Author : B.York, Staff Writer

Kale made a habit of playing only in his backyard. The public display of toying with small action figures in the park or at a friends house made Kale a shy boy indeed. Instead, he would enjoy the comfort of solitary imagination in his backyard. The young boy, only eleven in age, could play with plastic soldiers from sunrise until the dusk of the evening. Though even in his wildest dreams he could never fulfill the true desire to have his imaginings come true.

One day in the fall, Kale took to digging in the back yard. He dug mounds for his action figures to battle upon and pits for them to die in. Kale made very deep pits for the figures to die in to make it that much more dramatic. It was only with this digging that Kale found the hole that day.

The hole was a thing not so much larger than his head and black with no light penetrating. Kale looked at it, he poked at it and the darkness within the hole swallowed his finger until he pulled it back. It was a peculiar thing this hole. He had decided that he would see just how deep the hole would go. He sacrificed an action figure to the depths of the hole and nothing happened. Kale covered up the hole and went inside.

The next day, Kale woke up and went outside to play but not before his mother gave him some purified water to stay hydrated in the intense heat outside. He quickly made his way to the hole which was still there beneath the dirt. Kale was not willing to sacrifice any more figures to the hole so he decided to take something from the house instead. Yes, his father’s electronic measuring tape would do nicely. He sunk the measuring end into the hole and eventually ran out of tape! Shrugging, the young boy dropped the rest of the electronic tool into the hole and waited. Nothing happened so Kale covered up the hole and went inside.

When Kale woke up his vitamins and morning supplements were fed to him through the bio-water he drank before ever leaving his room. His mother made him wear the anti-irradiation overcoat and sent him out back to play. Kale uncovered the hole and began to ponder about what to put inside it today. He’d assumed that whatever he had put in it the day before had not worked to its desired effect. Today Kale went inside and retrieved a toy of his meant to play 1.2 million songs from the 21st Century. He slipped it easily into the hole and waited. Nothing happened and so like before, Kale went back inside.

The very next day Kale’s meditation was ending and he told his mother he’d be going outside. Everything he needed was already injected through nano-machines into his body. The boy went outside and took to using a displacer wand to move the dirt from the hole without ever touching it. Today, Kale decided, he would truly experiment with what the hole meant. Sifting through the junk in their metallic recycling console, he’d found an old relic of his grandfather’s belongings from after the war. Taking the object out back he dropped it into the hole and waited for a long while. Nothing occurred so Kale had the event recorded in his brain then went inside.

His mouth tasted like ash and his lungs filled with soot and dirt. The boy opened his eyes to the same landscape he’d fallen asleep in yesterday. The sounds of bombs going off in the distance couldn’t wake him after all that he’d heard and witnessed in his life. He had no parents to ask to play, no brothers or sisters alive to help him through the day. He coughed heavily and stood up, stumbling through the black smoke with the smell of decay and the heat of radiation about him. His foot hit something. Staring down, the boys pained eyes could make out what looked to be a hole but one blacker than any he’d ever seen. An object as pristine as the sky had been once laid next to the hole. It appeared to be a shiny metallic object; one with a handle and a barrel and even a trigger. It had been polished and kept well and for some reason it filled the boy with a sense of familiarity.

He reached down, gripping it by the handle and noting a small parchment slipped just under the trigger. He unfolded it and read what seemed to be ancient calligraphy, yet in astonishing clear English, “Reload, Please”.

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