Feeling

Feeling

A Story by Selena Elleen
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I explored a concept I found fascinating, and then wrapped a story around it.

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I was greeted by the scent of wildflowers. Not just any five dollar gas station air freshener scent or even a high end candle you could find in the one store at the mall that gifts you with a headache, but actual fresh, living flowers. They say that when you lose one sense, all your other senses are heightened. What happens when all you have is one sense? I felt like I could make out several things around me with only my sense of smell. Along with flowers, I could smell coffee, rubber, bleach, mint, sweat, and about fourteen other scents I couldn’t place.

Slowly, the sound of ocean waves drifted into my mind. I could hear waves collapsing onto each other as sea birds called out from above. I could hear the whirling of a small fan and the slow click of something mechanical. But above all, I heard humming. A woman was humming a soft, slow tune with her intoxicatingly smooth, sweet voice.

I could feel the weight of my body. My chest raised and lowered as my breath caressed my lips. I could feel a metallic surface under my fingertips. My whole body was stuck in place on top of it. My hair fluttered in constant breeze. Heat. The breeze was not nearly enough to keep me from it. It was as if I had been laid upon a metal tray and thrown into an oven. I could feel sweat beading on my forehead.

I opened my eyes. A fluorescent light. The humming stopped.

“Welcome,” the voice from before whispered. “I’m going to activate your movement, please remain calm.”

At once I was falling, without physically falling. I held my breath and jammed my eyes shut.

“It’s okay!” I felt her rest her hand over mine. I reopened my eyes. My head felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. I slowly tilted it until the woman was in my line of sight. Her face was as soft as her voice. Her orangish hair was at that length where it was too long to stay out of her face, but too short to droop nicely behind her ears. Instead it swooped outwards like wings. Behind that, her hair was pulled back into a little ponytail, flattened with sweat, resembling a bird’s tail. Basically, her hair looked as if a bird had strewn itself over her head. But I didn’t mind. She had a collared white shirt on, with the sleeves messily pushed up to match her messy hair.

“I apologize for being a mess. This isn’t how I like to meet my supports, but they have yet to fix the air conditioning in my unit. I hope that fan helped. Oh, gosh, I’m rambling. Take a minute to get used to your surroundings.”

I sat up and slid my legs so that they’d hang. I was sitting on what resembled an operating table in the center of the room. Behind the woman was a wall of monitors, switches, and more. To my left was a door and the fan that was keeping me cool. Every other piece of wall space was taken up by either a table or a cabinet. Scattered atop the plethora of surfaces was a cup of presumably coffee, a sound machine, a tin of mints, rubber gloves, and a bouquet of flowers. I looked back to the woman, pleased with my observations.

“Well, now that you’re a little more comfortable, I’ll activate speech and you can ask me any questions you have, at least until your story coach comes to pick you up.”

I opened my mouth and attempted to speak, but got choked up on the first syllable. My voice was so foreign to me. I looked towards the woman for reassurance; she returned my gaze with understanding.

“Huh, hoo, who are you?” I finally stuttered out.

“I’m your author! Or more specifically, I’m a member of the Authority under the Head of Reasoning, otherwise referred to as an A.R. But I think A.u.t.H.o.R. sounds cooler. Even more specifically, I’m Cassidy. Nice to meet you.”

“Are you like, my mom?”

“Well, in a way, I created you, however usually a child considers their mother to be the female who raised them, and you probably won’t see me after you leave this room.”

“Oh.” I thought for a second. “I’m not a child, am I?”

“Education wise, no. Design wise, no. Experience wise, yes. Technical wise, yes. You see that’s really a hard question. You were designed to be seventeen and you have the education of the average seventeen year old, however you haven’t experienced anything yet, and you’ve only actually existed for thirty minutes now.”

“Wait.” I paused, confused and concerned. “I’m not real, am I?”

“Don’t be silly! You’re really real.” She smiled. “I should know. You’re just a… a little different from what your education would consider ‘human.’ But don’t worry about that.”

“What am I?”

“I love that question. What are you? Well, you, dear, are a support. Some may think less of you for it, but, personally, I think supports are the best.”

“Support?”

