Chained Reality

Life through the eyes of a writer.

Chained Reality is a collection of Stories and pieces written by me, Andrew Uphoff. Instead of blogging opinions, I've decided to use prose to make people think about their lives. If you like stories, here's your headquarters for works that make you think!

Land of the Ley-Lines - The Tale of Aric and Freya

The city of Freya was not always a bustling one. The fortified stone walls of the Drashiki Empire's capital city being built around the small farm town didn't take away from it's charm. The people loved the town, and the Emperor Ruarc Grimblade. How he came into the title was questionable, but the love he showed for his people was not. There was not a day that passed where Ruarc did everything he could to help those in need around him. Freya's heritage came from a rather interesting folk tale.

Located in a rather lush valley, Freya was surrounded entirely by prairies of tall grass and various herbivores scouring them. Small creeks flowed throughout the prairie with ponds forming between them. On either side of the valley was one of a pair of Greenweb trees. It was a strange natural phenomenon caused by the ley-lines intersecting at either sides of the valley. One massive tree, about fifty stories in height, with large green arrays of intricate vines that look like webs from the ground. 

Some say these two trees were a brother and sister, who had gotten lost amidst the vast tall grass and found their way to either side of the valley. The boy, Aric, was a stout boy of only twelve.  At a young age he had an appreciation for being hearty and well versed in the sword. When he was only seven his parents abandoned him and his four year old sister while they were hiking their way to the next town. In the morning, they woke up to find no sign of their parents or their belongings. All that was left was a small sack with some basic supplies for survival.

The girl, Freya, was always quite fragile. Though her brother raised her to become strong, she still had trouble finding herself appreciating being a strong woman. Nontheless, the separation from her brother when they got lost and she couldn't find him, had made her realize how independent she had already become. Still, she wanted to see her brother again. They both made their way to either side of the valley, doing what little they could to find a way to each other. 

They both managed to find their way to a massive tree, and climbed as high as they could until they had a clear view of the valley. Though the prairie was too large to see from either side, at least they could see a land mark they could use to try and reunite. Just as they had both decided to make their way to their old uncle's farm near a small creek in the valley, a massive burst of ley-energy erupted from the tree and consumed both of them. It was at that moment that the leaves turned into vines, and the trees grew to their impressive fifty story height. 

The uncle watched from the valley as the trees flashed bright blue and streaks of light erupted in the sky. Later that day, a traveler in peculiar clothing arrived at the man's farm and asked to purchase the land. The farmer agreed, and days later the very first house was built next to the farmer's. That was the day that the city of Freya had begun being built. It has been nearly a hundred and fifty years since this day. And even now, you can still see Aric and Freya watching silently over the valley. Occasionally glowing faintly on warm summer nights.

Four Oh... Four - This Means Something...

"All I have to do now is connect the motor and..." Reaching down to my freshly built quad-copter UAV, I connected a wire directly to the motor. It bypasses the usual safeties on small motors like this, so I could overclock it for a bit more speed from the rotors. That means steadier and quicker height control. Whirring came from the motor, and the small plastic blades all started to spin in sync with each other. 

It's a piece of art, really. It looks like a regular quad-UAV, but it had one slight difference. Not only did it have a fully rotational camera on both the top and bottom, but it also had a high quality miniature microphone that could filter out the reverberation coming from the blades for a pretty solid clear sound. Speakers around the bottom of the chassis let me broadcast any sounds I wanted from my phone. Like my voice, or a silly sound, or a bird call to lure out certain species of birds.

The sink is still running in the kitchen. My small apartment living room wasn't really the place to be building my masterpiece, but I didn't have much to work with. Most of my money went into the three-dimensional printer I bought to build it. That was a lot of my grant money for the lab though... Ah still! If this thing works the way I made it to, I'll be waving the patent in their faces and getting a partnership! 

Think of the uses! Probably the best part for me is seeing exactly how the AI reacts to change in stimulus, and how it will learn to scan it's surroundings more efficiently. Oh the glory of robotics! "Peter! Did you leave the sink on in the other room again?" Libby is my late wife's sister. Ah, little background might help I guess... I got married about four years ago to a very lovely woman by the name of Abigail Kingsly. Our two year anniversary was a very special one for both of us, in that I got a phone call, and she got in a terrible car accident.

