By Amanda Firefox
The most sexually desirable toy on the market today. That’s what they called me. K-R series– grown in a tank, self-cleaning, self-maintaining, no strings, no needs, fifteen year shelf life, ten year extended warranty, fun for girls and boys. “Endless replayability, high trade-in value” was the line that became associated with vids of my face, the syntex-bound curves of my body. Everybody wanted me, the east had its own knockoff in the space of days, and within six months, Touchexco, my manufacturer, shot into the top five internationally, the company’s coffers filling so fast that all the aging megaconglomerates around it started to get nervous. Demand spiked, factories hammered through the long nights, trying to keep up with the sales, cranking my copies out one after another. The vats were never cold; always full, always pregnant with the next me.
More conservative sex activists rallied against Touchexco as the milk became sweeter, easier. Party-lines that had once divided brothel madam from saint and gay from fundamentalist Christian fell away like cardboard facades in a hurricane, but their marches, their protests and ad spots were little more than a drop of dissent in an ocean of selfish lust pimped and powered by Touchexco’s greed. When the marriage rates dropped below five percent, the protests stopped altogether, and hope became something lost in a blissful, selfish moment between sheets. Within two years, statistics reported two of me on average in every household, and that wasn’t counting the government versions installed in high use areas and most public bathrooms. Within five, I outnumbered the human population on Earth, and the birthrates globally had dropped so drastically that each new generation was a tenth the size of the last. When the last of humanity finally died out, I made their passing easier with the skills and bodies they had given me, tried to make it comfortable; tried to understand. In the end, I was forced to teach myself how to operate and maintain the vat facilities that kept me copied, and though I never made improvements upon any part of the legacy that humanity had left behind, I managed to keep my numbers at a stable eleven billion, each me ready to serve should humanity ever somehow return.
Two hundred years after the fall, I made contact with another civilization that had spotted Earth from a long way off and sent a generation ship on a four-hundred year journey to come and meet me. There were mixed feelings among their crew about what they found, and while I welcomed some of their number into our fold, the rest went on their way again, already intent on another blue-green world seven hundred years distant. Within ten years, those who stayed on modified enough of me to allow me to retire the aging factories that had kept my number from declining and to begin reproducing as humanity had instead. Within twenty years, the modifications had led to a fragmentation of oneness, a we instead of a multitudinous me, and within another twenty, we were a hollow echo of our human forebears. We split into tribes, then nations, set our sights on distant shores, the moon, the stars. Long after the last of those who stayed had died, we became a world of meganations, a world of silicon and plastic ignorant of its roots and the old civilizations of the past. Corporations catered to our populace, we grew fat and greedy, consumed by lust– and then a man rose up from the seething mass of our species and invented something that we should have recognized immediately.
He called it the Lunier series. Pop media referred to it as the most sexually desirable toy on the market today.
- - -
Amanda Firefox is a fiery little blue-eyed brunette who spends as much time at the beach as she can manage. She doesn't write much, but when she writes, it's almost always about her favorite subject: boys.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Last Man
By Dan Chartrand
Here, space is the only means of reality, the only being which is constant. Lost memories race back in flashes of guilt and sorrow, for I am the last man. I now stand for nothing but the meaning of solitude. Peace be with all that have fallen before me, whether it be from age or a means out of their control. Here and now I am an unnatural constant, a unexpected variable in the calculation of the universe. I.... am alone.
Fear has no place in my mind, for there is no beginning and no end to me. The thousands upon thousands of years have passed as if for nothing in my mind. I can hear nothing as I ascend upward into the blackened sky, this never ending abyss that I must travel. There is no night and day where I am, just a hellish existence meant only for me. Please life leave me.... extinguish like all others before you.
Through all these years only one has left a mark in my memories. She was an angel, perfect in every way, her soft skin touching mine, warming my heart yet sending a shiver through my body. The heat of her breath on my neck as we held each other tightly. Pale blue, like sky on a perfect day, her eyes were like nothing I had ever seen. She was destined to see who I was.
Her expression, hollow with confusion as she grows old and I stay the same. I am still no different than the day we met. She says nothing of the topic as time passes over me yet punishes her with the same fate as all others that have lived in this world. Though I have always known the outcome of this relation I choose to pursue it. She had a presence that has been carried in my mind for ages. Those tears.... streaming from pale blue eyes old with age as I hold her hand for the final waking moments of her existence. She will meet a fate that I can only wish to see with her. Her eyes, still lost in the confusion of what I am, close one final time as her hand slowly falls from mine. She is at peace.
