We went to Denmark over New Year and it was amazing! We were guests of two of Sue's work friends, Mads and Mette, and while it was incredibly inspirational in all sorts of ways, I didn't get any writing done.
Travelling back gave me plenty of thinking time, though, and Sue had been asking why I didn't write any sci-fi. We've been reading The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, one of my favourite books, and the world he wrote was so vivid and full; something that I aspire to.
Anyway, I wrote this, set about twenty years into the future, thinking about one logical conclusion for the Google Glass tech available today. I'm really interested that Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror has basically got this concept in it, but I saw that after I wrote this. Nice to know I'm thinking along similar lines!
Unedited, about 1 hour, while an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9 played (not the greatest writing environment but I'll take what I can!)
I blinked to clear my vision as the ‘tac settled onto my eyeball. Its cold surface quickly warmed as I blinked again, then fished the second flimsy plastic ‘tac out of the container. I flicked it dry, pinned my eyelids back and gently laid it in.
As soon as the second ‘tac made contact, the log-on prompt appeared, pink and transluscent, about an arm’s length away. I tapped my password in and shuffled out of the bathroom.
“You done in there?” Mum shouted from her bedroom.
“Go for it,” I said, swiping the weather report out of the way. Fine, with a chance of showers later; smog warning level 3, pollen count low. Perfect.
I pulled on yesterday’s t-shirt, subvocing a message to Jerome at the same time. If he wasn’t doing family stuff, we could probably meet up on the hill in an hour or so. Jeans, odd socks, shoes and done in the time it took to check emails and Twitter.
Mum was already in the shower by the time I clattered down the stairs, following the smell of warm bread; a bowl of seedrolls were on the table and I grabbed one. ‘150kcal’ flashed up on a little tag hanging off of the roll; I frowned and swatted it away. Almost guaranteed to be something Mum had installed. It was like she thought I was overweight.
“’tac, noticeboard,” I said around a mouthful of bread. One quick dictated note left hanging in the middle of the room later, and I was out of the house, door slamming shut behind me.
The street was quiet; this close to new year it was cold and windy, people preferring to stay inside and huddle than get out there and enjoy it. The coat I’d grabbed as I’d escaped the house was plenty to keep me warm, though, and I zipped it up and thrust my hands into my pockets.
“’tacs, play me something by Muse,” I subvoc’d, and immediately Matt Bellamy’s freakishly high voice reached my ears. The bone-conducting implants that interfaced with ‘tacs had been my Christmas present from Mum this year. One of the benefits of being an only child, I guess; no-one need to share presents.
The couple of people I passed, the only ones braving the day it seemed, both had their ‘tacs on. The new model, I noticed sourly. The silvered effect on their eyes that told me they were taking a video or making a call – the former, probably – had a slight pearlescent sheen to it, while mine were a harsher metallic colour. Still, I thought to myself, birthday soon.
I looked up at the hill ahead; there was a figure up there, and I thought I could see the old-style handset that Jerome insisted on using. Something about it being retro. Good grief. I grinned and started a video.
I knew that my own eyes would have flashed to silver, but the only difference to me was the little red dot and timer in the bottom right corner of my vision. The intelligent algorithm that dealt with blinking and rapid eye movement by averaging out the frames made absolutely zero difference to me, and I broke into what I hoped was a stealthy jog.
The wind did a good job of trying to blow me back down to the bottom, but I kept low and tried to avoid the rabbit shit that lay in little patches on the floor.
Jerome still had his back to me; his curly hair was bouncing inside the turned-up collar of the long black coat he wore. A bird flew overhead, wheeling and turning; I froze as its white wings took it over me, in case Jerome decided to look up, follow it’s progress, but his head remained bowed. I crept the last two dozen metres on all fours, well aware that my hands would come in and out of shot like some sort of computer game. I could feel my heart beating fast, warmth suffusing my skin as I rose up and prepared to shout right in Jerome’s ear.
“NOPE!” he shouted, whipping round to face me. I screamed, stumbled backwards and fell on my arse in surprise.
“’tac, cancel video,” I said, scowling. The display flashed once and went blank.
“Kace, you never quit,” Jerome said, his teeth bright against his dark skin. He waved his tablet phone at me, twenty years old if it was a day. My own face stared back at me from the screen, the front-facing camera active.
“You used it like a periscope,” I said accusingly. “That’s cheating!”
“Just ‘cause your ‘tacs can’t show you what’s behind,” he came back with. “It’s not cheating. Just… creative.”
I pouted, but couldn’t hold back my grin, matching his. He held out one thin hand and I grabbed hold of it, feeling the strength in his wiry frame as he pulled me up and into a hug.
I closed my eyes, breathing in his scent; pinewood, handsoap and warm leather.