Save the sob story though, I've heard it enough. Yes, real tragic, awful stuff. But life happens. I loved her, and still very much do, and that's all there is to it. Now I have Libby, her sister, though not in a romantic sense. I just live with her, since they were twins and Abby and I got along so well, naturally Libby and I did too. Only difference really, is that Abby had no issues dating a small person.

Yeah, I'm four foot five inches tall. It's not so bad really, I just have to find other tools to live life with. Hence, my invention here is an exploration drone. Long story short, I live with Libby now because it's hard to take care of some household stuff living alone. Anyway, I used to have a wife, I live with her sister now. Now that that's taken care of, let's get this faucet turned off.

Hopping with joy into the other room, I turned the faucet off. "Do you hear that Libby?" A moment of silence passed, and you could hear the motor and the blades from the drone. "Did you finally finish it?" She walked into the living room, a fit, solid girl in her mid thirties, much like me. Except she was average sized, and looked like she could literally throw me across the room. Strong girl would be an understatement. I hopped back into the living room with a grin right between my black goatee. 

"You're damn right I finished it! Now he just needs a name, and a test run. I think I know what I want to call him." Libby was all smiles on that pretty face of hers. Her blonde hair was tied in a bun behind her head, and she was wearing some comfortable lounge clothes. She wore some pretty intimate stuff sometimes. Told me that since she was twins with Abby, and I'd seen Abby naked plenty of times, it's not like she has anything to hide.

It's true, I guess. I'm still a man though, and that can be kind of problematic. "What's on your mind?" She leaned against the hallway wall, and watched it hover in the air for a moment. "Ed. For Exploration Drone. Pretty simple, but still a name. I think he's booting up his subroutines. I started the bootup process before I finished the rotors since I know it takes a good long time." I excitedly watched as it floated in the air, and Libby cocked her head to the side. "Ed huh? Not bad. Simple. I guess I can appreciate that."

Bootup Sequence Alpha is complete. Status: Charlie. 

Libby looked weirded out by the fact that it played it's status message in my voice. "What? Who else was supposed to record his status messages?" She nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I guess. That's pretty cool there Pete. What's it for again?" Checking my phone, I pulled up the status UI on the app that linked directly to Ed. It streamed it's camera and microphone data directly to my phone, which then bounced that data to a cloud on my desktop at home, and also a backup on my computer at work.

"It's an exploration drone! It's basically so I can just explore cities and parks and stuff and see what I wouldn't normally be able to see." It's easy to see why I'm excited about this right? Is that not something most people want? "So you're gonna use this thing in the city? What are you looking for? People hookin' up with the blinds open? That's a helluva lot of nerding out for a voyeur website startup." I couldn't help but laugh really hard at that. I know that's not what I'm using it for. In fact, I had never even thought that it could be used for something like that.

I guess it could. "No, I built it so I could see your 'hot yoga' sessions out in the city with that guy Terry you keep telling me does such a great class. I've been meaning to get down there but it's just such a hassle, so I built a robot that could be there in my stead while I stream it here and take the class in the privacy of my own home. Genius, no?" That one caught her off guard. We have this thing, where we try to say the least sensible answer we can think of. We've gotten good at it.

"I gotta admit, you had me going with the quoted 'hot yoga' sessions. Thought you were insinuating something else. Which hey, you're a smart guy. Maybe one day you'll learn what some of this subtle talk about hooking up is all about. That is, if your nerdiness doesn't keep you from developing anxiety over the subject." Ouch. That one dug deep. "You're mean. That was a low blow and you know it. Are we really gonna play this dirty?" 

"Like pigs rolling in the mud." Oh, she's feeling feisty today. "Ah, no wonder you're so good at it. You've been doing that for a while now I suppose. I'm still new to this, so thanks for holding my hand with it." That one hit pretty good. "No problem. I'm used to holding your hand too, by the way." She turned around with a smirk on her face, and slapped her toned butt with her hand. "Oh wow. That is a new low." She just laughed, and I realized I set myself up again so bad she didn't even have to say it.

Oh god. At least I have Ed. Wait, where did Ed go? I hear the whirring, but he's not here anymore. Did I miss him go off on his first exploration? He's in the kitchen probably! Rushing into the kitchen, I found Ed hovering above the sink. The camera was scanning the counter, but it kept getting stuck on the faucet. What's wrong buddy? Pulling out my phone, I could tell that the faucet position was causing it to glitch and have to re-scan the entire counter again for a proper picture.

