The Reality Engineer – 1

I stepped inside the portal and into Reality 553.

I found myself in the living room of a three bedroom apartment. Two bags of groceries were inexplicably cradled in my hands. The living room was a scene that looked like it was plucked out of an acid trip. An obese looking white chicken stood in front and stared at me with eyes that looked eerily human. Above the chicken hung an elaborately designed chandelier and on top of it sat a man and a dog. The man had his arm over the dog’s neck and was whispering to it in a conspiratorial manner, his eyes shifted left and right. On the floor, by the far corner, lay a third man tightly embracing a yogurt drenched futon.

The damage to this reality was far greater than what I expected.

I dropped the groceries on the couch and pulled out my Gadget. I ran my thumb across its screen bringing it to life.

“Senior Reality Engineer Lewis Deck. You are now logged in,” my Gadget said.

Just then, the chicken in front of me spoke. “Who are you?” It asked in a baritone voice.

That surprised me.

“Hey, I asked you a question,” it said.

I cleared my throat and replied, “I…uhm…I’m Lewis Deck. I’m here to…fix things.”

The chicken cocked its head to the side. “I’m Dave. I live here. The guy above me is Carl and that’s his dog Buster. The one making out with his futon is Tom.”

“Nice meeting you, Dave,” I said while at the same time entering a command on my Device to run a full diagnostics check-up on this section of reality.

“So, Lewis, what exactly are you here to fix?”

“Reality,” I replied, my eyes on my Device as it finishes up its check. The Device’s report said that Dave’s apartment was the epicenter of the damage. Good, at least I no longer needed to venture out.

Dave continued talking in front of me. He said, “Reality, huh? That kinda explains things. Did you know I woke up this morning looking like a chicken? I wasn’t always a chicken. Truth.”

“Cause of destruction?” I asked my Device.

“Analyzing…” my Device responded.

“Please let it not be an Eraser. Please let it not be an Eraser.”

“Analysis complete,” my Device said. “Eraser detected.”

“Oh freaking nanowart,” I pocketed my Device and pulled out my disintegrator gun. I unlocked the safety and it responded with a low, electrical hum.

“Hey, hey, what’s that? That looks dangerous, man.” Dave was now wildly flapping his wings.

“Shut up, Dave. Back off to that wall,” I said, pointing the gun at him.

Erasers are a nasty bunch. They seep into any reality and blend in perfectly, looking like anything or anyone, all the while emanating a destructive wave that bends and disrupts the reality’s flow. The disintegrator gun has a built in module that allows it to detect Eraser waves.

The gun scanned Dave and flashed a green light. I pointed it then to Carl above me. The gun again flashed green. Carl’s dog was also in the clear.

“I think you better leave, man,” Dave said. “We don’t want any trouble.”

“I’m here to get rid of the trouble, Dave,” I replied. I walked further in the apartment towards Tom (who was by then sticky with yogurt).

Most often, Erasers mimic organics. It’s much easier for them. I gripped the gun with both hands as I pointed it to Tom. The guy continued with his torrid kisses. The gun vibrated in my hands as it scanned Tom’s biological structure. Ten seconds became thirty then thirty became a minute. My forehead was beaded with sweat. This was it. I positioned my finger on the trigger…then the gun flashed green. Clear. Weird, I thought. I was sure it was Tom. The gun took a long time scanning him. Tentatively, I lowered the gun. All organics were cleared. I was about to turn around when I heard a low, grumbling sound coming from the futon. I faced Tom and was surprised to see his face being sucked by the white mattress. His lips, his eyes, and his nose were all a puddle of jelly being drained by the yogurt drenched mattress. I pointed the gun at the futon and it screeched before leaping to the ceiling. Its body vibrated with some sort of energy, slowly transforming the once harmless looking bed.

It grew in size and changed in color. The Eraser was enormous. It stood on all fours and was covered in black fur. Its muscular legs ended with clawed paws. Its head, as large as a basketball, was occupied by a solitary eye – red and menacing. A crack slowly appeared on the lower half of its face, splitting open into a huge, gaping mouth populated with sharpened teeth. My gun flashed an alarming red.

“Thanks for the warning,” I said to it sarcastically.

The Eraser lunged towards me, arms stretched out, claws directed to my face. I dove to the side and crashed my left shoulder on the wall. Pain filled my left side. I raised my gun and targeted the Eraser but the beast was far too quick. It swiped at me with a claw snatching the gun from my grip. It slid to the corner where Tom’s faceless corpse lay. The Eraser raised its head and howled. It leapt, ready to deliver the killing blow. I forced myself to roll to the side and then reached in my pocket for the electrical net bomb. I activated it and tossed the bomb toward the Eraser. It landed and exploded into a shower of sparks which formed a net around the Eraser’s body. The beast roared in pain.

I stood up and sprinted to my gun. I picked it up and fired shot after shot at the Eraser disintegrating the anomaly part by part until it was no more.

***

I took one long drag from my cigarette, kept it inside for a second, and then blew out a thin stream of smoke. Beside me Dave sat on the floor having been restored back into being a human by the Reality Corrective Specialists. The damage the Eraser did reached as far as three blocks away. The RCS visited building after building to correct every bit of damage done by the Eraser wave – a very tedious task.

“That’s some intense job you have,” Dave said.

“I’ll have to erase certain parts of your memory in a while,” I replied. “For the stability of this reality’s sanity.”

There was a pause. Tom and his dog lay unconscious on the couch. Their memories were corrected earlier. Dave requested his to be done last.

“I want in,” Dave finally said.

I dropped my cigarette and stepped on it with the heel of my boot. “In?”

Dave nodded. “I want to do what you do.”

I started to make my way towards the portal that led back to HQ.

“Hey,” Dave called out. “I said i want to join you guys.”

“Yeah, I heard you,” I said, stepping into the doorway. “Come on then.”

Dave smiled then stood up. “This is going to be sick.”

He stepped into the portal beside me and together we entered the in-between.