The jungle was thick with copper cables and wires; nobody had unplugged these trees for years, and their leaves were dripping with green lightning. They painted jagged phosphenes all over our clothes as we wandered deeper into the glitch. This was a real low-resolution atmosphere, the sort of zone where you could see the edges on the raindrops. Authentic sunlight couldn't pierce this far into the virtual, and eventually, we had to stop to build a fire.
We thought we were ready for anything. Our rifles were loaded with bullets tipped by heavy black photons, the petrified sort that could shatter mirrors. Each of our carbon-fiber suits had been tested against a gauntlet of animals only available on nature's highest difficulty rating. The digital elements were ours to control; our scarlet campfire pulsed like the equalizer on a stereo, thick bars of raw fire that rose and fell in orderly columns.
Then the tigers came.
My eyes couldn't quite render them at first, but a profound orangeness overloaded my vision, heralding their arrival. I couldn't even react; in the split second it took to recognize that they were upon us, their stripes had slithered from their bodies and bound our ankles. I watched helplessly as their shadows phased past us and devoured the campfire, ripping it tongue from tongue. The world was rapidly darkening into a blood orange haze, and the earth itself began to vibrate from the magnitude of their omnipresent roar.
There was only one hope. I grabbed the thickest cable I could find and pulled with all my might, but it was no use. No man is strong enough to unplug the jungle itself.