|| Void ||

‘I’ve found the problem and you’re not going to be happy,’ said Franco as I followed his swift and agitated pace to the engine room.

Someone’s thrown a spanner in… uhh’
There was only one person who could be responsible for this sabotage.

‘The works?’ I suggested.

‘Yes…’ he replied with hesitation.

We arrived at the expansive engine room where the propulsion of our unfortunate vessel relied upon the four gargantuan thrusters.

‘There sir’ he pointed to an elevated platform.

I climbed to the position and let out a laugh, half in exasperation.
Protruding from the machinery was a 12-inch SpaceX certified spanner.
‘So there’s a literal spanner in the works?’

Franco was busy studying a holographic model of the station.
‘No sir, it is actually the K-It-FWD, it’s required for the…’

‘Okay, Okay’
I didn’t have time to explain the nuances in figures of speech.
‘Have you touched or moved the spanner in anyway?’

‘No, I was afraid my hand would become pinned if I attempted to remove it. Do you wish me to try?’

‘No.’ I studied the machinery. He was right of course, Franco made up for his naivety with his youthful sharp mind, a piston would have cleaned his arm off had he attempted to remove the spanner.

I hopped down from platform, ‘Franco go to the cockpit study our distance from the event horizon. I want a update every hour.’ My calm exterior left as he did.

I looked around frantically to find some sort of solution.

‘Elise why would you do this?’ I said aloud.
Only silence replied appropriately. There were no reasons to her actions only madness.

I spotted a pair of extended workman-clamps. I wiped my sweaty palms and gripped its carbon-fibre handles. They reminded me of my gardening clippers, my roses would need to be trimmed, I wonder if…

Not now, keep focused.

I couldn’t smack the it out that could damage the equipment. Maybe if I pried it out.
I clamped the spanner, it was wedged in deeply.

‘Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king!’ I shouted with an effort. The spanner budged slightly, the progress filling me with hope.

Franco ran into the room looking concerned.
‘What was that Seth?’

‘Oh nothing’

‘We are approximately fifteen light years from the event horizon if it concerns you.’

‘Oh yes I’m concerned.’
We needed to turn around this run away train.

The point of no return, it was frightening. Not even light could escape the confines of the supermassive black hole, the ultimate telos of all matter.  We weren’t even authorised to come within thirty light years of the event horizon, a simple research mission and then back for a comfortable retirement.

That bitch had thrown a spanner in those plans.

I wiped the sweat off hands on my overalls and grabbed the clamps again. I started to lever it out when I realised that even if I managed to eject the spanner out the piston would instantly trap the clamps. The carbon fibre would not have the same strength as the steel coated ceramic, it wouldn’t hold be ripped through the entire machinery doing untold damage.
The disheartening news caused me to drop my head. This spanner truly was a sword in a stone, like a blade within a wound it was impossible to remove without causing further harm.


Thank you for the reading
To be continued
Follow if you to dare to venture further into… the Void.

Previous chapter
(I am trying to write in a style that it doest necessarily matter where you start, so don’t worry about missing out on anything)

Void


“Franco what’s wrong with the thrusters?”

“Sir, there appears to be some sort of feedback loop connecting the fuselages.”

“For the last time just call me Seth.”

“Yes si- Seth.”

“There’s no need for chain of command when we are 92 light years away from anything resembling a human. Apart from us two- three.” I corrected myself.

“Now try and explain to me the specifics– and hastily– we don’t have time to spare.”

“Okay so I just need to adjust some fuel consumption figures but I don’t umm-” he looked to the stern of the vessel with dread.

“Franco we are approaching Event Horizon do you understand?”
I already knew what the answer was going to be.

“I have to notify you sir that I am not proficient with manipulating the mainframe,
that was… Elise’s job.”

“Well we know that isn’t an option, and again its Seth.”
I’m just a pilot, I’m no captain.
“Franco I am going to hammer this down for you, we are the only two people in existence as far as I’m concerned we are both equals. Do you want to survive?”

“Yes, o-of course”

“Then lets work together find a solution.
We can’t revive Elise again or else we could have another incident on our hands. Check if you can’t enact some sort of manual override?”