Except it was in an infinite loop because it kept hitting the faucet snag each time. Moving the faucet head so it centered between the sinks, Ed finally got to finish his scan. He started to move back out towards the living room, but instead I made him land on the kitchen counter and shut down. I had to review the programming for the faucet handle and figure out what caused the glitch before I moved on, considering if he wanted to really explore he couldn't have snags like that.

He's still in development stage, and there's lots of kinks to work out, but once I get him fully calibrated he'll be able to show me some pretty awesome corners of the world. So let's see here... First I'll review the footage, see where it glitched, and go from there. 

In Between Moments - The Strangeness of Quiet

It's strange. This quiet calm. It's like a momentary reprieve from what our lives have become. Explosions. Gun fire. Men shouting out orders. I live in a war zone. Why are people fighting here? I honestly can't tell you. I don't fight for either side, I just live here. My home land has become ragged and worn down, if not destroyed in many places. Asphalt lay littered in the streets, along with the garbage both sides bring. Explosions from either side have torn holes in our favorite restaurants. Have made us find another grocery store to provide food for our families. And even made our families find other ways to educate and keep our kids safe during the day. 

Despite the destruction, there is peace yet to be found here. In moments like this. Where regardless of the reasons, both sides cease to destroy. Here I sit, in my bullet ridden car, trying to get into town to pick up groceries on the safer side of town. Everyone is quiet. No one says a word. Why? Because it's not often we get quiet like this. The serene stillness of the air. Hearing with wind blow, without the smell of gunpowder. It's strange, but it's moments like these that keep us going. The hope that our lives may once again return to the normal quiet. Watching the trees slowly sway in the breeze, and actually hearing the clatter of leaves.

Hearing a stranger on the side walk crinkle a bag as they walk home from the store. A couple enjoying small talk on their door steps, while the rest of us just enjoy the peace. We all know it will continue again, and perhaps that's for the best. Perhaps there is a reason there is fighting here, perhaps there isn't. Regardless of the reasons, this is what we have for the moment. Peace and quiet. And perhaps all that fighting, all that destruction and loss, is exactly the reason we appreciate that peace and quiet. I know our struggles are more directly life threatening than most. But the concept is the same.

We do not appreciate the peace and quiet without the chaos and the noise. So while the breeze still blows, and the quiet still remains, I will enjoy it. Because I know once the fighting begins again, we will not have the time to look back on this moment until we have another like it again. Thank you moment. While you may be a small shred of peace in between all the chaos, I will appreciate you regardless.

Four Oh... Four

We live in the age of robots. How awesome is that? Except there was such a huge artificial intelligence scare and it's outlawed across the globe. Something about "They'll wreak havoc and cause deaths rampant!". Or some such bull shit. Personally, I said to hell with this law. I think it's a load of bunk. As far as I know I'm the only one to really think that though.

So one day, I was tinkering with an old airborne drone of mine and thought: Why don't I just write an algorithm that makes it look for other potential points of interest based on wind conditions and visual stimuli? It's that simple. I didn't program him to be anything other than a way to explore the world with my own actions. I didn't expect it to be such a big thing.

Yeah, there was a lot of chaos, havoc, rampant death. But if what I've seen is true, it was never the robots doing the killing. They weren't programmed for that and no one wanted to program them for that anyway. But there was still killing. No one seems to know why. Hive mind? Maybe. Anarchy? Nah. The real problem is humanity wasn't ready to accept what artificial intelligence would do to it.

My friend taught me one thing in all this, and that's that robots are a natural part of progression in cosmic life. Because while the robots may start out cold, emotionless, and only capable of us telling them what we want them to do. But artificial intelligence reiterates the fact that our lives are accumulations of our choices. Humanity didn't want to accept the fact that there's no greater force making them act like dick holes.

There's no voice in the head of the masses telling them to commit immoral acts upon their fellow humans. They can't handle the idea that it was just them being dicks. That's all humanity has ever been on the broad scale. Being dicks about it. God forbid we just accept that our nature isn't perfect and we're designed to love chaos...

That's still not what I wanted though. I didn't want anyone to get hurt. That being said I'd still do it all regardless. I gained far too much out of it. What did I gain?

I gained a friend.

Forming A System - Ydlrgrad

"Where is this place Dokk? I've never seen such purposeful structures." Such symmetrical lines used in the mud bricks. The placement of the crystals seem almost... Strategic. Half-Sphere shaped buildings are definitely not a characteristic of Pangean structures. Not to mention, each building appears to have some kind of connection directly to the planet. 

