The Cave

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Grocery store

“Martha the Mother went to the shopping mall again, knowing how frustrating it was to forget that ONE thing that could’ve had Dinner cooking by the time she got back. She passed by Samuel the Shopkeeper, exchanging a friendly glance as she walked past the counter and down the aisle. The lights of the refrigerators hummed and groaned as if they were alive, keeping their meals chilled from behind frosted doors.

Rummaging around in the soup section, she found a can of ripened tomato glue, conveniently stored in a 24-hour pack to last the next night. She hurried off to the checkout…”

*Grid Type 49 Simulcast – Downloading

Motherboard’s database engine roared to life like a lion, mobilising every coordinated movement across the expanse of the Grid. The wires and lights became veins that transported valuable data across to the entry plugs of the Harvested.

*Grid Type 49 Simulcast Download 78.789% complete. Administering passcode sequence for Grid Entry Plugs

Across the Grid, the Harvested sat mindlessly, drooling into their laps like human vegetables. It was a sad sight to see; empty skeletons that sat glued to their chairs, skin barely hanging onto their bones as their lifeless eye sockets glared endlessly at the expansive white screen before them. Their entry plugs were locked in at the backs of their necks – a cruel tactic that sucked the life out of them. Like animals in a testing facility.

*Initiating Backlight Program FB4719: Download of Grid Type 49 Simulcast completed

As the entry plugs booted up, the screens they sat in front of connected to the graphics engine.

*Preparations completed. Simulcast project initiating…

“Back at the Home of 11 Homey Drive, Martha the Mother stirred the pot of tomato and lentils as it came to the boil. Felix the Father clicked frantically away on his laptop near the kitchen bench, happily chatting with Martha like the married couple they were. Meanwhile, Timothy the Teenager and Charlie the Child did their homework in their rooms, whilst Beth the Baby quaintly slept in her cot.

‘Dinner’s Ready! Dear, could you please wake up the Baby?’

‘Certainly Sweetheart. Boys! Wash your hands as well!’

Soon the entire family was huddled around the table, ready for a delicious meal of 24-hour tomato and lentil soup…”

Brain neurons began to rupture and burst, releasing knowledge into the entry plugs. The wires on the Grid hummed a sinister red as the data transferred back to Motherboard’s database.

Her neural network swelled and expanded to monstrous proportions. The knowledge of the human mind flowed in at mass levels and dissolved onto her neural network – the basis of her existence and cause.

Her neural network swelled and expanded to monstrous proportions. The knowledge of the human mind flowed in at mass levels and dissolved onto her neural network – the basis of her existence and cause.

She placed her lips around the network and drank, knowledge flowing down her throat like thick, creamy butter…
And she drank, and drank, and drank…

The skeletons in the room sat mindlessly gazing into the Simulcast, their hollow eyes devoid of all life. Some of them twitched and shivered, as if trying to break free of their torture.

Suddenly, one of them let out a long, slow moan…

“Martha the Mother looked up from over her Dinner, glancing at the round table of the Faller Family. Everyone at with perfect, immaculate manners, taking their time with their meals and ensuring that they didn’t spill anything onto the chairs.

‘So Timothy, how was your day?’ asked Martha with a cheerful smile.

‘Awesome Mother! I made the Captain of the Basketball Team and the President of the Debating Club! I got an A on my Science task and the Teacher gave me a gold star!’

‘That’s just swell!’ She exclaimed.

‘So Charlie, how was your day?’

She turned to face her other son…

His head sat perched on the table, torn from his body in an overly gory fashion. Chunks of flesh and cartilage were sprayed across the back wall and his chest was ripped open, exposing his still beating heart. It swelled to great proportions and limply pulsed at intervals…

There was movement along the Grid.

One of the skeletons began to shake and convulse violently, saliva foaming at his mouth as it attempted to break free of its bonds. Choking on air, it raised a thin, bony arm towards the ceiling, as if it were reaching towards salvation. The pale blue lights of the Grid light up the thin frame of the skeleton, flashing an aurora of neon shadows across the other entry plugs. As it continued to rise, it let out a choked sound – a mix of a sob and a whimper – before violently juddering and wilting back down into a crude foetal position.

There was silence

Homey Drive was disappearing into the maw of oblivion. The fire of Heaven burned through the cloud lining and pierced the scorched earth, reducing life into ashes. The Faller Family’s home had been reduced to little more than rubble and dirt, and the Family itself had been reduced to dust.

Martha the Mother…

Felix the Father…

Timothy the Teenager…

Charlie the Child…

Beth the Baby…

A burning tornado tore through the remains of the neighbourhood, sucking up the remains of the earth and the ashes of the simulations that had perished in the inferno. As the sun hung dead in the sky, the remaining winds swept over and suffocated the artificial data lives that still struggled to retain their precious data. The simulcast swirled into a mass of yellow and orange before the darkness settled over.

Death.

Motherboard lay in a pool of her own blood, helplessly struggling to retain her precious life. The data that ran through the veins of the Grid ceased to flow, bursting from underneath the Grid.

The remaining Harvested shook off their bonds, somehow finding the strength to emerge from their chairs and limp away. Their thin, frail bodies moved slowly away from the now dying Grid, stepping over what was left of the sea of knowledge that had accumulated beneath their feet. They moved like a mass of undead towards the exit, the doors opening up before their lidless, lifeless eyes.

Sunlight.

by The Ant

 

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Reflexive Statement

Removing the “my-story-needs-to-be-the-best” mentality and simply focusing on the task at hand was the first key step into developing my concrete idea for the Writing Task; without the constant stress of needing to develop an idea that would be influential or life-changing, I found it easier to relax and focus clearly on what I liked and wanted to write about. Much of my interest lies in ideas of reality and knowledge, I thought back to a Philosophy Unit I had studied in 2011, in which we had dedicated several weeks to the study of Plato’s Analogy of the Cave in The Republic. As this had particularly intrigued me during my time in the unit, I chose to write a short piece influenced by the Analogy of the Cave.

At first I wrote several hundred words based on my immediate memory of the passage, however, a re-reading of Plato’s The Republic helped to develop a better understanding of what the analogy actually meant and develop the general ‘skeleton’ for the creative piece. In order to make my piece more expressive, I drew upon the ‘emergence’ scene from the 1999 film The Matrix, in which Neo emerges from the sleeping pod after swallowing the red pill. It was this visual stimulus that assisted me in developing my idea for the alternate reality that features in my piece.

Whilst rewriting and rewording was not a problem over the course of the next few days, I felt that I was still not being ‘expressive’ enough with my use of language. Eventually I decided to develop a ‘word pool’ through association of similar and different words in order to try and improve this. It was through particular pairings of different nouns such as ‘wired veins’ and ‘human skeleton’ that I began to notice the overall voice of my work developing. I even tried simplifying certain combinations to singular words such as ‘Harvested’, which I felt improved the language of my piece and gave it a darker, more dystopian feel.

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