The Tiger

Can’t risk the Metascape again, have to play this on gut instinct this time. I reach out my hand towards the right door and clasp the cool silver knob. Time to save the goddamn world.

The door opens silently into a pitch black room, windowless and dimensionless. I take a step in and I’m beginning to think I made the wrong choice when the door slams shut behind me. Two metal arms reach out from the wall behind me and clamp my arms to my body, squeezing so tightly my circulation is almost cut off. I’m picked up and taken up some unknown distance where a metal plank meets me from behind and straps buckle around my entire body. I can’t move.

A voice speaks from the darkness, from nowhere in particular, from all around me. “Jack Fenix,” it says, and it’s the voice of an old man. Then the voice laughs, and it could just as easily be a gleefully sadistic child, ripping the legs off insects in the playground. Goddamn you, CyberCorp.

“You really thought you could stop us, did you, Jack? You naive little fool. We are the greatest organization that has ever existed, and we have planned this moment for decades.” Robotic arms force my mouth open and shove some sort of tube down my throat, gagging me. “But we will not kill you. No, no, for we are men of faith, Jack, and we do not stoop to mere killing. We have a much better use in my mind for you. All gods, benevolent or not, demand a sacrifice, and the simulacra god of unreality is, unfortunately, no different. We’re lucky, then that you wandered into our path on this fine day.” The robotic arms fit my head with a device that prevents me from closing my eyes and at the same time keeps them moistened with a saline solution. “You Jack, have been unfortunately denied the ultimate pleasure of the Awakening; however, you are now the caretaker of humanity. We do hope you enjoy your new role.” A wall of telescreens blinks to life, thousands of them, and all of them show people staring blankly into the gray sky. Some liquid substance begins flowing through the tube stuffed down my throat. “You’ll find you will never be hungry or thirsty, Jack, and you’ll never get sick either. Take good care of everyone, Jack, for we have very important work to do. It’s time for us to Awaken.”

“Fuck you,” I try to yell, but it’s silenced by the tube in my throat. I begin trying to throw my head to the sides, to break out of these bonds, but then a needle buries itself in my arm like a scorpion’s tail, and all I want to do is watch the beautiful Awakened people. So calm, so peaceful. So good.

I wish I were good.


A not-so-happy ending. Continue...