“I’m on it”
He jogged with the enthusiasm only a greenhorn would possess in this situation.
I checked the distance to the event horizon. A sharp pain shot up my wrist.
The rapidly healed scar tissue on the front and back of my forearm was pulsing.
The distance was closing.
“God damn it, we’ll need her again… and she knew it”
In his mind’s eye I saw her frozen face captured in its eternal livid wrath.

Franco rushed into the cockpit.
“Seth, you are going to want to see this.”

I sighed.
“Okay lead the way”
I thought it would be easy going when we had managed to get that she-bitch into the cryochamber, but it appears our problems are only just beginning.

We skipped down dark hallways into the depth of the ship.
I reflected that even if she knew we would need her again, I knew with certainty I didn’t need any more scars.


Thanks for reading.
To be continued
Follow if you want to venture further into… the Void.

An outcast from society: Elliot Rodger in retrospect

Now that most of the hyperbole and rumour surrounding Elliot Rodger has subsided after 3 months, it is now time for a reflection on the true meaning and consequences of his actions. What drove a young 22 year old from an affluent upbringing to gon on a killing spree causing the deaths of 7 innocent lives and injuring 4 others in Isla Vista, California? Major news sources have reported that Elliot Rodger’s “pure hatred for humanity stemmed from his “unfulfilled” status as a virgin and the associated sexual frustration. However this is simply the surface of Elliot’s condition which lead to him committing this massacre. This tragic event reflects also society’s condition as well as human nature at its core. Elliot Rodger was a prolific ‘vlogger’ who in a sense had a series of video diaries describing his thoughts and feelings, from those insightful videos we can determine several things. Elliot Rodger was living in a world constructed by self deception which helped him cope with reality. The consequences of this is apparent Elliot struggled to live in reality. Secondly it is also clear that he wished to join what he described as “the fellowship of mankind” but found himself as an outcast instead. Another lesson that we can learn from this tragedy is the danger of becoming too consumed by your own fantasies and delusions.

It is common among the youth of today to retreat into worlds of fantasy to escape from harsh realities. This was especially the case with Rodger who often played the online multi-player game World of Warcraft. However this is not to say that if you know somebody who plays World of Warcraft they are going to necessarily murder people. On the contrary a recent survey done by Blizzard (the developers of World of Warcraft) showed that “around 70% of players” hold a stable full time job. Perhaps this fantasy is an escape from a tedious job where you aren’t succeeding to attain an “average of hundred and forty dollars a week” or whatever the goal you hold highly. Instead it is much more pleasurable to slay a dragon and rescue the princess when you come home “tired” and “clearly exhausted.” Dr Seuss is famous for his outlandish tales that provide escapism from everyday life for both adults and children, he is well known for saying that “fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” Rodger may have had too much of that ingredient leading to the dire consequences which ended the lives of 7 innocent people.

When the illusions of our own making become apparent it is sometimes revealed that “our lives have been a life” In the example of Rodger’s who described himself as “a supreme gentlemen” and “a charming good looking man” we can see a rift split between the illusionary world and reality where he is actually “lonely” and has been “rejected by humanity.” it is fundamental aspect of human nature to create illusions or fantasies to retreat to in order to cope with the hardships of life. In saying that, it is also as Iris Murdoch stated that “the greatest task in life is to find reality.” I would emphasise that in that we must find reality and hold onto it, a task that Rodger’s has failed. In chilling moments of lucid self perception Elliot appears to have found reality, if so for a brief period, where he reflects on the “irrationality” of his own thoughts that are “full of hatred” but this mindset doesn’t last long as he soon slips back into his illusionary “world which had cheated” him. In many aspects it is the attitudes that he may have picked up from his highly successful parents (in particular his Father who co-directed the latest Hunger games) who “blew him so full of hot air” that he began to believe he was “God’s gift to women” when he should have realised that he in fact “a dime a dozen.” When Rodger’s fantastical realm clashed with reality in the form of his rejected approaches to women it caused him confusion which turned to anger and then finally hatred, because only one “filled of rage and hated” could commit those awful crimes.”