“That’s a long story that I’m sure David will explain to you. Come on in David.”

The door creaked open as a younger man stepped into the room. He had a darker complexion and neatly combed hair. He was… attractive?

“David here is going to be your story coach. He--"”

“A.R. Cassidy Nichols,” he interrupted, “what did I tell you about your little Q and A’s? You very well know that that’s the glider’s job, not yours.”

“Yes, but it’s so fun! Plus, I’m sure she appreciated it. Any word on the air conditioning?”

“No, but did you consider that if you didn’t piss the other A.R.s off that they wouldn’t have broken your air in the first place?”

“They’re just mad that my supports outperform their own, and that when they went to the Head of Reasoning to complain about how nice I made my unit, she laughed at them.”

“Just keep me out of it. I can’t stand sweating. Let’s go support.”

He pointed his head in the direction of the door. I looked towards Cassidy, longing to stay with her and ask more questions. She waved goodbye, smiled, and nodded, then proceeded to turn to her monitors. I could tell she had done that same routine many times before. When I landed on my feet, walking came naturally. I followed David out of the room.

We walked down a hallway and eventually entered a room that looked like a computer lab.

“Sit down at one of the gliders. It’ll play a quick presentation and then answer any questions you may have, so long as the answer has been provided to it. I’ll be back soon, don’t waste your time.”

As he walked away, I wanted to ask a question, but I had a feeling he didn’t want me to waste his time either. The nearest glider was unoccupied, so I claimed its seat. It was just a desk, until a tablet rose from it. Immediately the presentation started.

Welcome, support, to your new life. As a support, you are incredibly valuable to us all. You are the reason our stories continue. You see, this is a world of supports and mains. Supports are here to make sure all mains follow the storyline created by the Head of Reasoning. Mains do not know that they are part of a story, and do not know that their life is planned out. They also do not know about supports. Everyone around a main is a support, even those they are closest to, making sure that they live the life they are destined to. As a support, you will be trained, almost like an actor, by your story coach. Your sole priority is to further your main along their path. After our session, you will be assigned a main and an identity. Once your time with that main is done, you will be modified and sent to a new main, this time a with a more intense relationship level.

Please enter any questions:

I sat in place for a while, feeling overwhelmed with new information. Was all of human history a lie? Was I even on Earth?

am i on earth?

Not yet. Earth is the continent that all stories play out on. All mains are led to believe that there is nothing more than that. Fun fact! All plane rides that mains go on are simulated as to convince them that they are moving to another continent.

what about space?

Space is real, so is the moon. But no one has ever been there because the Head of Reasoning finds it an unnecessary risk. All space travel is simulated for the purpose of continuing main’s stories.

who is the head of reasoning?

The Head of Reasoning was the first of our kind. She has the most wisdom and therefore should logically lead us.

were there ever real humans?

Answer Unavailable.

did humans make the head of reasoning?

Answer Unavailable.

are the stories made for humans?

Answer Unavailable.

I knew time was probably running out. I felt like I had so many questions but I just couldn’t materialize them. It was like I had so many that my mind couldn’t focus on just one. I was so overwhelmed I just started typing.

what if i dont want to?

Question not understood. Please rephrase.

what if i don’t want to be a support?

Question not understood. Please rephrase.

what if a support doesn’t want to be a support?

A support that does not accept its role and refuses to cooperate will be sent to recycling immediately. It will then be remade into another model.

I didn’t know if that meant the same thing as getting ‘modified’ and going on, or if that was basically the equivalent of dying. Frankly, I didn’t want to know. I heard the door open behind me, so I quickly typed my original question that I had thought of before my mind had gotten blown to shreds.

why is it called a glider?

The Presentational Answer Machine was nicknamed ‘glider’ because of its simplicity and the fact that the P.A.M. is meant to ‘glide’ new supports through their transition into their new world.

“Alright, support, times up.” David tapped the top of the glider, sending it back into the desk.

“Why isn’t it called a pam? Wouldn’t that be easier?” I blurted out. David looked annoyed.

“Because giving this machine a human name would be confusing for newly created supports.”

