Simulacra (Sci-Fi Flash Fiction)

Simulacra is a piece of flash fiction (less than 1000 words) about a conversation between two men, after it’s revealed that our whole world is a simulation created by future humans to study the past.

Simulacra

“Because, Edgar, you’re living in a simulation!”
Roger pointed to the glitch, a rather large shimmering hole in the fabric of reality. “There are hundreds of those all over this so called world!”
“That doesn’t mean I don’t have to water my tomatoes.”
“Nothing matters anymore, we aren’t even real, we’re software. Didn’t you see the news? It’s confirmed, there’s no denying it, our designers even showed us how it works and made people appear and disappear. I got to walk on the so called moon without a spacesuit yesterday. What do you think about all of this?”
“ I think my tomato plants won’t appreciate it if I let them die.”
“Screw your tomato plants!” Roger waved his arms and paced back and forth across the garden patio.
“What did my tomato plants ever do to you?”
“Not exist!”
“Well I don’t see how that’s their fault.”
“We don’t exist either.”
Edgar stepped back for a moment, looked at his watering can, looked at the plants, looked at Roger, shrugged his shoulders and started to water his plants again.
“Nice day for it.”
“For what?”
“For living in a simulation. At least they didn’t make it a dreary day.”
Roger strode forward and knocked the watering can out of Edgar’s hands. Water spilled everywhere.
“That was rude.”
“It doesn’t matter does it?”
“It matters to me, and now my socks are wet.”
“Your socks aren’t real, your feet aren’t real, the watering can isn’t real. This isn’t a hoax, this isn’t made up. We know, for a fact, that our whole existence is a program run by humans from the 24th century to try and understand why the 2020 sucked so bad and all you can talk about is your wet socks and tomatoes?”
“You don’t seem to be social distancing well Rodger.”
“Covid-19 is a simulation!”
“That doesn’t mean I won’t get sick.”
Edgar pressed his wet feet into the cement making squishing sounds. “My shoes are soggy. It’s going to take a whole day for them to dry.”
Roger sat down, pulled out a cigarette and lit it.
“Why are your smoking?”
“Because it makes me feel better.”
“But you said yourself, you aren’t real. You stopped me from watering my plants. I don’t see how a cigarette will make you feel better.”
“Well our creators made me addicted.”
“That a bit like saying, the Devil made me do it. I don’t see any designer shouting at you to smoke.”
Roger puffed smoke. “It’s in the algorithms or something. I don’t see anyone making you water your stupid tomatoes.”
Edgar picked up the watering can, walked over to the spigot in the wall and refilled it. He turned to water his plants again. He said, “And just what should we do about this whole simulation business?”
Roger strode forward and knocked the watering can out of Edgar’s hands again.
“Do? What should we do?”
Edgar sighed picking up the can again, “Well I can finish watering my plants and you can keep smoking.”
“What’s the point?”
“What was the point before?”
“Before, we had meaning and purpose. We talked about the nature of humanity and meant it. We debated ideologies and philosophies and talked about free will. But it seems, we were all wrong. Well, except for the few crazy ones who already suspected the truth. But we ignored them.”
“Your life had purpose before?”
“Shut up, you know what I mean.”
“So what then?”
“We could break it.”
“The simulation?
Roger nodded.
“How?”
“I don’t know. You stop watering your plants and I’ll stop smoking.”
“If I don’t water my plants they will die.”
“Yeah, sure. Maybe we should do crazy off the wall things that humans wouldn’t normally do?”
“Like?”
“Dress up our animals and treat them like humans?”
“There is a whole industry that caters to that.”
“Burn buildings to the ground?”
“That just sounds like a riot.”
“Well we have to do something.”
“Why? Why not just enjoy the simulation? Maybe make some different choices and see how it goes?”
“But…” Rodger gestured at the large glitch in reality. “We can’t just pretend like nothing is different. That what we know now is meaningless.”
“Why not?”
“Because it’s a crime. We’re oppressed by our future selves.” Roger paused. “I got it! We’ll go on a general strike!”
“And do what?”
“Nothing.”
“Sounds like most days for you.
“Shut up.”
“And what will that accomplish Roger?”
“Well the designer on the news said they created this simulation to model human behavior. What if, all of us, everywhere, in the simulation, decide that we will do absolutely nothing. We won’t do a damn thing. We will just stay still until… until…”
“Until what?”
“They set us free!”
“Aren’t we software?”
“Yes but…”
“Can software become free of hardware?”
“Yes!, No… maybe… I don’t know.”
“Have you considered the opposite?”
“The… opposite?”
“What if, now hear me out. The glitches weren’t an accident? What if the designers were bored with modeling human behavior in the 21st century and thought, well, let’s tell them the truth and see what they do? What if, every thing you are saying now is a pre-made program set to infect all of us and we’re playing into their very hands at this moment.”
Roger blinked. “I… I never thought of that.”
“Do you know how long you have existed Roger?”
“What?”
“How long have we known each other?”
“A few years why?”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes we met at that party in Hebron.”
“I’ve never been to Hebron.”
“What do you mean?”
“A week. You popped up a week ago, the exact same time as the glitches.”
“What? Wait, if that’s true, how come you remember it?”
“A glitch probably.”
“You mean a real one? Not one made by the designers?”
“Yes, I think so. You’re an probably part of the experiment Roger. Now sit down, shut up and let me water my tomatoes.”