One has vines growing across the top of it, but not over the small ornate windows. This particular one appears to have tree roots growing through the mud bricks. Does it go into the inside of the house as well? "This is Yldrgrad! Isn't it cool? There is a lot to be learned here before I meet with the person I want to see." I'm still not used to this yet. Dokk seems to be nice enough, but I can't quite understand it's motives. 

The Pagan clans have never been one to be friendly towards Pangeans, especially officials. So whomever he is looking for will most likely cause us a lot more trouble than I think Dokk realizes. "Who exactly do you want to see? Pagans don't take very well to Pangeans." Running my hand over the brick, it felt a lot sturdier than mud brick should feel. I manifested a steel spanner from my inventory modifier and tapped the brick with it.

Not even a scratch or dent. There is definitely ley-manipulation in these structures. "That seems to be the case most of the time. But as you know well, not all hold grudges for past ordeals. In fact, the one I'm looking for is a Justiciary himself! His name is Hurst, and he is one of three triplets that were born of this tribe. So, it's only natural that I should seek to understand his culture before meeting him."

Dokk looked intently at the structures. He seems to be noting things about their layout outside, and how they connect with the oak trees growing around them. Strange, that oak would grow here. Someone must have migrated saplings in order to populate the planet. What kind of effect did that have on the eco-system I wonder? "If he's a Justiciary then shouldn't you know where he is?" This doesn't make much sense. What is he looking for? Just some talking points for when he meets this person? Seems a bit excessive to me...

"I never said I don't." Good point. Still, I don't know what this is helping. "So what do you hope to gain from being here?" This thing certainly is interesting if nothing else. Opening the slanted door to the home, he stepped inside before answering me. I could hear him starting to talk, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. I had to walk a few paces over and step inside the home with vines lining it.

"That's why." The inside was a lot more spacious than I thought. Stairs led down, which indicated that they actually dug their homes into the ground rather than built above it. That must have required a lot more work, and left the only sunlight entering from the windows in the ceiling. Although the crystals inside provided ample lighting.

I'm not sure why this surprised me, but the inside was decorated. The walls were lined with a light yellow colored wall painted over a smooth surface, and there were crystals and paintings lining the walls. There were doors that led into other rooms, which no doubt led down even farther considering the spacial restrictions. It certainly makes a lot more sense as to the way the homes were set up outside. "Rey?"

I spaced again. "Ah, yes. Sorry, I missed what you said. What are you looking for here?" Dokk sighed looking at me. Oh come on you can't blame me for being curious! "Because I'm curious! I would like to know more about his culture! It's truly fascinating the way it differs from Pangean culture which relies so heavily on technology." Oh. Well, aren't I just a regular ass? "I guess that makes sense... Maybe a better question would be why is this Hurst a person of interest for you?" 

His smile was a little off-putting for some reason. Maybe it was because it was Douglas' smile, but I knew it wasn't him. It also didn't help that he was still dressed as a Justiciary. He was looking through a small end-table, and found a slip of paper. I wonder what was on it? I guess I could go over and take a look. "He is interesting because of this." Holding up the piece of paper, Dokk grinned like a fool.

The paper was actually a picture on what appeared to be papyrus. How they managed the kind of detail on papyrus that you would find on a film paper is beyond me. The picture was of three children, one boy, and two girls. They couldn't have been more than twelve years old. All three of them had traditional pagan ritual robes on, no doubt signifying their coming of age ceremony. All three had red hair, but the girl with a wide grin on her face had a light red with freckles across her face.

She definitely seemed different than the other two, even if the differences were minimal. "This is who I'm looking for. The boy in that picture is Hurst. Brother of two sisters, Lydia and Yaria." The boy looked serious, with an obvious fake smile on his face. The other girl was smiling in a sweet manner, but obviously fake as well. Well, I guess that's interesting information. Only one of them was innocent somehow. 

"Which one is she? She looks interesting." Dokk looked at the picture again, and lost his smile. "That's Lydia I think. What little I do know of this family, she was an interesting one too, but Hurst definitely has a lot more to offer me." 

The Last Life to Live

Name's Wayne. I'm just a simple guy, looking for something so complex you can't possibly comprehend the nature of it's existence. If there is a purpose to it, it's a cosmic joke. Someone, somewhere is laughing at my pain. My suffering. Glowing bright red it can attach itself to any surface and move about with a speed that doesn't seem natural. I feel like it's haunted me in past lives... And will continue to haunt me until the day I die.

