Futuristic Behaviour Experiment

Joe sipped on his cappuccino, huddled up in the corner at the cafe. His eyes were flitting from one person to the next. When their eyes met his, he immediately shifted his line of sight to the floor. Feeling his cheeks redden. “What am I doing here? I shouldn’t be here.” He could see people meeting up, gossiping. Maybe talking about their colleagues at work, or office romances. He could see families, parents with their young children running amok. “I should leave, this isn’t working.” He downed the red-hot cappuccino which then burnt his mouth. Wincing, he got up to leave the cafe. Feeling every persons eyes boring into the back of his head. Joe made his way down to the harbour to where he parked his ride. Floating just above the water, was his hovercar. As he switched on the keys, the door opened and a ladder extended to the harbourside.

Joe stepped into his vehicle. From the dashboard, he could see that there was about a half-charge left. “Should be enough for at least the return journey.” “Where to, Mr Sans?” the hovercar’s built in AI asked politely. You could set the modes and personality of any AI in your possession through the bots app. Joe Sans preferred a polite and deferential female voice. It calmed him, made him feel like he had some sort of power. “Back home please, Charlotte.” “Of course Mr Sans. Would you like to take your medication now, or at home sir?” Charlotte added sweetly. The hovercar took off from the harbour, lifting up above the city. “Yes please, Charlotte.” “Please prepare your arm, Mr Sans.” Joe rolled up his sleeve. A knotted mess of healed over scars, making it virtually impossible for human beings to administer meditation via needle, for lack of finding a vein. A jab attached to a robotic arm appeared out of a flap by the dashboard. Joe looked down out of the window at the city. Streams of hovercars below him in various lanes of controlled air traffic. Traffic lights still existed, floating about mid-air. Below he could barely make out the citizens that scuttled about in the city. So small now, it brought Joe a feeling of introspection. The robotic arm jabbed his arm, bringing him out of his thoughts. The sharp pain irritated him momentarily. He then relaxed back into his seat. He could feel the medicine flowing through his veins, relaxing each part of his body. This brought about an involuntary groan of pleasure. Charlotte materialised out of thin air into the seat next to him and the hovercraft’s robotic arm retracted back into the flap.

The dashboard displayed the route time. “20 minutes and 29 seconds”. “It’s good to see you Mr Sans!” Charlotte’s eyes beamed. Her whole face did. Joe felt immediately comforted. His anxiety, now slipping away. He was safe and sound, in his hovercar, with Charlotte. Joe raised his arm. He opened up his forefinger and thumb and a small screen appeared between them. He tapped on his bots app. Once the app loaded, he selected Charlotte’s profile. Looking up at Charlotte he took in her features for a moment. She was a pretty thing. She had jet black hair, huge glowing eyes with lips parted slightly. A small face and a petite body. She sat looking at him, unblinking, but smiling. Joe looked back to his bots app, swiping left with his fingers, looking through the various default skins that the bots app provided. He found one he liked, and clicked on it. Within an instant Charlotte’s appearance had changed. She now had long blonde hair that hung down, barely covering her huge breasts. She was now tall and had a gorgeous figure. “Hmm.. A bit too much for me. Maybe back to what you were.” Joe swiped back to Charlotte’s previous skin and selected it. Charlotte, now back to her original self again, was still looking at him, still with the seemingly unthinking and adoring smile. “There, that’s better. You look great Charlotte.” “Thanks Mr Sans!” Charlotte beamed. “Hmm.. Maybe I should change the personality a bit. A bit too servile for me I think.” Joe scrolled down to the personality tab on the bots app and started swiping through the different personality types. “Hmm.. Arsy? Why would anyone want that? What’s wrong with people. Lets see.. Bossy, kind, thoughtful, reflective, sexy.. Sexy, that sounds interesting.” Joe had an idea. On the dashboard, he dimmed the windows, blocking anyone from seeing inside the hovercar. He looked at the dashboard. “17 mins and 45 seconds”. “Plenty of time” Joe grinned to himself. He set Charlotte’s personality to “Sexy” and her current mode to “Prostitute”. Charlotte’s polite demeanour dropped suddenly, and her eyes suddenly locked on with his. She smirked at him, lustfully. Crawling over the seats to get closer to him. “Hey Joe.. “.

