“The fire’s coming,” she said, removing her hood. Her hollow features, worn down, coarse from the years of running and fighting, scanned the gigantic room quickly. “We need to find it.”
“Tinni, bring me my tea,” the old man said, one hand poised over the leather-bound tome on the desk before him.
He looked out onto the ocean, the pre-dawn moonlight sheen glowing a neon blue and mixing with the first hint of sun. The silhouette of the palm trees, an early morning runner with her dog. The waves crashing in the distance, their faint sound creeping through the floor-to-ceiling glass he stood behind, the shiver across his skin.
“What’s your greatest fear?” The interviewer asked, bringing his hands up to his mouth, resting his elbows on the dark, mahogany table, grinding a deep stare through the pinpoint spotlight.
We take our reality just like we take our tax preparers: solid and dependable, with an aversion to surprises.
"I don't know how much longer I can take this." Elisa would have muttered those words only to herself were it not for her virtual buddy, Peter. Peter was her tag along. Everywhere she went, she made sure Peter followed. Elisa found Peter many months earlier while rummaging through an old, long abandoned robotics workshop. Elisa was a talented and brilliant woman, so it was only a matter of short time before she had figured out how to activate Peter through the embedded controls of the otherwise ordinary pair of glasses. Peter was an artificial intelligence whose only visible body was that of the glasses that were now a semi-permanent fixture settled on the bridge of Elisa's nose.
“I thought I told you.” He said, more of a statement than a question as he pulled the car to the side of the road, turned the engine off and stepped slowly out.
“There’s a piano playing in my mind.” The fog glittered in the light from the lamps that circled him.
The battle was over, so many were killed. War is an unimaginable horror, and this is the sort of war whose images of mechanized death are enough to create nightmares forever. He tosses and turns in his comfortable king sized bed, the pictures of the young men tattered and torn shred apart. He froze, and he ran like a coward. They towered over him by a good three feet, mechanized limbs and laser cannon barrels pointing right at his head. The moment of martyrdom was in front of him and one fell swoop he just pushed him. A human shield if you will, to be vaporized into ashes as he took a blast to save his life. In the heat of battle a moment of self-preservation, a kid from Sector 9 one of the worst shantytowns on the planet. There he was the decorated veteran, a name with generations of warriors and an incredible amount of inherited wealth. He cannot forget the look of the man in the mechanized suit. Disbelief at the act of cowardice he had just seen, he did not bother to take another shot and behind the glass, he remembers that twisted smile that haunts him still, he decided to let him live to live with the guilt of what he had done. He can't sleep.
It happened again today. His ego shattered, and he must pick up the pieces and move? Yes, very easy for people to say. He had given eight years of his life to her and her cause. She said it would be for the best. Like a good soldier, he fought, against all the odds, against creatures that were quite frankly terrifying. He was her rock; he has been shot at, bombed, taken a swim in a lake of fire, and even taken a bullet for this woman. Once he told her “I would follow you the ends of the Earth” and that he did. She was a pretty amazing woman. Strong, resolute, brilliant, funny when she wanted to be, and every once in a while she would fuck him and blow his mind. He misses her, but then today after so many years of fighting the good fight, after so many years of being by her side, she told him it was over.
Rage, he has never been so enraged! The gall of these people. He is late for work, and they are simply standing there with a dazed look on their faces. He honks his horn they seem not to hear anything at all. He is suppressing the urge to get off his car and inflict great personal harm, but there is something bovine in their expressions he can't quite understand it. All this time, he continues to look into their eyes, but the expression is so damn vacant all it does it enrage him even further. Through his rearview mirror, he could see a conga line of angry drivers, people just like himself waiting to get to work. Some are desperately dialing their cell phones hoping that the boss will have mercy, pleading, hoping, making up excuses; you can hear the venom in their voices. He turns on the radio the sounds emanating from the stereo embody his frame of mind.