“Oh.” I felt stupid. But I also felt lost. I didn’t have an identity. And was I even going to have a life outside of the stories? David ushered me to follow him. I looked up at him as I walked behind him. He was tall. I wondered if he was a support too.

“Are you a support?”

“I’m a story coach.”

“What do you do when you’re not coaching?”

“I go to Downtime.”

“Downtime?”

“It’s another continent. It’s meant for story employees to live on while they’re not working.”

“Will I go there?”

“Yes, if you’re not needed in the current chapter of your story.”

All of David’s answers were very matter-of-fact. I was guessing that he liked to separate himself from his work, he couldn’t have been like that all the time, could he? He didn’t even look back at me when he spoke. He just continued forward. But I had a question that would stop him in his tracks.

“What if you’re a main, and all of this is fake?”

He stopped and turned to me.

“Then you’d have to be an already trained support, and I happen to doubt that an irritating, freshly made support would be necessary to the Head of Reasoning. What about you? How would you know if you’re not actually a main?”

“Woah…” I thought for a second. How did I know?

“C’mon!” He exclaimed, “Did you really consider it? That somehow you’re the most complicated main in the history of mains? Why would we tell a main all about supports? Do you know how hard that would be to keep up? And why would I be allowed to have this conversation with you?”

David was right. I was proven stupid, again. I kept the possibility in the back of my mind, though. With the passion behind David’s words, it was obvious that he had already thought out the same possibility himself. I wondered if he was disappointed that he wasn’t a main. I felt sympathy for him.

“Am I--"”

“Any questions you neglected to ask the glider must not be all that important.” David interrupted. I kept my mouth shut for the remainder of our walk. We passed by two types of groups time and time again while walking down this winding hallway of doors. The first was dressed similarly to Cassidy in white collared shirts, most likely authors. The second group was similar to my own. Two people. One was leading the other, always dressed formally. The other looked around curiously. I waved to many of them, most waved back. They were all dressed in the same attire: a sort of tank top jumpsuit that ended mid-thigh. The colors weren’t always the same, however. Looking down, I found my own to be a light pink. I decided to break my silence.

“Why the different color getups?”

“Different A.R., different color.”

Of course Cassidy chose pink. It matched her flowers. I smiled; she was so predictable. David wasn’t predictable. I found it enticing.

David led me into an open warehouse, separated into rooms using dividers.

“These are the development quarters. Here we will dress you, classify you, and then train you,” David explained. They were going to dress me? I didn’t know how to feel about that. I didn’t really feel modest about it; I had no need to. But was David going to be there? If he was, perhaps modesty wasn’t so far off. David pointed me in the direction of a curtained section.

“I went ahead and put your training outfit in there. It should get you used to the type of clothes you’ll be wearing. Go on and get changed, I’m going to go grab your identity information and first day script from Classification. Don’t wander.”

David waited until I walked past the curtain before walking away, I heard his footsteps clearly on the polished floor. I felt exposed in the little curtained cubicle, although I knew I was not. The curtains went well above my head, however the ceiling was several feet above them. There was a small bench in this closet-like enclosure, and atop it was my training outfit. Upon inspection, it consisted of a mere pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Beside that was a pair of faux glasses and a headband. I got changed quickly and stepped out of the claustrophobia-causer. David hadn’t returned, so I took a quick look around the makeshift room. It looked just like a celebrity’s makeup room. I walked over to the vanity area and sat in the provided chair.

For the first time, I looked at myself in the mirror. For the first time, I saw my own face. It wasn’t familiar to me at all. If they could just modify it later, was it even my own? I had a thin face, covered with freckles. My hair was long, straight, and blonde. My eyes were a deep blue that matched my headband and the frames of my glasses. I looked like a person with a story, with a life, with a family. But I wasn’t. I was hardly even real. No name, just a face and a body that didn’t feel like my own. Did all supports, story coaches, and authors feel like this when they started? Did they ever change anything about themselves? Was Cassidy’s face always so soft? Was David always so…

“Alright support! Ready for your first ever name?” David reentered the room, displaying an envelope in his left hand. When he saw me less excited then he expected, his hand fell to his side, and his facial expression fell to worrisome.

“Was your name always David?” I asked.

