This story is by Michael Raven and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
From: Del Dakota
To: Gabrielle Dakota
Today at 4:15 AM
In the time it has taken you to read this sentence, the countdown to my death has already taken place.
I set this email to be delivered well after I took my life, knowing it would be far too late for you to stop me. I’ve been planning this for quite some time now.
You probably thought the darkness in me had finally left. But I’m sorry to say, it never really did. I just learned to hide it better.
Please don’t be sad, my darling. This is what I want. And it is by my hand, to choose when and how I depart. I just needed, no, I wanted, to make sure that when I left, I would be remembered. And so, I will be.
Just not in a good way.
I’ve created a technology virus.
Unlike anything the world has ever seen.
It targets any device that generates electricity by disrupting its magnetic field at a molecular level, and shutting it down.
These last 6 months, I’ve not been sleeping more than 2-4 hours a day. It got me thinking about the movie “Groundhog Day.”
Remember the time we watched that film together?
Bill Murray became an expert at many different things to fill the hours of his ever-repeating day. And to earn him the love of his life.
Gabby darling, I already had the love of my life. So now, I just needed to become an expert at something.
That something ended up being the language of binary code. I saw an example of coding at the school I worked at as a tech specialist. And when I saw code in use, it was like a symphony exploded in my head. I began to visualize codes of instruction in everything. In the movements of people, money, machines, weather.
Randomness became measurable. I understood everything. Code was the matrix of life and everything resonated from its song.
I named my virus Genesis. And, my wife, when you opened this email, you also unlocked Pandora’s Box, releasing Armageddon. Genesis will now go forth, imbedding itself worldwide.
At this point, you and the rest of Humanity have less than two hours remaining. Then every machine, every gadget, every circuit, every battery, every everything will just stop. Quiet will once again be the rule, not the exception. No more planes, trains or automobiles. No grocery stores. No TV or movies. No computers or satellites, no more technology anywhere. Plants and animals will become the dominant force. And who knows, perhaps the dinosaur might even reemerge one day. Mankind will be returned to a time before machines, before the bomb, before domestication. I know at first that people will be scared and that groups with massive armories will try to take control. But I don’t believe they’ll survive. I have confidence that mankind will learn to band together. Perhaps unifying under a single language, a single culture, a single religion. When Humanity looks back on me, will I be called a hero or just an irresponsible asshole?
Only future generations can answer that.
I have created the Great Leveler.
There will no longer be rich or poor. No monetary system will remain, since most of our wealth is merely electronic. All of Humanity must unite to survive. Will it? I hope so.
You’re probably confused; everyone that knew me thought I loved technology. And I did, but in a different way than you imagined.
Machines became my only friends. They spoke to me. Taught me. Helped me to create Genesis.
The testosterone injections I started 6 months ago broke that final barrier between myself and machines. I felt truly awake for the first time. And this new-found clarity helped me to complete my masterpiece.
Yes, my darling, I know that I am harming you. But my love for you does not outweigh my desire for Darkness and Eternal Rest.
You’d probably call me clinically depressed and suggest counseling. But secretly, I was already doing that. After my last visit, the doctor recommended rehabilitation. It was just her fancy way of saying, I needed to be committed.
I couldn’t handle that.
Death was preferable.
And out of my desperation, Genesis was born.
Countless religions have written about End Times. And now, you and everyone else will get to experience that first hand. Humanity has about one and a half hours remaining.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock…
What to do with your final hours? Only you know about the coming apocalypse.
You should call the kids NOW.
You might never see or talk to them again.
If you do talk to them, will you share my words? Do you think they’ll believe you? Hell babe, do you even believe me?
Are you sitting there thinking that my words are the ramblings of a madman?
Well, I want you to think about my mental abilities and what I can truly accomplish when I put my mind to something. Perhaps then, you’ll realize, that what I’ve shared with you is not that far out of the realm of possibility.
Believe me when I tell you that every phone, both land and cell line, will no longer work in a little over an hour. No Face Time, Skype or Wi-Fi either.
If you get in the car right now, you might make it to one of our children before Genesis is unleashed. At the very least, you’ll be close to their apartment.
What can I do to convince you? I suspect that you still don’t have faith in the truth of my words.
All right, look at it this way. What would I have to gain by spinning this yarn? A tale this fantastic as a suicide note makes no sense.
This note shall be my opus for future generations. So, allow me to spend the brief moments that remain to explain my actions. Perhaps then, you’ll come to believe my words and to realize too late, that you missed the last chance you had to say goodbye to anyone that might have mattered.
Before I begin to explain my actions,
PRINT THIS DOCUMENT.
Because in about 30 minutes, this email and all electronic documents will no longer be accessible. Nor will you be able to print anything.
Okay World, let me begin my last will and testament by apologizing for the wide scale death toll and panic that is about to ensue.
Try to imagine for just a moment, how many planes and helicopters are in the sky right this second. How many ships at sea? How many cars on the roads? To begin with, every airborne vehicle will come crashing to the ground. Most pilots won’t be able to save themselves or their passengers. Subway trains will be trapped in tunnels without lighting or ventilation systems. Motorized vessels at sea will stop, and powered lifeboats will be useless. Ski lifts and Gondolas will leave passengers stranded hundreds of feet in the air. Elevators will leave thousands trapped. People in tall skyscrapers will be in darkness and will need to use the stairs to get down. Panic will likely ensue, leaving countless individuals trampled in a mad rush to escape. Hospitals, too, will be affected. Emergency backup generators will be useless; tens of thousands will perish without ventilators or oxygen. Electronic locks in prisons will fail; every prisoner worldwide will be set free. The same can be said for mental hospitals.
Are you getting scared yet?
You can see, my dear wife, how the virus I’ve created will cascade into an apocalyptic event.
As for the why, it can be summed up in three words.
Rage Hatred Violence.
So much anger and hostility. So much brutality and hate. Such an uncaring populace in America. A gunman enters a movie theater killing random patrons, Nothing Changes. A gunman enters an elementary school and kills children, Nothing Changes. A gunman kills and wounds hundreds at a concert in Las Vegas, Nothing changes.
Rage, Hatred and Violence in America must end!
I can make that happen.
This will be a wake-up call for humanity.
I’m fairly certain that someone far smarter than me will eventually get the power back on across the globe. But will it take weeks, months, years, decades?
What will the world look like after my Genesis unleashes its tidal wave of devastation?
If you’ve read this far my darling, then I’ve one last footnote.
I have secretly visited dozens of rooftops over my many years on planet earth. And so many times, I could visualize the leap and wreckage of my body after I plummeted to my death. I would sit on the ledge, dangling my legs over the side. Always moving closer and closer.
Today, I finally found the courage to fly.
NO MORE YESTERDAYS,
TODAYS OR TOMORROWS
Times Up, Humanity, D-Day Has Finally Arrived.
Forever and Always…