The room is a simple bleak space; a bare floor, four bare walls, a plain ceiling with one bright light and a twin sized bed. I stepped in through the opening. Small squares crept up the space I had entered until the wall was baron once again. My new room was an exact replica of my old room. I set my duffle bag onto the bed. I pulled my legs up onto the bed and closed my eyes. I could see the white outlines of the bed. I furrowed my eyebrows and exhaled evenly through my nose. White lines came from the floor in a rectangle, the longer sides coming straight up. Four more lines connected the four longer lines. I opened my eyes when the lines formed a solid object. I looked beside my bed and saw the black plain nightstand. There was a black slit that opened. I peeked further to see two ear buds in it. I plucked them up and the slit closed. I pressed each one into my ear. I jolted when the sound of the guards outside seeped into my ears from the linked speaker.
“In the cage, rat,” a familiar guard screamed. He was always the meanest; always yelling and even hitting at us. I sighed and brushed my hair back with my hand, gently raking my fingers against my scalp. I tilted my head toward the wall. I concentrated until a small white screen popped up.
Filter Interface Enacted.
Would you like to Proceed.
I focused my attention on the word yes. The buffering symbol came up briefly. I felt my lip twitch in agitation. My great grandma used to tell me about her older systems. Some strange rectangular device with an apple on the back. Whenever she tried to use it, there was always a buffer symbol that would show up when simply turning it on. The only reason there was a buffer was because I was in a prison. The “Yes” was highlighted and the other words swiped away to the right. Several pictures came up on the screen. One was a grass field, the grass fluttering in the artificial wind. The second picture was a beach. There was a deep blue ocean, one that I had never actually seen in person. I didn’t bother looking at the third picture and nodded toward the ocean. The picture was highlighted. The entire room went dark briefly. The floor was the first thing to light up, now a tan color similar to sand. The bottom half of the walls were colored with a deep blue that represented the ocean. The rest of the wall and the ceiling was colored with a bright blue sky with sparse clouds. I pointed to the corner for the sun to appear there. The sound of guards and the revolting of my fellow inmates was filtered out by the gentle sounds of a fake ocean. This interface was my favorite. My great grandma used to hold me as she withered away at the hospital. She would tell me about the ocean and how she used to take selfies with her own group of friends, each all of them huddled in the water. She would wave her hand to show me each picture whenever I went to visit. They, whoever “they” are, was supposed to save the ocean, but it had long since dried up before her death. I grimaced. The filter interface would crackle on occasion and I could hear batons smacking against ribs. The gentle waves would never be real, not for me.