The Escape

Dear Archangel Jobs,

I am not sure if I belong here. I am not comfortable on this seat and it smells very bad. I try to concentrate on my new lyfe but I am totally like missing my family.  I need help to figure out if I should leave here.. like now. Plz Archangel Jobs, tell God that I need help to figure out what to do. Plz.

XOXO, Jessica2468

I stared at the Facebook page for Steve Jobs, in hopes that he would at least click ‘Like’. I watched the minutes slowly pass. Hesitantly, I canceled out of the page and checked my schedule for the day. If he wasn’t going to answer my request, I needed to continue with my life here for now. My avatar, Jessica2468, had class today and a date tonight with Jeremy3579. Since I am new here, I have to take the introductory courses required for all of the new members. The classes are rather interesting but they haven’t been like I expected.

I have been trying so hard to keep myself positive. It’s something I promised by mom when I left and myself. Of course, this was gonna be an adjustment and it has only been a few weeks here. This isn’t what I expected my new life to be like but I need to be grateful that I am in iLand and not in the real world. Although there are aspects I am still getting used to like this toilet seat chair, which is smelly, I am really enjoying having a love life.

My date tonight is in a private chat. I used to be too nervous to even look a boy in the eye and now I have a handsome avatar boyfriend. I met him my first day online and it was love at first type. He liked one of my avatar pictures. Naturally, I had to like his status and that was when we started to message. It is all rather romantic and much easier to flirt with a boy in the virtual world. If I ever speak to my mother again, my love life will be the first thing I tell her about for sure. Jeremy3579 really understands me and he loves me!


Slowly, my mom walked into my bedroom. Although she was only forty, the stress of losing my father to Ebola aged her tremendously. She forced a smile on to her face and the skin around her eyes creased up. Even though her skin had become rather dull and her hair rather grey, she was still beautiful.

“Lisa, I have to speak to you about something I want you to do for me.” As she spoke, she avoided eye contact with me, not that I even enjoy eye contact with anyone. Still, it made her seem very nervous and I glanced down at her hands. Behind her back, she held a folded up newspaper.

She continued on, “I found this great place I want you to apply to for school! It’s not too far and maybe it will be a chance for you to grow as a person and do what you love…” her voice trailed off and it sounded like she didn’t even believe the words coming out of her mouth. Instead of answering back, I took the paper from her hands. The headline read: iLand Getaway – Tech Society Accepting Applications with Affirmative Action and Scholarships for Introverts. As I read the headline over again, I realized it had to be fate.


It has been a week and I have not even gotten a like from Archangel Jobs. An instant anxiety fell over me as I kept refreshing the page. I just need help. My schedule for the day listed another full day of classes that I don’t really care about — more introduction classes. Instead, I let my avatar wander off into a virtual Starbucks. After ISIS took over D.C., Starbucks became a rarity in my town but in iLand Getaway, they are on every corner. I guess that is another great thing about this place – Starbucks and pumpkin spice lattes. Although I can’t actually taste them, my avatar loves them!

My mind began wandering off as Jessica2468 sat in the corner of Starbucks, gazing out the window. I wondered what my mother was doing back in D.C. What if she was also working on her application to come here? She may be trying to get in to iLand Getaway so we could be together again. Then again, she doesn’t have a computer to apply.

I miss her hugs and I miss speaking with her. Still, it is better to not even give the issue much thought. It’s become impossible for me to Skype with her since she has no access to a computer. I wouldn’t want her to risk her life either just for this. After ISIS invaded D.C., they confiscated a number of computers from women. When we said goodbye to each other, she promised to find a way to sneak around the issue and at least send some sort of email. I’ve been sending her one every day and wait for a response. It has yet to happen.


It has been a month and there has been no reply from Archangel Jobs regarding my request. I figure I should speak to someone about how I’m feeling but I don’t have anyone to sit and talk with. Heck, I’m strapped into this chair! Jessica2468 could move around though and talk to someone, but that is not the same. I miss the interaction between people and seeing a person’s real face when I speak to them. I miss the emotion behind their eyes, their smile.

