Next Level (part 2)

Roland Finster was back on Earth. After years in captivity: first under the authority of Dr. Henderson and then on a satellite in space, Roland was back in his own body and mind and he had a mission to accomplish. The countdown began and now it was time to ascend to Level Three. It wasn’t an easy transition — it was like looking in a mirror and seeing the shadow of death. No weapons or answers-to-riddles can shake the shadow of death. You have to ride the wave and hope for the best. Back in Red City, on Level Two, there was a teenager named Billy who started the game, but he could no longer control the outcome — he lost and a virus turned the world red, but not before a fire alarm sounded and Roland made his getaway as Kate. Level Three was totally different — a Brain Phone ruled the world and people were turned into zombies. Roland knew he was a special agent and he could control digital devices with his mind, but that was all — he didn’t know how he got back to Earth or how he changed from Kate back to himself. It was all foggy and he didn’t really know if Roland was his true identity. He kept thinking in non-sequiturs, nothing made sense; then, again, that could be the influence of the Brain Phone.

The Look of Love sung by Dusty Springfield warbled in my head as I made love to Kate. We were lying on a bed of roses and the smell was overpowering. Kate’s metallic hair shot beams of color around the room like a psychedelic light show. Her liquid eyes glistened like schools of piranha. “Roland,” she purred, “you know you can’t stop the Brain.” I struggled, ” We have to try. You started this. You wanted to take back the world.”

“I was a fool,” she said. “This is Level Three — nothing is the same and there is no way back.” I was stunned. First of all I was making love to myself…and second it didn’t make sense. I didn’t want to be stuck on Level Three, locked in Red City with no way out. She purred, “but there is no way out. You can’t change reality. You can only adjust. Accept and adjust”

Dr Elbert Henderson patted the head of the patient who was bound up in a straight jacket. The patient was in a cell on Level Three, the ward set aside for paranoid schizophrenics. The doctor labeled the patient as dangerous — a coma was chemically induced to reduce the chance of violence. The straight jacket served as an extra level of security. Dr. Henderson smiled knowing he aided this confused individual by providing him with the drugs that induced a permanent escape from reality.



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