A vast and terrible desert lies between them. This expanse is home to only the worst of human emotions made real: blood sand, bitter rain, deafening clouds, piercing winds. Although they cannot see each other from across the legions, they see eye to eye. Their temples pump intuned. They know each other, but don't. They are the same, but aren't. They have never met, and never will. They feel it, for a moment, a single moment where they know that if they could see across the continent, they would be looking straight into the windows of another person's soul and they would see it matches their own. They both feel it, at the same moment. The man feels like the wind has blown straight through his chest, and he stops walking. The woman feels her hair wrap around her face like a hand covering her mouth, not in anger. And they both feel it. They look up, into the empty desert of hateful, tormentious nature, and they experience their life changing moment pass them by thousands of miles.So that's that. And now this is this.
The Single Moment has been felt before, by many other people who they have never met. It's something that they never forget. It is the moment when they realize that their lives have come to a peak, a gut-churning feeling that precedes the long and terrible drop into the depths of life-envy. Every person who feels the Single Moment thinks they are alone in its experience. They are not. Although it is impossible to tell how many people have felt it, it is certain that they cannot be alone. It has been accounted for, but rarely admitted to, for the Moment is a frightening thing, a thing that is far more terrifying than the thought of death or monsters, rape or murder. The Moment chills much deeper than the bone. It is Spiritual Death, the moment when one's soul simply gives up on the body, realizing the vehicle it has chosen is a faulty one. The soul gives up, leaves, dies.
Across the vast and terrible desert, the two shells did not see each other, but the souls did. The souls saw one another across the endless expanse and the curvature of the Earth and they recognized their plight. They recognized their own pathetic circumstances in each other, and when they left, the shells felt it. They felt the Single Moment. They looked at each other, and then shuffled their feet through the dust as crystalline vines of ice filled their insides. They would never meet, and even if they did, their conversation would sound like empty aluminum cans being dropped on one another.
Some blame the desert. Most blame themselves. The rare realize that there is no blame to give. Perhaps if something had been different... but what could be different? There are only so many things a person can do. They close their eyes, and hope a door will appear in their darkness and they will unwittingly step through it. But when the next foot drops, they are still walking on the same surface. They pray that when they open their eyes again, there will be another pair looking into theirs. And the fear of being wrong, the fear of walls without windows in empty landscapes keeps their eyes closed.
"I'm Going CRAZY Crazy. Crazy!" He screamed at the wall, the night, the everything that wouldn't listen. He was going crazy.
"Listen to ME!"
She listened to him. She could tell he was going crazy.
"I'm going CRAZY!"
"The trones will kill me too!"
Everyday, the trones would occupy his computer screen. It was a stationary portal to a mobile weapons platform. It was making him crazy.
Let me tell the shit to you like this. They all had guns.
A million gigabytes away, trones were killing people. Real people.
Real people had real bullets lodged in their ribs, because of trones.
And he controlled one of the trones.
In between the instant-Cheez and party talk he killed people.
Sticky keys with worn out lettering.
W, W , W, W, w w w w w w wwwwwwwwww killed real people.
Now he huddled, far away from his computer screen. The camera ran.
He didn't see the camera, but it ran on him. He heard the whir.
It whirred in his sleep. In his waking hours. Always the whir.
But when would the gunfire come? When would his ribs slip apart?
When would the lovely bullets stick to this lungs?
I'm going crazy.
It was his day job. IT WAS ALL OF OUR DAY JOBS.
Everything else was just something else. "Gotta put in the hours."
Hit those computer keys.
I saw it too. I killed those People. Some people. Not all of them.
But enough. I would come home, after friend time party fun, take over my shift.
"Here is your trone."
"Treat her well."
"See you tomorrow."
And they called it love, the marriage of technology and war.
Citizen and soldier.
Freetime and wartime.
We killed people, we fought a war, from our computers.
With the taps of a keyboard.
W, W, W, W
But now this guy went crazy. He went crazy because of the war that he never went to, only sent emails too.
A million miles away, he went crazy.
He killed dozens with thousands of keystrokes.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder meets Repetitive Stress Disorder.
And they called it love.
All OVER the place. Everyone did it. It's the norm.
The status quo became status updates on the status of the combat unit.
He shakes, screams about digitized battlefields he has never stepped on.
Only the treads, the tendrils, the camera and the gun.
Things he has never seen. But utilized.
And she watches him, in his room. His safe room.
He is protected in the room. No harm will befall or become of him when he is in the room, because he is removed from the harmful things.
You see, he is safe. She will watch him, because she feels pity for him.
Hopefully, no one else will go crazy because of the trones.
They will watch and hope it doesn't happen, and if it does...
They they will put them in a safe little room and watch them so that they are safe and removed from the harmful things.
For now, things are good.
People are happy citizens. They have fun, and do their favorite things.
At night they sit in front of computers and kill people across the world.
And they called it love. I call it crazy.