In the outside world, I know many girls who tell their boyfriends how they feel but I haven’t had the nerve to ask Jeremy3579. In our contracts as members of iLand Getaway, we agree to limit speaking about our past lives and we agree to give up human interaction. At the time, this sounded brilliant to me. My past life sucked AND I couldn’t even look someone in the eye. Yet, I wonder what it would be like to meet Jeremy3579 in person. Would he give me a kiss? I’ve never been kissed. Does he even want to kiss me? He may be feeling the same way. I moved my mouse over his name on Facebook messenger, wondering if I should click on his name.

Jessica2468: Hey Handsome! 

Jeremy3579: Hi There. our date scheduled for tonight?

Jessica2468: Yes. Well, like I have question and I want to talk about how I feel.

Jeremy3579: How you feel? About what babe?

Jessica2468: Yea. 

Jeremy3579: Do you mean you are sick?

Jeremy3579: Helloooooooo?

Jessica2468: Do you ever feel like you don’t want to be here? Like… Idk. Like, you know what I mean???

Jeremy3579: Sorry. I don’t understand. I love it here. I get to sit on the computer all day, programming. Lol! 

Jessica2468: Do you ever miss talking to people?

Jeremy3579: Wha?????? Plz stop being vague. Plz be more direct babe. 

Jessica2468: Well. I guess I wanted to know if you ever wished for us to meet in person.

Jeremy3579 has signed off.


It was past 7pm, our scheduled date time. Jeremy3579 was supposed to log into our private chatroom thirty minutes ago. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to show up after he signed off on me, but a small part of me hoped that he would. Maybe he would log on and tell me that he thought about what I said. Maybe he feels the same way that I do and we could somehow meet. Maybe he would ask me to leave tonight!! I know it is impossible here but it’s just a thought. There was a growing tightness in my chest as I waited for Jeremy another hour and then another hour after that. In the outside world, this would be called being stood up. In iLand, I’m not sure what they would call it. I never heard of people being left alone in their private chats. There would be no reason to do that.

He never came.


Jessica2468 Status Update: Feelin’ So Sick! UGH

I didn’t show up for my classes this week. My mind kept wandering off to Jeremy3579 and I let Jessica2468 lay in her cute pink bed. Should I message him again? What if I just left my cubicle and went to his? I don’t even know where it is but I bet I could find it.

Immediately, I was connected to a doctor in the outside world and I had to create a web of lies in order to hide the truth. The truth is that I am feeling pretty healthy. Since Foodamins have replaced my daily food intake, I’ve been getting the correct amount of vitamins. The exercise my chair gives to my legs has also been very helpful. I may have even lost weight, not that it matters since no one will ever see me again. Still, I needed to fake sick for the doctor I was messaging. I considered telling him how I was feeling but decided against it. He just suggested that I rest, so I put Jessica2468 into her bed.

I cancelled out of all my pages besides Archangel Job’s profile. It’s been over two months and he hasn’t even liked my post. He never even answered me back. Granted, I needed to scroll down over 3,000 prayer requests made by other members here. Perhaps Archangel Jobs is just too busy to ‘like’ all of the requests. If God doesn’t get back to me with information regarding me leaving, I may just do it on my own. I read in the FAQ section of iLand Getaway before I applied that it was possible to leave here, although nobody ever wants to leave. I would just need to file an application with a few 10,000 word essays in order to leave. Truth is, I never have seen any posts or messages from people stating they were unhappy with this place. I wish I could talk to Jeremy3579 about this again. Maybe he is waiting for me to speak to him…

Jessica2468: HEYYY

Jessica2468: BABE. Could you like answer me?????????

Jeremy3579: Sup?

Jessica2468: Did you think about meeting up? I can try to see you L8R?

Jessica2468: Like if you want… I could…

Jeremy3579 has signed off.

Before I could even finish typing, he signed off.


Jessica2468 Status Update: If I learned 1 thing in lyfe, it is that it goes on. Missing home and my MOM XOXO. 

