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VI. A Positive Turn

The room was clean. Very clean.

Even the place where he lost one of his kidneys hadn’t been this clean.

In the room was a folding metal table and a single chair. In it sat the backpack that he didn't remember owning, and Mary the now red-mouthed Chinchilla, happily chirping away as it ate the last of its meal.

Funny. Didn't remember feeding it, he thought again.

What he found even more curious, however, were the items sitting out on the table. A new pair of clothes, and what looked to be a pristine VR rig with all of the pieces.

What the hell? Maybe a chinchilla was like having a lucky rabbit's foot except he had the whole animal!

In his excitement he didn't even bother getting dressed, and instead began to look over the headset, controllers, and portable power source for the gaming beauty. It was real, real and in his hands, and it looked good.

Thank the gods! He thought to himself, so happy he hugged the helmet to his chest.

“No, thank me,” Mary said in his mind, “...though, you have done your part.”

This was one of the few times he had honestly felt sober and sane, and the creature had addressed him. He put down the headset and looked over at the rodent that was sitting on its haunches and staring at him with unfeeling black eyes, like a shark. Circling.

“Do I have a tumor?” He asked and sat down in the other chair, which he was sure hadn't been there a moment before.

“You did, several in fact.” Mary answered in a sickly sing-song verse.

“Did?” he asked, dropping eye contact with Mary and instead watching the blood at his feet.

“I cured you,” she answered happily, and even though the communication was telepathic, he could hear her happily smacking her gums in delight for the meal that she continued to eat as they chatted.

“How?” he asked and looked again at the bottom of his feet that were now completely healed and smooth.

“You aren't ready yet,” she said, “but soon will be,” it added and crawled back inside the bag.

No more was spoken.

He didn't have to be told. Their interview was over and he had to get dressed and head back home.

At least he could put the chinchilla back in her cage and test out the VR. Any escape would be better than this. Though he had to admit today had been better than most of the ones that had come before it.

Clean clothes, only one black out, and a VR rig. Oh, and a talking marsupial.

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