When he finished with her, she asked him: “Are you satisfi-” Joe deactivated her temporarily, she disappeared. Perhaps later, Joe would delete his history on the app. If he remembered, later on. His hovercraft rolled up to his apartment. The ladder stretched out to his apartment door. The apartment complex was built sky-high. Literally, in the clouds, or higher than the clouds. Space was increasingly limited these days. Life, was becoming very crowded on earth. Joe climbed across the ladder, into his apartment. The door recognised his appearance “WELCOME HOME MR SANS.” The door cheerfully said. “HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR MEDICINE?” Joe ignored the door and carried on inside. The place was a mess. Since he had no contact with people, he had no reason to tidy up. The washing up was piled up in the sink. Dirty clothes were strewn about. “Wait a minute” Joe thought, “Doesn’t the bot app also have cleaning capabilities?” He reactivated Charlotte and she materialised before him. “Hi Joe.. You want some more..?” She winked at him. Preparing, she made her way to the sofa and bent over with her ass wiggling in the air. “Oh shit, I forgot. That would of been awkward if someone was here.” Charlotte was looking over her shoulder. “I’m ready big boy..” Joe blushed and felt ashamed. He opened the app with his forefinger and thumb, setting Charlotte’s mode to “Cleaning” and the behaviour set to “Docile. Charlotte immediately hopped down from the chair and started picking up clothes. “Hmm.. Better if I delete my history, just in case. Where is it in this app..” He scrolled up to the navigated bar, tapped on settings and selected “User History”. He then clicked on the “Delete all history” button. Charlotte paused suddenly. Her face contorting with pain, her whole body spasmed and convulsed freakishly fast as if in fast motion. Her mouth wide open and screaming silenty. She stopped, corrected her posture and stood upright. Then, she went about to her various tasks. “Right, now that’s sorted. I better give my therapist a call.” Joe spread his fingers again and spoke the words: “Call: Therapist, Mode: Video.”

The phone dialed and connected immediately. With his therapists face and his on the screen. “Joe! How are things? Did you manage alright?” Joe’s therapist Laura asked, enthusiastic as always. “Well, the experiment went okay! I even managed to talk with a girl! Managed to get her number too.” Joe lied. He knew his therapist would know he was lying too. He blushed hard. He felt like a schoolboy again, about to be caught in some misdeed. “That’s good news! What did you learn from this experiment, Joe?” She eyed his face, trying to break past it and into his mind. Joe felt this, and averted his eyes down to the floor. “Oh, you know, that it’s not as bad as I thought!” His therapist looked unconvinced. “Call me next week, and we can discuss what to do next. Talk soon, Joe.” She hung up. Joe was left looking at himself in the video chat. He felt a gnawing, growing feeling of shame. Embarrassment and disappointment in himself.

“I am a coward.” Joe croaked. “What was that, Joe?” Charlotte asked. “Oh, nothing Charlotte, nothing.”

Centre of the Earth

I ran into the forest. The wind plays with the trees, tickling the leaves into falling. My feet squelch into the soft, wet mud as I run. In and out my foot goes, breathing into the earth. I can see the tree roots lingering just above the surface, probing.

I begin to dig. I’m digging until I get to China.

The deeper the hole is the more the roots groan out to the open air, missing the comfort and solace of the dense, compact earth, the damp coolness of the soil. The wind finds itself bouncing off all corners of this hole, looking for new friends to play with. The roots groan and retreat further back to other parts of the soil. I dig deeper and deeper until I reach the inner core of the earth.

There he is.

He sits on a plain, wooden stool staring into the centre. A looking glass of pure magma.

“You’re finally here”. He doesn’t bother to swivel around. He knows who I am.

“I’m trying to get to China”.

“You’re about half way there”.

“Oh? I suppose this is the centre of the earth”.

“Would you care to sit?” Another wooden stool materialises out of thin air beside him. He didn’t need to wait to hear my response. I sit beside the careworn old man.

“Look at this my son, before you continue your journey”.

I stared intently into the looking glass. Images began to appear. Simultaneously the past, present and future are all played out at once before me. The whole world and multiple others. People of many races and many species busy in their minds, in their lives. In under a minute I was exhausted, as if years had been torn off me.

“Have you had enough?”

“Yes, sir”.

“Be on your way, know that I am always looking out for you, son. Always” He said without looking at me. I felt it his hand on my shoulder.

I continued the dig. As I emerged the wind was nowhere to be found. The trees were quiet. I walked out of the forest in search of people.

Realm of the Dead

I found myself suddenly on a bridge. I stood there for just a moment. Taking in the atmosphere. I was standing on a bridge in the middle of a lake. The air tastes like early morning. I couldn’t see the end of the bridge, both ends were shrouded in fog. As I looked out to the lake I could see some large ripples appearing, moving fast towards me.