I need to get the fuck out of here. This is not okay. It’s been five months. I moved my hand up towards my face. The bumps on my skin stung as I pushed my cheeks together. While my brain was working on forcing my hand back down onto the keyboard, my heart was pushing my hand up to my eyes. Could I even  take out these contact lenses? I didn’t even insert them on my own and we stopped using contact lenses in my old world.

Jessica2468: Sad today. Don’t message. K. Thanks. XOXO

Still, if God wasn’t going to honor my request, I needed to take matters into my own hands. I couldn’t escape with the lenses in my eyes – they restrict my eyesight to only see the virtual world.

I moved my hand to my right eye and touched the wet lens on my eyeball. With a quick pinch, I pulled it out and glanced around — so blurry. I shut my eyes tightly and opened them again. There was a bit of natural light coming in through a window. I threw the lens on the floor and moved to do the same action with my left eye. I glanced down at my body. I sat naked, strapped onto the seat. It felt awkward at first to see myself naked. I hadn’t even realized that I wasn’t wearing clothes and I felt embarrassed. Who had put me in the chair this way? The strap around my waist didn’t look to difficult to unlock and looked to be held together by a red button. The seat kept working to push my legs up and down in a perfectly orchestrated motion. Slowly, I took both of my legs out of the machine.

The red button seemed to be the only thing separating me from a window, which looked just large enough for me to squeeze through. It held my strap tightly around my waist. This was it.

Once I pushed the button, the alarms started sounding off. The loud, harsh beeping started piercing my ear drums and I instantaneously started crying. I slowly lifted myself off the seat and fell to the floor. It had been so long since I stood up on my legs. I stayed still on the floor, plotting my next move and attempting to ignore the blaring beeping sirens.

In an old war movie that my father showed me, I remembered seeing men crawling on their stomachs towards freedom. I started crawling towards the window and glided my stomach across the cold tile floor. Slowly, I started moving my hands up to the windowsill. Finally, I felt the tightness in my chest leave as I breathed in the fresh air. On my ankle, I felt the tightness grab me and pull me down till my head slammed against the tiles. The rest went black.


When I told my mom I would want to live in iLand Getaway, I could see the sadness behind her eyes as she forced an accepting smile onto her face. Under the headline in the Washington Post, the paper had listed the constitution and a picture of a cubicle that each member called home.

Section 3. Members will not be allowed to leave their cubical complexes once they enter into the society. All activities – sleeping, eating, using the bathroom and entering the virtual world must be done in each individual member’s complex. They must trust that the founding fathers have their best interest in mind with every action they take.

At the time, I had few friends and spent most of my days behind a computer screen. Although the ISIS takeover came with intense computer regulations for women, I was still able to get online and play around with some computer programming tools. Eventually, they just took it away.  Computer programming seemed to be the only talent I had and the idea that I would be able to do this every day for my whole life was appealing to me.


Everything looked blurry. I rapidly began blinking my eyes until the world around me became clear again. I glanced down and saw that I was strapped in my chair, naked again. This time, the strap has closed with a lock.

“Hello Jessica2468”, said a deep voice from out of my field of vision. I glanced upwards and saw a man coming in front of me from my side view. “I’m Mark and I’ve been watching you.”

“Wow. I – I can’t believe – Hello.” I couldn’t make the full sentence come out of my mouth. Standing in front of me was Mark Zuckerberg, the genius behind Facebook. I wanted to shake his hand and praise him but my hands were tied together.

“You do realize what has happened, correct?” He smirked as he made this statement. He seemed pleased that I was caught. “You do know what happens to people who try to escape, correct?”

“Well, Sir – Um, Mr. Zuckerberg, I want – I need to leave. I want to leave. I’m sorry. I hate it here. I’m sorry …” my voice trailed off and I glanced back down to my naked body being trapped in this chair.

