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Rise High

The funny thing is, I always thought of myself as special. So I wasn’t all that surprised when a drone carrying a box confirmed it.

By SC WellsPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 15 min read
7
‘Rise High’ by SC Wells

This is me and this is my pod. It is a good pod. It’s got everything I need, and I changed its colour the other day so it’s fashionable now. I chose the shades sunflower, daffodil, dandelion, mango, bumblebee, canary, lemon and creamy corn. All of those words I mentioned just now might sound silly and made-up, but they’re actually types of yellow.

My pod looks fashionable and, in my opinion, it makes my eyes feel happy. Maybe that’s why yellow is a today colour because it makes our eyes feel good.

My pod is the most wonderful place.

And me? What I do is I order food in my pod, I receive food in my pod, I eat food in my pod, I hydrate in my pod, I follow hygiene regulations in my pod, I consume in my pod, I follow beauty guidelines in my pod, I connect to The Network in my pod, I stretch in my pod, I exercise in my pod, I get deliveries of fashionable products in my pod, I carry out my civic duties in my pod, I am a responsible consumer in my pod.

I don’t like going outside my pod. I’d rather stay inside my pod. I’ve got everything here so I think it would be irresponsible to leave my pod.

I don’t like to look out of my only window either so I keep the blind closed. I live under the mucky air cloud so even when I do look out of my porthole window, I don’t see much apart from fuzzy headlights from the delivery drones and lots and lots of piles of old and messy things.

The only time I open the blind is when a delivery drone comes. What happens is the drone connects to the porthole with its feet, opens it and deposits a package without ever letting the mucky air in. It’s a great system because it keeps the mucky air out and the clean air inside.

The Company says the mucky air and mess outside is caused by all the people who live on the floors lower than mine and that, they hate to say it but that’s just the way it is, the situation would improve and there’d be less mucky air and messy piles if the people who lived on the lower floors tried harder to live on the higher floors like the rest of us more responsible consumers.

Not that I live all that high up though; I only live on the one-thousand-one-hundred-and-first floor which is not even half way up the high-rise I’m in. To be honest, it’s a short and old tower considering the spacescrapers that’re getting built. Maybe they should change the name of my building to a short-rise.

Anyway, I want to tell you about a happy thing and it’s all to do with a parcel I got.

Parcel No. 1

The reason this package felt special was because I hadn’t been expecting it. It just came all of a sudden so I thought that was exciting. So when the brainification came (that’s what I call the jingle sound in my head when my brain implant gets a notification) telling me it had come, I took off my headset, disconnected from The Network, and went to the porthole.

The craziest thing about this parcel was that it was made out of this thing called cardboard. I thought that was really cool and historical because, I don’t know if you know about this, but cardboard is made out of something called tree which was a thing from history. It made me super excited because I was looking at a really old thing so I was very excited to open it and I thought to myself what a great day I’m having.

What was inside was a slip of paper. I went down a rabbit hole when I was logged onto The Network one time and I learned that paper is also an olden days thing made from tree. I guess back in the long ago times they used tree a lot which is silly from my point of view because it makes flimsy things.

The slip read:

You are the only one who’s truly you.

A responsible consumer throws old things away so, after I had fun inspecting the cardboard and paper, I dropped both down the rubbish chute.

Parcel No. 2

This time the words on the slip were sparkly and iridescent :

You make the world a much better place to be.

Parcel No. 3

I was excited for the next parcel because I had thought it might come at some point. I mean, it had come twice before so why not a third time?

Around a week later, it arrived with another happy note:

We chose you because you’re special.

Parcel No. 4

You’re a responsible consumer and, you know what, that makes you the best.

I had thought this for a long time but I didn’t know I had thought such a thing until I received the message. And when that happened, it made sense. I suppose it’s because I’m such a responsible consumer and that makes me special.

You see, I come from a long line of consumers so it’s in my blood. My parents tried their best to raise me to be a responsible consumer just like them and I have become a very responsible consumer and I know they know this because they send me hearts sometimes.

Parcels No. 5 and 6

I was feeling a bit down even though I had been doing my civic duty and looking at what the people on the higher floors were consuming these days so I’d make sure to work extra hard to be beautiful and good and more moral like them. It’s not like me to get anxious or sad or any of those ugly, negative, taboo things because a good and responsible consumer shouldn’t ever let themselves get that way. Anyway, when I felt a brainification announcing the arrival of a delivery drone, I felt happy with anticipation and restored to my normal, responsible self.

This time it didn’t just have a bit of paper, but it also had something hard and tinny inside.

Being the best is thirsty work. Why don’t you have a refreshing can of Cola Hite? Now it releases even more serotonin!

I drank the can and felt happy some time after. I was happy all day but, the next day I was feeling not myself again. A parcel arrived which was a wonderful surprise because I had never received parcels two days in a row.

