In This Future Or The Next | Science Fiction Stories | Page 2

How to Live

“I came looking for you, but you weren’t home. Call me. -Mara”.

There was a bronze sky above him. The sun was showing half its face in the horizon, and the wind blew with not a hint of smell in it. It was true that he was expected to be home. He had, after all, been there every day for the last year and a half at this time. He never wondered why. It was the way of the world, the order of things, the natural state of his self when the earth sat at this angle to the sun. It dawned on him that he had never watched a sunset outside of a virtual world, or on television, or in a movie. Never had his eyes met with the star that gave them light in the hours before it disappeared. The color of the clouds shifted and a wondrous waltz took place above him.

“Place the body below the solar panels at the far end.”

He looked down again to the dark-blue bag at his side. He thought that the instructions never gave a time limit. He guessed that maybe at one point they had had one, but had been discontinued. As soon as an instruction lit up the screen on a wrist, the person whose wrist belonged to followed it. There wasn’t a need for a time limit,  everybody did their part, but on that afternoon he had yielded to the glow of the horizon and the blowing of the wind, and had delayed his actions for a few minutes. He thought it a shame that he would likely not see another sunset in a long time. What a shame, really, to never set eyes upon such sight. He considered himself lucky, and he lifted the body bag on to his shoulders and walked the rest of the way to end of the field.

The corpse inside was heavy, and his feet dug into the soft grass. The crying of cicadas drowned out the pure silence, and the fading light gave way to the darkness of the night. Who knows what creatures lurk in these hours, he thought. Who knows what comes out, away from the light and concrete of the city. He placed the body where he thought was right, below the last solar panel, under the electronics. He guessed the point was to hide it, and he did his best to do so.

“Call Mara.” The instruction read, so he did.

“Hello.” She said, laying down in bed, discontinuing her counting of imaginary sheep.

“Hey, I got your message.”

“Yeah. It was odd not finding you home. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, yeah.”

“Well listen, I need to talk to you, but I can’t right now. Is it okay if I come by tomorrow?”

“Of course.”

“Okay thanks. We’ll talk then.” And so she ended the call, and she continued counting sheep.

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The Journeyman

Painting by Ketunleipaa


The end

It was the 28th century. People around the world screamed, some in joy and some in anger, as the news spread that the ‘Global Transhuman Initiative’ had been approved. Protesters poured into the streets chanting for the sanctity of the human body, cutting themselves, letting their pure blood soak the streets. Riots broke out and fires were ignited, but it made no difference. Humanity had voted. It had decided it was ready to take the next step: Technology-guided evolution. Directed by humans for humans to give each individual a say of what he wanted to become. Athletes would get better or artificial muscles, thinkers would get never-tiring brains, and for the truly adventurous their minds would be transferred into artificial, near-indestructible bodies.


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The Song of the Violet World

Image created by Quaz

Image created by Qauz


I was on my way back home. I had had a long day mining the asteroids. It wasn’t an easy day. The autopilot on my ship was taking me away when the violet planet caught my eye. We had been warned. They said it was off-limits for our safety. I had heard rumors of the surface, stories from a friend of a friend who had ventured down into the cloudy world.

One of the stories I remember most was one of a man who had landed there many years before I was born. He had been lured into that purple atmosphere by its beauty. Mesmerized by it, the man ignored the warnings. No one knew for sure what it was he experienced, but the story goes that when he came back, he came back smiling. The man never went mining again, and the people who knew him said he never spoke another word. Not one. But he always wore a smile. When I was younger it never seemed to me to be a warning story. Why be afraid of a place that would make your world a happy one? The typical reaction was that he went mad. He stopped working and he begged in the city streets, struggling to survive. But to me he was complete. Whatever it was he saw that day fulfilled him.


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The Ship in the Water

At first there was a ship crossing the sea. Its captain pointed to a dot in the horizon and its crew were quick to move that way. Around the world they went, time and again. Sometimes sailing, sometimes drifting, but always in command of their own destination.

