I laid in bed, thinking about how drastically my life was about to change, or already had. In my few moments of meditation, I decided that I was going to be strong and brave for my mother, because if I wasn't, no one would be. I sat up, my hair following in dark waves behind me. The sun glistened through my bedroom window and it looked like a fairy tale for a few seconds before the clouds returned and the sky rested back into its usual grey mist. I heard my mother rustling around in the kitchen down stairs and could tell that she was just as nervous as I was. She always was a nervous cleaner.

I grabbed my backpack and headed downstairs and, sure enough, found my mom doing the dishes. "Mom, come on. Stop. I'll be fine." I said, reaching around her to turn off the sink and take the scrub brush out of her hand. She sighed and turned her head towards me, her eyes red and puffy. She had obviously been crying. "I know you'll be okay. You are a big, strong girl. But...with everything that has happened, I just don't want to lose someone else." I sighed, pulling her into a hug and resting my head on her shoulder. "I know. I am going to do everything I can to get him back, and this is one of those things. Just trust me, I'll be okay." She nodded and we stood there, embracing each other for a little longer before she glanced over at the clock on the wall. "Oh goodness! We're late! The time just got away from me! Oh dear! Make sure you have your backpack and your water bottle. Oh, and your letter!" She started running around the house frantically, making sure she did everything she had on her list before walking out the apartment door. I grabbed a water bottle from the refrigerator and followed her. Once we were both outside, she closed the door and locked it. We then walked arm in arm together to the parking lot and got in the car.

Once we were in and the car was navigating the quickest route, my mom looked over at me sternly. "Read me the note again." she demanded. It was my third time reading it to her and probably the thousandth time she had heard it, but I wasn't going to argue with her. I grabbed the large piece of dull yellow paper out of my backpack and unfolded it. Splattered across the page was a note from the government, formally and threateningly addressed to me. "Dear Mrs. Scarlet, you have been recruited by the United States Of America government to take part in the testing of a new and classified government machine. Please bring a backpack, this piece of paper, and a bottle of water to meet with us. Also, please make sure you eat a large meal before you arrive. Say goodbye to your friends and relatives, for you will be participating in the clinical trial for a whole year without a break to go visit them. Come to 146 Adams Drive on March fifth, 2098. Thank you. Post Script- If you do not come to the specified location above, the government army will be sent after you. Best wishes on your health and prosperity, the United States government." After I finished reading the letter, my mom and I just sat in silence as the car turned on and drove us to the government facility where I will participate in the clinical trial.

As we pulled up to what was said to be the correct building, I got a very eerie feeling. The building was tall and dark, completely made of brick and only one window on the very top floor. It loomed over the street like a reminder that the government is everywhere, watching everything. The car parked in a spot right in front of the large metal double doors and turned itself off. We continued to sit there for a few moments before I looked over at her. "I should probably go. You heard them, they'll come get me if I don't go willingly." She nodded and started to get out of the car. I grabbed all my stuff and got out as well, closing the passenger door and walking over to where she was standing on the other side of the car. Her bottom lip started quivering as she watched me, but she didn't let herself be overcome by her emotions. She had always kept them locked away and never told people how she felt.

I embraced my mom and kissed her cheek. Just as she opened her mouth to say something, the metal doors of the building flung open and a large, bulky man stepped out from the dark threshold. "Are you the Scarlet girl?" he asked aggressively. I nodded and could already tell that most of the people in charge of this test would have a similar air and rudeness to them. "Well, you're late. We were just about to call the police. Come on, we're starting." I hesitantly released my mom and gave her a small smile as I walked toward the man. Just as I stepped onto the curb, my shell of braveness broke. I quickly turned on my heels and ran back to my mom, wrapping my arms around her waist as tight as I could and burying my head into her neck, crying. She held onto me just as tightly and let her tears run down her face. We both stood there, crying, sobbing, and holding onto each other until the man at the door cleared his throat to get my attention. I straightened up, wiped my face, and looked deep into my mom's eyes. "I will come back. I will make it out. And we will get him out." My mom smiled through her tears, gave me one last hug, and pushed me towards the door.

I walked through the door of the building into an extremely dark hallway. As soon as I was inside, the large man slammed the door shut behind me and locked it with one of the keys on a huge chain on his belt. He looked back to me and glared, waiting for me to start walking. Nervously, I looked around in the hallway and noticed that the only door in the hallway was the one at the end with an exceedingly bright light shining through it. As I made my way down the hall, I could hear a woman from the other side shouting things like, "When will we be able to start?" and "Do you people not know how to enforce order in your society?". She sounded like she'd be a lovely person to interact with.

When I got to the door, it opened automatically and I was temporarily blinded by the huge lights. When my eyes finally adjusted, I was amazed. In the room were lines of chair with teenagers my age sitting in them, looking as thrilled to be there as I was. There was also a large pure white door on the other side of the room with a tall black man behind a desk right next to it. "Finally! She's here!" a different feminine voice shouted. I looked up and found a woman standing on a balcony above all of us. She was dressed in an outrageous purple dress that had edges and shapes popping out of the skirt in various directions with matching purple makeup. Her hair was curled and pinned on top of her head in a beehive design. "Sorry, I was saying goodbye to my mother. I figured you guys could wait a couple more seconds." The woman scowled and rolled her eyes, directing her attention to a group of men in lab coats in the far left corner, surrounding a large desk with a myriad of controls all over it. "Are we ready to start?" she asked, sounding very impatient. After a few seconds, the men looked back to her and nodded. She smiled and directed her attention back to me and the other people sitting. "Welcome to the first trial of the Real World Simulator."