Why don’t you try Cola Snow infused with coca extract taken from the finest coca leaves for that pick-me-up the day after? Bonus fact: It’s non-toxic and vegan!

I drank the whole can and it made me feel confident and sure of myself again.

Parcels No. 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11

Over the next few weeks I received a series of parcels all with very happy notes. I made it a habit to crack open a can of Cola Snow (I’d learned that Cola Snow was more a now product than Cola Hite) when I read them because then I’d have an even greater day.

There’s only one of you and that’s amazing.

Look to the stars (or imagine you’re looking at them). That’s your future.

Has anyone ever told you you’re special? Yes? Well, we’d like to remind you anyway because you are the most special and wonderful person.

Keep up the great work! It’s tough going being so great.

Once in a while, you should take a break from your hard work. Why don’t you log into Life ∞? The latest and greatest social experience on The Network.

I never thought about who sent me all these parcels. But I was happy they did.

Parcel No. 12

This parcel had a message and a whole pack of hydration consumables.

Being one of a kind is thirsty work. Why don’t you get closer with a can of Pepsi Love? Now with even more oxytocin.

I was excited to try the new and fashionable product and it made me feel closer to everyone.

—*—

The next day, my brainification sang and I went to my wall tablet to update my first government issued hourly status of the day.

Over the years, I’d developed my own personal style. First I’d make my smile as wide as possible but only showing a little of my teeth— Elegance was key and I’d hate to overdo it. Today, I wore the clothes I’d ordered yesterday— It’s best when you wear the latest fashion. Others like that, you see. Especially The Company— So I looked elegant and pretty but not too much because that wouldn’t be genuine and I thought it was important to look genuine because you didn’t want anyone else to feel bad if they didn’t look as good as you. I’d been exercising just that bit more lately so I was sure I’d please The Company’s gaze but I made sure not to show off too much of my toned limbs and stomach because I didn’t want anyone to feel jealous because that would make their day worse and I’d hate to be the cause of that. Also, that wouldn’t be the actions of a responsible consumer and I pride myself in being a very responsible consumer.

Finally, I formed a heart shape with my hands and announced to everyone, “I’m having just the best day! I tried some Pepsi Love and now I feel closer!” Hearts filled my pod via holographic projectors as more and more of my friends liked that I was having just the best day and they liked that I’d tried Pepsi Love and they thought it was wonderful that I felt closer to them. I felt special and one of a kind but in a good way.

I did my civic duty and looked through some other updates. The girl I knew from university wore the latest fashion but the colours she wore suited her better than they had on me, and her makeup was subtler and more elegant than mine, too. She was saying she had been promoted in The Network and was moving to a bigger pod on a higher floor. I thought she was an irresponsible consumer because she was making me feel a little bad. And what was worse was that she hadn’t mentioned anything she had consumed lately. I sent her a heart anyway.

The next update was from someone I knew from secondary school. Her pod was shabbier than mine — I could see that she hadn’t thrown away that morning’s exercise clothes yet which lay in a messy pile, and the colour of her walls were still red which is a yesterday colour— and she used augmented reality to make herself look better and closer to beauty guidelines but it was obvious she had eaten ugly food and hadn’t been exercising enough. The worst part about it all was that her clothes were not new — I’d seen them on an update the week before— and the product she mentioned, Cola Hite, was unfashionable at the moment because everyone knew it made you feel sad the day after. I sent her a heart anyway so she wouldn’t feel bad. She clearly needed a pick-me-up so I suggested she try Cola Snow because it is infused with coca extract from only the finest coca leaves and that it’s healthy because it’s non-toxic and vegan. A few moments later, she said thank you and that I was a responsible consumer. I ordered a can of Cola Snow to her pod and she sent me a heart. I felt happy to be a responsible consumer.

Parcel No. 13

This time the message in the parcel told me it would be an amazing idea to write about how great I thought The Company was.

I drank some Pepsi Love so I’d feel closer to everyone and I ate an I-am-phetamine protein bar to make sure I could focus really well and I wrote a poem:

The Company makes me feel truly me,

They make the world a much better place to be.

-

I hope The Company stays being so great,

And they remember it’s important to hydrate.

-

To feel closer to The Company high above,

I’ll drink a refreshing can of Pepsi Love.

Then I uploaded it to The Network and hearts flooded my pod because everyone liked my poem and agreed that The Company was so great and that it’s important to keep hydrated. Then, very quickly after, lots of other people also wrote poems which I thought was crazy because it meant that I’d created a trend. What was crazier was that everyone must have seen my poem and written theirs super fast because they appeared straight after I’d uploaded mine.

Parcels No. 14, 15, 16, …

The Network’s algorithm promoted me so that meant I got to move to a pod higher up in my high-rise. In fact, I got to move to a pod on the top floor.

