It was almost completely silent in the dark dining room, and the only sounds that could be heard were the occasional cars crunching down the road whose surface was dusted in salt and snow outside, and the sporadic clicking of the keys of a slightly new computer. Yes, there was a computer, and it was on, and the screen illuminated the soft face of a teenaged girl, the pale blue light glistening off the tears that rolled down her cheeks like dew. She sat there typing...waiting...reading..then typing again.

This computer was her only link to the outside world, and she knew it. She was very tired of her cramped life, but had to stick it out for a few more months...just a few more was always just a few more. Through this link that she had obtained, she spoke to her love. The internet wasn't so bad, as everyone thought. Sure, there were rapists and pedophiles and homicidal maniacs...but aren't those kind everywhere? Don't they lurk in the deepest corners of human imagination? People say, "Why risk your life by chatting in a fake room with fake people?" but then again...why risk your life by living? If you're going to risk something, and just by living you default to risk, why not risk big? That is what Katiri thought and that is what she believed and no one could change her. Not even the newspapers.

She sighed and broke the silence in the house, and it startled her. She sat there and stared at the tiny window that conveyed ideas back and forth from her to Jake and back again. Her fingers grew cold from the typing; it happens after a long time. It was as if her fingers were tired of hitting key upon key and just tried to stop working...or maybe it was just bad circulation on Katiri's part. Either way, her hands were cold. But what relevance does that have, anyway?

*Katiri has logged on 1-17-03, 11:45 PM EST, using Heaven's Gate Server to #CastleEclipse.

*Jake has logged on 1-17-03 11:47 PM EST, using BladesEdge Server to #CastleEclipse.

Jake: "I know I lied."

Kat: "I know you did too...and I know you're not sorry."

Jake: "How can you possibly know that?"

Kat: "I do know you, after I can say what I know."

Jake: "You don't know me."

Kat: "Don't I? I've spoken to you for so long now...I can't remember when I didn't."

Jake: "I'm just words on a screen...flat and do know that, don't you? The internet is just words on a screen."

Kat: "I know...but there are people behind those words."

Jake: "And how do you know that? I could be a clever program Gates designed to make internet look like it works, but maybe it doesn't."

Kat: "I know that I'm not a program, so maybe you're not one either."

Jake: "Yes, no, maybe so. Maybe you're not Katiri after all...maybe you're Katiri.exe and you're not a person."

Kat: "But I am a person...I have feelings and heart."

Jake: "Programs can simulate feelings and hearts."

Kat: "I have a shadow."

Jake: "Computers have shadows."

Kat: "I know that...but I also know that my shadow is person-shaped."

Jake: "Do I have a shadow?"

Kat: "How can I answer that?"

Jake: "You can answer by looking into yourself and determining whether or not you think I am real. Do I have a shadow?"

Kat: "Yes, you have a shadow. I'm going to bed now."

Jake: "Then I'll say goodnight."

Kat: "Goodnight."

*Katiri has logged off 1-18-03, 12:32 AM EST.

*Jake has performed an illegal action and will be terminated. If problem persists, please contact system administrator.

*Jake.exe has logged off 1-18-03, 12:33 AM EST.

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