- Kalayna Price
Once upon a time, a young slavegirl lived in a faraway land called Reality. This slavegirl, like all the slaves of Reality was known only by her function - Office Wench. If she had a name, she did not know it. Office Wench lived a normal life in Reality. She picked at her Real food, slept fitfully in her Real bed, and trudged to her Real job every morning.
One day, while Office Wench crouched over her keyboard, she overheard an argument in the next cubicle.
"You should come with me," said a voice Office Wench recognized as Data Entry Maiden. "We'll all suffocate here if we stay any longer."
"Stop talking like a baby," said Office Wench's neighbor, the Keyer of Edits. "There is nowhere else to go."
"I can't take another day in this place." Data Entry Maiden lowered her voice to a whisper, forcing Office Wench to press her ear against the padded wall to hear. "I leave tomorrow morning, meet me at the water cooler at 9 a.m."
The Keyer of Edits laughed. "You won't make it out of the office. Get your head out of the clouds."
This last statement was a favorite phrase of the slaves of Reality, for there were lots of clouds to get one's head stuck in. Reality was an odd country. The people walked with their gazes fixed to the ground straight in front of them. Therefore, they could see only what was right there, in full view.
If their gaze ever crept upward, they saw nothing, for the entire land was covered in a haze that floated just above the ground. The fog was thick and still and windless. Walking through Reality felt like walking through vaporous rock. Nothing stirred Real air.
The well acclimated often bragged about how "Real air is heavy. Only the strong truly appreciate it's full weight." Then they would throw out their chests and swallow huge gulps of the stuff, choking all the while.
Office Wench went to fetch water at 9 the next morning, as she did every morning. Data Entry Maiden stood in front of the water cooler rocking back and forth on her heels, a rucksack over her arm.
"Where are you going?" asked Office Wench.
Data Entry Maiden glanced back and forth down the halls before answering, "To find Truth."
"But everyone knows that Reality is all there is."
"That's not what the Sage says." Data Entry Maiden turned her back on Office Wench.
"The Sage who lives in the dungeons. He is from Truth, and he says there is a way to get there."
"Did he tell you the way?"
"Like I need some crazy IT Guy telling me what to do!" She muscled her rucksack higher on her shoulder and walked past Office Wench. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to be."
Office Wench could not focus on her keyboard that day. She kept imagining Data Entry Maiden walking out of the fog, finding Truth. But the next morning, Office Wench was disappointed. For there, in her padded cell, sat Data Entry Maiden curled over her keyboard.
"What happened to Truth?" asked Office Wench.
"Get your head out of the clouds!" Data Entry Maiden said without lifting her eyes.
Continued in Part 2