“How peculiar. Jeremy3579 told me what you were doing, trying to meet him in person. HORRIBLE! He warned me that you may not understand the consequences but I bet you do. Of course, if you wanted to leave, you should have filed an application. Your actions are not permissible in iLand and you cannot simply leave.” His voice was very stern and growing louder with each new word he spoke. “We’ve been monitoring your actions and have deemed it acceptable to place you in lockdown.”

“Sorry? Lockdown? I’m not sure – I don’t …”

Before I could even finish my sentence, Mark had disappeared and the lights had been shut off. I was left alone to quietly whimper in the dark.

5 thoughts on “The Escape

  1. Wow, that was an interesting experience of the downsides of an all-virtual world. It’s true, I’m an introvert but even I need hugs from my mom once in a while. It’s interesting how Jessica had a crush on a guy online but the guy didn’t want to meet in person. When I was a teenager I had an online crush. I never knew his real name or what he looked like, I had a crush based on his personality alone. I don’t think he was even near my age in real life, so I never told him I had a crush on him. He didn’t seem to return the feelings though we had a friendly platonic relationship.

    To never have real-life interaction with anyone again? I don’t think I’d like that. Maybe I wouldn’t want to move to iLand Getaway after all.

  2. I couldn’t stop reading from the first paragraph because it made me laugh so hard! I really liked how you combined the satirical elements of the story with serious ones, including flashbacks on Jessica’s old life and her scary disconnect from the system. (Also, the idea of “faking sick” with the virtual doctor was a funny detail.)

    The way Jeremy turned in Jessica reminded me a lot of a dystopian sort of 1984 scene, where people are encouraged to report dissenters to the authorities whether they are neighbors or even family. I believe this has happened historically too, like in Nazi Germany for example, where brainwashed children would report their parents. It’s a common theme of a controlling dictatorship, which iLand Getaway seems to be in your story as an interesting twist behind its appeal and voluntary membership.

    I also found it interesting that Jessica would rather have the real world with all of its chaos and sadness over a fake one that is happy and stable, yet robbed of all sensory experience.

  3. Your story definitely considers human nature’s need for relationships. Losing physical interaction with others is understandably a difficulty as someone assimilates and adjusts to their new life at iLand Getaway. Jessica is newly living inside iLand Getaway, yet she misses her mom and wonders if her mom will be able to find a way to join this society and be rejoined with her again. It seemed pretty easy how Jessica was able to get back to the real world simply by removing her contact. It makes me wonder, have others done this as well? Have they all been caught and punished? What steps are being taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

    With the story ending off with Jessica strapped and locked into her chair, I want to know what happens afterwards! How long does the lockdown last? Does she receive other forms of punishment? Can she be hypnotized and brainwashed with technology? Does she eventually reunite with her mom? WHERE IS HER MOM? (CAPS LOCK)

  4. I really enjoyed reading this story. I also enjoyed how you used people that we all know and are familiar with to be a part of the story. For me I think that even with all of the negative things happening on the outside world I still would not apply to live here, even if things were getting really bad. However I do feel like many times I am caught behind my computer screen and have a hard time getting back to life. I felt really bad when Jeremy turned on her but I also was screaming for her to not trust him or that her messages were private in iLand. I was anxious to find out what happened to her afterwards and also curious as to why they would want someone in their society that didn’t want to be there?

  5. I agree with Cate because this made me laugh so much too!! I LOVED the overuse of the word “like” in your first paragraph!! it’s so funny. Your depiction of naked Jessica strapped in the chair without her noticed was a great analogy of how people are so engrossed in their social media presence that they are not in touch enough with their real life relationships. I also really liked the fact that Jessica, despite applying to iLand, still thinks about her mother from the dystopian world, and in the end would prefer to go back to the real world even though the virtual world was safer than her old world. I think this is somewhat happening in our world also; when Myspace, Facebook and all the other forms of social media started, people were crazy about them. But now, I can see people make an effort to leave limit their time spent on social media. I empathize with Jessica because I’m one of those people who would prefer human interaction over virtual interaction. I hope Jessica doesn’t get locked down for too long!!

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