I first noticed it in the hotel lounge. The pillars seemed to have developed a strange new growth. A nauseous green found its way to the ceiling, masquerading as plant life.
Each table was crowned with a container, occupied by something I had taken to be lavender. Closer inspection revealed its artificiality.
Stepping out into the real world I became aware of the spikes of plastic grass under my bare feet. With growing horror, I brushed lightly against the too-perfect cacti. Soft spikes failed to impale or even scratch.
Round the pool were plastic chairs and tables. Reclining guests sipped garish drinks from plastic beakers through plastic straws.
Thinking only to escape into an environment where nature ruled, I padded across artificial tiles towards the inviting blue waters of the pool. The foot I dabbled from the steps remained obstinately dry. The water was illusory, a transparent acrylic surface that appeared to ripple gently but resisted penetration.
Terror gripped me and I sought desperately for the comfort of human contact. Looking at them again, I realised that the guests were strangely silent and unmoving. I touched an arm and felt a cool smoothness akin to that of a child’s doll. Panic rising, I shook the arm and cried out, but the mannequin flopped lifelessly, its head striking the table as it fell.
Hardly able to breath, and with my heart hammering in my chest, I turned to run back through the lounge, towards reception, the exit and sanity.
Frozen figures of hotel staff littered the lobby and I darted between them, desperate to avoid contact with their plastic skin.
Through the clear doors I could see in the street outside, a world of people moving and breathing.
Desperate to join them I pushed the doors, only to find that they refused to open. I pushed harder, pulled, beat my fists against the unyielding surface but the doors would not budge. I kicked them, hoping to break my way out but the plastic only gave slightly at the impact.
Exhausted I sank down to the floor in a heap and started to sob. Tears rolled down my cheeks and bounced as they hit the floor. I touched one with my finger, half knowing what I would find. The tears had solidified into tiny pearls. I felt hypnotised by their beauty. Rainbows played where the light shone through them. My body grew still and my mind seemed to become one with the perfection around me.
Gradually, my breathing slowed and ceased. My awareness faded and I too, turned into plastic.