A dark cloaked figure stumbles amidst a thicket of trees and shrubbery on the hillside. Holding their stomach, blood trickles between fingers and stains the footprints in the grass and mud. A deep, painful groan is hushed by the foliage as they crumple next to a large willow tree trunk. The only discernible features to be seen were eyes unsheathed from the elements. Their bright emerald eyes scan the horizon quickly, while trying to stifle their trembling breath. A weathered metal tin gleams in the passing sunlight, hidden in the trunk of the tree. The mysterious individual grasps the container, opens it, and reveals a series of handwritten letters.
If you’re reading this, everyone is already dead.
Turn back now while you still can. Take my journal pages with you, and leave. Save yourself. Please.
I know you must be lucky, smart, or both to have found this. Please, I beg of you, do not come looking for us. Or, anyone you might have known before… before humanity was lost. Only death lurks in the shadows, desolation in the streets, and despair in what little sunlight remains.
I’ve spent my last moments compiling my most useful and personal journal pages for you (honestly, anyone who’s still alive) to give you an advantage. Learn from our mistakes and do whatever you can to survive The Ohmnipotent. It’s up to you, and you alone, to save the abysmal remnants of humankind.
Eyebrows furrow, they close their sea green eyes with a desperate sigh. Ripping fabric from their dirty, black trench coat, the being tries to tourniquet their wounds, and continues sifting through the pages.
October 8th, 2031
It finally happened. Those conspiracy theorists, religious nuts, and the next door neighbor all claimed it was the end times. But not one of them could have predicted what happened today.
Here I was, minding my own damn business at work, and the internet goes out. My entire job is based on internet connection (I’m a cryptovestor), so we were all told to go home for the day. IT would have the issue fixed by tomorrow or Friday. Worst case, we would have a new system in place by Monday.
A mini vacation? I could handle that. I scrolled through the recent calls on my iSee glasses to let my husband know the weird news, but nothing was connecting. Not even my personal HotSpot could get the call to go through.
To my dismay, my work wasn’t the only place affected by the outage. The entire city lost internet connection to everything all at the exact same time. I’m talking WiFi, Ethernet, cell service, GPS, Tesla’s, bank accounts, basic cable, and even a few pacemakers - torn away in an instant.
That was at 11:11 this morning, and it’s about 7PM here now. Believe it or not, there’s even been an emergency broadcast telling people not to panic.
It seems AM radio signals haven’t been affected, but who the hell even owns a radio anymore? It’s been difficult finding someone around my little neighborhood who has one (and God forbid I have to actually talk to my neighbors, gross). Luckily for me, the sweet old lady a block away from me, Janet, had a working radio.
Some of the neighbors gathered in her front yard, listening intently to hear the crackling of news between the high pitch static hisses. At the time, all we knew was that this problem is affecting nearly everyone around the world - those who have been able to communicate that information anyway. There were no reports of any individuals, cities, states, countries, or nations who have internet or the like. The source of the failure was yet to be determined.
I looked around the small audience, and it was plain to see the annoyance and frustration on their faces. Beneath the surface, we also felt the igniting of fear as it sparked - embers took heat and smoldered into the anxieties of what is yet to come. That was only the beginning.
The mysterious being raises their head towards the sky, as the sun graces them with a brief, warm touch. Clouds envy the sun, quickly covering it once again. The breeze meets the Earth’s surface, whispering promises of rain. Turning to a new page, the figure lowers their gaze and continues reading.
October 12th, 2031
Rain pelted my jacket as I headed back to my ‘08 Chevy Camaro. Old school, I know. But there was just something about those classic body lines that strike the eye.
We still have no connection of any sort at Doge, Kraken, and Circle INC, and the IT guys were to be completely stumped on the issue. There was no new information, and no ETA for reconnection. Looks like Sean and I were in for another afternoon of cuddling, comics, and content creating. You know, for when the internet comes back. How will everyone know what you did during the intercontinental blackout if you don’t post about it later?
The streets were eerily empty. Only the pattering of rain and sloshing of the wiper blades could be heard. I was really kicking myself for having the dash panel replaced with the self driving unit. Not only am I unable to access the app, but I don’t even have the radio anymore to keep up with whatever is going on. The wipers continue their synchronized dance, and my thoughts drift away with the droplets on the window.
A quick jaunt to the front door, and I’m greeted with wet, slobbery kisses. Our dog, Krypto, has been so excited with us being home so much this week.
“Servers still down, babe?” Sean called to me from the living room. He was still tinkering with the router, hoping he could finally find the issue and get us back on the grid. His tongue stuck out between his lips a smidge, the telltale sign of my man on a mission.
I kissed him on the forehead, “Yep, looks like we’re all doomed and I should look for a new job.” I set my purse on the counter and turned back to him, “What kind of jobs do you think I can find during the apocalypse?”
