Suzy was worrying about getting enough food in for the Christmas holidays. She was going to her Mum and Dad’s house Christmas Day, but she wanted to make sure she could give her friends something nice to eat and a drink, just in case they dropped in to wish her a happy Christmas.
She was on her way home to her bedsit in Streatham from her office job in Marylebone Road, central London; it was Friday at last! the day before Christmas Eve, and she knew the shops would be very busy with everyone panicking to get their food and present shopping done in time for Christmas Day. Suzy was pleased that she didn’t have to go to work until after the New Year, she loved being at home and it gave her time to meet all her friends in Second Life, oh the joys of staying up late and not worrying about getting up early for work the next day. It also meant she could spend more time with her SL partner who lived in Scotland. Peter was her SL love and he also worked during the day, so they met each evening and spent their time chatting and meeting their on-line friends in the virtual clubs and SL hot spots. Although Suzy and Peter had married in SL, they had never actually met face to face in real life, although it was always the plan to meet eventually, taking their romance a step further, but they just never seemed to get the chance to visit each other and had to make do with talking via SL, on Skype, or on the phone.
Leaving Streatham train station she made her way along the road towards the local supermarket, the shops were very pretty with their windows decked out with Christmas lights which reflected off the wet pavements where the first batch of winter snow had partially melted. Suzy’s head was full of what she would buy as she hurried to the pelican crossing to catch the ‘cross now’ sign before the traffic lights changed; but it was too late, as she stepped into the road she suddenly saw a speeding car, the driver, who was chatting on his mobile phone, just didn’t see her and next thing she was knocked into the air landing heavily in the kerb. She lay prone in the road as people gathered round to help her and someone quickly called an ambulance from their mobile.
Suzy had sustained a slight head injury and a great deal of bruising, she awoke in a hospital ward to see anxious nurses monitoring her as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She was lucky; when she finally woke right up, the doctor told her that apart from slight concussion she had no broken bones and should be able to recover at home. They said they would keep her in hospital for another couple of hours just to make sure her head was ok. The hospital staff had wanted to contact Suzy’s next of kin, but she didn’t want to bother her parents, as she knew they would be busy getting ready for Christmas; they’d panic and come over, so she told the doctor to leave it. She thanked the doctor and decided to try to sleep for a while. Very soon the nurse came to call her to tell her she could go home. They called a taxi and Suzy set off thinking how much worse things might have been and how lucky she was that she hadn’t been badly injured.
She got home to her little flat and switched the kettle on to make a cup of coffee, strangely her aches and pains seem to have gone, although she put this down to the medication that the nurses had given her. She wanted to talk to someone and she knew all her friends would be out shopping or getting ready to go out for the evening, so she decided to log into Second Life to see if Peter was around. Suzy’s avatar name in SL was SuzyQcute Brimstone, known as Suz to her mates in the virtual world and Peter had picked MattyMat Swordfighter for his avatar, Mat to his friends!
Sure enough Mat was on line and Suz teleported over to his location to see him. Mat was pleased to see her and they hugged and kissed as she told him that she had been knocked down by a car, but was fine! Mat was worried and wanted her to rest, but she insisted that they go dancing, she just wanted to be with him and everything would be ok. Suzy had always wanted to marry Mat in real life, but he never seemed to think about settling down, the fact that they lived so many miles apart didn’t help, and as they danced Suz talked about how lovely it would be to finally get together in the real world. Mat didn’t say much, but he did say he loved her very much and that one day he would make the journey down from Scotland to stay with her, so they could really be together. In fact Mat thought of nothing else but Suz, but he was always broke, and he wanted to search for a job down in London before he proposed to Suzy in real life, he thought she deserved someone who would look after her.
They had gone to Phat Cat’s Nightclub and the romantic mood really cheered Suz up, she loved these SL Jazz clubs and it gave her an excuse to dance close to Peter’s avatar. She could actually visualise being in his arms and it filled her with a warm glow. Suz saw another couple of her friends log on and she suggested to Mat that that they go over and see them for a game of ‘Greedy Greedy’, the popular SL dice game. She sent a message to Bethhanie and Johnjon and they all met up at one of the gaming sims. Suz chatted away to her friends, talking about Christmas and what Bethhanie and Johnjon would be doing in real life. Suz’s luck was in and she won a couple of games of Greedy, getting the highest score, her name proudly written on the top of the score counter showing how many points she had achieved. Her internet connection kept fading though, and she finally had to admit defeat and tell her friends she had to log off, she was reluctant to leave her Peter, but she felt strangely light-headed. Mat and Suz stood up and joined in a close hug, saying their goodbyes and agreeing to meet the next morning as Suzy hit the ‘quit’ button and logged off.
Suddenly Suzy felt the room begin to sway, gripping the table in front of her, she got frightened as she felt as if she was losing her sight, blackness appearing in her outer vision moving swiftly inwards leaving just a pinprick of light in the middle. She had the sensation of flying, a rushing, spinning feeling, as if she was being drawn into the bright light, travelling very fast down the dark tunnel. Then she heard voices: “go back!” they demanded “go back, it’s not your time” they whispered harshly and she knew she must listen to them. She finally made a huge effort into resisting the lure of the light and the tunnel spun even more, the light disappearing into blackness as she felt a hard thud, as if her soul had dropped back violently into her lifeless body.