I was scared to leave my pod because I knew it was a wonderful pod and I’d hate to go outside of my pod even if it was to go higher up and I’d never been that high up so I wouldn’t know what to expect and that made me excited but anxious, too.

But I think the thing that worried me most was that whoever was sending me the cardboard parcels wouldn’t know where I had gone. The parcels gave me happy feelings and it would be a sad thing if I couldn’t get them anymore because I had moved to a pod higher up.

I had not used a lift in a long time so I drank some Cola Snow so I would feel sure of myself and confident. I think it did another thing to me as well because I started to feel a terrible thing: I wanted to know what the outside so high up was like. So before I went to my new pod, I acted in an irresponsible way and went to the roof first.

I’d always thought the roof of my high-rise would be too windy to stand on but other, much taller, buildings soared around me so it wasn’t too windy but it also meant that there were big shadows everywhere.

The cloud of mucky air was thinner here so I didn’t cough too much and my eyes didn’t sting too much and I could see some of the other buildings which I thought was great because they were very tall and I imagined all the beautiful and moral and responsible consumers who lived in them.

But I felt some taboo feelings when I looked down and I couldn’t see below because of the dirty cloud and it made me realise that all of the people who lived below me were not responsible consumers because clearly they had made the mucky air and the messy piles of old things and I realised I used to be just like them but I was different because I worked hard to be a responsible consumer and now I lived higher up so there’s no reason they couldn’t do what I did. If only everyone tried harder to live higher up then the mucky cloud and the messy piles wouldn’t be there anymore.

I decided I shouldn’t look down because it made me feel not me.

At that moment, I noticed an uncountable number of delivery drones. I had never seen so many. There were so many that they made it feel like night time even though I was sure it was afternoon because they blocked the slits of sky far above.

My ears rang and my head felt tight as a mass of them buzzed down to my building, I noticed that they were all carrying brown boxes made of cardboard. As my eyes followed them, I saw that they were delivering the cardboard boxes to every single porthole on every single tower.

I felt strange but I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t like the feeling because I felt empty and not me. It sounds silly and I don’t know why but, at that moment, I did not feel special. Maybe it was because I needed to hydrate or because the mucky air had given me a headache.

I received a brainification telling me a parcel had arrived for me in my new pod which made me excited and happy to see what was inside because I had not been expecting a parcel.

So I went to my new pod.

—*—

This is me and this is my pod. It is a good pod. It’s got everything I need, and I changed its colour the other day so it’s fashionable now. I chose the shades sage, moss, seaweed, sea foam, apple, leaf, parakeet and tree frog. All of those words I mentioned just now might sound silly and made-up, but they’re actually types of green.

My pod looks fashionable and, in my opinion, it makes my eyes feel calm. Maybe that’s why green is a today colour because it makes our eyes feel good.

My pod is the most wonderful place.

And me? What I do is I order food in my pod, I receive food in my pod, I eat food in my pod, I hydrate in my pod, I follow hygiene regulations in my pod, I consume in my pod, I follow beauty guidelines in my pod, I connect to The Network in my pod, I stretch in my pod, I exercise in my pod, I get deliveries of fashionable products in my pod, I carry out my civic duties in my pod, I am a responsible consumer in my pod.

science fictionsocial mediahumanity
7

About the Creator

SC Wells

Thank you so much for reading my stuff!

I love travel, photography, and writing speculative fiction.

I’m also on a never-ending quest to improve my storytelling so any feedback is massively appreciated.

Instagram * Ockelwog * Other Links

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (7)

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  • Rick Henryabout a month ago

    Nice story. I enjoyed your basic elementary writing style which made it easy for most readers to understand the point you're wanting to make.

  • Morgana Miller2 months ago

    Man this has all of the elements of some of the best dystopian short stories I’ve read—a clear and poignant theme, the unsettling false utopia, but I think especially the narrator voice you’ve used here is fabulous, and is really what makes this story so special. And with your handling of the prompt so central to it all, this one deserves a win for sure.

  • This is a great story, very left field, I loved it. The pacing was good and I havent a clue about Vocal's Statistics. Great story, I hope a read registered and you got a subscription from me too.

  • Claire Guérin2 months ago

    S C Wells, I think you just gifted me my favorite short story. And by that I mean, my favorite short story of all the short stories I've ever read. It's got everything I love about your writing: your wittiness, your way with words, your uniquely human characters... A masterpiece!

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Wow what an amazing story, I loved it. The message behind it is powerful and thought provoking, thank you for sharing

  • R. J. Rani2 months ago

    Oh my goodness, S C Wells - this story made me feel. It’s so insightful and thought-provoking. Thank you for writing and sharing this very necessary, stunningly-written piece. It’s my favorite short story by you so far!

  • J. Scott Tanner2 months ago

    This was so brilliantly written. I love the dystopian consumerism. It is a great send up of social influencers and those who admire them.

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