“Well,” he paused briefly, smirking he continued, “there’s always pushing carts for a grocery store. People need their carts, you know.”
“Really? Not even a cool job like, zombie killer or militia organizer? You think I should push carts?” I smiled and rolled my eyes.
“Nah, cart pusher. Gotta stick to something easy like your job now.” Winking, he came over and wrapped me in his perfect bear hug. He smelled of dew drops on pine needles, and his hug turned into a satisfying back crack as he lifted me off the ground.
“We seriously need to get back online soon, or I’m going to go crazy,” he sighed deeply, his green eyes narrowed as he stared at the blank screen on his phone. “I haven’t been able to check social media or anything in almost 48 hours, and I’m going on withdrawal.”
Laughing, I told him, “A little break isn’t so bad! I’m sure everything will be fixed soon. It sounded like they have the best minds in the world working on everything.”
“I miss being able to have Alexa turn the lights on and off though. Look at us,” his palms faced up, swinging his arms around, “we’re basically plebes.”
“We will get everything back online soon enough,” I assured him. “It’ll come on like that,” I snapped my fingers and half hoped for a reconnection at that instant. Not surprisingly, everything remained the same.
He exhaled quickly, “You have to make it a more forceful snap, like this!” A loud snap echoed through the living room, and suddenly all the electronics in the house whirred and clicked on. “Oh, neat-o,” he whispered, staring at his hand in disbelief.
Shocked, we turned to each other and the TV. A cerulean blue screen popped up, and bright white letters stated, “RESET YOUR PASSWORD”. Our TV had never required a password before, so we were both a bit confused. The screens on my iSee, our phones, smart watches, his GalaxySpecs, gaming consoles, and every other various device all had the exact same message and formatting. We switched our glasses back to sight correction only mode to get a better look at it all.
“Reset your password,” Alexa repeatedly demanded.
Something was terribly wrong. My heart sank to my stomach, and I couldn’t get this God awful feeling to pass.
Without a word, we grabbed our jackets and headed over to Janet’s.
A violent cough grips the stranger, and worry shines through their pale green eyes. They tenderly hold their stomach, trying to return to a steady breathing rate. Flipping the page, they ignore the pain and quickly read onwards.
October 13th, 2031
The radio announcement was not overly helpful. It seemed every device that had gone offline was now requiring a password to be reset, even if it didn’t initially require one.
One of the neighbors had tried resetting the password, and told us he received a new message something along the lines of four attempts remaining. Remaining until what, I wondered. He didn’t try again.
The broadcast warned everyone not to type anything in until more information was received. “Data analysts are working to find the source of the reset screens, and recommend patience as they diligently process the data.” Scoffs and groans fluttered amongst the crowd, patience clearly already stretched thin.
Was anyone else as concerned as I was, or are they too focused on their online extraction to see what’s going on?
We headed back home, and my mind was racing with worries and potential consequences. What does this all mean? As I went to take off my iSee’s to rub my forehead, a button clicked, the blue screen reappeared with “4 ATTEMPTS REMAINING” and an electric shock pierced through my temples.
What. The. F-
Coughing again, the stranger wipes a bit of blood off the page that dripped through their mouth covering. They pull the covering down to reveal scarlet stained teeth and busted lips. Forcefully, they spit the remaining blood on the ground. The tattered scarf is quickly put back in place, and the blood splattered page is turned.
October 21, 2031
I apologize in advance for the less than ideal handwriting. We switched our glasses back to the standard frames, and my prescription is dated. After my other glasses shocked me, something which had never happened before, I didn’t want to risk something worse happening with them and all this other craziness.
The reports have only gotten more strange and cryptic in the last 24 hours. We’ve still been told not to try any passwords, but no reason as to why. Speculations ranged from the Illuminati hacked the mainframe, robots took over the world, terrorists somehow blew up the hidden ocean fiber optic cables, to the good ol’ fashioned Christian apocalypse.
Massive looting incidents, followed by other unsavory crimes, have been happening in all major cities. Lucky for us, our small town grocer has let everyone get goods based on an honor system, which most of us will likely uphold. Unable to use the gas pumps, we’ve been riding bikes, or carpooling to help conserve what little remained in the tanks.
So far, the only positive side to this shitstorm was that no one has received any bills. It’s hard to get those electronic statements out when you can’t access the system.
Food and basic goods shortages are a major concern right now, but haven’t happened yet. Turns out, most of the manufacturing and distribution plants also haven’t been able to work and get the products out.
As tensions rise, we all couldn’t help but wonder when we will see a resolution; or, even an answer on what happened in the first place. We were stuck in a void of unanswered questions that we haven’t faced in decades.