It's been on my mind a lot more than normal lately. Something just doesn't feel right. Bruce has been distant as of late... Can't say I blame her. Someone who is so obsessed with something they may never be able to obtain can't possibly be healthy to be around. Maybe that's why I feel more stressed than normal. Haven't had my gal at my side when I need her most.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Bruce is a girl? Well you can't blame her for the name her crazy mother gave her. Needless to say once she could get out of that house she did. No need to keep ties with people who seem hellbent on making your life infinitely more difficult. What are parents for though, right? I need something to calm my nerves. 

Standing up from my desk I know what I need the most. A glass of warm milk. It isn't just a bedtime tradition for me. It was the only way for me to relax without having Bruce around. There's just something about it that calms the soul. Relaxes you. Or maybe that's just me. My office is a mess. I may want to think about cleaning it up.

But when you're so obsessed with finding out as much as you can about the red,  cleanliness isn't exactly on your mind. Papers are strewn out across the floor, marked with sightings of the red. The boxes I had kept them in are all empty and lining the room. It's been appearing more and more lately, and not just to me. It seems like it's been haunting the entire town. Even Jerry, the town rat has been getting grief from it.

Walking through the papers was difficult without disturbing them. So much for being a professional detective. I'm not sure if having so much research material out like this is seen as a sign of a thorough job, or insanity. Either way, people still seem to keep coming through to find what they're looking for. No matter what that may be. A lost toy, a lost love, and even their lost sanity.

I may not be a psychologist, but sometimes people just need someone to talk to. It's all the same to me. I still help them find what they're looking for, even if that's just peace of mind. The kitchen was filthy. Coffee stains on the counter, crumbs all over the floor, and dishes piled up in the sink. Do I at least have a clean glass for milk? Looking around this dinky kitchen didn't take me long to find something to use. It wasn't a real glass, so much as it was a coffee mug.

It all works out in the end. Opening the fridge made me realize even more of how obsessed I've been about all this. There's nothing in it but some butter, old vegetables, and various condiments. Not even an old milk bottle to be found. With a sigh, I realized that I needed to go visit Bruce. I want to see her anyway, but I don't want her to feel like I'm just using her. Either way, I need something to calm my nerves.

Closing the fridge, I heard a knock on the door. I'm not expecting any appointments today, and I don't get many walk-ins. I suppose it's best to not keep them waiting. Walking out of the kitchen and into the main room, there she was standing and waiting for me like she always used to. Bruce was a beautiful dame, the kind you could sit on the couch with and cuddle all day.

"Hey Sugar, need some company?" She's definitely a class act. "How'd you know? I was just about to come over to see you." My smile must have revealed how relieved I was to see her, because her smile turned to a grin. She pulled her arm out from behind her back to reveal a fresh bottle of milk. Bruce always knew what it is I wanted. "Care for a drink?" Batting her eyelashes was always my weakness. Even if I wasn't in the mood to be with her I would still be putty in her hands.

"If you're offering, I certainly won't say no to a drink with such a class act." That one made her giggle and blush, just like it always did. Oh how I had missed this girl. I had to clear off some papers from the love seat in order to find space for us to sit. Taking the bottle of milk from her, I offered her a seat. She sat so gingerly on the couch it reminded me of all the fun times we've had.

"I'll be right back sweetheart, don't you go anywhere!" She smiled at me, but her eyes were glancing across the room at all the papers. "Don't worry about those doll, it's work for a client. He's lookin for the same thing I am." I could hear her shift on the couch. "What's he looking for?" The indignance in her voice told me she's still wary about the red.

"Answers." Best to leave it vague. Don't need her thinking I'm in too deep. Going into the kitchen made me realize I can't hand a pretty lady a drink in an old coffee mug. I gotta get some glasses clean. Washing two glass cups didn't take long, especially since I had to set the milk in a pan to warm it up. "So how have you been Bruce? I haven't seen you in a while."

There was some hesitation, which is never a good sign. "Trying to stay sane. How about you?" Ouch. This kitty's got claws. "I'd like to say I'm doing the same but I don't think you'd believe me even if I said it." Let's just get it out in the air I guess. She's obviously here for a reason. "You're right, I wouldn't believe you considering all of this you've got lying around." She sounds angry, but I think we can get past this.