Fantasy can be beneficial in many occasions contrary to the terrible consequences we see in an over indulgence of it. The unlikely and sometimes seemingly impossible can be imagined through fantasy which can sometimes not be as self centred as losing your virginity. These are called dreams, and as Bonnie Roberts was famously quoted “it is only the dreamers who can change things.” This statement was prophetic when less than a century later a civil rights activist said in one of the most well known speeches that he had ” a dream.” I’m sure many people, black and white, thought Martin Luther King was mad for envisioning a world so unlikely seemingly impossible and perhaps that he was living in a fantasy world, but that didn’t stop him from making it reality. In a similar event that triggered the entire movement equal rights between blacks and whites came from a single word “No.” Rosa Parks herself would say you were dreaming, or were crazy if you said that nine months later the nation would marching the streets from Kentucky to New York, New York. That single word inspired others to envision an illusionary world which undoubtedly was fictional, but by Jove they made it real! The imagination is a great tool with which humanity was been bestowed, unfortunately it s a double edged sword which of course has its inherent flaws the latest occurring in Isla Vista, California as witnessed by the world.

Like almost every parent in Western society, Elliot’s probably told him to “dream big kid.” A sentiment he carried to the very end of his life as he manically details how he will “punish the world” as a merciless god”, an exaggeration which he may or may not have fully believed in, although we will never know. Yes, we create fantasies to cope with reality and these illusions can sometimes consume us to the point that reality becomes an intruder, however sometimes we create fantasies in order to dream and change our reality. This is the only truth which as a society we can learn from that pain and the heartache of May 23, 2014.


Ross 15/09/2014

Promises of Pain to come

My imagination is a canyon,

streams of consciousness carve through the tributaries

eroding with each flood.

One path is deeply cut and the pain is a long acquaintance.

 

Vivid particulars spark between neurons

decades in prediction I can see

my mother lying on spotless white sheets

an IV dangles from a breathless being

a stifled whimper.

 

It echoes into the present,

the river of thought reaches the delta,

tear ducts dilate with clinched fists. 

There is nothing I can do to stop an end for those I love.

The face is replaced by friends, family, lovers,

Wrinkled and grey the inevitable fate for some;

but Death awaits all.

 

Why man fears his own death is a mystery,

it is the only consolation in the face future grief.

An end to personal suffering but not to those left behind.

 


Theme: Imagination of evil

15 Minutes of Fame

It all started with a hiccup.

Linda was sitting in the live audience of Getting Chatty with Dave Meerket. This was Linda’s thirteenth live viewing this month. There was something comforting about the illuminated prompters which glowed with a warm, yellow light. The sense of belonging was addictive, she was indistinguishable and invisible to persecution and confrontation in her safe haven. Linda had suffered from social awkwardness her whole life where social cues were not as obvious as the delightfully simple commands “Laugh”, “Gasp” and “”Jeer”. Occasionally the camera panned over her during the intro, she would wince and hide her face.

Two celebrities were twittering about the latest fashion trends when it happened.

Hic-cup

Linda covered her mouth, but it was too late. The entirety of the room swung their heads in her direction. Linda was now different.

0:00

The two celebrities wedged Linda between on the velvet couch.
“What’s your name love?” Dave asked.
“Linda”
One of the celebs pipped up.
“Lovely name Linda, that’s my mum’s name.”
“Oh, t-thank *hic* you”
She blushed with embarrassment and froze like a deer in the headlights as the limelight shone from her sweating forehead.

Suddenly the pale yellow light was reflected on the audience’s face. They burst into laughter; Linda joined them with a delay. More than anything Linda wished she was in better view of the prompters.
David Meerket put his finger to his ear. He raised his eye brow, “Well well, what is this?”
The audience was on the edge of their seat.

“I’ve just been told you are a singer, have you been hiding this from us Linda?” He asked with a smirk.
“Uh, I’m not a very good one… -hic- …though.”
A yellow flash, more laughter.
She loved them and they loved her.