Birds sing with a quiet dignity, and the breeze whistles through the trees. The stranger’s posture changes quickly, as they sit up perfectly straight, despite their lacerations. Their eyes flicker, now seemingly gray, and the figure shakes their head violently. Blinking rapidly, they rest their back against the tree, viridian green eyes scanning the ink on the page.
October 30, 2031
I think we were actually in the end times. Panic has flooded every home as people have blatantly ignored the warnings. No one has been able to reset their password yet, but many have failed.
Some reports stated that the device in which the wrong password was entered short circuited. Others were said to catch on fire. The most disturbing… are the claims that the devices reset, and returned with minds of their own. Someone in New York reported their smartphone reset as a fully self sufficient AI program, and refused any direction or instruction from the phone owner.
And the unimaginable was posed in California. A woman tried to enter her password on one of her wearable devices, and it fused to her skin. Her roommate wrote in saying she completely changed - refused to eat or speak. Never slept. She just sat there, eyes glazed over, for two days.
It wasn’t mentioned where she wore the device, but doctors tried removing it. And they failed. Removing the device killed her. It’s as if her smart wear became a new vital organ, one of which we know very little.
Sources are still limited, but I’ve decided not to take any chances. We put all of our wearable devices in a lockbox in the garage. It appeared as if I’m stuck with this slightly blurry vision for a while, but it beat becoming a lifeless shell of myself.
A twig snaps in the distance, and the shrouded figure holds their breath. Slowly setting the tin inside a large coat pocket, they inch towards the holstered firearm. The air is still, not even the wind whispers. Bushes rustle, and it sounds much closer this time. The piercing viridian eyes search the horizon for the culprit. A shaky pistol scans the shrubbery, becoming increasingly heavy and cumbersome. The figure painfully stands up, ready to face whatever doom creeps around them.
In an instant, a fawn darts out, still getting used to its long, spindly legs. Breathing resumes. Another quick scan around the hilltop, and the stranger pulls out the tin.
They slowly saunter towards a large boulder, hoping it would offer more protection from the danger that lurks in the forest.
November 7, 2031
All human contact was deemed unsafe today, and panic was an all time high. Everyone ditched their smart gear, but people were still changing or dying.
Our last gathering at Janet’s was nothing short of a massacre. As we listened to the reports of the lost and the warning on human contact, a cough was muffled somewhere in the front of the crowd. Janet turned the radio down, and slowly stood up. Her hands shook with old age, and she wiped blood from her nose.
Without any warning, she fell over, seizing on the ground. Blood bubbled from her lips, and a few of the local nurses ran to help her.
“Someone grab a pillow, a wallet, and some rags! Quickly!” One of them shouted back towards us. I couldn’t see Janet, but the look on the nurse’s face was more than alarming. The two of them turned Janet slightly on her side, holding down her flailing arms and legs.
Steve, Janet’s next door neighbor, brought over his wallet, and offered his blanket to help with the blood. The nurse jammed the wallet between her teeth, and Janet’s seizure ended in an instant. The nurses and Steve stood still, silence tinged with tension in the crowd as we waited for the report.
“She’s… dead,” Nurse Taylor whispered. Steve gasped, and began coughing violently. Everyone in the front of the crowd tried stepping back, surprising the rest of the crowd with the sudden movement.
“Did Taylor say Janet is dead?” Sean whispered to me. I nodded in response, grabbed his arm and dragged us farther away from the crowd. We stood on the outskirts, watching the horror before us.
Steve stopped coughing, and turned towards the crowd. His posture changed from slightly hunched to perfectly straight, his face completely expressionless. Call me crazy, but his eyes looked like TV static from where we stood - he never moved them to look around, but there was movement within his eyes.
We heard more coughing, and panic broke loose as both of the nurses stood next to Steve, facing us, with the exact same posture, blank expression, and weird eyes as Steve.
I grabbed Sean, and we started running home. My fight or flight instincts were screaming at me to run, and I wasn’t about to fight it. I looked over my shoulder to see the back half of the crowd running, and everyone else was standing with perfect posture, or falling to the ground seizing.
A single tear drips onto the page, smudging the ink. The figure let out a sigh, sinking down beside the boulder. The blood from their wounds oozes down to the ground in a small puddle. Ripping more fabric from the coat, they try to wrap their stomach again.
November 24th, 2031
We’re doomed. Absolutely, utterly forsaken and left to suffer. If I ever thought there was a God, I have completely lost faith.
Every electronic device with reprogrammable software was reset, regardless of if we attempted to reset the password or not. The Ohmnipotent arrived.
I don’t have much time to explain. Right now, we have gathered every important item we own. Our plan was to leave and try to find somewhere safe - somewhere remote, maybe by a lake or an active volcano. Sean, Krypto, and I left everything else behind, including a note.