“No,” he sighed, “It wasn’t. As a story coach, a name wasn’t issued to me. It took me a while to find one that felt right. Don’t worry, once you think of one, we’ll use it. A support’s issued name is solely for their main.”

“Oh, okay.” I sighed.

“I’ve never met a support concerned about their name before,” David commented softly, “You remind me a lot of myself.”

This side of David was so different from the one he shared with Cassidy, and even myself in the hallway. Before I could dig deeper, however, David was back to his old facade.

“As I was saying, I’ve got your identity information here, so let’s get to work.” His face was plain as he opened the envelope.

He cleared his throat.

“Ethel Jones, seventeen, Class F Support Role: Classmate, nearby locker.”

“Class F?”

“Oh, that’s the classification of the Main-Relationship Level, or MRL. Class A is romantic relationships and family; Class B is close friendships; Class C is friends; Class D is, um… oh Bosses and Teachers; E is acquaintances, and F is people they know of, but don’t speak with. I’m surprised they didn’t start you in Class G which is when they only see you. They’re kinda like extras in movies and just make it feel more realistic.”


So that was that. I was ‘Ethel Jones.’ Possibly the lamest person who ever existed. I bet, if I had a grandmother, her name would have been Ethel Jones. A seventeen year old with a name like Ethel Jones? How did the Head of Reasoning find that reasonable? And all I did was raise my hand during roll call, scribble answers onto classwork, and exchange books into a locker. And I had to train for a week before David found it satisfactory! He said it was the standard training time, but come on David! It’s not like I had a hard role! It was only Class F. Eventually, a week of boring passed and I was allowed onto Downtime to rest up before my first day of storyline.

I was so glad that I didn’t have to sleep in the Development Bunks anymore, that was a nightmare. I was also incredibly excited to see what Downtime held for me. Would I see David again? Cassidy? Spoiler Alert: No.

After the plane ride to Downtime, I was immediately segregated in with the supports. I was filed and then assigned a deed. Support Neighborhood 271, House C. Home. I was promptly bussed there and left to be. House A and B were the only others currently occupied in my neighborhood, which was really just a road with a few houses. I didn’t bother going to say hello. I went straight into my house.

My home was nothing special. It was like any apartment you’d see on television. I was too full of emotion to explore, and instead fell onto the couch. My eyes started to water. My last glimmer of hope was that I would see the only familiar faces I knew on Downtime. I wished I could hear Cassidy’s humming one more time. I wished I could see David roll his eyes at me once more. Cassidy wasn’t kidding when she said I wouldn’t see her anymore. And now I probably wouldn’t see David until I finished my role in this story. Hell, I didn’t even know if I’d even have the same story coach again. At this point, tears had finally broken free and started rolling down my face. This was my life, but I didn’t choose it. And I didn’t want it for that matter. I wanted to be a main and not know it. I wanted to have a family, even if they were all secretly supports.

I was tired of all of these feelings. I was so miserable and there was nothing I could do about it. Except to stop. I had to put these feelings in the backseat, like David. That was the only way I could do my job. That was the only way I could keep living this life.


I was not to speak to anyone, especially Kaycee Williams. She was the star, the only one that mattered. If she spoke to me at my locker, I was to nod and continue my routine. That was what I did. I was in two of her classes, but I did not sit near her. When the teacher called for Ethel, I raised my hand. As I scribbled instead of taking notes, I listened to Kaycee chatter with her friends. Her laugh was so genuine. I couldn’t even imagine feeling so amused. The teacher glared at her and she quieted down. I wondered what her story was outside of those two classes. Maybe she was an allstar athlete, or maybe her parents were rich and famous. Maybe she was getting ready for a breakdance competition in the park. It could be anything, and I was so curious. Sadly, there’s no need for a Class F support to know such things.

Months of the same routine left me almost emotionless. The only emotion I did feel was longing. Longing for the people I once knew. Longing to be more. I wanted to know Kaycee. I wanted to know what it was like to live in the dark about the real world. And if I wanted to find out, I’d have to do it soon. It was almost time for summer break, and I would be stuck on Downtime for three months. I was fearful of what might happen if I did anything, but I was also to the point where I didn’t care. I would rather go on one adventure than be stuck in the same routine for the rest of my life. I just had to work up the courage.