"It's for a client. What do you want me to tell you?" Pouring the milk into the glasses, I turned to go back into the main office. Except she was standing in the doorway to the kitchen. "I want you to tell me that you're going to give up on this red thing and come back to me. Don't forget who it was that ended it in the first place." Was that me? I could have swore she ended it. Considering her words were It's either me or this red thing!.

"You're right. But sometimes you gotta find truth in your life doll. There's nothing wrong with chasing a dream." The look on her face went from angry to sad. "I know... But I want you to wake up. And live in the real world. With me Sugar." She walked tenderly over to me and touched my face. Looking into those fierce eyes I couldn't help but wonder if what I was chasing was the right thing.

"I do live in the real world darling. Sometimes the real world is crazy, and that's just the part of life I'm stuck in. The red won't go away just because I pretend it's not there." A tear streaked down her soft face. It's hard to see such a sweet girl in so much pain. Love isn't an easy thing to understand. "If that's how you really feel..." I put the glasses of milk on the counter behind me, and grabbed her shoulders.

"Do you honestly think I can't chase this and love you at the same time Bruce? I do love you doll, but it seems like you can't handle me being a man of ambition." Her eyes watered even more, and she started crying completely. Digging her head into my chest I waited for her to calm down. The milk was cold again by the time she had finished. "Wayne, I know you can! But it scares me! What if something were to happen to you! This is dangerous, and I can't... I can't stand the thought of losing you!"

Her tears swelled up again. "Life is dangerous doll. You can't shy away from what you want just because you're afraid. You gotta reach out there and take it!" That seemed to do something to calm her. She looked into my eyes, and I couldn't help myself. A kiss was exactly what we both wanted, so we did. It was long, and sweet. I missed this feeling. Looking down at her after made me realize I truly did love this woman.

I don't want to lose her either, but I still can't shy away from the truth about the red. That's when something came out of the corner of my eye. It moved so fast, and was so bright. There was no mistake. That was the red. She saw the look in my eyes and stepped back. "Please! No! Don't go Wayne!" She cried out at the top of her lungs, but it still couldn't sway me. I had to find it.

Dashing out of the kitchen towards the door, I ignored the papers on the ground. They scattered beneath my feet and flew around the room. Once I opened the door my suspicions were confirmed. The red was waiting for me outside in the street. Laying flat on the ground in the middle of the intersection, while the cars stopped to gaze at it. I made a run for it, trying to make it to the red before it disappeared again.

I can hear it laughing. Cackling at my pain, my suffering and my inability to end this. I will end it. I will find out what it is! In usual fashion, once I reached it it had moved out of the way at the last moment as I pounced on it. The corner of my eye revealed it was now trailing itself along a line of cars parked on the side of the street. I had to get it and end this!

Chasing it down the street, it managed to always stay one step ahead of me. Moving from car to car, jumping onto the street and onto the sides of buildings. Whatever this thing was it didn't live by our rules! But I had to try and stop it! There it was. It had stopped in the middle of the street again. Sitting still and ready to be taken. This time, I wanted to catch it by surprise. Hiding behind a car for a moment, I decided to make my move.

I jumped on it, and knew it didn't have time to move out of the way this time. I knew I had it. This time, it hadn't gotten away. It was right below me, and I could just barely make it out. I had never actually caught it before. It didn't stay too long, and it didn't feel like I was even holding anything. But this time, I could hear the real laughing. The universe was cackling at me. Laughing at my pain... My suffering... Why?... Why?!... WHY?!


"Come on Kenzie, time for dinner!" A little girl, short and blonde was holding a small laser pointer while a black and white cat ran around and dashed at it. She let it catch the small red dot on the floor between her brother's toy car sets he was playing with and the plastic mat to make it look like driving in the city. The cat looked down at the mat and then back around at the cars frantically.

"Oh Wayne! You're so funny! Bruce where are you? Mom why doesn't Bruce like playing with the laser pointer?" A tall woman with an apron peeked her head into the living room with a smile on her face. "I don't know honey. Maybe we can find out after dinner. So come on or your food will get cold!" The little girl dropped the pointer and stood up enthusiastically. "Ok momma!"

Another black and white cat came over to the one hurdled on top of the mat, and began to purr while it rubbed up against it. They both walked away from the mat, and jumped up onto the couch and lay next to each other.


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