Augmented Reality

Tiffany couldn’t quite place it, but there was something off about Allen.

 

They had been married for over a decade, and she thought she knew all of his ideocracies, but apparently, he had developed some new ones that she wasn’t aware of.

 

At first, she thought maybe something had happened at work that upset him, but when she asked him about it, he said everything was fine.

 

She became increasingly worried, when one night, she found him sleep walking.

 

She had once heard that it could be dangerous to wake a sleep walker, and not to do it unless they were in danger, so when she had found him, she only followed him to ensure he didn’t injure himself.

 

He had walked out of the house, having no difficulty opening the door, or walking down the stairs. If it hadn’t been for the fact that it was the middle of the night, she wouldn’t have put much thought into him wandering around.

 

She continued to follow him as he walked further from the house, heading towards the barn.

 

Instead of going inside, he walked around it, heading off into the cornfield.

 

She was about to say to hell with it and wake him up, when he was about fifty yards into the field, he stopped walking, and looked up into the sky.

 

After a few minutes of just starring, he lowered his gaze, did an about face, and then began walking back towards the house.

 

Tiffany didn’t know what about his behavior was frightening her, but she instinctively hid deeper in the field until he passed her.

 

He didn’t seem to notice her at all, and she followed him back into the house.

 

Once he had arrived in the bedroom, he kicked off the slippers he was wearing, and crawled into bed like he did every night.

 

The whole experience left Tiffany weirded out, and she couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. She could only stare at him as he slept and wonder what had led him into the cornfield.

 

Distant was becoming his normal mood, and at breakfast the next morning, she felt compelled to find some answers.

 

“Allen?” she spoke as they sat at the table together.

 

“Hmm?” he replied, turning his gaze from the paper he was reading to her.

 

His gaze didn’t seem blank to her. It seemed normal, except for some reason, deep within his gaze, something felt off.

 

“Are you feeling alright?” she asked.

 

“Of course,” he said politely. “Why do you ask?”

 

“You just seem a little off lately,” she replied. “Is everything okay at work?”

 

He kept his gaze level, and without blinking or skipping a beat, he answered, “Everything is good at work. Why do you ask?”

 

His repeat of the ‘why do you ask?’ question seemed mechanical to her.

 

“I was just wondering if there was anything you wanted to tell me,” she said.

 

He only stared at her, saying nothing.

 

Then he shook his head and said, “Nothing I can think of.”

 

They stared at each other in silence, though Tiffany felt that she was the only one that was uncomfortable.

 

All of a sudden, he said, “I have to get to work”, stood up, and walked away.

 

Tiffany could only sit there and watch him as he walked out of the room and out the front door.

 

While at work, she was unsure if she should make a big deal out of Allen’s change in behavior. It wasn’t unusual for either one of them to go through different mood swings, but the way Allen was acting, it was almost as if he was slowly losing his ability to focus.

 

Concerned that it might be affecting his work, and to determine if he was only behaving this way with her, she decided to give him a call to see if his mood was any different.

 

She called his desk phone directly, but after several attempts over the span of an hour, she called the front desk receptionist, to see if he was in a meeting, or out on an appointment.

 

“I’m sorry, Tiffany,” the receptionist replied to her inquiry. “Allen quit a couple of days ago. I’m surprised he didn’t tell you.”

 

Panic started to fill Tiffany, but she decided to press on.

 

“Do you know if he was acting strange leading up to him quitting?” Tiffany asked.

 

“You know, now that you mention it,” she replied. “He has been acting off recently. I thought maybe he was just having some personal issues, but every time I asked him about it, he always said he was fine. Is everything alright, Tiffany?”

 

“I’m not sure,” Tiffany replied, and before the receptionist could ask any more questions, she hung up the phone.

 

Tiffany was at a crossroads. She instinctively wanted to confront Allen, and under normal circumstances, she would have, but the way he was behaving, she was concerned about the situation possibly exploding, with no one there to help her.

 

For the first time since she had known him, she was afraid of him.

 

She decided to act normal that evening and follow him to see where he was going every day, since she now knew he wasn’t going to work.

 

That night, she followed once again as he walked to the same spot in the field, stare up into the sky, and then walk home.

 

This time, when he left the spot in the field to walk back to the house, she stayed behind and stared up herself to see if she could see what he was looking at, if anything.

 

She didn’t see anything. It was just another beautiful night sky.

 

She went back to bed, though she found herself unable to sleep again. She knew the lack of sleep would catch up with her, but she promised herself a good night sleep if her body would just cooperate for just one more day.

 

The next morning, they sat at the breakfast table again, Allen staring at his newspaper, Tiffany staring at him.

