“Oh, here, see this!” Saralynn exclaimed, drawing out of Paris’s embrace in a burst of irrepressible enthusiasm. “There’s so much else you can do with them.” She was holding her hands about six inches apart, palms facing each other, and her marble was somehow suspended between her hands. She moved her hands up and down, like she was massaging some sort of forcefield, and her marble grew bigger, until it was the size of a large grapefruit. A tiny light glowed deep inside the crystal sphere, then spread until the whole orb was pulsing with a soft yellow light.
For a moment he forgot again what he was doing there but he knew he was trying to squeeze tears out of his eyes because he thought it would be a release somehow, at least some kind of release, but he squeezed until his eyes burned and ached and nothing came and he hated himself for even trying and despised his own weakness. Then the pain took over again, a knot of it, only knot wasn’t the right word because nothing was the right word, and it burned in him so deep he felt places he never knew he had and they felt deeper than the core of the Earth and the gravity was crushing him deeper into himself and all he could do was curl into it and make guttural noises of rage and frustration.
St. Paul, Minnesota; the Midwestern Federation of the United States of America. 2039 CE
“Police with a warrant! Open up!”
The harsh cry and loud accompanying boom of knocking at the door woke Paris up with a start. For a moment he couldn’t remember if he was in or out. His senses came to him quickly and he glanced down to see that his fingers were bare. So he was outside. The VR-15 had worn off. And the cops were here.
*Warning: this story is politically charged and likely to be highly offensive to a great many people. If you’re a patriotic American with high blood pressure, please don’t read it. I’m serious. It’s also very very sad.
A story which could also be titled, “Why I No Longer Pledge Allegiance”.
The time is 2:27 in the afternoon. The location is some remote village in Afghanistan that has a name, but a name that would mean nothing to most American citizens. An unmanned aerial combat vehicle (drone) fires a missile. The missile strikes the largest building in the village, a three-storied rectangular concrete structure which happens to be used as a children’s hospital. Eighteen children immediately perish. A small bloody foot juts out from the smoldering wreckage and a man is running up to it, running, running and clutching his heart and the tears are running down his face and he lifts up his eyes to the sky and even though he can’t see through the tears he shakes his impotent fist at what he knows is up there and feels in his heart that he would rejoice to die if it would only harm the monsters who sent this unmanned killing machine into his village and killed his only son.
The world beyond was white and featureless. The vault is all there was, rising from the endless waste in stark contrast, black, angular, foreboding. Inside, on a network of computers, was the last bastion of human knowledge. He was there to protect it.
A change of pace, before I get back to Perrin. I was just about to drift off to sleep in my chair the other night and my dream self dumped the idea into my head just like that. Not sure what to say about it except that it’s darkly disturbing. Is it ironic or just absurd? Is there a point to it? I’m honestly not sure. But I wrote it down anyway. Who am I to question my dream self?
I’ve decided to steer this blog in a more literary direction. At least until I decide to steer it another direction or stop steering at all. But I’ve decided to write some short stories, and I have a file full of dozens of ideas, but I’ve been too lazy to write any of them. So yesterday I decided to write and it came out…well, rather crazy. Or did it? Here it is:
I left work one evening, right at 11:15 as normal, and the strangest thing happened. As I was driving down the highway, the rest of the world disappeared, and only the highway was left there alone.