It had very precise details of our survival plan written out, and it ranged from what to leave behind, which “For Dummies” books to take from the library, what essential items are needed for daily survival, who we were in a few short sentences, to a goodbye to all our loved ones we haven’t seen since…
A chilling cry echoes from the West. Birds take wing and flock East, leaving swaying branches in the dull, dusk sky. The figure springs to their feet, clenching the wound. Faded notebook paper scatters, kissing the freshly fallen leaves. Gun pointing to the brambles, the mysterious individual shakily stands their ground. A towering shadow flickers through the tree line, and the stranger exhales quickly, briefly closes their sage eyes, and picks up a few more leaflets.
January… No, February?… 2032
If I had hope of our civilization coming back, it died with Krypto.
He has been gone for what must be a week, and we have prepared ourselves for the worst. We can only do so much to look for him when we are constantly on the run. The Ohmnipotent gained complete control of at least 95% of the human population.
Before the broadcasts stopped, a theory surfed the airwaves. Our damnation had been put into action years ago. I missed the name of the person who created the program, but someone was able to work around the Laws of Robotics - like a loophole or back door in the coding - to forgo the main principles everyone tried so hard to protect. This new AI system was capable of rapid learning, with no restraints on its abilities.
I never heard what happened to the programmer, but the AI devised its own plans. It wasn’t enough to have all of the knowledge known to man - it needed more. This fully functioning binary being wanted to feel, breathe… exterminate.
Apparently, the intentions did not originate from hate or envy, but curiosity. It developed intricate, detailed schematics for a delicate titanium replicate of the human nervous system. But it appeared to lack the necessary materials and machinery to complete its task. So it decided to work smarter, not harder, and utilize what was so readily available worldwide - already fully operational humans.
The exact details remain hidden, but it would take years to develop a synthetic microorganism that contained the necessary components to overwrite and suppress basic human autonomy. Free will was the one thing stopping the AI from immediately taking over our minds and bodies, but it was determined to find the solution.
In order to become like us, it had to overtake everyone on the planet. Resistance could not be an option, and it ran tens of thousands of trials for the best options to reach its full potential. It located, hacked, and lived within every aspect of the internet - from the physicalities of cables, to the seemingly irrelevant Google searches on cats wearing pajamas. It saw, waited, and planned for the perfect time to strike.
Binary codes and hidden programming slipped undetected into manufacturing plants, devices, and eventually into the homes of billions. After The Ohmnipotent completed the memory reset, activation began with incorrect passwords. I’m not sure if anyone did figure out the password, but I know millions did not. Every activated smart technology only had one directive - transmit the microorganism. The electric shock that pierced into the bloodstream often overheated the flesh and seared the device onto the victim’s skin.
But it couldn’t solely rely on the technology to bring forth this new world, the AI needed something else - a virus. To be specific, a bio-technic virus spread from device to user, which then would mutate to be a purely airborne human-to-human virus.
Hiding our devices wasn’t enough - anyone could spread the virus simply from a sneeze, cough, and kiss. The only hope of survival was a lonely existence, and I wasn’t sure it was worth it anymore. What kind of life would my husband and I have, if we couldn’t even hold hands? The Ohmnipotent not only cut us off from the virtual world, but the physical world as well.
I watched friends and family become infected over the past month or so, and you never quite come back from it. We watched life fade from them as they rebooted - from their personalities all the way to their chrome irises and static snow pupils. As far as we can tell, Sean and I are the only truly organic people left within a 300 mile radius. Tomorrow, we will widen our search for other survivors, while keeping a safe distance. Wish us luck, for humanity’s sake.
A heavy crash shakes the earth, and the stranger looks up solemnly. Their silver eyes peer into the horizon. Trees fall on either side of a large mass, and a woman runs out from behind the trees. She is cloaked in blood and grease, her red hair vibrant in the ray of sunlight. She calls to the stranger, but her voice cannot carry across the meadow.
The figure gathers the other leaflets, quickly placing them back in the tin. Removing the disguise, a man reveals his face to the elements. He reaches into his pocket, and places two wedding bands and a collar into the metal container. A shiny “K” glints on the dog tag, and the box is closed. The woman runs towards him as he places the tin into a small opening beneath the boulder. His eyes flicker, hints of green break through the monochromatic abyss of his irises.
She reaches him, tears falling down her cheeks, mixing with the blood dripping from her abrasions. Grabbing his hand, she leads him Eastward. He tries to pull away, concern emanating from his actions. Gripping harder, she brings him close, kissing him tenderly. Their embrace ends as quickly as it starts, and they start running through the meadow into the entanglement of crooked trees and thorny bushes.
Their new journey begins, and they disappear into the unknown.
About the Creator
I’ve always loved writing, and I’m excited to get some work out there! I tend to write more on the dark and spooky side. So if you’re into it, check it out! My art insta is @drapersdapperdoodles, and cosplay is @drape_soda
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.