As the ripples came closer I could make out a large, shapely body beneath the water. The creature beneath the water suddenly launched its large body unto the rails, balancing precariously with its huge weight. It looked at me thoughtfully for one moment, came to a decision, then hopped onto the pavement right in front of me, shaking the bridge slightly.

“Tell me about yourself.” The creature bubbled, its flippers motioning as he spoke.

“I’m not sure there’s much to tell.”

“Nonsense” Its words gargled, forming foam from its mouth that slipped off its giant tusks.

“Am I dead.”

“Yes you are. Soon your heart will be weighed and judged.”

“Who are you then?”

“I guide the dead.” The huge creature posed it’s body upwards, stretching out its flippers.

“Why are you a walrus?”

“I don’t know. Why are you a human?”

“That’s actually a good point.”

“There you go.”

 

We watched the lake together. Time stood still. Does time even flow in a place like this? I heard a gargling of water come from the walrus as he began to speak again.

“So, who are you then?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Thirst (A Short, Short Story).

Chapter 1-

24/03/2061

Walked through the forest, the red light sliced through the pines, silhouettes were everywhere, standing around like shadows, shadows that come from the people from before. I found shelter in a small cave dumped my backpack and belongings on the floor and went to collect firewood. The forest is dry, the trees creak and moan for their roots to give way, begging the sky for water to fall, but no water will come.

I set my alarms surrounding the perimeter so that I have a chance to run when the ragged ones come. The thirst will be particularly strong these couple of months so I will not be taking any chances. I came across a deer that has only died very recently so it will be a feast tonight, its blood will hopefully slake my thirst for a little while longer until I make it to the river, back to my people.

 

Chapter 2-

25/03/2061

I am but a few days away from the river now. In the midst of my sleep I was awoken by an alarm but thankfully it was just a fallen tree. You can never be too sure though, so, while it was still dark, I grabbed my backpack and pegged it, unfortunately leaving all my traps. I ran and ran until the sun came to greet me. I fear the thirst is coming for me, I do not want to join the ragged ones like the others did. Today I walked a total of twenty miles according to the stars. I have covered much length. I believe that in another 15 miles I shall come across the river and my thirst shall be slaked and God shall be thanked.

I can’t help but marvel at the wonders of this place. The forest I can feel is almost talking to me. Maybe it seeks my witness to its last dying words. I can almost hear its whispers. I feel sorry for the trees and the roots, there is not much that I can do for them but listen while they cry their leaves off in sorrow.

Tonight I sleep rough out in the open. I am nervous, I have no fire or smoke to ward off the ragged ones, they are always there, I can tell they’re following.  I pray they do not find me, I am so close.

 

Chapter 3-

26/03/2061

I barely slept the night from before. I kept hearing voices; it woke me again and again. I could have sworn I saw their eyes watching me in the night.

It seems I have made a miscalculation. I have followed the stars and God’s signs but I must have interpreted them wrong as I have not come across my river. Everything here is barren. There are no trees or roots, no animals, no wind. Just silence. Deafening silence. I don’t know what is worse, the noise of the forest, or the silence of the plain. I can hear my heart beat so clearly.

 

Chapter 4-

28/03/2061

I was not able to write last night as I had fought strongly with my thirst. My tongue was leaping from my mouth and my belly enlarged. Luckily I was led by God to a small pool of water. The stars shone in it so I knew that it was clean to drink. Truly this was not by chance. I know that with more faith and endurance I will reach the river and be with my people once again. The river is our only chance to rebuild truly. Tonight I sleep in the trees away from the ground. I hear distorted voices again, surely it is them. Their howling and mourning is keeping me up.

 

Chapter 5-

29/03/2061

Today was a rough day. My feet are bleeding from sores, my shoulders ache like I carry the weight of the world with me. What I carry will rejuvenate our people once again. My mission is almost complete, we will have fresh hope. I have found the path, I shall be back to the river, to my people, tomorrow evening.

 

Chapter 6-

30/03/2061

My people have turned, the thirst took hold, and the river has run dry. They are nought but hollow shells of themselves. Their veins run dry and minds have forgotten God and themselves. The ones that refused, remaining faithful are strewn across this place. Our walls have crumbled by their fists, our house reduced to ruin. I do not know what to do. My weight is so heavy, my tongue hangs loose, I feel my limbs seize up. To write right now is such a pain I cannot describe. Whoever finds these journals, whatever finds these journals. Please preserve it as a testament to our struggle. It seems God did not find me worthy to slake our thirsts. In my backpack you will find hope, you will find salvation. You will find the answer to all your problems. Unfortunately, I was gone too long. I wish you luck traveller.

