The world I stepped into was not the world I was from.

As the plane landed in the far east of the planet, I swallowed as I entered this new land. The land that the royals had complete control of.

And I was scared.

But nothing in me wanted to stop this.

I was giving my new quarters by Samuel, a small room in a dormitory with other recruits.

And they found me odd. They couldn't understand why I broke often into laughter at reasons that made no sense to me. But it was like I was finding so many things funny now.

All the recruits in my dormitory were speeders, all around my age besides the few who were in their early twenties.

They seemed nervous and unsure of themselves, whereas I was quite relaxed and calm. I couldn't even understand my own emotion myself. But I think my confidence shone through.

I made friends in the first few weeks with a couple of guys near my age and status. They were nice and collected and seemed more certain of their choice.

I could see myself in them.

But even then, something in me was crying out at night for me to hear him.

The nights I dreamt I was a different person, a Cameron who hated this place and wanted freedom. Who would keep running and running till he got back to Amy and begged her to save him.

But the Cameron I was when I woke up, was the goofball with a dangerous edge. This me I seemed to only recognize with now.

After the first five weeks, I went to have a talk with Samuel, and we sat in a fancy part of the area, just looking at the grass and different types of plants this planet hosted.

"Every time I wake..." I said, hating admitting this but spoke in broken words, "I feel like there's a part of me missing. Like the person I once was... is gone."

Samuel remained silent as I said this, and I held my hands open, looking at them as I bent a bit on the sit.

"Like these hands... these eyes... they belong to a different Cameron... a different me."

"Y'know, I get like that sometimes..." Samuel said nervously with a small smile, "I have dreams sometimes like I'm fighting myself to stay in power... but in the end... all I know it is is a phantom... nothing real."

I looked at him, worried, and he said to me, placing his hand on my shoulder.

"You are you. You were never a different Cameron. There is only one of you. Only one person in there, and you made the right choice."

"..." I didn't say anything for a moment, before mumbling out with a weak smile, "...y-yeah... but-"

Samuel watched me concerned, as I asked in a confused worried voice.

"What were we doing before we were in Luke's secret base? The last thing I remember before that day, was you at the party... crying..."

"What are you talking about?"

At that moment, the image of a bloody teardrop slipping down my brother's cheek hit my mind's inner eye.

I froze at the memory, and the words crossed through my thoughts.

...Sometimes you have to sacrifice certain individuals for the good of the whole...

...My knight in shining armour...

..My pawn...



"Cameron?" Samuel asked me, shaking me a little and I snapped out of my thoughts, looking at him terrified.

"...Help..." I peeped.

He looked at me lost, and I don't know why I had said that like it was a different me speaking. I shook my head, it was hurting again and I looked at him worried. But I laughed. And the laughter hurt.

"What's wrong, Cameron?"

I stared at him as if mystified by his response and continued to laugh, but tears ran down my cheeks as I did.

"N-nothing," I whispered, wiping my face and when I looked down to my hand, I saw it shaking, like it was someone else's.

Like I was someone else...

Like I was not the real me.

"Let's get you back to your place..."

"Melody," I said, and Samuel blinked his eyes. His arm was in a sling as he had a cast around his broken bone. He looked at me cautiously and I continued, "I want to meet Melody..."

"You mean, the highness Melody?"



I didn't know why I was saying this, just that her name meant something for some reason. That she was important for other reasons than being a royal.

"I need to."

"You can't." Samuel said warningly, and looked at me with slit eyes, "Not till you finish your training in six months."

"And then..."

"Then you'll be put on duty in a providence."

I swallowed, my head nodding.


But that night I tossed and turned, as I screamed in my dream to get out of here, and to run to Luke, to run to Tyler... and scream these words.


I jumped up from the dream in a yelp, feeling a terrible headache in my brain. I looked around the dark small room... and felt the blood from my nose drip to the covers of my bed. I was in a cold sweat.


Me and the other speeders had to increase our record time, the days going by quickly.

