so how did sëbus find that out?
about wendy

that she's virtual?

she just told him herself  



they were playing jenga

virtual jenga
four-dimensional multicolored jenga

and sëbus asked, why do we never play our regular jenga?

at our home
the one with wooden blocks

and wendy explained why  



sëbus was pulling out a green one and thinking  



the tower collapsed  



"why did you never tell me before?"     sëbus demanded

he didn't want to play anymore

"i didn't even know myself for a long time" wendy explained
"and then i did     but     but i thought, why?"

sëbus was breathing noisily

"i mean —" wendy hurried: "why tell you if it won't make you     happier?"

sëbus said nothing

won't make him happier, he felt
not at all

it will make him not  



wendy put a red one on top of a green one
and flicked it away with her finger

"but then     i thought     maybe i should tell you."
"still need to tell you."

sëbus was thinking about happier and unhappier
he didn't want unhappier

"maybe unhappier, it's only at first?" he blurted     "but then —"

he frowned
he wanted happier but it was hard to talk about

wendy rescued him:
"right! because now you know     all about me, right?"

wendy was smiling
sëbus got a little happier

"maybe, you know, knowing the truth matters more than being happy," wendy went on
"maybe truth is what happines is!     or at least, one kind of it —"

sëbus was thinking
when he was thinking, the unhappiness was almost not felt

"— so you have to do both: more truth and more happy!" concluded his chain of thought  



"please don't be angry at me"     wendy said quietly

sëbus got angry: "what!     you did not make yourself, did you?"

wendy looked down
"i didn't     i didn't know, honest, never suspected, until —"

sëbus was trying to imagine how that would feel

"— untilthen i knew. just guessed.     it wasn't too hard to guess."

sëbus did a small "mya!"
that's what he always did for a good guess     for something nice and unexpected

this was unexpected
but not nice
so the "mya" was very small

wendy didn't even smile  



"and this means, zë, can you understand? it means     all i am, all i know, all i want —"

"and my family, all of us, we are     not real"

"we are made!"

"we don't really exist —"

sëbus wanted to hug wendy so much
he needed it
she needed it

but they couldn't  



[this scene was a flashback: why use flashbacks in writing]  



after that game of jenga, sëbus' life got harder

he'd got questions
he knew wendy couldn't answer them
she didn't know the answers

sëbus didn't know anyone who would know
maybe no one did

who programmed wendy?

what for?

why she is what she is?

wendy is good! but what if she is good     on purpose?
(just for me?)

this last question was the most unpleasant of all
sëbus would whine every time that question got close to him  



he tried not thinking about it

but not thinking about something is hard
the only thing that helps a little is: not thinking at all
doing something that prevents you from thinking

sëbus was now watching youtube most days  



sure, the first captain had told the other captains all about it
captain two and captain three needed to know
after all, they were a team

he told them everything on the first day
but after that, he didn't want to talk about it

captain two wouldn't say anything anyway to make captain one feel better
he had no idea who created wendy
no idea what for

what's worst, he didn't just laugh it off
he didn't say there's no such thing as virtual people
even when sëbus asked him explicitly

he just said: the world is big, sëbus
really really big

there's no end to secrets and surprises in the world  



as for captain three, she couldn’t give even that much help
she didn't play minecraft at all

but she could hug really well  



also, sëbus was googling

about virtual people
about projecting virtuality over reality
about the difference between real and programmed

but he could find nothing he would understand
nothing that would make him feel better

the internet, like the world, was very big
it had all and it had nothing  



and with wendy, sëbus didn't talk about that at all
after that first talk he didn't

they just played
as usual

played minecraft     and other games

that was fun

as always  



and then one day wendy didn't answer

she'd left a message:  



sëbus darling!

sorry it's so abrupt
i couldn't even say goodbye

dad and me, we all have to go     it's urgent
something happened
long story

dad's friends are all there
we need to be there too

sorry zë

we may not be real but we help our friends as if we are :)

don't be sad! i will be back soon

or maybe not very soon
i actually don't know when

but i will be writing you letters! and you can write me too!




dad! you —

don't you understand?
don't you feel sorry for her?

she said she feels like she doesn't exist!
try to imagine that!

just try to imagine that you don't exist  



dad tries to imagine
dad feels sorry for her

dad can't help

dad takes sëbus up in his arms

dad brings sëbus to his bedroom
he puts him in his bed

he sighs     he's leaving

sëbus asks dad to lie down with him
dad does

they fall asleep cuddling  



(it's a sad chapter, sorry zë!)
(but it's the saddest in the book, the rest will be happier)
(we're going up into space soon!)

(and yes, they will find her, and sëbus and wendy will hug, for real, and play together)

(and everyone will forgive everyone for everything)

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