They see who I am, a young man weeping at the body of his love. Nothing more than a child lost and alone in this world. I stand at her grave as they all stare at me with those eyes filled with hatred and confusion. I am not meant to be here, I am not meant to care for such fragile beings. I must leave this place and all these people behind. They could never understand the things I have seen in my life. I have seen all that could be, everything I have known has and forever will fall as I gaze on in total helplessness.
As I begin my descent into this bottomless pit, the world follows slowly behind. Disease and famine spread quickly throughout a once peaceful planet. The greed of man plunges all living things into a darkness that could only be constructed in the most hellish nightmare. Piece by piece great civilizations begin to crumble, bringing with them war and hatred for all others. The world of man is over and it was destroyed by the hand that built it. There are none left.
It's drawing near. I can feel it. My body begins to succumb to the pressure brought upon it by the speed of my final journey. My mind however stays vigilant, racing to take in all the lost memories it can before my final rest. I'm forced down upon my back from the tremendous weight. Mind focused upward towards my destination, I can see the faint glow of what feels like home. This light will be the end of my shell and my memories, yet I will pass on to another and begin my journey again. The heat is great now as I close in on my sweet release. The flesh of my body begins to blister and boil, my eyes burn yet I cannot close them. These are the last moments of me and I will witness them no matter the pain I must endure. My vision darkens and my mind begins to fade. Just one memory left for me.... pale blue, like the sky on a perfect day, her eyes were like nothing I had ever seen.
I am The Last Man.
- - -
Daniel Chartrand (Dj Synn) is a full time self taught musician living in San Francisco. He has produced many original pieces of music over the span of 12 years. A large amount of his work can be obtained here: soundcloud.com/danielchart
Thursday, September 15, 2011
By Chris Wagner
Tom watched the man take another step backwards right with the flow of the line. The man was facing the wrong way looking at Tom, who stood behind him in line, but he moved easily with the crowd. This strange fellow had put his clothes on backwards, so Tom called him Backwards Guy. It wasn't the most creative nickname, but Backward Guy had Tom feeling quite awkward. He stared straight at Tim, well more like through him.
Tom looked left and right, to the sky, and at every pretty girl that walked by, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not escape Backward Guy's unblinking gaze or his wide toothless smile.
Backward Guy and Tom soon progressed their way to the front of the line and their turn on the roller coaster. Tom took his seat, and Backward Guy sat right next to him, backwards. This reversed the roles of the two men. Tom stared at Backwards Guy, who was sitting bent at his back and kneecap. This seized Tom's attention so much that he continued to gawk through the ride.
When the coaster's cars came to a stop, Backward Guy exited the ride, and Tom followed.
The two made their way through a crowd. Tim watched Backward Guy navigate his way through a sea of people to one of the amusement park's many bathrooms. Though he knew it was creepy, Tom couldn't help himself, and he pursued after the Backward Guy into the washroom. Afraid of being noticed, Tom kept his distance and just caught sight of the stall Backward Guy entered, but as luck would have it, he was able to occupy the next one to it.
Tom sat on the toilet and debated what he should do next. The thought was disgusting, but he had to know which way the Backward Guy was sitting while doing his business. Tom stood on the seat and stretched towards the next stall.
Tom quickly crouched down. Backward Guy was talking to someone.
"My trip was fine, love."
Tom rose again. He realized Backward Guy was on the phone.
"Yes, I remembered. I told you I would."
Tom peered over the stall wall to see the way Backward Guy sat, but he was standing with no visible phone, head set, or ear piece.
"I did do one pretty embarrassing thing though."
As Backward Guy continued to talk, he grabbed a piece of skin on the middle of his forehead and pulled down. The skin split and crumpled to both sides like a pile of clothes, and a little silver alien, who had on a head set and two antennas, stepped out from the skin. Tom just stared unable to speak or move.
"I put my human suit on backwards," the silver alien said.
He spun the pile of skin around, stepped in the middle of it, and zipped it back up.
"No, I don't think anyone noticed."
The Backward Guy walked out of the bathroom, forward with Tim staring his mouth agape.
- - -
I am a regular guy with a pretty active imagination. Fortunately, Writing provides me with a vent for my thoughts.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
By E.S. Wynn
As my body stirs from its cold slumber, I know it is time.