We were set at the beginning of a track, having to run around it many times and dodge the obstacles that would come at us.

As we prepared ourself to get ready for the sprint... I just heard a voice in my head, a voice that was trapped in my mind... the me from my dreams, say.


The gun went off and we all took off. I flipped and turned as things flew at me, dodging and missing the blows I would've occurred.

You don't know what's good for you... you don't know what's good for you... you don't know what's good for you..

I screamed in pain as the voice pounded this in my head.

"Stop!" I yelled at it, hitting the ground as it screamed in my head.

Get out of here... get out of here and run... run, Cameron, RUN!

I didn't know what was wrong with me! It was like my mind was trying to tell me something I couldn't see.

Some guys approached me, trying to help me up but I screamed, arching my back as if this Cameron was trying to regain control.

We have to get out of here and run... we have to hide! We have to warn him!

It was like at that second, I wasn't in control anymore, as my body stood up by itself, and I watched through my eyes as I began to run out of the stadium.

"Where are you going?!" My commander yelled at me, and I didn't say anything. I just kept running, needing to be free.

I was afraid, I didn't know what was for me. I didn't know what was lying ahead.

But I heard Luke's voice whisper in my mind.

If you run... Cameron... she dies...

It was like he wasn't even directing this to me, but the other me, and I just seemed to run faster.

So give up... give up and fade away. You can't win this... you just can't.

I collapsed to my knees, and knelt there, crying on the street I had arrived at.

The other me seemed to have gone and left me alone, and I cried in tears, asking Luke in my mind.


You are Cameron 2. My friend... now go back...

I shook my head, and got up, trembling and crying in tears of pain.

Go back, Cameron... don't make me destroy you.

I just began to run, trying to escape him and be free. I needed to warn Melody... I needed to warn Tyler. I was not the real me... I was someone else. I WAS THE PHANTOM! Not the dream, not the dream.

Please, Cameron... Luke then begged, and I kept running, running running, I d-don't want to do this more than once, it's dangerous to tamper with the brain too much. I could kill you if I do it again. Just turn back! JUST TURN BACK!

I shook my head and I saw the castle in the distance. I was nearing it and Luke said to me.

I'm sorry.


I woke up in a white spacey room, not feeling very good... my head was bouncing a bit in dizziness and I just began to laugh.

I laughed and laughed, and heard a voice say to me.

"Finally, you're conscious..."

I looked around confused and saw I was with my brother. He was looking at me, with inner pain.

"I thought you wouldn't respond this time."

"What do you mean, big bro?" I asked, getting afraid as my laughter died down.

"Cameron..." he said, and I looked at him worried.


"Do you remember what happened...?"

"I was running the recruit course and then... then..."

"You were found on the street... unconscious..."

"Yeah..." I said, and suddenly the memories came flashing back.

He hadn't done it... I remembered it all.

Luke hadn't erased me again.

I suddenly began to freak as I realized... I still had my mind, I was still here, present and alive and worth something. I could still warn Tyler. I could still warn Melody.

I tried to get out of the white large room, but as I moved, the walls moved away from me, and I blinked my eyes baffled.

I began to freak and asked, "Samuel... what is going on?"

"We think you were beat up or hit by a car or something... because we found you nearly brain dead... with a broken neck."

I stopped moving, as I realized suddenly where I was... and Samuel began to cry.

"It was either, let you die... or pay for your treatment and freedom... so..."

"So...?" I said, and tears began to slip down my cheeks, as I looked at him. This couldn't be the place I thought I was in... not the digital world where only the people who couldn't function or live any more in the real world went.

"So I paid..." Samuel said, crying a little as he looked at me, and I saw the walls start to open up as I saw the digital world come to life before my eyes.

I could see the trees flickering, the malls and shops and buildings opening up and saw I was... connected... to the digital world. No one ever came here, because it was a place people came to waste their lives away... to die.

It was a different reality... one where you'd live completely free to do whatever you wanted. But you weren't real anymore... you were just a consciousness...

