Mindtrap UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The mind trap craze is sweeping the nation, the virtual reality game on sale at every store. But when Pim tries it out, she realises something more sinister behind the addiction.

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6. Masquerade

"My lady? My lady?" A desperate, harassed looking old woman bent over Pim, peering worriedly into her face. Looking down upon herself, she found she was dressed in the queerest , old fashioned clothes - not that she'd seen many! An intricate princess type dress, embroidered and detailed with what looked like gold thread in precise neat shapes and patterns.

She picked her skirts up from the polished floor, confused. Was she some kind of royalty? Perhaps a young empress?

She shook her head vigorously. Even a game couldn't be this real!

My head turning from side to side with growing uneasiness, Pim searched frantically for Maria, realising (with a sudden jolt) that the girl was nowhere to be seen. She turned towards the matronly woman, her hands together in a plea. "Had you... Have you seen my friend Maria?"

The lady's brow crunched together, confused. "Juliet, are you ill? Who is this Maria whom you speak of?"

Her voice had a soothing sort of lilt, and so entranced by this feature was she that Pim didn't realise at first that she'd said her name. 

Juliet.

This was her name now.

Juliet.

The information came on her in a sudden gust, all at once. She was Juliet, The Juliet, the heroine of the famous Shakespearian love story. Spinning around light heatedly in her newly formed heels, a small laugh let itself loose from the confines of her mouth. "Nothing is wrong," she spoke, her voice matching the pretty timelessness of the woman's. 

 

All thoughts of Maria Marsden fled her dark head, far more interesting, relevant things on her mind.

Maria was fine.

Mindtrap was only a game after all.

A sharp tap on her shoulder caused her to whirl round upon herself, turning to face the masked man which requested a dance. As she took his gloved hand, Pim realised that this man, this handsome youth must be the Romeo whichever the game had designed for her.

This was her Romeo.

Twirling delicately, her skirts swirled in a non existent breeze with the most wonderous swishing sound, the man in front of her gazing lovingly into her eyes.  Planting her feet down on the ground to the beat of the music, the couple span as if floating around the ballroom. Pim savoured the whole moment, well aware that nothing this amazing would ever happen to her in real life, especially if her luck in boys continued the way it had always seemed to. 

But reality was hazy now. It all seemed as if it were little more than a dream, and now she had awakened into the beautiful butterfly life she felt as if she were living. Elegantly spinning, her partner's face manoeuvred itself into an alluring smirk: Pim was unable to take her eyes off him even if she'd wanted to. 

And then - "Ow," he murmured, a stabbing pain rolling up his thigh, and Pim looked down in mortification to realise she'd speared the boy in the foot with her heel.

"I - I'm so sorry..." I stammered ,feeling so grateful of the mask which conveniently hid my beetroot face. 

"Don't worry about it. A pretty girl like you shouldn't need to worry about anything."

"Oh... uh- that's so kind of you sir but really I do..." She turned her face down, ashamed to tell this simulation about her real life, her real self.

"I'm sure if you'd let me escort you outside, the solution to all your problems could be arranged..."

Pim gave a tiny, uncontainable gasp, then let a broad, delighted smile sweep across her surprised face.

Trying her best to look as deliciously, temptingly , seductive as he did, she spoke in her lowest voice.

"When you appeared they vanished - they're already gone..."

Taking her white gloved hand, he led the girl to the balcony outside the wide, lacquered windows. The other party guests didn't take any notice, and somehow this pleased Pim even more - 

They were just a boy and a girl, ordinary and yet special; they were just a boy and a girl and no one was stopping them, ready to bully them or torture them with words.

As she stepped onto the balcony, she tilted her head back to see the night sky, dotted with glittering stars, imagining for a moment that she was a little bit older and Romeo was Jeff...

Unknown to Pim however, this Romeo had a sly smirk  spreading across his perfect face -almost like he knew something key which she didn't......... 

Darting forward whilst Pim stood unawares, he clasped her to him with a strange, unknown desire, planting kiss after kiss on her gasping mouth. His hands clenched around her cinched in waist, groping and squeezing in ways which disgusted her.She frowned, never having been kissed before not knowing what to expect... Only that she didn't want this. Not this...

Frustratedly trying to wriggle free, she finally escaped from his seemingly impenetrable grasp.

Only when she did, she saw that she wasn't on the balcony anymore.

The lighting was dim in the grimy hovel, and Pim blinked five times before she became accustomed to the scene.

She didn't like what she saw.

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