5:00

It slowly dawned on Linda that the laugh command corresponded with her hiccups. The thought was mind-blowing.
More than just being able to fit in with other people, people were fitting in with her. They were laughing for her and because of her.
With each successive hiccup she grew bolder.
The euphoria at her power grew from the butterflies in her stomach and rose like hot lava to erupt out of her mouth.
“Yes, I studied at Baldwin High school from 1996 to … –hic-… 2003”
“Excellent Linda”
The spray tanned woman with the puffy lips next to Linda suggested that she sing a song.
“Well o-okay”

Linda started the singing ‘When I’m a Star’.
As she sung a hiccup interrupted her every twenty seconds, and then every forty seconds, until eventually it was only once a minute.
The laughter subsided and she stood there for a moment waiting for one last hiccup before she sat back down.
Her throat clinched as she attempted to force one last hiccup. It finally came out a pathetically quiet. She smiled and waited for the prompter to flash. It remained off.

David Meerket stood up and broke the silence.

“Thanks everyone we’ll be back after this short break.”

The lights dimmed and a quiet murmur took hold of the room as the audience members discussed what had happened.
Meerket came up to Linda and led her to a waiting room. He pointed to the minibar and winked, “That might help with the old…” he pointed to his throat and laughed.
She found some champagne and drank a glass. Linda  looking at the bottom of the glass she realised she hadn’t hiccuped since she had left the stage. She poured another glass.

10:00

The hiccups were now only supported by Linda’s alcohol habit. She sipped from a miniature bottle of Tequila and belched. The laughs were stifled by the foul stench that erupted from her throat. She smudged her eyeliner brushing her fringe from her eyes.
“Linda can I ask you just one thing?”
“Whaat?”
“How did it come to this?”
“I’m… –hic- …fine.” She slurred
“We had such hope for you. Didn’t we?” He gestured to the audience.
The prompter flashed for him without hesitation.
“YEAH,” the audience said in a monotonous blur of voice.
Linda went blank she didn’t know what to do. She was sobering up.
One of the celebrities put her hand on Linda’s shoulder.
“We’re here for you love”
Linda shrugged her hand off.
“I don’t need any of you.”
Linda stumbled up from the couch in a rage.
“I don’t need ANY of you!!” She screamed at the audience.
Dave’s face went stern, “The media are going to absolutely crucify you if you don’t pick up your game”
“FUCK YOU”
A red flash illuminated the audience’s innumerable faces.
“Boo!” the audience droned as they were commanded.

“Stop, STOP!” she held her hands to her ears
The abysmal droning continued, Linda stumbled backwards.
Suddenly silence smothered the room as the red light turned off.
The quiet was broke by an abrupt hic-cup.
Linda looked up to the prompters, begging and praying to the studio executives for one last flash of that friendly yellow light.

Nothing.

The quiet came again, this time only interrupted by her quiet sobs. She slunk out of the studio to the exit sign.
The doors swung open and hundreds of reporters bustled around Linda their microphones prodding into her face. She tried to push pass them but more and more surrounded her blinding her with the bright flashes of their numerous cameras.
“Is it true you dropped a year in high school?”
They clung to her clothing which was ripped to shreds.
“How many months have you been pregnant? Or are you just a fat?”
Hordes of them piled in like Sharks at the smell of fresh blood, they gripped her carried her up the street.
Delirious she caught sight of her destination. A neon crucifix loomed in the distance, its bright colours contrasting against the night sky.
They propped her up against the cross, the hot luminescent glass burning her fair skin.

She screamed and was stabbed in the ribs with a sharpened boom mic before falling silent again.
“Why?” she wailed.
They had set up a press conference podium, microphones lined it.
Fox News, CNN, Sky, ABC, Seven and Nine were littered below the stand as she moaned in agony recording her final moments.
The wound in her stomach bled out as she slowly lost consciousness.
“What do you want to be remembered for Hiccup Woman?” A man shouted

“My name…”

14:58

“is…”

14:59

“…Linda”
Her body dropped and swung forward.
Linda’s lifeless eyes absorbed the camera flashes with no reaction.

15:00

As the ravenous reporters were herded away from the scene a voice echoed from the TV Station.

Coming up next
“Remembering Linda RIP 1984-2014”


 

CJR

My junkie fucker Grandpa

“I don’t want to see him, he scares me.”

