For my latest GetFlashed story my prompts were:
Genre: SciFi in the desert
Prompt: Last night, I stopped fighting with the Angels inside of me. (I tweaked this to say, “Tonight.”
It was written in one week and this one came in about 100 words below 1,000 words. Enjoy!
Tonight, I stopped fighting with the Angels inside of me. Tonight, I will answer their call.
Sitting cross-legged on the desert floor, my hands resting on top of my knees, I watch and shiver as the last of the daylight dips into the distant abyss and sucks the last of the heat with it. As it does, the last of the light catches the only object for miles and miles that could reflect it’s offering. There is a glint, like a wink from a wise man who is the only one that knows what’s coming next, and the steel of the weapon in front me laughs as though it can see the future.
I don’t remember the exact moment I ran out of fight. I’d spent the last twelve hours dragging my feet through the sands of the desert, convinced I was strong. I knew from the beginning it was a futile fight, but I still pushed on, feigning a faith in my own strength.
But I was a fool. Like most men are, when up against the foe I was fighting. You never win against Angels, no matter how strong your faith.
When they dropped me off in this God forsaken desert, I told myself I was strong. I stood, watching the dust settle and cover the tire tracks of the jeep as it turned into a black speck on the horizon, already fighting my losing battle.
I felt the call immediately, even as the last of the disturbed sand was falling and settling onto my eyelashes and into the brown ocean surrounding me. I heard it, and I answered.
“I’ll fight it,” I told the desert.
When they were gone, I set off into the nothingness. I had nothing in my possession except the clothes they had dressed me in and, banging against my thigh as I walked, a handgun stuffed into the side pocket of my cargo pants. I hadn’t gotten my command yet. The Angels hadn’t yet told me what they wanted me to do. But, the rhythmic beating against my leg gave me an idea.
“I know what you want, and you won’t get it.”
I was met with the deafening silence of the desert.
Even though there was no answer, I knew it was only a matter of time before the call got louder, my resistance would weaken and I would be ready to receive the command. That’s what had happened to the others. We had watched them all, my colleagues and I, one by one, hear the call, get the command and immediately insist there was no way they would comply. And then, they did. They always did.
Like you will.
I’ll fight it.
It was always the same. The call primed them. The subtle signal told them to expect a command. They became susceptible, but not submissive. Not yet. Sure, we’ll do what you ask, if we want to. Their attitudes were always the same. Until the next step. We watched from the other side of the window as their eyes narrowed and the order echoed inside their heads. Sometimes they would scoff. Sometimes they would shake their heads. Some fought longer and harder than others, but they always completed the order.
The day I voiced my concern was the day they decided to take their experiments to the next level. The requests had been simple until then, mostly innocent.
“Use that hammer to bust a hole in the wall.”
“Take off all your clothes and walk into the hall.”
“Call and break up with your significant other.”
But, they weren’t satisfied. They needed to know exactly what we had created and exactly what it was capable of. Otherwise, what was the point?
But I was finally starting to feel some remorse, a sickening as I thought of the moral ramifications of what we were doing.
“How far are you willing to push this?” I’d asked after a brainstorming session that turned the contents of my stomach cold.
They turned to me, their eyes glazed over with crazed purpose.
“Let’s find out.”
The next day, I woke up with an aching head and blood seeping through the bandages that were covering fresh stitches. By the next day, I was alone in the desert fighting with the Angels.
It was a short fight. I remember struggling, but I don’t remember why I did. We designed the Angels to be invincible, even against their creator.
State of the art, but highly illegal, The Acting Neuro Graft Exo Learning Software, or Angels, as we called it, started as a challenge. Could we do it? We were the best and the brightest in the programming department but we weren’t authorized to work on mind control devices. So, we did it in secret. And my doubts were only impairing the ability of my teammates to create a device that could change the world. I know that now.
I learned that when I stopped fighting. Or maybe I already knew. It’s hard to tell.
But, now I have heard the call. I have received my command and I must surrender.
The stars sparkle overhead and goosebumps erupt on my arms as my fingers close around the cold steel of the gun in front of me.
There’s only one bullet in the chamber.
“It’s all you need,” say the Angels.
I tried to fight.
I lift my hand and the cool steel kisses my temple.