Jack’s Underground (short story draft)
27 April, 2011 § Leave a comment
Good morning Wednesday. Another potential short story draft…comments, ideas, suggestions welcome.
Jack’s dead. And I think they killed him. We should have seen it coming.
He wasn’t family or anything, but he might as well have been. He taught me everything there was to know – from what dealers would sell you the parts, to building a computer, to hacking into the Worldpedia. Without getting caught.
I guess he got caught.
This thought rattles me back to the task at hand. I absentmindedly punch in our security codes under the flickering glare of a single bulb in the cellar. Half of my mind is on the programming task at hand. The other half is listening for the sounds of swishing robes and shuffling feet in the house above me. I know I’ll be punished if they find me like this, before Jack’s even in the ground.
Of course, once he is buried, I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to do.
I could just hide all of this. None of them have the skills anymore to track what we’ve been doing. When Jack grew up, everyone had a computer. He used to talk about it when we were alone. He said with the Movement we shut ourselves out of a beautiful, connected world. But those were his conspiracy theories.
I never knew anything but this world. And if it weren’t for Jack, I’d still be collecting scrap like everyone else, barely scraping by and spending my evenings memorizing their long, oral histories.
I can’t help but laugh. I’m still barely scraping by. But it’s different. I’m not stuck in a holey robe reciting their mindless drivel.
I’m not powerless anymore. I allow myself a little smile at this, in Jack’s memory. He’d known how empowering social technology was. He’d known how dangerous it was to cut ourselves off from it.
I come to the screen Jack and I set up for if something happened. I ignore the contingency plan for deleting all of his files and instead begin typing a message on the Worldpedia. “Anti-Movement activist Jack, #7319, has been killed. I have access to his equipment and will be replacing him here, reporting and gathering sympathizers…ready for action…”
With a click, my post is shared with the world. I can’t bring down the Movement without their help. And they can’t do it without people like me, who haven’t foolishly rejected society’s advances.
I sign off, lock and disguise the door to the tech room in the cellar. Then I sit next to the front door, waiting for them to come collect Jack’s body. But that’s all they can take.
I’ll take care of the rest.