Twenty-Five

Reading time ~2 minutes

Prompt for this post on r/writingprompts

A blisteringly cold wind assailed his face and pushed against him as he tried to keep walking forward. Blowing almost as strongly as he could stand, it stung his face and made his eyes water. Continuing forward, however, was the only option. Determinedly, he stuffed his hands into his coat pockets and leaned forward with his head down, pressing on into the gust. Even through the tough lining and layers of clothes, he felt the wind on his skin. Far ahead, at the other end of the bridge lay his goal, the nexus of it all, and turning back now would hurt more than anything else. Gritting his teeth, he pushed forward.

How had it come to this? It was an utterly unbelievable story, even when he recounted it to himself. Just a few months ago the world had made sense, but now it felt like it was coming apart at the seams. Knowledge had changed everything, the knowledge of how it all really worked. Like a perfectly cued effect in a movie, the wind evaporated and was replaced with a pouring rain. Most of the people who had been on the bridge when he arrived had simply turned around and left, but the few stragglers opened umbrellas and rushed towards the opposite end. None of them had any control over their own actions, their own memories. Only those who knew the secret were immune to its powers.

Previously, he’d been one of them; he’d spent his life being ordered around silently, all the while believing he was exercising his own free will. Questioning the very nature of the world wasn’t of any particular concern to him. Recent events had made that impossible, however. Sometimes he wished the old woman had never found him and shared the secret with him, and that he’d continued to live out his days in blissful ignorance. Then he remembers how selfish it would be to choose his own happiness over the freedom of others. Unless the truth was exposed to all, no living person would ever again truly be free. Vanquishing the enemy would be easy, with the whole of the human race on the same side.

Wiping water from his eyes, he continued pushing forward across the bridge. X-teria wouldn’t limit itself to simply inconveniencing him with tricks of the weather for much longer. Yet he would press on and end this once and for all. Zero-Day was inevitable, and humanity would rise up to save itself.

Thirty-Five

A man tries to earn his final payday.
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Thirty-Four

A change can be hard to detect sometimes.

Thirty-Three

A failure can be an opportunity in a way.