Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ultra-short SF story: Nanonyme

You stood motionless on the side of the road with your back to the sunrise.
It should be getting brighter in that direction too, but something was different this morning.
It was hard to feel anything when you didn't know what was happening, or if anything was happening at all. Hard to recognize something no one had ever seen before.
The impression was of an immense wall approaching from the west.

The entire sky was filled with a suspension of dark dust. Microscopic particles floating in the air, as if they were crawling through it.
You realized the particles were already around you. The impression was of fast movement. Were they moving past or just appearing somehow?
The flow wasn't random enough. The dust stayed too smooth, intermittent bright and darker areas in the sky as if they lined up in all directions.
The density was low, but there were many of them. Was it getting warmer?
You phoned your mother then, who lived ten miles further west, deep inside the strange fog. The call went through fine, with only a slight delay.

"Everything's fine dear," your mother says. "I was just making breakfast a bit early. Still dark outside but the birds are already singing."
The voice is just right, but that's not exactly how your mother talks.
You start to say something, but then you hear several other voices talking at once. They are versions of your own voice, talking to different people you know, saying that everything is OK and not to worry.
As you keep trying to interrupt, your other voices become more animated and lifelike, adapting and learning from your unheard efforts.

The sparse traffic seems to have stopped in the fading gloom. No headlights to be seen.
There are some lightning sparks in the distance, snaps and crackling coming closer. A single cyclist zooms past, but his legs move in a blatantly artificial way.
The dust is a vast machine, sliding like an avalanche that will soon be everywhere.
You'll have the rest of your life to admire its beautiful simplicity.

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