Shadows crept across the wall. I tried to ignore them. I failed.
My gaze drifted out the window again and again, but the orange simulated sun stayed pinned to the center of the sky. Its fake warmth faded as the shadows grew longer, making goosebumps pop up on my arms. My holographic classmates seemed unaffected, continuing their chatter.
I grew aware of my heart pounding, pushing blood through the veins in my neck and wrists.
The shadows covered the whiteboard so the bright words were no longer legible. The overhead fluorescent lights didn’t help and the sun dimmed as I watched. Color seeped away, dragged down into the darkness. My peers sat in their desks, tight-lipped with the complexion of corpses. I was alone in a grey cell.
I hugged my legs to my chest and shivered, my teeth clanking together.
The shadows pooled around my desk. There was no longer enough light to see the wall farthest from me.
A mechanical voice filled the room, “You have been disqualified from the program. Your simulation will now end.”
Dry heaves wracked my body.
The shadows touched my foot. They were cold. The seat disappeared from under me as everything faded.