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The Game of Earthly Delights

No one could see me as somehow I had just slipped through the net and now I was here in the disused
kitchen garden beyond the wall. I had skipped medication after lunch and now I was sampling a new high,
slipping back into reality in a beautiful walled garden turned middle English natural jungle. I had heard
Sister Stella say before this was turned into an institution that it had been a fine Victorian English Country
garden back in the last millennium. The part I was now sitting in was the kitchen garden and I was told,
had been tended to by at least five gardeners in its day, however unfortunately they all had been called up
to fight in the First World War. Not one of the poor chaps had come back, they had apparently all joined up
together into the same regiment and had all been simultaneously taken out by one enormous direct hit in the
Somme. What a heaven and hell contrast in surroundings they must have experienced to be here in this
peaceful garden with the sound of wood pigeons in the pine trees, and then to go to that trench hell hole in
France. I started wondering if their ghosts were all around me now maybe now tending to me. For now I
was the only vegetable left in their old kitchen garden, yeah I was a prize vegetable alright just sitting and
quivering, a complete nervous paranoid wreck who had skipped medication and was coming down to
reality.
Chapter 1.
The Occupation
It all started with a new job at VonArbVG, yes VonArb Virtual Gaming an elitist Corporation which was
really everything I was against. But after years of working for small graphics companies that had all gone
to the wall I realised I had to go where the money was to pay off debts. As I entered the great gates on my
first morning I felt like the new boy at school, on one hand I was wondering whether I was out of my depth
but strangely also quietly confident in my own ability. I and been assigned as a graphic designer for the
packaging of some of the latest games and this although an integral position was not considered as
important obviously as the employees who designed and developed the actual software of the games
themselves. These other employees buzzed by me in sleek luxury supercars like magnets to Mecca as I
ambled up to the mirrored glass monstrosity of the main building. I felt like an illegal alien somewhere in
Dallas, Texas, I heard nobody walked there either. Once inside in the foyer I was met by a young man from
personnel who ironically looked as paranoid as I felt.
“Welcome to VonArb you must be Daniel, My name’s Piers Claybourne I’ll be your guide to settling
in.” He said with a strange sarcastic twist in his voice.
So this was the weird world of virtual reality I had got myself into, in a company with a personnel man
who sounded like a hotel receptionist on other planet. Funny thing was I liked him and immediately felt at
ease in his company.
I greeted him shaking his hand. “Hello, You’re very efficient how did you know.”
“How did I know when you would arrive?” He cut in ahead of me.“At VonArb we have all the latest
technology dear boy.” He said camply as he led me past a room full of security guards scrutinising screens
of the surrounding grounds. “The thing you will notice the most though is how Americanised VonArb is. In
the spring the board decided that we have to keep up with our virtual cousins over the pond. Now it’s all
breakfast briefings with coffee and bagels, and on Friday the executives don sports shirts and get smartly
casual. Hey! let’s do coffee now, you look like you could use some caffeine dear boy.”
He certainly had that right my bloodstream needed a whole caffeine bomb. With the first day nerves I
hadn’t eaten anything and my mouth was bone dry, I ordered a cappuccino in the space age looking café,
this place certainly looked after its employees.
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