Where Will I Keep My Socks?

“My ottoman disappeared.”


“Yeah, it’s just gone—like an open wound in my living room.”

“So you’re saying you wish they took the rug instead?”

I put down my cup. Staring behind Sara’s shoulder and across the café, my eyes catch the same lush trees being brushed by the same light breeze like a thousand spring mornings before this one. Yet, for the first time, I feel queasy. The untouched scone on my plate looks as tantalizing as the croissant yesterday, the brownie before that, and then back to the scone again. The “normal” spring mornings were how things have been for eons. Not like today. Not like this.

“Are you going to eat that?” Sara asks. Her voice says concern but her eyes are screaming mmm, buttery scone.

I pass it over, and in a flash, another re-appears on my plate.

“Ah, I never get tired of that.” Sara grins.

I look up at her. “The thing is, obviously, no one broke in. How could they?”

“And it was just the ottoman? Nothing else? You didn’t hear or see anything?” Sara is finally grasping the oddness of the situation in between bites.

“It doesn’t make any sense—things can’t just disappear.”

“Right, at least not like furniture or whatever.” Sara grabs another scone and refuses to acknowledge me. The morning devolves into a silent latte-sipping contest.


The note on my apartment door feels strange in between my fingers. I think I forgot about paper. Such a long time since I received mail, flyers or a bill. Part of me misses the feel but I can’t focus on it too much—I could be inundated with coupons and letters from strangers as a result. Don’t want to stray from the basic joys and comforts if there’s a glitch spreading.

I shut my eyes and pass through the apartment entryway. My living room forms around me, the ottoman still gone and the note on my door suitably crumpled by my grip.

Dear Tenant,

We are sorry that you are experiencing accommodation difficulties. Rest assured that your safety is our top priority and our ascension facility’s adjustment team has determined that the reported: Ottoman disappearance was do to a(n): External malfunction. Your issues are very important to us and will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Best Regards,

The Ascension Accommodations Team

I burrow into the couch and turn over the phrase “External Malfunction.”  No one can enter without my invitation, just like every other complex.  Nothing else was taken or moved. Almost like it was never here to begin with. It would have to be outside Ascension. If it was a rival community they have to inform us—like when Rise Consolidation Accommodations was bought by Ascension, and before Rise there was the battle for Apexa Heights Burrows. I enjoyed the Burrows. It was both freeing and more cost effective. No template housing, no cafés and parks running on a loop. No endless breakfast. When you got something, it was yours until it was gone. Just like how it used to be. The Burrows were for people who remembered the value of a fresh warm cookie or a walk that doesn’t end based on a thought.


“Welcome to the Ascension Accommodations guest helpline, a representative will be with you shortly.”

How is this still a feature? If I can wish myself into a first-class jet or on the mountains of Machu Picchu, why do I still have to wait on hold? Ridiculous. This wouldn’t’ve happened in the Burrows. There were no complaint lines. Things just were. Someone fancied breaking into your apartment? It rarely happened, but when it did, things would be destroyed but the perp would always be caught. And it would teach you something about leaving your door or window open all day. If something tasted bad, you’d appreciate it when something was good. You felt good.

“Ma’am? Are you still there?”

“Yes, I’m here. I’ve been on hold for over two hours. I get that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket, but still.”

“I’m really sorry ma’am, sorry for the trouble. It’s just that, well…”


“Your case file, there’s no solution. We have no control over external errors.”

“What do you mean? What is an external error?”

“Umm, I can’t discuss that with a guest, unfortunately.”

“Why not? Don’t you have to? Since I am a guest with an obvious issue: my bed disappeared. That doesn’t just happen.”

“Right, I understand that Ma’am, and rest assured we are working on it.”

“You just said there was nothing you could do, and please stop calling me ma’am. Can you just tell me something, anything? Is this a complex-wide issue, can I fix it somehow? I mean, I live here. You have to help me.”

“The only thing I can recommend is to look through your move-in guide. It says on file you are part of the enhareded community but I believe the older living systems have pamphlets as well. Even that’s a little out of my bounds but no one here knows what—uh… rest assured, we’ll take care of it.”

I miss when phones used to click. Voices and people pop up and then disappear at will. It makes things awkward if both people aren’t in sync. Not in the half-a-torso-running-around-your-kitchen kind of way but in the “I hope they want to leave as much as I want them to leave” way. I don’t know how many times Sara’s told me via chat that it’s rude to just bounce someone back home. It’s her fault though. She never wants to leave.

I spend the rest of the night uselessly trying to find guidelines, a manual, some welcome letter… I couldn’t even picture what it looked like.

The Extrational Afterlife? Digitising Your Destiny? What are these?”

“What’s what?”

“These books.”

As I flip through Digitising Your Destiny, something falls onto the fake hardwood, coating what’s left of my living room.

Fellow Burrows Buddy,

We are being robbed. Our real things, our memories. They said it would be safe to lock them away. To bury our lives like the Egyptians of old, but they never said for how long. Never said what would happen if someone found our possessions, our bodies. You have to—

The Ascension Accommodations Team has flagged this communication as inappropriate. For your convenience it has be altered and extringuisted. Rest assured, your issues are very important to us and will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Do not be alarmed.

Best Regards,

The Ascension Accomodations Team

I speed through the texts and anything else I can get my hands on, wondering what will disappear next. My body—my real body. Still around, decomposing who knows where. How could I have forgotten myself so easily. Forgotten that what separates the Burrows from the other digital upload facilities is that the generated content is based off of their client’s real lives, real possessions. Supposedly protected somewhere.

I don’t remember when the Burrows disappeared. How long I’ve been here. I didn’t need time. But now…  Ascension is entirely cloud-based, circular motioned environments, repetitive outfits, familiar faces. When the Burrows was absorbed, did it take our body schematics up into the cloud with everyone else or leave us behind like the objects we surround ourselves with? Is this truly the end?


I wake up on the couch and can’t feel my toes.  The tears start to fall but I can’t feel those either. Just see the wet spots drop and then sink into the fabric.

Would anyone hear it if I said goodbye?