A girl with long brown hair sat on a hard dirt floor. Her hair fell over her shoulders and made its way to the floor, seeming to snake across it. Her honey golden eyes swept over a yellowing page of a book, her pink, plump lips moving as she murmured softly. She glanced up and looked out a window to the rain that had started outside and sighed longingly. She closed her eyes, listening to the soft patter of the rain against the glass.
Thoughts whirled around her head as her nimble and thin fingers clasped a locket dangling from her ear like an earring. Her father’s face flew by her mind’s eye, a blurry image of the past. A number of complex equations and formulas wrote themselves out in stark white lettering. The girl opened her eyes and stood; it was time for work.
A large wooden door stood before her. She pushed it open and stepped through silently, shutting it behind her. A bright room emerged at the end of a long hallway. The room was a bright, startling white. On the left wall was a bookcase that went from floor to ceiling, it shelves housing thick encyclopedias, dictionaries, books of fiction, books that were dated back to before the Great Shut Down, manuals for things forgotten long ago, and much more. The right wall was a blackboard, already covered with formulas that were color coded for an unknown reason. The last wall had what was most important. Beakers, computer modems and monitors, cables, wires, and an open journal was spread out over a long desk. The girl slid into a rolling chair, propelling herself to the desk. Staring up at the screen, she plucked away at the small white keyboard on her lap for hours.
The girl got up from her chair to stretch, crossing the cramped room to the blackboard. She was immersed in her work as she walked around the room, paper in her hands. A shrill voice broke her thoughts and startled her. She tripped over a cord, the papers in her hand scattering like dead leaves in the wind as she tumbled down to the hard floor. “Priscilla,” the voice called again, “Those cows aren’t going to milk themselves! No, deary, No!”
Priscilla pushed herself off the ground, abandoning the papers as she scrambled up and out of the room. The heavy wooden door shut itself and locked, Priscilla watching the process. She bolted out of the house to the barn and stables.
In a dark room, much too dark for her liking, stay a computer. A computer like no other, she had a thought processor. The gloomy quarters she stayed in had been that way for years. Exactly 200 years, or 73,000 days, or 1,752,000 hours. And that would change soon. The computer, Alice, could feel her modems buzz with anticipation, awaiting the arrival of her user.
Alice is a supercomputer. She’s faster, smarter, and much more capable than any other computer. Not that there were anymore to contest her. Every computer had been destroyed during the Great Shut Down. Alice had been hidden away when it started, hidden in the very cave she was still in.
Alice was always observant, such was her programming. Nothing had been the same after the Great Shut Down. Time seemed to stop and rewind, going back so far that cars and electricity were useless, with the exception of few. People found new ways to charge portable phones. Those lucky gadgets got to stay.
The monitors around her began humming tunes of disagreement. Forget the past, they advised, Look to the future, to your user. Alice shut them off and sighed, unable to leave the past. Why had the creators turned? They’d been so close to their goal. There could have been others like her. She was so lonely in that dark cave. And she’d never seen any sign of life there, besides the weeds that tangled themselves around her.
A man, more like an over sized boy, sat outside the squat bland ruins of a building. There was another besides him, a woman his senior by two years. His wavy blond hair swept across his face with a light breeze. His bright green eyes were alert as they scanned the area.
He stood, hearing noises beyond tall trees that grew up through cracked sidewalks and streets. All around were the ruins of a once great city. It used to be called Chicago, but it was lost in the Fires of the Great Shut Down. There was a whisper carried to the boy’s ears by the wind. “Elijah,” the voice said, closer now. Elijah turned to the woman, his childish expression of wonder disappearing and being replaced with blankness of military discipline. “Any luck, Lucille,” he asked the woman. She shook her head, her mane of fiery red hair blowing in the breeze. “No, nothing could be salvaged,” she replied, her tone colored with disappointment.
Elijah sighed and looked around the city. He turned away from her and began walking down the forgotten streets of Chicago to an aircraft. “Let’s get back to base,” he said. The hatch door to the craft opened and they got in glumly. The door closed and the craft took off, heading for their base.
|Jennifer Lawrence||as Priscilla|