• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 10
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Imprint not Recognised

Harry pressed his face against the sensor and groaned as he heard the pre-recorded message:

*Imprint not recognised, please try again.*

This was ridiculous. He was standing at the entrance to his apartment block. His wife and family were inside. Bloody technology. He tried again - same message. The third time he tried, a different missive:

*Your account has been blocked. You will no longer be able to access your family unit. Please visit your nearest data centre for reprogramming.*

Harry’s bowels turned to water. This was it. He’d thought Sheila was bluffing when she’d said she’d had enough. In an age of instant gratification, she’d finally got fed up with waiting.

Waiting for him to provide the things she coveted – jewellery, designer handbags, holidays. Waiting for him to prove himself as the sex god she wanted. He’d tried to be that husband – the one she’d ordered online. He was sure the children loved him, but they held no sway in this quick fix world. Now that Sheila had flicked the switch that meant the end of this existence, he realised that he would soon no longer even remember them, nor they he. Tears welled in his eyes.

The innovators, those technological whizz kids, had promised a better world. No need to work at things any more – if it wasn’t working, cut your losses and move on. There was no room for those who didn’t pass muster, who struggled to conform to the new society’s ideals.


Imprint not Recognised

In his heart, Harry knew he had no choice. Basically a coward, he’d never cope with going underground and living in the hinterland of life. He’d caught glimpses of those beings who’d tried to escape this new normal. Scavengers who relied on the public’s leftovers and were invisible to the rest of humanity, fleeting shadows from a Victorian magic lantern show.

Glancing up at his home, he saw the silhouettes of his children in the windows. He raised a hand, but knew that he was no longer a part of their psyche. Fighting tears of both rage and bereavement, he turned and walked away.

Even as he entered the Data Centre, he contemplated disappearing into the night. As the technician sat him down, he swallowed hard, to suppress his fear. He trembled as the electrodes were pressed against his temples…

Harry pressed his face against the sensor:

*Imprint recognised. Welcome to your new home. A mate will be selected for you shortly.*