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Forced Compliance Not Necessary

17th May, Story #139/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Forced Compliance Not Necessary
Photo by Victor on Unsplash

Some people knew this would happen. The chips in our heads, I mean. Everyone laughed. Isn't that funny?

The crazy part: even the conspiracy nuts had a mobile phone. Everyone walked around with the "chip" glued to their hand, eyes glued to chip.

I've spent my whole life connected to the Net, and so did my parents and my spouse. When we married, we had our streams merged, like almost everyone else.

When Mum died, we had her digital self enhanced by AI and stored on a memory stick. It's nice to still be able to talk with her. She wakes us up for work, starts the coffee, shops groceries.

When our babies were born, we set them on the same pathway we'd trodden, just like our parents did to for us.

When I peaked into my son's nursery at night, his eyes were flicking side to side, his hands reaching in response to what he could see. His face christened in blue. Better than screaming for his parents, no?

He was a contented little baby, so happy being Connected 24/7 that he didn't signal often enough for feeds. His suckling was lacklustre. He was readmitted to hospital for failure to thrive. We had to set alarms to interrupt our streaming and remind us to feed him.

Now there's a new kind of virus. No one is able to access the Net. We're adrift.

Babies scream again. Nurses mutter that they're like babies born addicted to substances. That can't be right. They're just unhappy! We must find a way to re-connect. For their sake.

My daughter's exhausted. Without the Net, her son needs her 24/7. Honestly, I don't think she has it in her. Surely nobody does!

When kids whine, the oldies say, "Go outside". Why! What's outside?

I've lost access to all my friends. They live all over the world. My sister is a mental health nurse. She says isolation is the worst. The oldies grumble you should have friends you can have a cuppa with.

Some say this crisis isn't real; it's a government ploy. They wonder, What might we have to agree to or give up to get back online? More stupid conspiracies.


Word count: (excluding author's note): 366

Submitted on: 17th May at 18.07

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly:
thank you so much for reading my story! The ha'penny that Vocal will pay me for your eyeballs landing on this humble piece will be well-spent. Another platinum toilet, and maybe I'll pay Elton John to come and sing Happy Birthday to my mum.

If you enjoyed this one, the very best compliment you can give me is to
share it, or read another!

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one continues my 139 day streak since 1st January!

Please do consider lending your support to the other creators who are also on this madcap "a story every day" adventure. They are putting out excellent content every day!

Rachel Deeming

Gerard DiLeo

Leave a comment: Please do leave me a comment. It makes it easier to reciprocate the read.

The story behind the story: Have you seen this before?

I found it funny and relatable at first. After writing this cheery piece, not so much!

I was also channeling an episode of The Simpsons. Have you seen it?

I almost called this story "Worse Than Whips". That title was inspired by a Pratchett book called Interesting Times. They say the people on the Counterweight Continent are oppressed by something worse than whips. I changed it because I wanted to leave that aspect of it open - is it a government conspiracy, or not? That's up to you, the reader.

I also deliberately left the ending a bit of a dangler. There isn't an ending, really, is there? Not a satisfying one, where everyone goes out and touches grass, anyway. We are always going to need to be Connected.

Thank you

Thank you again, most especially if you are one of the wonderful people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you 😁

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About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

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Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (28)

  • Joe O’Connor16 days ago

    Some brilliantly subtle hints about tech in the future here L.C., and “his face christened in blue” is great. Just checking- did you mean “peeked” instead of “ When I peaked”? A very topical story, and thought-provoking too.

  • Hannah Moore28 days ago

    And here I am. Aware and still sucking.

  • Andy Potts28 days ago

    Missed this one when it came out, thoroughly enjoyed it now I've seen it. Echoes of Harrison Bergeron amid the dystopia?

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Brilliant writing! Loved your (all too real) fiction!

  • Belleabout a month ago

    I love this! Amazing. Hitting on a fear that I think we all have... we love the Internet and it brings us closer together, but we're all a little nervous about the reliance we have on it, I think, even if we don't want to admit it. Amazing as always, L.C.! Congrats on top story!!

  • Heather Zieffle about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story! Great short story (too close to comfort though, lol).

  • The Dani Writerabout a month ago

    Dang, the "seeds" of this are scarily evident and are likely to have already germinated! Your writing is excellent and movie-worthy (though I'd prolly be too terrified to watch it.) *Pom-Pom-POM!* Keep writing amazing stuff and great top story!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a month ago

    This could have been published in horror based on the terrifying world you created here!! My jaw dropped closer to the floor the longer I read... amazing world building and story-telling here!!! Great work LC and congrats on Top Story!!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    I was so engrossed in this tale that I commented and then noticed - congrats on TS!! 🎉

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    You captured where we are heading and covered so many fine points - this story is amazing!! And scary. This: His suckling was lacklustre. He was readmitted to hospital for failure to thrive. We had to set alarms to interrupt our streaming and remind us to feed him. REMIND US TO FEED HIM!! We still say this (go outside, not the rest) : When kids whine, the oldies say, "Go outside". Why! What's outside?

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Amazing piece! Really sheds light on Internet addiction and the possibilities of the next generation’s future. I especially liked it because it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite anime, Serial Experiments Lain. It had that same creepy vibe and the concept of living online. Awesome work!

  • Kenny Pennabout a month ago

    This story is almost chilling because it feels like that’s where we’re headed.

  • D. J. Reddallabout a month ago

    Clever, compelling and eerily plausible!

  • Excellent work

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    Great job here I like the details that the mom makes the coffee in the morning

  • Kendall Defoe about a month ago

    Maslow would have applauded your hierarchy!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Isolation is the worst? Not for me! I wanna live alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods. I don't want any physical human interactions, only online hehehe. Also, I've never watched any episode of Simpsons

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Sadly very relatable. Another belter L.C.

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    This really is scary, LC, almost like an awakening. I waited a whole 10 seconds before scrolling again.

  • Mark Gagnonabout a month ago

    Is this sci-fi or our future reality? Either way, it's frightening.

  • Katarzyna Popielabout a month ago

    Very relatable! I'm just not sure if it's a work of fiction or rather a very real future dystopia?

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    This is fascinating. Is that where we are headed? Congrats on the platinum toilet.

  • kpabout a month ago

    YIKES. tis frightening because it's so spot on and so very well done!👏🏻

L.C. SchäferWritten by L.C. Schäfer

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