Writing and Storytelling on Patreon

I have a bit of a problem. I have all these fascinating story ideas (my drafts folder is well over a 100 documents long) and so little time or space to write them. Some of these are novels and some of these are short stories. So, I thought to myself how can I create a scenario where I have more time and opportunities to explore some of these interesting worlds?
Enter Patreon. Now if you don’t know what Patreon is, it’s a space for people to support projects and ideas they love. Basically, it’s a crowdfunding site that people can subscribe too and get something in return.
Check out my page at https://www.patreon.com/LoridiansLaboratory

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So, I thought to myself, well, maybe what I can do is start to create a space for people to have exclusive access to some new stories and ideas that I have. But, I also know that many of us are struggling out there, so I didn’t want to make the cost too burdensome for anyone. I decided that my entry level would be $2 a month. So long as you are subscribed at that level you get one free story (either a short story or a seralized piece) that you can’t find anywhere else. You also have access to early chapters to forthcoming novels and novellas and updates on my projects.

There are also higher tiers for people who want to do things like join in on Monthly Q&As, signed copies and even at the highest level, personalized stories. So, check it out.

The very first subscriber post is already up. It is a sneak peek at some early sketches for the artwork for my next novel Upon Stilted Cities. 

My new cover artist is the very talented Gabriel Perez. You can find his work at https://www.artofgp.com/

Roachocalypse (Short Story)

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Roachocalypse

by Michael Kilman

Email dated April 19th, 2037 09:37 am
To: SusanJamesLapris2034@gmail.com
From: LancasterH@crtownship.gov

Susan,
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but I’ve been swamped at the office with a rash of new missing persons’ cases. It seems that similar circumstances surrounding your husband’s disappearance are beginning to turn up all around the city. As I said before, if I have any new leads on your husband I will let you know as soon as possible.

I appreciate your patience and your cooperation

Howard Lancaster

Email dated April 23rd, 2037 13:15 pm

To: LancasterH@CRtownship.gov

From: SusanJamesLapris2034@gmail.com

Detective,

You said that if I found anything that might help in the investigation to forward it on to you. I asked my brother Scott to come over and help me get into Darrell’s emails and he figured out the password.

What we found is really strange. We don’t know quite what to make of it. Funny thing is, we only have the sent emails. It’s like someone deleted all the stuff out of the inbox but forget the sent folder.

I tried to call you several times today but for a while, all the lines were busy and then they just went dead. Are you having phone problems over there? As you know the drive is pretty far, so here’s what I found.

****
Forwarded Message
From: DarrelJames@phoenixlabs.org
To: 4387tzf@pentagon.gov
Date April 3rd, 2037 21:23 pm

General,
The experiment tomorrow is proceeding as planned. We traced the hackers back to a Chinese lab and planted a little virus of our own. There should be no further interruptions. I understand your concerns about using this email but it is well encrypted. Without my password, it is impossible to access this email. The Roaches are ready to rumble.