The digital world was banned from our planet, and only the people who were near brain dead were put on it.

So why was Samuel here?

"Big Bro?"

"This is goodbye, little brother, for now," he told me, as he flickered a little and I looked down to my own hands, seeing them flicker as well.

"Just know, Cameron, that as long as I can afford you a life, I'll give it to you..."

I watched him quietly, my eyes gathering tears and he shook his head in pain, smiling at me weakly.

"So goodbye... and welcome to your new... life..."

He glitched a few times, before vanishing from my eyes.

I ran towards him, screaming for him to come back.


I swung around, looking all across the digital world at the shops and streets and grass and sky and everything.

I cried and cried, and begged for him to come back. Begged to get out... but saw some people slowly appear out of the houses, looking at me... and I swallowed, asking in a beg.

"Please, let me out... please..."

"You will be alright..." an old man said to me, walking over to me and smiling a soft weak smile, "Everyone has that reaction when they first come here... but it's actually quite pleasant here..."

"But...I'm... not..." I whispered in tears, trying to get my words out, "Not meant to b-be here..."

"But you are here now..." A lady told me, smiling softly as if she had been here for many years and had accepted her fate.

I looked at her. I looked at him.

And I roared into the glitching sky.



It took a few minutes before they were able to take Samuel out of the digital world. The nurses watched as his helmet was taking off, that stimulated his brain and allowed him into the forbidden reality.

He took off the glasses and stumbled a little as he stood up and turned to see his brother in a comfortable bed.

Cameron O Sullivan was unconscious, his body being fed food through tubes from liquid bags. His body was bluish from bruises, but those would heal in time. In the end, it didn't matter now how his body was... as his consciousness was somewhere else.

On Cameron's scalp, at the back, a metal electric wire was in a plug that had been put in his brain from the surgery.

It was a yes or no decision Samuel had had to make, and something in him... just knew what the answer was.

He loved his brother.

He loved him... and he wanted him to stay with him in this life as long as he could.

So he had said yes, and they had connected the young teenage boy to the digital world.

Samuel came over to Cameron, seeing the young man breathing in and out gently, and suddenly his eyes flashed, as if he was hypnotized, as he whispered to him... not himself... but someone else.

"Checkmate, Cameron."


Samuel blinked, coming back to the room, and wondered why he couldn't remember what he just said.

He spoke to him quietly in breaking tears.

"I'll visit you in a month... little brother... I w-will..."

He shut his eyes and held Cameron's barely living hand.

"You would've done good in this world... but now... now do good in a new world."

He cried a little before leaving the room.

The hospital...

The ward in the hospital that said.



Luke blinked his eyes, getting away from Samuel's mind after he had seen what had happened to Cameron, and coughed a little uncomfortable.

He didn't expect to lose Cameron... but when he couldn't connect the neurons again and they kept bleeding, he had to do something.

So he snapped his neck... leaving him to die as if by a telekinetic or a car...

But he didn't need to worry about Cameron O Sullivan anymore. That boy wasn't a threat any longer... and everything could still move forward.

He looked ahead of him at the crowd of hopeful eighteen years olds, preparing to get their gifts, and just waved the next girl forward, seeing her eyes and how they seemed watery and in tears.

Because Luke knew why she was here.

She wanted to get her boyfriend out of the royal guard and back to their home city.

"Amy..." he said and she swallowed as he raised his index finger forward and she closed her eyes, as he read her thoughts.

Cameron, I won't give up on you... I'll find you and bring you home...

And Luke smiled at that... but in his heart... he felt slightly bad.

If only he could tell her all that had happened... and tell her her life with Cameron would never be now.

If only he could tell her, that it didn't matter what power she got... it didn't matter how hard she tried. She was going to have to move on... because he was not coming back.

He had disobeyed Luke. And the people that did that... well, they always found it was something they regretted.

Are you ready? Luke asked her, and she froze a little as she saw him wave his finger nervously before her.

She swallowed. Closed her eyes. And felt the power surge through her.