 

junk
Mum looked down at me, “He’s your Grandpa, and he’s hasn’t got long left, so don’t worry just say good bye.”
Dad opened up a newspaper “I am just going to sit outside, tell me when the pricks dead.”
“I heard that you tiny dick twat,” A gruff voice came from behind the drab hospital curtains.
A hand pushed me into the room. There lay my decrepit old Grandpa.

“Hello there my boy,” his wrinkled face scrunched into a smile.
His smile dropped as my Mum followed me in.
“What do you want you loose bitch?”
She rolled her eyes, “Drop dead,”
and left.

Staring at her arse as she left he chuckled to himself, “Just like her mother. Nice…”

“Alright Grandpa, good bye.”

I turned to leave but he grabbed me, his black ring protruding into my collarbone.

“Hang on boy, I’ve got some last words for you.”

He cleared his throat and spat a red flem onto my shoe.

“Ah shit, oh well. Now anyway, when you came out of your mamma’s snatch I though ‘what a piece of shit’. It had nothing to do with your skin colour– I’m not racist–
or the fact my daughter was fucking a dirty nigger. No… It was just your general attitude, it looked like you were gonna be a loser. And as you grew up, well, I was right you turned into an awkward cunt.”

He sighed and grabbed me by the shoulders, “But I see you now and you-…
you still seem like an awkward cunt.”

“T-Thanks.”

“You see, you just let me walk all over you. Have some guts.”

“Dad told me to wish you luck in hell.”

“Tell him he can say it to my face when he joins me, they don’t let fags into Heaven.”

“You’re looking at my son, you demented moron,” his voice echoing from the waiting room.

“He’s proof your a bum basher, the piece of shit looks like he came out of an arseh–… Oh your still here.”

I turned to walk away, I should have just waved from the waiting room like the nurse told me to.

-

“Wait, I NEED YOU!”

Gramps starts ripping the tubes and pipes out of numerous orifices. Shit.

An orderly is called into the room which he promptly pokes in eye.

The nurse guided me out of the room but I can picture it in my mind, his robe slipping off the skeleton like figure as he clambered up.

His mole covered body was in full view in all its nakedness, he reached out to grab me.
I don’t know who screamed louder, the nurse or me. We clung on to each other as he crept forward reaching for me.

Inches from my face, the senile maniac suddenly came to a halt. He had forgotten to remove one more item, his catheter.

The nurse breathed a sigh of relief. But the old man simply grinned.

He gripped the cord and placed one foot behind him, posed in a fighters stance. Oh no.

With an uppercut he whipped the catheter out, a stream of piss and blood ejaculated leaving a spray painted on the wall and on the nurse.

Gagging, the nurse curls into the fetal position.

Victorious he walks over and clasps me on the shoulders.

“Grandson, this is my deathwish, every man deserves to have one fulfilled.
I need 3 bags of black tar heroin. ASAP.” He wiped the spittle from the edge of his mouth and left.
Twirling the leaking catheter in his wake.

 

I hate my junkie fucker Grandpa.

 

Part I 

Virtual Reality: A plague on society?

 

Image

Friday night and the streets are deserted. I am looking out from my office at the Sunday Times wondering what happened. Almost every nightclub and bar has shut down. I suppose it’s only human nature after all, why risk rejection in the real world whereas you can get lucky every night in virtual reality. Although the change seemed slow from real life to the fantasy worlds people now live in, in retrospect it happened rapidly. Only 5 years ago crowds would be streaming down these streets every Thursday and Saturday night, singing the anthem of which ever Football team happened to be playing. Today, you pass the husks of people working overtime into the night; probably to scrap together enough for that next monthly subscription. After all who would want to watch the game from the stands when you could be on the pitch as the star striker?

As my readership will likely know; I have been a staunch protester since day 1 of Viral Net and its subsidiaries. I decided it would be fitting to interview Viral Net’s CEO Leith Heathrow 5 years down the track since we first conducted an interview at the company’s launch.

AR: Good morning Mr Heathrow, let’s just get started with the questions. What do you think accounts for the enormous success of Viral Net?

LH: I think it is mostly the dedicated staff and amazing community we have built over the years as well as-

AR: Oh come on, we’re not filming a commercial. We can talk plainly.

