Howling wolves by the hundreds ran furiously towards Ruth. They came from the woods to the west of the mansion, enabling her a bit of a head start, though undeniably useless. As Ruth ran she turned her head back but the girl had again vanished. Ruth’s feet picked up speed, almost taking flight just as Divinity had taken them.
She has gone so fast and so far that there was no need to continue as the wolves stopped their hunt. Ruth was neither tired nor out of breath. As she collected her thoughts, she realized she had come across row after row after row of people asleep on cots, hooked up to an IV drip. She was completely and utterly overwhelmed and terrified. There has never been a nightmare of wolves and on top of that seeing so many humans uploaded into the program when she was told it was just Embryo.
Ruth began looking for herself among the hundreds of sedated participants. She walked up and down the rows, seeing faces young and old, and of all races. A voice was heard, a familiar one that she felt in her very soul. It was Divinity and she was calling Ruth to come to where she stood.
“You’ve delved deeper than anyone has ever before. No one has ever discovered Fallopia Fields and all those that sleep.” Divinity came close to Ruth. She put her arm around Ruth’s waist and pulled her against her own body.
Ruth cried out. “Who are you! And where am I?”
“I am the creator of The Womb. I am the one who gave Embryo the choice between old age and sudden death. In its early stages, I took him on as an apprentice of sorts. He helped design certain elements of The Womb, under my watch of course. But he began bringing in the most unethical practices.. using people, reconstructing their very personalities and gaining financially. I clipped him and he’s never gotten over it.”
Ruth looked impatient. “I don’t know if I even care as much as I should. Frankly, getting out of here is my only priority. I conquered my ocean dream. Where is the compensation? Why am I going deeper and these aren’t even my dreams?!”
Divinity put her finger to her lips. She took Ruth by the hand and led her to the next bed. A woman lie there. Old, heavily wrinkled and pale blue. Her eyes were closed. She wasn’t drawing air. “This is you, my dear.”
Ruth frantically studied the woman, pulling down her blouse to find a matching birth mark on her neck. “How can I be dead?!! What is going on?”
“Most of these are dead. They live in my dreams as themselves though I never see them. It is my gift to the participants.. an eternal life after all, just, in their dreams via mine for they no longer can dream.”
Ruth dropped Divinity’s hand. “And I am amongst them? Used then discarded?”
“No, no. You are different. You lie here dead, yes but you have so much to learn. Take my hand, Ruth.” Divinity reached out both her hands. “Take your place within me. Take up the crown!”