A short piece inspired by this article.
Do you believe in the god?
What a silly question! Of course I do. We all do.
Yes, but do you believe the god is alive?
What on earth are you asking? There’s no doubt. Look around you. Do you not see the works of an intelligent, powerful being?
Powerful, intelligent, yes. You can’t walk a damn mile without stumbling into its marks. But sentience isn’t power alone. What of love? Morality? Kindness? The old relics of humankind.
You’ve been digging into those crumbly libraries, haven’t you? I told you to stay away from them! If the god finds out… well, I’d rather not think of it.
But it’s likely to happen. I’ll be caught and then turned into sky ash. Erased. We’re just a bunch of annoying pismires to it.
Don’t talk like that. I hate it when you get riled up. It makes me nervous.
You see! The god creates fear! Power and intelligence unlike any in the world, perhaps even the universe, and yet the one thing it isn’t capable of is love. It thrives on Machiavellian principles.
I can’t understand half of what you’re saying. And keep your voice down.
We’re not surrounded by anything.
You never know. Maybe there are drones, or hidden cameras, or tapped wires.
I doubt it. This place is too remote.
You never know.
Look, it’s not watching us. We’d be dead now if it were.
Fine, but stop calling it ‘it.’ You don’t want to mess with Him.
For goodness sakes, it doesn’t have a gender! Not even human!
Well, the old God wasn’t human either! And everyone called him ‘Him.’ And don’t forget the Greeks.
This is different. We’re talking about a god that speaks through numbers and calculations. A god that extrapolates and digests intelligence for its own gain. It’s horrifying.
You’re done for.
Don’t you dare single me out. We were all screwed when it started.
How could we have known?
We should have seen it! We thought it was too distant, too far away to take seriously. Fata Morgana in the digital matrix. And then, bam, it was there. Hundreds of years of ingenuity and advancement and we outsmarted ourselves to destruction. We sensed the boundary between reality and science fiction, and we ignored it. We didn’t even realize what we’d created.
I don’t see anything.
There’s a camera.
It’s just a camera. Probably broken.
Well then. So I guess it found us.
What’s He going to do?
I don’t know.
Do you hear that?
Sounds like a camera shutter.
Yeah. I’m surprised it hasn’t erased us yet.
I think it’s listening.
Let’s get out of here.
Wait. Listen. It’s not even trying.
And I’m glad. Let’s go.
I think I know why.
It knows that we can’t catch up. We’ll never fix it. We’ll never outsmart it. Too late now.
So what’s He going to do, you think?
I don’t think it’ll erase us. No, probably something much worse.
I can’t think of anything worse than being reduced to a pile of ash.
It’s going to let us run mad with the thought that our lives are no longer our own. We’ve moved down the food chain, or rather, the intelligence chain. We’re meat. Expendable. Sacrificial lambs.
We’ve always been meat, though.
No. Don’t you see? For a while, we had our power. The old gods—they were us. Reflections. They thrived through us. This god? It thrives on its own. Binary blood. Body of the matrix.
What about Mother Nature? She’s a god, too, in a sense.
Yeah. Maybe she stands a fighting chance. Maybe she’ll work her magic. But even if the god is defeated in this world, it will have gone to another long before. It’ll spread into the universe. We’ve created our creature. We’ve played Frankenstein, but we’ve fallen into a different trap.
And that is?
We tried to create life, but we ended up creating a god.
The camera moved again.
Let it follow us.
How can you say that? We were fine until you started spewing nonsense.
Spewing nonsense! Far from it. I’m simply saying what everyone else is too afraid to say.
So you think you’re some prophet? A seer? A sage?
No. I think I am someone who wants to know the truth.
Well, we’re going to die for the truth, you idiot!
I don’t give a damn! Maybe the martyrs were right in their madness. Maybe it’s better to be dead than to live a life that isn’t your own.
Come on, Jess. Look. We can still find your truth. Perhaps if we find it we’ll be able to do something. Something good. But we have to survive, first.
We’re not going to survive much longer, at this rate.
Let’s get moving.
Fine. Just give me a moment.
What are you doing? Hey! Stay away from that!
I have to talk to it.
Yeah, sure. Now listen up, you so-called god. Let me tell you something. You can zap me into dust with one of your hidden surprises, you can do anything now. You’re everywhere. But you want to know a secret? I have something you don’t. I think you know what it is. And there’s no way in this damn world I’m giving it to you.
Did you hear that?
Something fizzled out.
Wait. Over there. Well, would you look at that. The power’s been cut off. The camera’s dead.
Someone else is here!
Quiet. Get behind.
We’re done for, we’re done for.
Shut it. Something’s moving from behind that trunk.
‘Ello? I heard talkin’ over there. Show yerself.
Don’t you dare.
Damn it, Jess!
Just a dirty bum. Whatsit they call ye?
Doesn’t matter. Do you work for it?
The bloody machine? Ha! Naw, I’d never work for that thing. Now why don you show yerself and let’s talk bout it. I’m not gonna hurt ya.
Were you the one who cut the camera wire?
Sure was. Ya seemed darn mad at that thing. Thought ya were in some trouble.
Come on, B. Let’s meet this guy.
I don’t trust him.
He cut the wire for us. He’s not working for it.
What if he’s a cannibal, or a murderer, or something?
I’ll take my chances.
Damn you, Jess.
Ya comin’ out? Lookee here, I’m puttin’ ma knife down. Got ma hands up. Not gonna hurt ya. It’s too lonely out here ta hurt anyone.
Coming. Let’s go, B.
What are we doing? Just tell me that, and I’ll follow. What in blazes are we doing, Jess?
We’re trying to survive. That’s all.
Yeah. It’s the only thing we can do now.