Whether their decisions brought good or not did not matter to them. In their ship their lives were encapsulated. In it, they drank, they ate, they made friends and enemies and at the end of the long days under the sun, they slept. In their quarters they lay awake some nights, thinking of the reason their lives had ended up the way they had. Some other nights they sat silent on a stool or on a bench, and, along with the rocking of their imperfect vessel, they made sense of the events they had experienced that day; But when sun came up in the morning, and the screams of the captain echoed in the halls, they knew their freedom was intact. They scurried together around the hull, and together the crew set sail again for their next adventure.


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The Sitting Android

Beneath a shining sun and clear blue sky, reflecting the sunlight off its silver skin, an android sat on the ground with its gaze towards the horizon. It had been waiting for a person to wander by, waiting for someone to find him out there in the desert. His sight zoomed in towards the distant shrubs and trees, hoping to catch a glimpse one day of a city man. Its concentration never dwindled and its focus never blurred, but in its long wait for the improbable passing of someone by the road, it didn’t notice one coming towards it from behind.


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El Camino Donde Me Quedé

Esto pasó hace muchos años. No era ninguna fecha especial. Bueno, en aquel entonces no me pareció nada fuera de lo normal, pero, en retrospectiva, supongo que sí lo fue.

Había salido de mi casa para visitar a mi hermano. Él vivía a unas dos horas, allá donde según las cosas eran mejores… según. Ya había ido yo muchas veces, pues lo visitaba almenos una vez al mes. El camino ya me lo sabía y hasta mi camioneta yo creo se lo había aprendido. Cada piedra del camino me era familiar, y cada que cambiaba algo yo me daba cuenta. Por ejemplo, una vez que iba por el camino noté como que la tierra estaba revuelta de una manera en que no debía estar revuelta. Así como a veces la comida en la panza de uno se revuelve mal y a uno le da un noséqué, pues así fue. Me dio un noséqué, pero no le presté mucha atención. Pues me creerás que al otro día en las noticias salió que un carro se había volcado ahí, en ese mismito lugar. Así de bien me sabía el camino.


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On The Dark Moon

Humans have not always lived here, near the bright center of the milky way, where the light of our stars keep the darkness away, where the light reaches all the corners of our life.

Have you seen total darkness? No, you have only seen shadows. You cannot imagine it, you cannot perceive it, and we work hard to maintain it. There are stories from our distant past, from our long gone parents, of the things out there that lurk in the voids between the stars, in the places that light has never touched.


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The War Begins

I came here for the first time 55 years ago. They were extroardinary times. An Earth-like planet had beed discovered and my team and I were sent to explore it.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my days. Crossing the strange jungles, examining the new species, bathing in the rivers and the light of our new sun. It’s what I was born to do.

I hadn’t, until a few days ago, figured out why they had sent such a small team. It was me and my ten men crew exploring the vast valleys of the new world. I didn’t complain, it’s what Iiked, it’s why we signed up. Free to be the pioneers of humanity, free to climb the mountains and watch from their peaks the vast expanses of new lands before us.


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Baby Powder

You know what everyone has? Babies. Yeah, that’s something the rich can’t take from the rest. Everyone has the right to have a family, to have kids and raise them, to see them grow, to love…

I don’t know how it came to this, but I’m sure it had something to do with creating a second floor on this metropolis. Now we rot in the catacombs, now the rich bathe in the sun, now we crave the credits. The credits give us what they have, if only for a little while. A trip up the kilometer elevator, towards the green streets and blue skies, towards the feeling that things can be better.

It’s just that though, a feeling. It’s an illusion maintained to keep us where we are without raising a finger. They are exterminating us, taking our kids, taking our babies.

There’s a factory behind my home. Every day I hear them screaming. It’s not the babies, they’re too weak to scream. It’s the mothers. It’s the fathers. They scream because they thought they needed the creds, they scream because they know they don’t, they scream because they’ve given up that which matters most. Family. Survival. All for a glimpse of the people in the perfume advertisements, all for a touch of the lives of the people up the elevator.

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The Ghosts of Jonestown

Jonestown is a place that existed between the city of Helena and the gold mine. I’ve worked at the mine for several years, and sometimes, when I feel I need to clear my head, or think about the things that happen in my life, I walk.

It’s a good walk, a good distance from my home in the outskirts of the city. It takes me a good four hours. The path takes me through Jonestown, I know it well by now. I don’t worry much of vagrants or robbers or drug addicts, the ghosts keep them away.


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