Dream of Other Days


Author : David Zhou

“Have a good weekend, Mr. Lark,” he said, scooting his chair underneath his desk and shuffling his papers a bit.

“Don’t stay too late, y’hear?”

He laughed, and shook his head. Smiling faintly, he grabbed his bag and started for the door. He had a big couple of days ahead of him, and he wanted to be sure he was ready. His pace quickening, he called Susan.

The wildly swerving car barely slowed as it plowed into the man walking out of the office building, cell phone to his head, and quite suddenly, the world faded to gray and shifting black.

“Argh!” he shouted, throwing his visor and leaping out of the receptor. Grumbling to himself, he sat down at a neighboring console, and flipped through some screens. There it was.

Nathan Wilson. Twenty-four. Died of severe head truma.

“Figures,” he said. “What I get for choosing one of the younger ones.”

He sighed, and went back to the screen, switching away from group A, and into D. One of the profiles struck his interest.

William Lister, eighty-six. Died in his sleep. Peaceful enough.

He loaded.

Water. He needed to breathe, his head a pounding maelstrom of pressure and panic and he was sinking deeper, the light above dimmer and further and his vision, twisting and pulsating and that was it. The world faded to gray and shifting black.

He didn’t do anything at first. Just took big, heaping gulps of air. Once he properly made sure that he was not still drowning, he frowned and jotted down a note.

Categorization mistake. Group D element William Lister. Listed termination was not as experienced. Error corrected.

He leaned back in the receptor, looking around.

It wasn’t much, the Reentrant Room. Circular and ringed with consoles, the only thing that attacked the eye was the receptor in the middle.

The receptor. He grinned. It was the only thing that kept him at the job. Most people hated qualifying the reentrants. Something about the responsibility of mortality. But he didn’t mind.

He was the dam. He was the filter. He was the guard at the gate, turning away the filth from the grandeur that was the System.

Yes, it required him to possess a physical body, to be exiled and vomited from the System.

But he didn’t care. He may be all alone in the room, but in the end, he had ultimate control. He could dictate and manage which of these poor digital imprints of fragile souls would be allowed to reenter. Be reborn, and have another chance at the virtual life of a member of the System.

He smiled. It was worth it in the end. He flipped through another couple of profile screens. Hm. This one might be interesting.

Polenza Tipates. Fourty-five. Implosion.

This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows
365 Tomorrows Merchandise: The 365 Tomorrows Store
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow

Next Story ·
Previous Story ·
Random Story · Star

Comments are closed.

I’ve Seen Things…

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since.

Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Tomorrows Past

A Point in Time

May 2016
« Apr    

What is Flash Fiction?

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries, Founding Member