The woman I'm sitting next to is a complete stranger - a stranger I've known for more than 20 years. A stranger I married, built a life with, shared all of my secrets with... but I don't know her at all.
I feel like such a fool. For some truly idiotic reason, I thought the nanotech might be done with me. That after giving them everything they wanted, I might be free and clear. But everything that's happened since I woke up in that hotel room in Lubbock - it's all been another manipulation.
Priscilla is being controlled. The nanotech is inside her head, firing her nerves and synapses. Picking through her memories, her thoughts. Pulling her strings... for what? What else could they possibly want from me?
I don't know what's worse, the idea that they're going to force me to help them again, or the idea that they truly are just using Priscilla's body to experience the world from a new perspective. And if they decide they like the feeling of being in Priscilla's skin, what hope do I have of ever getting the real Priscilla back?
But more than anything, I can't help but think about the choice Priscilla made. They constructed a fantasy world for me, full of Bud Light and working toasters and bacon, and it took a while, but eventually it became all too clear that it was an illusion. We've been walking for more than a week. Priscilla has to know that whatever world they built for her is fake, too. But she chose to stay inside it. She chose the illusion. And I kind of feel like an idiot for not choosing it, too. Because honestly, being with Priscilla again... that's what drew me back to the real world. I didn't want to fail her again. But I chose her, and she didn't choose me. I gave up paradise for her, and it was all for nothing.
I gotta say, being out on the road with a bunch of sorta sentient robots driving around my wife like a lady-shaped RV - I thought I'd hit the apex on surreal experiences, but this is a new high. I'm half expecting to round the next bend and see an army of talking apes on horseback.
So now I guess I have to just continue on, side by side with this stranger. Head back to Willoughby, and my friends, and do anything I can to get the real Priscilla back. Because after everything I've given up for her... what's a little bit more?
- Aaron Pittman
Somewhere in Texas