Layered (A Sample) (Chapter One, page 1 of 6)

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'Welcome. You are now signed in.'

The black on white letters appear in front of me on my screen. I have just signed on for the latest in a long list of popular online games. Sophia, my friend, has been playing it since last weekend and she is totally hooked on it. This is one of the reasons I decided to sign up as well.

The most important reason though is that the summer holidays are looming ahead of me. Five long, long weeks of absolutely nothing to do. There will be no summer camps for me this year. Early every weekday morning, while I am still curled up in my bed, with Salem, my big, fat, black cat huddled too close in the curl of my legs, I will hear my mum and dad leave for work. Then an utter silence will fill the house and long, lonely hours will stretch ahead of me until I hear my mum's key turn in the lock again.

As I roll over, Salem makes an unhappy sound. "Move then, silly cat. Give me some space."

He nuzzles closer to me.

I click on the button on my screen. The one that says: Create your virtual self.

A million different choices load onto my screen.

First, I have to choose my skin colour-white, then my eye colour-brown, my hair colour-brown, the curve of my eyebrows, the shape of my eyes and the roundness of my chin.

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