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May 17, 2012 / Daniel

The Letter

[453 words, rated PG]

Shelk hunched in an alleyway, ragged bits of her clothes dunked into the gray and brown street water.

“Everyone looks normal, acts normal, but they’re not. Can’t tell who’s infected, who’s OTIS, who’s being controlled, who’s in charge …or who’s just dumb. They’re all dumb. I’m the king of the dummies. For even being here.”

A shiver almost broke her will.

“Everything’s wired. they see it all, everything. I have to be sure there’s no eyes anywhere, people or otherwise. Even the computers. As much technology we have, pretty much everything but teleporting, and the safest thing I can do is scribble on a sheet of trash.”

Shelk looked around, no one near, except for the occasional walker out streetside.

“It’s all connected, and he’s watching every single thing. You’d think it would be a warm feeling but it’s not. It’s like rusty nails being sharpened on concrete and lined up in a board and raked across your back. If there is a god that exists, he’s pissed off right about now, but not doing alot about it. Are we supposed to learn from this? Is that what this is? Not dead, making us stronger?”

She chewed at the end of her pencil near the lead. The splinters were gritty with soil.

“I dunno. I feel thinner and muddier and more desperate than ever. Not sure it’s a god. I think it’s a man. One twisted fuck of a man with a throatful of hate that wants everyone to… I dunno, no idea what he wants. But I know that this isn’t working. This isn’t the best we can do. As people. We’re so much better than what we’ve become.”

She listened, then continued.

“Everyone either stupid or in fear. Being controlled or hunted. Right now I’m hunted and no one knows it but me. Gotta find a way. A way out. Or a way to stay. A way to break this shit up. Something. Tried to stay, but I know too much now. Tried to get out, but there’s that wall; that fucking wall. That huge fucking wall. Something has to break. There’s a crack in it somewhere, some tiny, miniscule little hairline fault that can be aggravated and widened and earthquaked apart. Busted into. Torn down and started over. Some. Little. Grain of friction to grind and …”

Shelk looks at a rusty poof of dust where a squirrel whumped on a dumpster lid next to her, but it had already bounced off the opposite wall, landed in her lap, grabbed the paper, and sprang up the side of the wall. By the time she was on her feet, it was tightroping over a powerline across the river of speeding cars.


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  1. Ann Ritter / May 20 2012 1:10 pm

    “Cast your bread upon the waters, and it shall not return unto you void.” – Somewhere in the Bible. I choose to believe that there is a God; that He is still in control; and that her note will find its way to salvation for her – and maybe, ultimately, mankind.

    Great writing – takes me there, and I experience what she does.

    • Daniel / May 21 2012 9:48 am

      I have a feeling that things will be okay 😉

  2. Ann Ritter / May 20 2012 1:13 pm

    Got hung up for a minute on the line in the last paragraph, “…on a dumpster lid NET to her.” I think it’s supposed to be “next.”

    • Daniel / May 21 2012 9:48 am

      Thanks for finding that! Typo fixed!

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