Time for another original story. This one was written for a flash fiction challenge. It’s a scifi piece with dark undertones. I hope you like it. Please click like, comment, or share I sure would appreciate it.
Tear In the Realm
I’ve tried to forget about the Tear but the reality haunts me. I can’t sleep. When I close my eyes I see red. Fire and blood covers everything. But now? Now that it’s over? It’s started again and I have to be ready.
I guess I should start with Rex. That’s not his real name. We never use those. It would make it too easy to find the real people. Rex fancied himself as a “rebel” or “savior” but really he wasn’t anything more than a twelve year-old kid with mommy issues. I think he was a “he” but in the Realm it didn’t matter what you were outside in the real world. All that mattered was the persona inside the Realm. We don’t know each other outside the Realm. It’s forbidden. Well, it was forbidden. Rex destroyed that rule. The One Rule of the Realm and someone found a way around it. Hacks materialized soon after its inception but none were successful. It was like the ultimate prize – finding who was in the Realm in real life. What you did after you found out no one knew. Maybe the Designers knew. Which is why they created the One Rule. It doesn’t matter now. Rex found the hole. He found the way out. It’s been chaos since.
The Designers are mysterious. No one’s ever seen them. They could be one person or many. What is known is that they wield ultimate power within the Realm. They can expel any player for any reason. And no one wants that. Being in the Realm is like nothing else in the world. Partly because it’s not “in this world” and partly because the means to tap into the Realm are more addictive than any drug known to man, once a player visits they don’t want to leave. And usually they can’t.
Within the Realm the Designers watch. They’re the “all-knowing, all-seeing” eyes. Their reach into everything is part of the reason the hack took so long to surface. Rex played them too. He put on the lonely boy façade and never caused problems. He observed. He carefully plotted every move the Designers made without drawing any attention on himself. It worked. He noticed a small tear in the wall inside a building. I think it was a bar or strip club. Whatever it was, he found the tear in the code. It gleamed bright like a beacon. You had to be at a certain angle at a certain time and only then could you see the pinpoint of light that indicated something odd. Rex knew this. He’d been studying the Designers since he entered the Realm. Careful research led to the club hiding the tear and at the exact moment it was supposed to show, it did.
To his credit, Rex didn’t exploit the tear right away. He was too excited to carry out his plan. Many cycles later he went back to the club with his plan in place.
He enlisted several other players promising them a cheat code for unlimited credits and the actual elimination of their greatest threats. He proposed to murder the real people behind the players allowing his followers access to whatever they wanted without retribution. They worked silently staying out of the watchful gaze of the Designers.
One of them was caught and brought to the Justice Hall. The Designers put her on trial. She held out refusing to give away his secrets but they use certain…methods to force the issue. Soon she revealed Rex as the mastermind behind their machinations.
The Designers found Rex in an abandoned hotel. Pimps and drug dealers used the decrepit building to peddle their vices. Even in virtual worlds humans fed their evil side. Rex hid in a boarded-up room on the fifth floor huddled against the wall with his arms covering his head. He denied everything when the Designers questioned him. His clean record and sad state of existence in the Realm convinced the Designers of his innocence. By the time they realized his ruse, they couldn’t find him and then he used the tear in the code.
Rex tried escaping the Realm. When he did, everything imploded. The tear in the code was something more dangerous than anyone imagined. When he left, he didn’t go back to his physical body. It lay thousands of miles away in a back room of a med center in downtown Hong Kong. The tear opened a portal that deposited Rex in Chicago. The instant he set foot on the busy street, a cataclysmic explosion engulfed the real world in flames.
He broke some space-time dimension. I don’t know the technical term but it was serious. It was why the One Rule existed. If anyone left the Realm not going back to their own body, the Designers understood there could be horendous consequences.
Over two-thirds of the world died that day. The power of the Realm, though known by the Designers, was never fully disclosed to international governments when they tried to stop its development. They were assured it was only a game despite reports of extreme addictiveness and loss of human life. The Designers denied any wrongdoing and threw enough money at the right people to make the issue go away. They claimed to create a worldwide method of communication that would bring people together through inventive game-play.
They maintained the technological backbone of the Realm was harmless. It consisted of nothing more than powerful servers running simultaneous code. Those that survived know better.
The Designers weren’t from this world. They brought their tech and implanted it within this world to learn about humans and eventually enslave them. Once they brought all humanity under their power through the Realm, they’d face no opposition and easily take over Earth and its rich resources.
But the code was faulty. As is all code. There is always a mistake. Something that complex cannot be bug free and there seems to always be someone willing to exploit that bug even if they don’t understand the consequences. Like Rex.
Because of his greed and desire to destroy all competition, he made it his mission to find the tear in the code. When he did, he almost ended human life on Earth. The code wasn’t prepared for such an eventuality and the resulting explosion of the entire Realm which covered every nation across the planet, was powerful. Rex died when he stepped through as did almost all the players and the people that were near them in the real world.
Some escaped the raging inferno with injuries but still alive. The Designers began working on a new Realm more powerful than the first. They’ve learned to hide the flaws deeper in the code so there is no escape.
Many have resisted the urge to join the Realm again. The powerful pull towards it tempts them daily. Once I almost gave in and became one with it again but was kept away by two others whose names I don’t know and don’t care to know. If I get caught, I don’t want to expose them so I purposely don’t get too personal. The Designers are ruthless and I have to be prepared for anything. We have to resist. If we don’t, the Designers will win and humanity will have lost everything.
At least that’s what I tell the survivors.
The Designers, my Designers, have already brought them into the Realm but they don’t know it. Soon they’ll all be under my control and my superiors won’t know about my mistake. We’ll blame the inferior Design team they gave me and they won’t know any different. All they’ll know is my success.
My next event will be Contamination in St. Louis from June 17-19, 2016. Come on out and meet me and other authors. Thanks!