Author : J.R.Blackwell, Staff Writer

When I was eleven, I tried to kill myself after seeing an old movie. In the film, a man cut his wrists with bits of mirror and then held them under steaming hot water. At his funeral, people piled flowers on his grave. Everything in the film was grey but that pile of flowers.

I thought it looked so cool.

I was eleven and an only child. I never had so much as a dog to play with. My mother was working on a Doctorate in French film of the early 2020’s and didn’t have a lot of time for me. I tried to break my mirror in my room, but pounding on it did nothing except slam the back of my dresser against the wall. The noise caused my mom to come upstairs.

“Why are you making this racket?” She asked, smoking her cancer-free strawberry cigarettes.

“Just exercising.” I said. Behind my mirror, the plaster was starting to crumble.

“Are you trying to break your dresser?” She laughed, crossing her arms in front of her. My mother looked a lot like a chicken, skinny legs and beady eyes. “Good luck, the thing is child-proof, wail on it all you want.”

Everything in my room was childproofed. Even when I went to stab myself by running and jumping, stomach first, on my bedpost, it just turned to foam and bent beneath me. If I was going to kill myself, I needed some adult tools. I went to the kitchen, where my mother kept all the kitchen implements she bought and never used. There was a block of knives in the kitchen, and I brought out the largest one and scraped it across my palm. It flickered blue and spoke in a friendly, female voice.

“Oops! Be more careful when you are cutting!” it said. When I moved it across my flesh, it was soft as cotton. I threw it on the floor.

I don’t think I wanted to die out of any morbid curiosity or self-hatred. I think I just wanted to be raised by my Grandmother. Grandma Loretta had lived with mom and I until she died at the age of ninety-three. I was eight years old when she died. I remember mother saying that she wasn’t gone, just sleeping until she could wake up again on the Network.

She was one of the first people to get her consciousness uploaded into the Network. When she was alive, she would play dolls or blocks or immersion games with me. I would always win our games. Grandma Loretta never seemed hurt or angry that a child won playing against her. She would just giggle, putting a winkled hand over her pocked face. Later I learned that this was due to dementia, her organic mind slipping away. When she was uploaded, she chastised my mother for keeping her in the organic body for so long.

I thought that if I died, I might get flowers thrown at me and then Grandma Loretta would raise me on the Network. Grandma Loretta seemed to have lots of free time. She was always going to parties, making experimental art environments, and conducting science experiments. When I sent her voice messages on the Network she would get back to me in seconds.

“Things move faster here,” she would say. On the Network, she had built her own virtual house with large white pillars and flowering ivy. She sent me pictures of the place that she had built with her new boyfriend. The pictures of the both of them almost looked real, just a little too perfect, a little too smooth. I knew if I died, I could go live with them, where things moved faster.

I drank every cleaning fluid in the house, but all I got were hiccups.
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