Hardwood floor

11:43 in the city named AE-43Q uniformed clerks rushed by. Some of them where probably droids but I had ceased to notice the subtle tattoo that indicates a human, we all had the same greyish skin a government hairdo and we were all shackled to similar compucases™.

The halls of our quarters had once been a library, but who needs a book when we all have compucases™? I had a brand new cerebral socket installed so now I could even superimpose any hologram I wanted on top of the raw walls. I could be Robinson or Mr. Darcy, I could be a lover or a villain.

But for the moment I preferred to be solidly inside without any compucase™ interference and as the clock struck 11:44, I noticed a fanciful femanoid in a late-issue uniform looking at me.

I wondered if she had any hologram on, but something told me that she actually saw me

We are all said to be equal, but I noticed she had a mother superior necklace, which made it very awkward. The last time someone stared into my eyes was when I had my retina enhancement and the nurse actually looked into my eyes before she inserted the barbs.

I felt naked but before I had switched on my hologram shades I could hear her talking into my cerebral core.

“Follow me”, her voice was like music and she led me through a tapestry door into a room with nothing but light. The door shut behind us, and she came closer to kiss me.

“We are in compucase shade”, I noticed how fuzzy her words sounded without the hologram filters activated. “Here we have names instead of numbers. You are Peter, I am Lara,”

I started to remember, I saw the sunshine in her hair, I could almost hear the sound of our daughter’s naked feet against the hardwood floor.

“Lara, where is Nadia?”

She took me by the hand as we left the coverage of the Library, never to return.

“Eyes Without a Face” by Digital Collage by artist Robin Isely

A piece of fiction for Sunday Muse, also linking to the pantry

35 responses to “Hardwood floor

  1. A clever bit of fantasy fiction. I smiled at the cerebral socket, and the clock striking 11:44. Nice touches. Great fun read.

  2. This is a story with a hook! I want to know where Nadia is……wonderful, Bjorn, you could write a whole novel from this scenario and find a lot of readers.

  3. I like your gothic sci-fi take on this picture prompt! It definitely can become a longer story – such melancholy mystery…

  4. My kind of fiction, Björn! What have they done with the ancient librarian now that there are compucases™ and cerebral sockets? I don’t like the sound of the retina enhancement! Thank you for a bittersweet ending, but how sad to only ‘’almost hear the sound of our daughter’s naked feet against the hardwood floor’.

  5. My goodness this is absolutely riveting, Bjorn! 💝 So many questions are currently running through my mind .. which era is this? where is Nadia? Have libraries ceased to exist? Are humans turning to machine? Are their memories subjected to save and delete similar to files on a computer?

    I hope you continue with this dystopian fantasy like you did with your aged librarian series. Love it! 💝💝

  6. Though not my genre, as a practitioner… Yes, like many I found this fresh and gripping Bjorn. Loved your ending and also the thelling little details that painted the story so well – like the daughter’s naked feet… Though, with my editing hat on – which, of course, is always far easier with prose…) you might then want to reconsider the use of naked (substitute raw/exposed or similar..) in the hologram sentence, Maybe? Enjoyed this piece muchly!

  7. Wow. This piece captivated me from the beginning and that ending brought me near to the tears in the image.

  8. Intriguing how he has to “remember” his way back to reality from within all the layers of technology. Yep.

  9. Pingback: Mother, what big eyes you have… | TedBook·

  10. I love the masterful pacing. I learned a bit about the narrator and his world in every sentence, more as the paragraph grew. I like that even when the story is telling us that he had lost most of his humanity, the character continues to give us hints of what still lived in him. And at the end, when he remembers such personal things about his partner, when he misses his child… a bit of hope sparks into the tale. We might not know exactly where they are going after this, but it is obvious that they are going in search (for more).

  11. This is a tasty bit of sci-fi. I have so many questions about this world and how it came to be (at what point did humans decide to give up so much of their humanity…and was it really a choice?). I couldn’t help but feel hopeful that the protagonist would eventually find what was lost.

  12. This is brilliant Bjorn. Now I want more! Did she earn the right to be with her former husband again? Will he be allowed to stay with her and see their child? Or is this a portent of disaster for him and he is allowed to do this prior to his eradication? Looking forward to the book!

  13. Interesting, all tied into the system via their “compucases”. Artificial Intelligence emerged into as takeover of the human race. I wondered, so went to trusty, all powerful, next in line under Compucase, google.
    Google told me where to buy so that I could get into the system:

    Africa
    Compucase UK. Ltd.

    Address: 15 Alston Drive, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire, MK13 9HA, U.K.
    Tel: +886-(0)6-356-0606
    Fax: +886-(0)6-356-0505
    Website: http://http://www.compucase-hec.co.uk
    Email: info@compucase-hec.co.uk

    Haha. :} Nice write.
    ..

  14. Interesting, all tied into the system via their “compucases”. Artificial Intelligence emerged into as takeover of the human race. I wondered, so went to trusty, all powerful, next in line under Compucase, google.
    Google told me where to buy so that I could get into the system:

    Africa
    Compucase UK. Ltd.

    Address: 15 Alston Drive, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire, MK13 9HA, U.K.
    Tel: +886-(0)6-356-0606
    Fax: +886-(0)6-356-0505
    Website: http://http://www.compucase-hec.co.uk
    Email: info@compucase-hec.co.uk

    Haha. :}
    ..

  15. You’ve thrown us into the middle of a story. How did the world get here and where the story leads on? There must be more and as this begs for more.

  16. Masterful writing when a character reveals his/herself in action–showing rather than telling. I enjoyed the slow move to an encounter, and then the use of names, and “Where is Nadia?” Good story.

  17. I have never read a short story of yours before but it was enjoyable. We do lose ourselves in technology, the newest thing, and when we finally wake up everything else is gone.

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