you; our most treasured possession, our…”
“What?” Said Richard rising to his feet. “Possession? What are you talking about, you make it sound like I’m a thing and not a human being.”
“Oh dear Richard, but you are a possession, you’re my ‘possession’, my property. But relax, there’s another Richard just waiting to live your life for you.”
Before Richard could react, he felt a prick on the back of his neck and the last image he saw was his own smiling face as the darkness took him.