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Showing posts from October, 2017

Playing War

The damp foxhole eight-year-old Peter was crouched in had been punched into the dirt road by a solitary shell, possibly misfired from a gun of monstrous proportions. It was a grey early spring morning. The snow had turned into a cold rain, but Peter was not perturbed by the icy water seeping into his tattered shoes or the face-numbing blasts of wind. He kept his eyes fixed on the edge of the forest, sporadically pulling the trigger of an imaginary machine gun to cut down wave after wave of snarling Russians as they emerged from the trees. "Na na na na na," the boy chattered to simulate the sound of machine gunfire. "Reload!" He shouted before pulling the invisible bolt back to resume firing. "Na na na na!" "How's the defense of our village going, soldier?" Peter looked over his shoulder and saw two soldiers with rifles slung over their shoulders. Each of them clenched a burning cigarette between their lips. Their gray uniforms were baggy, and

Idle Time

At the age of sixteen, Justin didn't have the emotional capacity for anything eschatological. As an organism, he was in the growth phase of life, not yet in its prime. The end was so far out of sight for Justin that, to him, the concept of dying was so abstract he considered it to be more of a possibility than an inevitable conclusion. Armageddon was a term with a definition he knew in the academic sense, but in practice, the destruction of civilization was not a set o circumstances his developing mind could adapt to much less comprehend. Even as he lay in bed playing a game that immersed him in the charred remains of a city infested with bandits and irradiated monsters. This far bleaker reality existed above the layers of rock and steel. The global typhoon of fire immolating the word was the last light on Earth, and once it burned out, all that would be left was the cold dark shroud of nuclear winter. Besides the move to the underground quarter's world war, three hadn't

Long Live The Emperor!

The old man paced back and forth, the time it took to cover the eight feet between the faded white walls was extended by his shuffling pace. He ran his bony fingers through his wire-thin white hair and mumbled into the stale air of the sparsely furnished room. “Block the sea lanes and deploy an airborne force behind their defensive line!” he ordered his phantom military chiefs. “I want airstrikes covering the landings,” he added decisively. The whithered geriatric issuing orders to an empty room was a decaying relic that had the misfortune of outliving his purpose. His dissolving mind kept him living in a world of memories a waking life closer to a dream than reality.  He spent his dwindling existence conversing with ghosts and fighting battles long since won and lost. Empires devoured Emperors, but he had outlived the intrigued and vanquished his foes, and now when it was most apparent he couldn't understand what a misfortune that may have been. The end of his reign was anticlim


Commerce, education, and most importantly, the creation, distribution, and consumption of information previously human endeavors had been usurped by the alternate digital universe. A realm that is the sum of every digital device that keeps its human users connected to the rapidly encroaching reality of an omnipresent network that bound the world in its fiber-optic web. The world, once a place far too large and complex for any single human to understand, could be condensed and reshaped into something for rapid electronic consumption. Information drowned out reality. Inevitably the masters of the information industry engineered a final break between the physical world and the world of information, and that's when Crystal Ball was born. "It's an AI program designed to generate news twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week." Adam explained to the little camera lens embedded on his laptop." With a click of the mouse, the 33-year-old programmer turned whistle-blowing

One Step Ahead

Cassius was on his hands and knees frantically crawling through the long grass as it gently swayed in the late summer breeze. His horse was standing on the side of the stone road indifferently grazing while his rider muttered and cursed. Cassius was a messenger who had been charged with delivering the most valuable trophy in the whole of the empire. Failure would mean death.  Of course not before some unimaginably cruel torture that could only be devised by the sort of minds suited to wield imperial power. He looked at the empty bag with its lose rope that was meant to hold it shut limply hanging to the side. He threw it on the ground in frustration and stomped it into the dirt. He couldn’t understand how the knot had even come undone. It had to be the work of sadistic gods who of all the people in the world seemed to take a particular delight in tormenting him. This final bit of mischief was their grand finale, and surely they’d be chuckling as they watched his head roll along the m