Escape from Reality?

This one is the story of Grace Harrow, who lives in isolation following a pandemic which keeps her from leaving her home. Follow Grace as she struggles with the question of is this happening, or is it all in her head, and the choices she makes along the way.

There comes this moment in isolation that you start to wonder if this is happening. Has the world really gone crazy, or have you. For me, it was five weeks into the two week lock down that I started to wonder.

For the first three weeks I lived on what I had in the house, but when we got word that it was going to be extended again I put in a huge grocery order on-line. Mostly perishables, and I took the boxes and boxes of jars I had collect for the sole purpose of canning and got to work.

I think that was my first hint it might not have been real. When the groceries were delivered by a woman, no mask, that had no problems accepting cash from my bare hands. She didn’t carry sanitizer, and seemed to think that I was crazy for my goggles.

Week 5 I got my second delivery, this time contact-less, and I looked out at all the people on the street, laughing playing, and I wondered. What was going on? Was this happening or in my head? I didn’t know who I could call , what would I even say, I think I am going crazy, is there a pandemic or is it in my head?

I tried to keep in normal, kept my gaming schedule, continued my virtual meet ups, and a part of me wondered if I was insane. There was a history of schizophrenia on my mother’s side and I was starting to suspect that this was how is started.

The problem I faced was simple and yet incredibly complex. If I was having a break with reality, then my senses were lying to me, and I couldn’t trust anything I heard or saw, in which case I had no way of verifying that this wasn’t real, and I was essentially trapped like this.

If I were sane, that this is happening, and I have not way of verifying that, because things would seem just as real as if I were insane, because of the reasons I already stated. There was quite literally no way to be sure what was going on.

If I had close friends or family, they would have come to visit me if this were not real, because there was no lock-down, and they would have already helped me seek assistance for my delusions. As it was, my parents were long dead, my foster family cut ties at 18, and I had moved hours away from my home for a job, that went remote working a year into my contract, and I didn’t have the funds to go back.

So I was here, alone, and maybe insane, so I did what anyone would do. I started keeping a journal. For three long years, I kept the journal, documenting this, my questioning of my sanity, the noises I heard in the night, all of it.

Then I spent a year alternating between rewriting it the third person giving the main character a different name, editing it, and journaling my continued experience, now directly in the third person. When I was done, I sent it to an agent, two years after that it was published. Six months later the second “installment” was edited and sent off. It took another two years to publish, and it was only after I sent out the third installment that I finally got the courage to look up my first book, and read the reviews.

I knew it was somewhat popular, based on the royalties, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of feedback on my favorite bookkeeping sites. I read about 20 before I read the one that made my call for an emergency appointment .

“Author Grace Harrow spins a story about a woman questioning her own mind. Though the story is compelling and well written I find it a bit hard to swallow that someone could live three years thinking there was a pandemic going on in todays world. It is however an interesting take on modern society, showing how the increase in reliance on convenience and technology has led to a world where someone could live for years without any in person interaction, and the impact that kind of isolation has on the human brain.

The one flaw I find with this, and maybe it will be answered by the sequel that has been announced, is that we never find out if the main character Kathy is actually mentally ill ,or this is an “alternative present” where the world is plunged into a pandemic like the Spanish flu of the 1920’s. With one sequel in print, and another teased, it’s likely that we won’t find out for some time to come.”

It seems I finally had my answer, nine years and three books of isolation, a world famous author, and I was in fact, just crazy.

This is actually a short story of a book I tried to write for Nanowrimo a few years back. By a few years back I mean like in 2015, before I had any idea that we would actually have a pandemic. In the book it did end up being real, but based on modern events I decided to take the alternate route in the short story.


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