Virtual Reality

Hey. I'm Tabby. I'm 16. I guess you could call me the average teenager. Gossiper, loves guys, and addicted to the internet. Too addicted. Tabby spends her life on the computer, and she knows it. So when she comes across a new virtual world "Palm City", she doesn't hesitate to join. But this world seems more real than ever, and teens all over the world are going missing a couple days after the website is created. Is there something more to Palm City than just a website? Is virtuality becoming reality?

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14. The Magick Shop

"TABBY! GEMMA! GET UP NOW!" Mum's voice breaks through the air, waking me up. I groan and haul myself out of bed unwillingly. Mums are so...irritating. My eyes flicker across the laptop, bringing memories of Leah into my mind, and I start to feel sick and dizzy. I gasp for breath, but there's no air. I scream and try and grab hold of something, and my fingers find themselves entwining with a soft fabric. I grab it, but it falls, taking me with it.

      My eyes lick open, and I see Gemma's face. Her big brown eyes are dwindling off into the distance. I raise a finger and it traces my pale chapped lips, and Gem sences my movement. "Took you a while," she mumbles. "You've been asleep three hours. I'm supposed to be at school right now. With Kevin." Mum enters and smiles broadly, carrying a big mug of Cuppa Soup [my favourite] with hot bread.

"You're awake!" She breathes with relief. I nod and sit up, but that makes mum go all mad, so I lie down again. I feel fine, what's the fuss? "A day at home, I think," she says with a warm smile. "You can stay home, too Gemma."

 

I'm hunched over the laptop talking to Leah. "I'm so sorry," I gush. "This should never have happened to you!" She just shrugs, and bites into a sandwich. She can eat food here, because she lives here.

"I dunno, it's alright. It's just like real life except...different?" She says, admiring the filling between the thick slices of bread.

"Better?" I suggest.

"Different."

I can't help hoping that she preffers real life. I hope she misses me. And I hope she hates it in that computer game world. "I'll try and get you out, I swear." She doesn't seem bothered at all. I sigh and take in my surroundings. We're sitting at a nice little French cafe, and guitar guy is sitting on a cobbley wall playing the usual melody. I wonder if he lives in the game. Not until now did I realise that sober, lonely glint of longing in his menacing green eyes. Maybe I should help him get out of Palm City. Along the city's streets are big stores, pubs, beauticians, everything you can think of. My eyes lock with a little shop. Ivy is climbing up the mis-shapen walls. Little windows break through the red stone. A small arched wooden door is tight shut, blocking unwanted visitors out. It looks out of place. Because it has many impterfections. But that's what I love about it. "Hang on," I say to Leah. "I need to go somewhere."

I pace over to the shop, and only when my fingers are embracing the brass doorknob do I hesitate. What's in there? Anything could be behind the door. But I don't know until I look. I push open the door, and the smoke from lavender incense dances up my nose. Dark, mysterious music fills the room. I look around. Wooden shelves that are breaking a part hold crystals, big ones and small ones. Other shelves have old books. I read the over of one. Olde Spells. The writing is handwritten, in glittering rich purple ink. There are handmade axes, or fur from caribou I've never seen before. There's a small jar holding a beautiful feather, that's gold and fades into oranges and reds. I read some writing scrawled underneath it. This be the last feather of a pheonix anyone ever found. I gasp. The room is licked with dark purple paint, and the floor is covered in a blanket of fur. My eyes come across a lady, hunched behind a wooden desk, completely unaware of my presence. I clear my throat. "Excuse me," I whisper. Her eyes dart up and meet mine, and I almost fall back into the door. One of her eyes is black, the other white. Her lips are thin and cracked. I try my hardest not to run out the shop completely.

"Hello, dear," she smiles crookedly, and signals me forward with one mangled finger. I hesitantly creep over to her desk. "Welcome to The Magick Shop."

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