The walls were made of solid stone. They were two feet thick. The floors were cold and had dried up leaves and dirt on it. Some slabs of stone were cracked, and had vines and other weeds running through them. I was bare foot, so I could feel the moisture and coldness of the floor. It looked like an abandoned temple, with a broken statue in the middle. I saw old worn down railings that used to be shiny stainless steel once upon a time.The temple was lit up by the light coming through the eight feet tall door and the windows.
I heard footsteps coming from behind me. I turned around.
It was a woman, only she had wings. She would be… what was the term… an angel. Yes that was it, only angels didn’t really exist .She was a mere figment of my imagination, just like the temple around me.
“Hello Lucy.”I said.
“Hello John.” She said, her voice resonating throughout the temple.
“Why the temple?”
“It’s a creation of your subconscious mind, not mine.”
“I guess, but you always have an idea about what these constructs represent.”I said, gesturing to the temple.
“I do, yes, but it would do no good if I simply told it to you, rather than you figuring it out.”
“What now? You always show up with a thought in mind.”
“Your new alias ‘Daniel’ may not last very long.”
“It isn’t meant to.”
“I know, but something feels off. I don’t know what it is, but I need you to keep an eye out for threats.”
Coming from anyone else, I would’ve just said “Sure” and walked away, knowing full well I could handle myself from any threat. But if it’s coming from Lucy, I have to very serious about my actions.
I searched my memories of the entire day. Only one thing seemed to stand out.
My fingers drummed against the side of my thigh.
“Now that I think about it, something did feel off. It’s this feeling that’s been nagging at me ever since I reached the school. I think I will keep an eye out for anything out of place.”
“Thank you. This ‘Grace’ might be something to look out for too, so be careful.”
“I will. In Fact, that’s what seems suspicious to me. I mean, come on, why would you let high tech A.Is into the hands of students that seriously screw something up? And don’t answer that, the question was rhetorical. What can we rely on to be constant in case something happens and we need to think of a plan?”
“The students, Because it would be too hard to manipulate things on that scale.”
“No, you’re wrong on that front. Like I said, the A.Is could be controlling them through subtle manipulation..”I pointed out.
“True. The A.Is are something we might have to get rid of, as they serve as a major potential threat. We can’t trust the school or anyone working for the school. We can rely on old friends, by currying favor in case we need them to do something, discreetly. We need a few cards up our sleeve, literally, so that if we’re caught off guard, we have something to defend ourselves with. It might be useful to send spy bots after everyone we’ve been in contact with and is related to the school to gather information. Information is gold.”
I ran my fingers through my hair.
“How did a vacation turn into a freaking game of cat and mouse?”I asked.
“Well, You were a pretty big deal as The Architect, and a major threat to the system. So if someone figured out that you didn’t actually die, they probably would’ve tried their best to track you and figure what you were up too. And maybe they found you at the school, a little changed, but still enough of the original that they were sure that it was you, they might’ve called the authorities-“
“One. The question was rhetorical. Two. It would be impossible to track me down with all the countermeasures I have in place. Three. I was gone for two, fucking years!”
“Let’s not lose our temper. It’s important to stay calm amongst each other. You taught me that, remember?”
She stepped closer to me. When I didn’t react, she stepped closer. Then when she was a step from me, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around me. Her wings folded around me too.
It was comforting, as I don’t get much hugs in real life. I lived alone, and have zero friends, so you can see how many hugs I get. It also helped that I trusted her more than I trusted my creations. She had earned that trust after going through hell and back with me in my time as The Architect. I’m still The Architect, but everyone thinks I’m dead, which is actually a good thing, for now.
She let go.
“What was that for?”
“Since there’s only two months before the event, I think important we keep each other sane.”
“Is that all there is to it?”
She raised an eyebrow.
“Guess not. Anyway, thanks, it was nice.”
“You should go now. Grace might be fiddling around with the security systems.”
The place turned dark. Then I found myself lying on my couch, curled up. I opened my eyes and I slowly pushed myself to a sitting poition.
“Good morning. Or should I say good night?”Grace asked,
Her imaged appeared to my right, sitting next to me.
“Neither. Did you mess around with any of the security systems?”Better put it bluntly, then try to beat around the bush. I have beaten around the bush in several occasions, and trust me, it can be exhausting.
“A little. What’s with all the firewalls? And the actual systems are military grade, why the hell do you need a military grade security system for such a small house.”
“Smart kid, living alone, would be the perfect catch for kidnappers,especially when the kid is now enrolled in one of the biggest schools in the world, so you could say being a little paranoid can save my life.”
“Don’t you need to eat something? Readings show low blood sugar.”
“I will. Just a second, I haven’t completely woken up yet.”
I stretched both of my arms, then stood up from the couch. I walked over to the kitchen and opened one of the cabinets. There were plenty of pills that were meant for different purposes, all lined up in small plastic boxes. I took the purple tinted box, and opened it, placing the lid on the counter. I took a pill and placed it on the lid. I walked over to the other side of the kitchen and took a glass. I filled up the glass with water from a tap, then I took the pill and swallowed it, then drank the water.
“Done with food. Since I had that nap, I’m not feeling in the mood for sleep. So maybe you could keep me company?”
“Sure. We could play games, solve riddles, watch movies and other stuff.”
This was going to be a long night.