Glorious Revelation

“I’m taking a pizza!” Gloria yelled over her shoulder. She paused at the door to make sure her manager replied.

“Did you pay or is it coming out of your check?” The short, bald man peeked out of his office to ask.

“Take it out of my check,” she replied with a smile.

“I’ll take care of it,” the manager nodded and disappeared into his office again. They both knew he would conveniently forget. The manager volunteering to ‘take care of it’ was his way of taking responsibility.

“Thanks, Gary. See ya tomorrow,” Gloria waved and walked out through the back door. The evening air felt cool against her skin and she smiled to herself. She looked forward to the short walk through the park.

Gloria lived within walking distance of work, and she was a fan of simple pleasures. The cool weather was perfect for sitting in the park and enjoying a pizza. She reached her favorite spot, near a giant fountain, and sat to watch the sky. She loved watching the colors change while the sunset.

After admiring the purple sky for several seconds she turned her attention to the pizza in front of her. As her eyes moved from the sky to the table she noticed a bright blue glow in her peripheral vision. She turned to find the source of the glow, but it was gone. A young woman with short, black, spiky hair sat by the fountain, in the general area Gloria thought she saw the glow. The stranger wore a long light blue trench coat and white fingerless gloves.

“Huh.” Gloria did a mental double-take. When she sat down there was no one else near the fountain. She sat close enough that she would have heard approaching footsteps. But she had no idea where this woman came from. She shrugged to herself and grabbed a slice of pepperoni pizza.

“You sure?” the young woman asked. She seemed to be talking to the fountain; Gloria did not see anyone else around nor a phone in her hand. The woman must have realized she spoke loudly because she looked up from the fountain to scan the park. Her eyes landed on Gloria, the only person that might have heard her, and the stranger smiled. “We’re gonna do it. Get set up,” the woman said to the fountain, then she stood and walked to Gloria’s table.

“Hi, I’m Jenny,” she said. Gloria smiled.

“Hi, Jenny. I’m Gloria, want a slice?” Gloria pushed the pizza box toward Jenny.

“Really? If you’re offering, I won’t say no,” Jenny warned that she would happily accept the gift. Gloria nodded.

“I’m offering,” she confirmed.

“Yeah!” Jenny sat down and grabbed a slice for herself. “Thank you!”

“Were you making a wish?” Gloria asked between bites. She tilted her head toward the fountain. “I heard you talking,” she felt the need to explain the question. Jenny shook her head.

“Nah, talking to a friend of mine,” Jenny said.

“In the fountain?”

“Yep,” Jenny nodded. “What’s your full name?” she asked suddenly.

“Gloria Islas,” she answered without thinking. Jenny chuckled to herself while nodding.

“I knew it.”

“You know me?” Gloria asked. She’d never seen this woman before. Jenny shook her head.

“No, sorry. that was vague. I just meant every Gloria I’ve met was a very kind person. And you offered a complete stranger some of your pizza,” she shrugged. “You’re continuing the trend.”

“Thanks,” Gloria smiled. She did not think anything of sharing food, but she felt glad that “Glorias” had a good reputation. Jenny finished her first slice but did not reach for another. Instead, she sat up straighter and her eyes turned serious.

“Gloria, what would you say if I told you that the world you’re in is a simulation?” she asked.

“There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories. Simulation, flat Earth, lizard people…,” Gloria shrugged. “None of it affects me, so I don’t care all that much. Sorry.”

“What if I prove it to you?” Jenny asked.

“Okay. Convince me,” Gloria said. She doubted the woman would prove anything, but she knew there was entertainment value in watching her try.

“No problem, how ’bout a dupe glitch?” Jenny placed both hands flat on the picnic table. The black spikes on her head began to glow with bright blue light. The same blue glow flowed out from under her hands like water. The blue light spread across the surface of the table and enveloped it completely. When she was satisfied, Jenny stood up and pulled her hands upward. A blue glowing outline in the shape of the table remained stuck to the bottom of her hands. She stepped away from the table, turned, and placed the new table on the ground next to it. She wiggled her fingers as if typing something, then she lifted her hands from the blue outline. It remained in place and filled in as a perfect copy of the table where Gloria sat.

“Uhhhhh….” Gloria looked at the new table, then to Jenny, then back to the new table again. “Crap, you actually convinced me,” she sighed. “Now what?”

“Now you get to have fun,” Jenny smiled. She reached into the interior of her trench coat and pulled out a box of playing cards. She opened it and pulled out a single thing, transparent, glassy rectangle. Gloria noticed the box was full of them. “This is a node. It’ll let you interface with the simulation.” As Jenny explained a large white and orange butterfly landed on the sleeve of her coat.  “Done already? You’re getting faster,” Jenny nodded at the butterfly.

“Gloria this is Flynn. Flynn, say hi to Gloria.” The butterfly flapped its wings, then it sank into Jenny’s sleeve. The light blue color of her coat began to ripple and shimmer like water. Flynn flattened himself to become a design on her jacket, then he changed shape. Gloria watched the butterfly morph into a white koi fish with an orange dot on its head, then the fish swam up Jenny’s sleeve as it would in any body of water. The fish disappeared behind her back. Jenny shrugged.

“Sorry, he’s shy. Anyway, I guess we’re done here.” Jenny gave Gloria the node, then she emptied out several more into her hand and placed them on the table. “Use that one first. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can hand these out to some of your friends.”

“Done here? Done doing what? Where are you going?”

“Finn was reprogramming the simulation to give,” Jenny pointed at the node in Gloria’s hand. “the nodes access. I’m just passing through, this isn’t my Earth.”

“I thought his name was Flynn?” Gloria asked. Her mind was searching for any cracks in the woman’s story so that she could deny living in a simulation. She focused so much on the name her mind glossed over the mention of another Earth.

“He’s shy and fussy,” Jenny chuckled. “He likes the name Flynn when he’s a butterfly, but he likes the name Finn when he’s a fish. Anyway, I better get moving. Just a heads up. I have a friend that’s going to want to meet you, so she’ll probably show up one day. Her name’s Dirge. She’s easy to recognize, she’s got orange eyes.” Jenny started walking away.

“Why me?”

“Long story. She’ll explain it to you I’m sure. Have fun!” Jenny raised her hand part way and wiggled her fingers at the air. A tall black portal opened silently, then she jumped in.


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