LH: Oh yes the commercials, have you seen my big ugly mug up in the Hesse Highway? It’s hard to believe that the Sunday Times used to advertise there and now we are.

AR: Ah, very funny… very funny.

AR: How can you sleep at night? Seriously how do you do it?

LH: Well speaking plainly—as you asked me. I simply close my eyes.

AR: I find that hard to believe.

LH: What? That I don’t VR?

AR: Never gotten high on your own supply?

LH: We are very alike you and I. We are two of the last natural sleepers. Everyone else is just lost in their dreams.

AR: I am nothing like you.

AR: How do you feel about effectively neutering the human race, technology development is at a standstill and the birth rates are practically at zero?

LH: We actually considered a system of impregnation, in reality I am mean, however it’s much more economically viable to simply simulate the pains of child birth – to an extent and of course simulating the actual child is a cinch.

AR: Moving on, if video killed the radio star, has Viral Net killed reality?

LH: Ha. A two time Pulitzer nominee journalist and you ask me that?

AR: I have around 30 dedicated readers Leith, I don’t care. Answer the question.

LH: Oh how the mighty have fallen…

AR: And when you fall, the consequences are going to be more than mighty. Humanity is going to be sent back to the Stone Age once things fall apart and the men, women and children emerge to reality from the trapped existence they love so much.

LH: I’ll be long dead. But that has got me thinking, reality is a strange notion.

AR: What do you care of reality? Your ponderings are like a lion playing with a mouse.

LH: I am a lion now? Well then hear me roar. Is reality a truly concentrate concept? I know you will disagree with me I simply wish to hear your thoughts.

AR: Of course we’re talking right now aren’t we.

LH: Perhaps this is your VR that you’ve long forgotten isn’t real. Your fantasy of crusading against insurmountable odds for what you think is right.

AR: My life is far too difficult for me to even consider that.

LH: Your right, this is ‘reality’– in your definition of the word anyway. Although difficulty is programed into the VR I don’t believe it would be cruel enough to only afflict you with 30 readers. Ha.

AR: This fix we’re in often reminds me of that Jim Carrey flick. All those people you’ve got addicted are in their own little Truman Show.

LH: Truman would have been happier ignoring the truth. Do you compare yourself to that laughable character, there’s a reason they casted Jim Carrey for the part you know.

AR: The crowd was rooting for Truman? You know why that is?

LH: No, enlighten me- if you must.

AR: It was truth Laith he was seeking for truth, something your deceiving profit seeking company doesn’t understand.

LH: What I understand Arnold is that truth is nothing when every man and woman can be an “Adonis” or an Aphrodite.

AR: Your “Adonises” are walking in front of traffic thinking they’re indestructible, 34 cases of “un-reality” this month alone.

LH: Those are singular exceptions to our otherwise spotless record. No cases of people forgetting they can’t fly and jumping off sky scrapers, like in the first prototypes. Reality has always been left up to the beholder. “There are no facts, only interpretations”.

AR: You are creating a completely false world.

LH: What is truth anyway? When you are born your world is created by your parents, “they blow [you] full of hot air”.

AR: Life is cruel, that’s reality.

LH: Oh but when someone does walk in front of traffic or jumps off a building because life has been too cruel, we say “What a shame” because in reality “Life is beautiful.”

LH: I’ll enlighten you. It’s can be either, because reality is the just another “lie you have been living.”

AR: Then what’s the point.

LH: The point is you can choose beauty. I know you have turned me down before on my offers, but we could really use a talented journalist at our content creation center. People miss the Sunday Times.

AR: And I miss people…

LH: Then join us Arnold we’re waiting.

And reader, I did join them.

I am sorry. I wasn’t strong enough.

This is the last physical issue of the Sunday Times.

Perhaps humanity was always going to end- but instead of with a nuclear war- this is a gentle passing like death creeping slowly as we sleep.

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.”

Signing off,
Arnold Rowland

 


 

This was written using the prompt “Sometimes people find themselves living in a world created by other people” and was referencing Death of a Salesman as well as several other external references relating to reality.

Thanks for reading