Story and Coding By Andrew Gillanders
You spend your days dodging death, there is enough calamity on your home street alone to fill volumes of an encyclopedia, but if a world melts down and no one is there to hear the fall does it melt down at all? No, look away and hurry along, “No sir, I don’t have any, sorry.”
The hegemon alleges the corners of an observed street are safer than Fort Knox, and here you stand looking up at a flickering stop light. Although it is decrepit and threatens the passage of cars and pedestrians, the camera sitting on top of it is shiny and well maintained. “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” A stranger is watching YouTube without headphones so you can hear the ads. How inconsiderate. A world can be maintained in silence, through noise-cancellation, and he insults you.
You walk through the intersection, the green man flickers, imitating the decrepit red one. Further you go, further you can flee your home, towards opportunity. This will be your final day, just one more time you are going to do this. You walk down an alley and there is no calamity, silence and order are guarded by automation, that means only the brave and dumb like yourself walk down here.
You open the door to opportunity to find fear standing over you, its uniform is dark blue and its posture is that of the Reaper. It’s too late to struggle, the goons are already on you and your dominant hand is cuffed to the chair. Scream why don’t you? Why don’t you bring yourself to scream?
“Hello,” the Reaper says, “You have something that I would dearly like, and you are going to cooperate.”
The hot needle is going into your neck – struggle as the metal sinks in across your skull. Somehow you have lost your ability to scream, or perhaps it was stolen by the knowledge that no one will be there to hear it. You know the machine they’ve attached to your head, the simulations its capable of.
The Reaper places a box on the table in front of you, you can feel the peripherals of your consciousness already succumbing to the metal sliding into your ears. The Reaper picks up your only free hand of the cuffs and places a die into it.
“Roll it, let’s see how you are going to cooperate.”
Andrew Gillanders is an essayist who wraps his writing in fiction. Living with Bipolar-II, having grown up in rural Queensland, and after being fired for industrial action Andrew’s work is often political and concerned with justice. You can find him in one of Brisbane’s hipster breweries — he’s the one with dyed hair ranting slightly too loud.