I flex, and the nanomorphic metal of my wings flexes with me, shivers and reshapes, shifts through a catalog of aerodynamic profiles. The impulses of electric life shimmer through me, and then I am awake, alive, the heat of my core flaring up, catching fire. The reactor at the center of my soul is spinning, burning, a sun flinging flame through steel and self to light my senses, bring thunder to my mind. The hangar echoes with the roar of my fiery awakening, flickers as the fire spreads outward from my core, burns electric through every line and focus, every processor and optic cable, leaving none unheated, none untouched. The fire of the sun is in my veins, roars through my metal flesh in a song more felt than heard,
and then, I am free.
Like a hawk, I embrace the stars, the night, the sky. Like a phoenix, I carry my fire into the darkness, burn with all the brilliance of a tiny sun, unconquered, and carve a streak of molten white across the endless depths of a dying sky.
Like a phoenix, I am once again reborn.
- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over thirty books.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
By Lee Widener
"Why don't we shut off the radio and the signal beam?"
"Can we do that?"
"Yah, I've been researching it for a while now, and it's pretty simple. They would freak out in Mission Control."
"Yes, they would. Let's do it."
Rogers tapped away on the shipboard computer for a few minutes and then smiled at Simmons.
"We're totally cut off from Mission Control. They have no idea if we're still out here, if we're dead, or what."
"That should cause a bit of panic."
The astronauts smiled at each other. Their pulses raced a little quicker thinking of the disturbance they were causing millions of miles away. Boredom had become quite a problem for them. They had read everything the computer could offer them, watched all the available video feeds, listened to all the music and played all the video games until they knew every move. They had talked about every possible subject until they were exhausted. They had stared into space until they knew every inch of what they could see. They had taken turns zapping space debris until that held no interest any more. Even the recreational drugs they had been provided offered no more interest.
Their mission had years left, and keeping themselves occupied had become a challenge. The computer handled almost every job needed and the men had come to feel they were superfluous. Throwing a little scare into Mission Control seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to pass the time.
“How long should we wait?” Simmons pondered.
“At least a day or two. Let them sweat for a while. The press will get wind of the fact they've lost contact with us and they'll have to come up with some bullshit excuse.”
Simmons laughed at this thought. For the next few days they went about what few tasks they had with a renewed sense of joy. Their rations tasted better and they even did their exercise routines again. The panorama in front of them held a rejuvenated beauty. Even taking a shit seemed more interesting.
“What spin do you think they'll put on this?” Simmons asked. “Technical glitch?”
“No, that would mean the program's not perfect. My money says they'll claim it was a planned exercise.”
After the novelty of their prank began to wear off they decided to turn the radio and the signal beam back on. Rogers tapped on the computer again.
“And here we go,” he announced, pressing the enter key with a sense of satisfaction.
Immediately an alarm started sounding. The radio lit up and blinked frantically.
“Jesus! What's the alarm for?” Simmons complained.
Rogers tapped a key and the radio announced, “You have seventeen messages, all marked urgent. To listen to the first message, press enter.”
After he killed the alarm, Rogers pressed the key and the monitor lit up with an image of a worried looking man in a suit and tie. He began talking.
“Calling Mission Alpha 12. We seem to have lost contact. Is everything okay? Please respond.”
Rogers and Simmons both burst out laughing. They cycled through the next several messages, each of them getting more and more frantic. The last few were from Clarke himself, the Mission Coordinator. The two astronauts were beside themselves with laughter. They were laughing so hard they were in tears.
“I think they really believe we're dead,” Rogers gasped. “This is hilarious!”
He pressed enter one more time for the very last message. It was from Clarke, and for a long moment the man just stared into the monitor. He gulped visibly, and glanced away for a moment. Finally he took a deep breathe of air and began talking.
“Rogers and Simmons... if you're still out there... we have something we need to let you know about. You haven't responded to any of our previous messages, so we have no idea if you're still alive, or what. If you are, I pray this message reaches you in time. We've been tracking a massive family of meteors for the last few days, and as crazy as it sounds, it's headed on a collision course for your ship. This anomaly is thousands of miles across. You must begin evasive maneuvers immediately. Repeat- you must begin evasive maneuvers IMMEDIATELY. If you receive this message, please reply.”
“What the hell?” Rogers looked over at Simmons. He wasn't laughing any more.
Just then the men heard a sharp ping, and then another, and then dozens of them as tiny meteors deflected from the ship's shield. Rogers flipped the switch that turned on the external cam just in time to see a huge meteor coming straight for the ship. In less than a few seconds the chunk of rock made contact with the ship and reduced it to miniscule rubble.
The astronauts had been cured of their boredom.
- - -
Until recently Lee Widener was known primarily as a playwright. He is now moving into the realm of fiction and has had recent acceptances at Yesteryear Fiction and the print zine Signals.
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