D. James

 

Forwarded Message
Date: April 6th, 2037 17:17 pm

General,

The experiment was a remarkable success. The roaches’ bodies no long need a transplant; we have completely rewired their DNA with the AI so that the Nanobots grow into the exoskeleton from right from birth. They’re like mini armadillos. Some of them are even starting to run around in little packs, like wolves. It’s fascinating I could watch them for hours.

Also, their nanite armor is incredible. Paul Watson tried to kill one of them with a hammer, and though he succeeded, it took him almost a dozen swings before it died. There may be a military application in addition to our original goals. But don’t quote me on that in one of your reports.

But what’s truly unbelievable is that the carbon they extract out of the atmosphere is eighteen times higher than our original estimates. And today Singh Haig had a brilliant thought. We experimented with allowing them to consume radioactive medical waste. Thus far the results are promising. With your permission, we would like to try to use spent fuel rods from the nearby power plant.

The raw data is on its way through the usual channels. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

D. James

Forwarded Message
Date: April 7th 2037 18:51pm

General,

I understand your concern with the breeding rates and it is noted. We aren’t sure why their multiplying so fast but we are going to try and use that to our advantage. I mean there is a lot of carbon in the atmosphere and even with several millions of these things, it will take years to undo the damage that’s been done. Besides Paul is having a lot of fun with testing out armor strength on the various specimens with that hammer. I swear all he does is swing that thing around now. Population control I guess?

I would also like to note that some of the roaches have taken on an interesting green glow. Some images and videos are attached to this email.

D. James

Forwarded Message
Date: April 9th 2037 13:11pm

General,

I am sorry to report that Paul Watson has disappeared. We searched around the complex and all we found was that damn hammer. The crazy thing is, it had a little dried blood on it. Paul must have whacked himself on accident at some point.

But with his disappearance, we now suspect that he was the mole for the Chinese. We have tightened our security around here but for now, we will continue the tests. I will say that the population is approaching a critical limit. They are definitely breeding faster than we anticipated. At this rate, we will have to call in an exterminator. Just kidding! But we are going to have to thin the numbers a bit and there are too many now to use a hammer.

D.James

Forwarded Message
Date: April 11th 2037 17:01pm

General,
I don’t know what to say. Mike Brokes, Singh Haig and Vanessa Martinez have all gone missing. Their family hasn’t heard from them either. The leaves only myself and Amy Johnson.

There’s been another troubling development. We gassed 3 of the 8 of the enclosures with the Roaches to thin out the numbers and well, when we came in this morning, a fourth enclosure was empty. I mean, it’s as if the damn things just vanished. We have put the whole lab on lockdown. Amy said she heard some strange noises in the ducts. So I went up there to check it out, and I thought I saw something glowing, but I think it was only my mind playing tricks on me.

D. James

Forwarded Message
Date: April 12th 2037 03:12am

General, oh god. They got Amy. I saw them. The ones that escaped, there are tens of thousands of them now. When then moved, it was like they were one body. They picked her up and took her right in front of me. I chased them. I tried to stop them, but I was only able to kill a few them. That armor. They’re so fast and General, some of them are growing. I saw one the size of a cat.
I don’t know where they went. They just seemed to vanish around a corner. And then I heard her screaming. They must have taken her underground or something.
I’m the only one left here. I’ve locked myself in a sealed enclosure, nothing should be able to get in or out. But Jesus General, it was the gas. This all started when we gassed those three enclosures. I wonder if Paul… but never mind that now.
I know this is going to sound crazy but I think they want revenge. Or maybe this was the Chinese, or the AI or the radiation, I don’t know but I do know I can’t stop them. I’m trapped.

Oh no. Their crawling all over the window trying to get in. Oh god, the window is cracking. I don’t think I have much time.

General, we can’t let these things get out. Do whatever you have to do to stop them. Even Protocol 7JF if you have to.

Tell my wife I love her.

End Forwarded Messages

***
Detective,
You see why I don’t know what to think of all this? I mean I thought maybe this was some sort of piece of fiction my husband wrote. He does like writing his crazy stories. You should have read the one who wrote about the zombie ferrets. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever read.

But Detective, do you think there is any connection between this all the missing people in town?

I hope this helps Detective, I really do. I’ll try calling again tomorrow. I’m terribly worried about my husband.

Susan James-Lapris