 

END.

 

(Hey there, Jack here. Lately I’ve been attempting to write longer stories alongside the usual short strands of poetry. I’m trying to find the right flow to storytelling and writing fiction. Any criticism, comments or tips would be much appreciated! I definitely want to give all this more of a go, it’s great fun. Hope you enjoyed, if you made it this far, haha.)

Conversation with a Crow

The view from the moutain oversees the valley stretching out below. A great blue stream running into a sea of green. The path I took was long, my feet have blisters but it was worth this view. The air feels cleared, my lungs feel stronger. Even the clouds here seem pleased to see me. It’s from here I can let my thoughts run wild, with every ragged breath I take, every forced step I make to climb higher and higher, my thoughts become less pained.

There is a bird that has joined me here in my sacred place. A crow without friends or family. I think we could understand eachother so long as he doesn’t fly away from me. Birds are nervous, untrusting creatures. Understandably. Humans are just as nervous and more untrusting. But being larger gives us confidence.

The crow cocks his head sideways to check my advances, calculating inside that pea-sized brain of his. Am I a threat? Or friend? I sit within three feet of the crow on a stone and begin a conversation with it.

“Crow, are you lonely? You are all by yourself. I am lonely, I haven’t seen any of my kind for months.” “I have not seen any of my kind neither, human. Maybe we are the last of our species?” “For all we know we could be, crow.”

A Very Short Story

The words of the email began mulling around in my brain. There’s never much going on there anyhow so they don’t colide with much. Just bouncing on the walls of my skull. Echoes in the empty chamber. “We regret to inform you but due to budget reasons, we will have to end your contract. If you have any disagreements or anything you would like to say or if you would like to take this further as a tribunal please contact us with the number present in this email. We’d like to thank you for your service over these many years! Please deliver your work uniform to the present address in this email. You will be reimbursed for delivery costs. Cheers.”

So that was it. After twenty one years of working it’s come to this. All those hours I put in. All that overtime I took. All that commitment. All those managers I kissed up to. The occasions I missed to get promotions. Should I say “attempt to get” rather.

I suppose that’s it. Not much else I can do now really. I wonder how things are looking in the pension pot?

A False Speech

He took to the stage

All eyes followed him

All voices quiet

Ears poised for position

He readjusted the microphone to his height

And spoke his piece:

“All men are greedy and ugly. Every one of these men running for this local election only care for their own pocket. Not your livelihoods. I promise to bring about a new era where I put the people first, and not myself!”

The audience clapped

He took off the stage with a smile and a wave

To sit in the VIP seat reserved for him

The next man was ushered on

He readjusted the microphone to his height

And spoke his piece:

“This man was lying! He only cares about lining his own pockets. He’ll tell you anything to get votes! Vote for me and you will get nothing but honesty.”

The audience clapped

He took off the stage with a smile and a wave

To sit next to the other man

In the VIP section

Both sharing a laugh together

The next man was ushered on.

Becoming a Man

“I hate the way it feels.” “The way what feels, Jamie?” Asked his mother, putting her book down. “The way my limbs feel just awkwardly laying about. I just can’t rest them. Do you ever get that feeling? When everything is just uncomfortable.” “I can’t say I do Jamie, I don’t often have time to think about anything I’m feeling, I’m so busy, as you know.” “Busy with what? All you ever do is watch over me and read.” The mother sighed. “Can we not just have a conversation?” “I know exactly where this will lead Jamie, and I will most certainly not speak of it again. Now you sit there, and be a good boy.” “Mother, I am twenty tomorrow, do you not see how patronising you sound?” “But you are just a boy, Jamie, nothing more. You do nothing, you do not work, you do not study, you sit there, complaining, and you call it conversation.” “I just want someone to talk to, mother, that’s all.” “Talk to me when you’re a man, Jamie, then I may listen.”

And so, Jamie took it upon himself to learn to be a man. He put himself to work, for money he certainly did not need and know how to spend. He gave half his wages to his mother, who refused to talk. Months passed, work grew grimmer and dimmer, the money kept coming in, yet he still didn’t know what to do with it. The pile grew and grew, the sparkle of gold certainly caught the eye of some young ladies. Eventually they would come knocking, coming to teach Jamie how to spend his money. Makeup, perfume, holidays and restaurants, they came and went, until the pile diminished and they lost interest. Until one lady came knocking even though there was no pile. Jamie, enthralled, moved out immediately, shadowing the great figure of the lady who took a chance on him. She managed him, rationed to him, washed him, pleasured him, until he became a man. He hates the way it feels. But his mother talks to him now.