Suzy slowly opened her eyes, blinking against the morning light shining through the window. It took a few seconds for her to realise that she was in bed and there were people sitting next to her. She was in the hospital, with her mother and father at her bedside. Her Mum and Dad quickly called for the nurse and fussed over her as she woke up, telling her she’d been unconscious since the accident and it was now Christmas Morning. Suzy blinked again, but…. She wanted to tell them that this can’t be so, as she had left the hospital and gone home on Friday; then she realised she must have been dreaming and decided to say nothing about it.
The nurse drew the curtains around her bed, ushering her parents out of the ward for a few minutes, as the doctor arrived and examined her. The doctor told her they had been worried about her condition as she had been unconscious since her admittance to the hospital. He said that they would run some tests tomorrow and if all was well she would be discharged in the next few days.
The doctor left and Suzy’s parents came back in. Her Mum told her that there was someone else waiting to see her and they would come back later, telling the person to come in as they left. Kissing Suzy goodbye for now, her parents went off to the hospital café for a cup of tea.
Suzy suddenly saw someone framed in the doorway, a tall dark good-looking man who she had never seen in real life before, except over the internet and as his avatar Mat! Peter approached the bed and stood there smiling down at her. “Peter” she gasped in amazement, suddenly aware of what a mess she must look. Peter sat down next to her, taking her hand and putting it to his lips as he gently kissed it. “My beautiful Suz” he said “I was so worried and I wanted to tell you just how much I love you.” Peter explained that Suzy’s parents had phoned him on Christmas Eve after they had found his telephone number next to her computer in her flat; they had gone there to get Suzy’s nightclothes and toiletries to take back to the hospital. Luckily the hospital had been able to trace Suzy’s parents from her mobile phone which had been left undamaged by the accident. Suzy’s Mum and Dad knew all about her love for Peter in Second Life, so they knew he would be wondering where she was if they didn’t contact him.
Peter had been puzzled however, in spite of being worried out of his life about the news of Suzy’s accident and the fact she was unconscious, he thought he must have been dreaming, as he and Suzy had met in SL, when all the time she had been in hospital, which made it impossible. Peter had set off straight away to get a train down to London, not an easy task on Christmas Eve, but he had thankfully made it ok.
Suzy had tears in her eyes as she gazed at Peter, her Peter who she was now finally meeting; her heart skipped a beat for this real person, just as it had seeing his avatar in SL every time she met the virtual him. “It’s strange Peter” she told him, “I must have been dreaming while I was unconscious, because I thought I had gone home and logged into SL where we met and went dancing” It was Peter’s turn to look astonished, as he told her that he had the same experience and was beginning to think he was losing his mind. He said they had met their friends Bethhanie and Johnjon and they even played Greedy Greedy together. Suzy was equally astounded, and agreed that they had done this, they were puzzled; how could they both have had the same dream?
Peter looked into Suzy’s eyes, he felt such love for this girl and he realised that he had nearly lost her when he heard about the accident. He put his hand in his coat pocket and took out a tiny box. He told Suzy how deeply he felt about her and as he opened the little box, Suzy spotted an antique diamond ring inside it. “Will you marry me SuzyQcute?” he asked Suzy. Suz beamed a smile, her eyes filling with tears again as she said “Yes please”. Peter had tears in his eyes too and he felt so happy that this lovely girl would be his wife. “This was my grandmother’s engagement ring” he explained. He had brought it along as he hadn’t had time to buy another ring. He told Suzy she could choose her own engagement ring if she didn’t like this one. Peter took the ring from the box and slipped it onto Suzy’s finger, it fitted perfectly. Suzy said she loved it and would cherish the ring as they kissed, both filled with such joy and happiness.
Peter stayed at Suzy’s bedsit until she was allowed out of hospital. When she got home they decided to log into Second Life on Suzy’s computer. Suzy’s avatar was logged into her last location, the Greedy, Greedy table, where they’d had a game before she’d logged off. To their amazement, they looked at the scoreboard and there was Suzy’s score! The score she’d achieved when she was actually in hospital in real life! Friends Bethhanie and Johnjon were on line and Suzy sent a message to say ‘Hi’ She asked them about the game and they said yes it was good, and they would have to meet up for another soon. Wishing them a Happy Christmas, Suzy kept quiet about being in hospital and SL at the same time, she thought they might not believe her as she could hardly believe it herself. She was so happy, she had her Peter sitting by her side, the world was a wonderful place; SL had spun its magic for them both and it was their secret.
As it turned out, it was the best Christmas Suzy had ever had, she had her whole life ahead of her with the man she adored and loved so deeply. A few months later, to Suzy and Peter's joy, their virtual wedding turned into the real thing!
Happy Christmas to everyone and a peaceful and prosperous New Year for 2012.