Original Prompt: Scientists devise an experiment to test if we’re living in a simulation. They realize too late that its developers didn’t fully anticipate the corner cases (meaning, there may be a few glitches).
Have you ever stopped and noticed how, as the centuries passed and humanity’s knowledge of the universe deepened, myths and legends all lost their power? We weren’t scared any more, and Halloween just became a dress-up and free candy day.
Today, though, is the one year anniversary of ‘Glitch Day’, as people call it. It looks like October 31 will be forgotten in favour of the 25th. People are hiding out in their homes, scared to death that that fateful day will be repeated. You don’t know about Glitch Day? You must have been under a rock that day. Well, let me tell you about it. This was my experience of October 25th, 2015.
The morning started out like any other: The sun, glaring into my room. The alarm clock, blaring music. Me, snoring. Third round of snoozes and I finally get up, and start cursing myself while I rush through a shower and shave combo. I switched on the TV for some noise while I wolfed down some breakfast.
‘-Appears that the island of Britain has…disappeared. Planes flying to Heathrow Airport have reported that they are turning back after circling England’s…usual whereabouts for a time.’ Wait…what? They had a video of planes circling the sea, and before/after views from some nearby Isle of Man. Realising I had a spoon still halfway to my mouth, I dropped it to the bowl and turned up the volume. ‘Let’s hear from an expert-‘ I laughed *’-on alien abductions, and other supernatural phenomena, Stephen Wight.’ The image changed to show an unshaven man in a suit that looked around thirty years old. The suit, not the man, that is; he was about forty.
‘Thank you, Ellie. It’s common knowledge, of course, that aliens abduct humans to carry out tests on them. But what I believe is, after the years of abducting one or two humans at a time, they’re now going to abduct and test a whole country worth of us. If I’m correct, the country should return after ten or twenty years-‘
‘Sorry we’re going to have to interrupt you there, Stephen. I’ve just received an update, it seems that Britain has now reappeared. We’re going to try going to our UK reporter, Alex Riggs. Alex, are you there?’
‘Hello, yes Ellie…what are we reporting on?’ he asked someone off-screen. I’d have laughed at his eyes comically widening if mine weren’t likely doing the same.
‘Well, Ellie, it looks like we’re…back…from wherever we went. As far as I know, nobody in Britain even noticed.’ He looked around for a second. ‘Yes, it looks like we disappeared for a minute, without ever knowing-‘ he looked to the side, ‘What do you mean, half an hour?!’
The screen cut back to the studio. ‘So, if you’re just tuning in now, the island of Britain disappeared for around half an hour in total, from 7.23 until 7.55-‘
7.55?! Damn it, I was going to be late again.
I quickly left the house after that, with my mind on the disappearing- yeah, right. Like anyone else would, I was thinking that my boss was definitely going to fire my arse this time. Priorities, right?
“Hey Joe, did you see the news?” my neighbour called out as I was rushing to the car. Damn. Small talk.
“Yeah I saw. Crazy, hey Bob?”
“Crazy? You didn’t fall for that did you? Those pictures, obviously photoshopped. If you look right near the horizon you can see…”
“Yeah yeah I saw,” I lied, “Anyway, I’ve got to get to work in a hurry. See you ’round.”
“Oh okay,” his smile dropped, “See ya, Joe.”
I left as quick as I could after that, and got onto the streets. But, it wasn’t long before I was just about hitting the car in front of me, because traffic had come to a stop. Damn it. When I saw people getting out of their cars in front of me I joined in, too. Someone had already blocked me from behind so no chance of a turn-around. Double damn it.
“What’s going on?” I asked when I caught up.
Holy-…Looming over us was the largest cow I’d ever seen. One hoof was covering the road, wider than the SUV at the front of the lineup.
What followed – eventually – was the slowest turnaround I’d ever seen. The police had showed up and orchestrated the whole thing, with the cars u-turning starting at the rear, hopefully before another car arrived.
An hour later, I’d given up on being fashionably late for work, and decided to take the day off ‘sick’. I think seeing a gigantic cow could be grounds for a stress leave anyway. What was going on with this crazy town today? I thought to myself.
I cruised around town for a bit, before deciding to go get a coffee. The Java Hut was where I got my usual fix, so I knew everyone there.
“Hey, Joe!” greeted Sarah. She was the barista at the Java Hut. I’d never not seen her, so I’ve always assumed they closed whenever she went home, or vice versa.
“Sarah, always happy to see you,”
“I know, looks like you’re even skipping work to see me now. I’m really quite flattered,” she teased with a smirk.
“I’d love to chat, but I could really use a coffee first. I’ve had to deal with a lot of bull this morning,” I snorted at my own joke – rather unattractive – and she of course didn’t get it. Just quirked her head to the side for a second, then went to make my usual.
I blinked, and she was there in front of me again. “Ahh!” I
squealed exclaimed. Exclaimed in a manly voice.
Sarah quirked her head again, and turned to make the coffee again. This time I didn’t blink; she just reappeared back at the start again. Did the head-quirk again. That was getting old.
What the hell is goi-
“Here’s your joe, Joe.” Sarah said.
I grabbed the coffee before it could disappear, and shook my head. Am I going crazy?
After getting my coffee fix – keeping clear of Sarah in case she disappeared again – I decided to go for a walk, clear my head a bit.
It was a beautifully warm day today, a good day to go for a walk. I headed to the nearby park to get some fresh air. Seemed like most were doing the same thing, too, and gazing up at the clear blue sky. I looked up too…the sky was not just a fine blue, with few clouds in the sky. It was ‘Blue Screen of Death’ blue, with literally nothing else up there, even the sun.
What on earth?
Not my business, I decided, and carried on with my walk. I steadfastly refused to look up again; that was enough crazy business already and it was really freaking me out.
Others were freaking out a bit too, if the guy running around without any pants was an indicator. “The sky is crashing!” I heard him yell as he ran off into the distance.
A tree nearby flickered out and back like an old neon sign. I quickened my pace.
Coming along the path to me I saw Jimmy, an old mate from high school. “Hey, Joe! What a crazy day! Can’t stay to talk, I’m going to bunker at home where it’s saf-GLARHBAHG.” What had been Jimmy was now an amorphous green blob. I quick-stepped my way past, nearly jogging to get away. I cast one glance back and saw that the Jim-Blob was rolling its way home. You go, blob.
The sky turned dark all of a sudden, and I couldn’t stop myself looking up. It looked like it was back to normal, but suddenly night-time. A few seconds later the orange glow of sunrise took over it, followed by it finally looking like a normal blue sky. A few clouds scattered across the blue expanse, and the sun was showing its face again.
You know what? I thought to myself, I think it’s time to go home.
I braved the horrifying sight of the Jim-Blob, and the neon tree once more. I braved a sudden rain of penguins and at one point my car turned into a big rubber duck. So with the newfound knowledge of what the inside of a rubber duck looks like, I eventually found my way home, and safe.
I spent the rest of my day just hiding out at home, turning on the TV whenever it wasn’t in the form of an anvil. It seemed like the rest of the world was suffering pretty much the exact same fate.
The lost city of Atlantis was discovered ten times, in ten different places. People were turning into chickens, or fish –‘Police are asking to please prepare a bowl of water if you see a fish on the streets’ – or in one case, a piece of toast in the likeness of Jesus.
So, that was Glitch Day. The governments didn’t have much to say on the matter, except that what happened was ‘classified’ and that it would not be happening again. I think the boss won’t mind though, if I call in sick again this year.
It’s the kind of story that people will be telling their children, and grandchildren, for years to come. Except for Jim-Blob. Poor guy.
Inspired by a writing prompt from Reddit