The school day started like any other. I raised my hand at roll call, I sat in class. I was almost trembling in my seat; the other supports looked at me, worried. When the bell finally went off, I rushed to my locker. I tapped my foot as I waited for Kaycee. Other supports walking by looked at me suspiciously. Some looked incredibly concerned. A few even nudged me. After an eternity, I saw her. Her curly brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, exposing more of her perfect skin. Suddenly, I felt inadequate. I quickly took my stupid glasses and headband off and shoved them in my locker. Kaycee opened her locker like normal and went through her things. She noticed that I was frantically glancing over at her and looked back, curiously. I wondered if she noticed my change in appearance.

“Hey, do I know you?” she asked curiously.

“Not really,” I replied. I looked around. A few supports were staring, mouths agape. None stayed for too long, however. They couldn’t stop me, the main would be suspicious. I was ruining their story and there was nothing they could do about it.

“Do you want to cut class?” I blurted out. She thought about it for a moment. She put her books in her locker and closed it, then looked back at me and smiled. A grin snuck its way onto my face as she pulled out her car keys.

Kaycee was so spontaneous and so cheerful. Her happy nature radiated around her and I was stuck in it. I was finally feeling again, except this time I was feeling something I had never truly felt before:  Joy.

When Kaycee dropped me back off at school at 3:00, I knew I wouldn’t see her again. She was surprised when I hugged her, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“See you tomorrow!” she called out as she sat back in her driver’s seat.

“Yeah,” I quietly called back. When she drove away, my face quickly grew somber. This was it. Was it worth it? … It was. I finally felt alive, no matter how short the feeling would last. I could have gone anywhere from there. I could have ran to the woods and hid on Earth forever. I could have gone back to Downtime to await my fate. Instead, I got on a plane and went back to where I started. When I arrived, I was immediately bombarded by Security Administrators. They asked me to cooperate and I agreed to, on one condition.

They put me on a gurney of sorts and strapped me down. They weren’t going to take any chances. They wheeled me down a long hallway. When we passed through a particularly hot section of the building, a familiar humming greeted me. I felt warmer, and it wasn’t because of the heat. When the sound drifted away, I was left satisfied with my life. It was finally coming full circle. There was just one thing left. One person left.

When David rushed up to me, the Security Administrators stopped.

“You have five minutes,” they stated, and stepped back.

“Why are they deleting the last day from your main?! And why is there a story coach quickly training a brand new support that happens to look exactly like you?!” David was clearly distraught. I didn’t answer him.

“How are you?” I asked instead.

“How am I?” he was getting worked up now, “Are you kidding me? You’re about to go to the recycling center! That seems much more important!”

“I’m just a support; it doesn’t matter.”

“But that’s the thing. I’ve worked with a lot of supports, but none like you. I thought I was the only one who questioned this world until you showed up. If you can’t make it here, how do I know I will?”

“You’ll be fine, David.” I was calm. He sighed a long, heartfelt sigh. I just looked at him. He returned my gaze, then looked towards the floor and then back at me.

“Did you ever think of a name, support?”

I thought for a second.

“Miranda.” The corners of his mouth raised.

The Security Administrators returned, “Time’s up.”

David waved as they wheeled me away.

I didn’t know if I was afraid of what was about to happen; I didn’t let myself think about it. As they rolled me into the recycling center I recalled the possibility I had saved in the back of my mind. What if my life was a story? What if I was a main? I liked to think that I could have been. Even if I didn’t have any supports. Even if no one knew that I was a main. There was no way I could know for sure. It was an insane possibility that was highly unlikely. But it felt right. I just had a feeling.

© 2018 Selena Elleen


Author's Note

Selena Elleen
This is a lot longer than my typical story. Tell me what you think!

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Added on September 3, 2018
Last Updated on September 4, 2018
Tags: fantasy, fiction, experience, finished story, cool story, story, science fiction, unique, concept

Author

Selena Elleen
Selena Elleen

Oak Hall, VA



About
I am a young, aspiring writer who just wants to share her works with the world. more..

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