 

Hoping to get a read off of him, she asked, “Anything special going on at work right now?”

 

His eyes briefly moved from the paper to her, and then back.

 

“Nothing special,” he replied. “Why do you ask?”

 

She was becoming frustrated. Something was definitely wrong with him, but she couldn’t get a read off him.

 

“No reason,” she lied. “I was just curious. You’ve been acting weird, and I was wondering if something was happening at work that was bothering you.”

 

If her probing was suspicious to him, he didn’t show it.

 

Just like the day before, he put down his paper, stood up, and walked out the front door as if he was heading to work.

 

She waited until she heard his car start, and then walked to the window. Once she was sure he couldn’t see her, she ran to her car, and began her pursuit.

 

Tiffany knew under normal circumstances, Allen, or anyone else, would have noticed her following them, but she was hoping that he was just as distant and unaware of his surroundings as he had seemed to be recently.

 

She followed him to an abandoned warehouse but turned a corner and parked out of sight as he came to a stop.

 

As stealthily as she could, she peaked around the corner of the warehouse she was parked at and saw him just in time to see him walk through a door.

 

There was a stack of crates near a window, so she climbed up, and slowly looked through to see what Allen was up to.

 

Allen was standing in the middle of the nearly empty warehouse. He was soon joined by four other gentlemen, all wearing suits.

 

As far as Tiffany could tell, all the men, including Allen were just staring at each other. None seemed to speak. It was all very odd.

 

Tiffany almost fell off the crates, when all of a sudden, all five men turned and stared right at her.

 

Panic sunk in, and she began to quickly climb down the crates. She knew she would be able to get to her car before Allen and the men were able to catch up to her.

 

Once at the bottom, she turned and found herself facing three more men in suits.

 

They stood there staring at her, but made no attempt to grab her. Slowly, she tried to inch her way past one of them. As she made contact with the one she was passing, he lifted his hand and grabbed her.

 

She began to struggle like an animal who found itself caught in a trap.

 

When she tried to cry out for help, the man that was holding her pinched the back of her neck with his other hand, and she instantly blacked out.

 

The blurriness began to fade, and she found herself lying on the ground in the corn field, staring up into the night sky. Her husband was the only one who was there with her.

 

Regaining her bearing, she slowly looked around, trying to understand what was happening.

 

“Allen,” she started, turning to face him. “What’s going on?”

 

Her mind began to race with a thousand questions.

 

“Who were those men?” she continued. “Why aren’t you at work? Why do you keep walking out here at night?”

 

Allen stood stationary, staring at her with half vacant eyes.

 

Another blatant fact entered her mind.

 

‘It’s night?’ she asked herself.

 

It was early morning when she had followed Allen, now it was the dead of night.

 

‘Have I been unconscious for over twelve hours?’ she thought, her mind struggling to catch up with what was happening.

 

She wanted to jump up and run, but her whole body ached. Her body felt like it had just gone twelve rounds with Mike Tyson, and she was barely able to move, much less jump up.

 

Allen continued to stare at her as she slowly lifted herself up.

 

“Thanks for the help, asshole,” she said, once she was standing. “I don’t know what is going on with you, but you’re scaring me.”

 

He only stared.

 

“I want to go back to the house and talk about what just happened,” she stated, though the longer she stood there, the more the sense of dread settled in.

 

Not getting a response from Allen, she attempted to walk past him.

 

He grabbed her, and shoved her back, causing her to trip over her own feet and fall to the ground.

 

Still terrified, she mustered all the strength she could, rolled onto all fours and began to crawl away from him.

 

Her body suddenly froze in mid stride, and though she could move her eyes, the rest of her body held the position of her failed attempt of escape.

 

Her eyes were filled with panic, and her muscles were burning with fatigue as she struggled to move.

 

Exhausted, she stopped struggling, and as if someone else was controlling her, she stood up and faced Allen once more.

 

She watched as he tilted his head up towards the sky. Immediately after, she found herself looking up into the sky as well.

 

A strange feeling began to envelope her as she felt an external pull, and she suddenly felt herself begin to float into the air.

 

She looked down only to see her body was still on the ground staring up at her. It was as if her soul was floating away as her body watched.

 

Still rising, she watched as her physical body dropped its gaze along with Allen, and they both began walking away towards their home.

 

She began to scream, but no sound came out.

 

Once she was so high, that she could no longer discern the house from the rest of the terrain, she looked up to see where she was floating to.

 

Her eyes doubled in size as an alien ship materialized above her.

 

She soon found herself floating within a transparent tube, staring at a strange looking alien, staring back at her with the same half vacant eyes as Allen.

 

She saw it push something on a control panel. She was instantly surrounded by light, and then she was gone.