A New Law

A single sound. A bright light, a robot’s voice, one that has no dialect or personality, merely words on a brightly lit screen that is like a God in the minds of ant like humans. Only a small device and nothing of any sustenance; to a person unaccustomed… but nobody is unaccustomed.

 

Ada dwelled. She dwelled because she knew she was caught in a trap and deliberated a response. Staring at words – for they were only words – and a conversation that really wasn’t a conversation, because it was text, begging the question of what defines a conversation, but to Ada, it felt like one.

 

Intimacy seemed to only happen over this way; slowly, and then all at once. She thought back to what led her to that exact moment, as she sat in her living room, with its grey and white themes of sulky dreariness, and the sofa she sat on was an off-coloured beige, and the only source of colour from the phone screen, like a rainbow of promise shining through. Ada was taken back to the feelings of worry in the past that a certain tone was ‘off’ through its language, and immediately casting that aspersion. Maybe this wasn’t done at the time, but presently, she imagined those words said in real terms, during a face to face conversation, and her mind began to open to new contemplation.

 

The conversation she revisited was between herself and a friend. Her name was Jess, and they’d known each other for years. As all childhood friendships do, it started off as innocent, playful and happy times. At this point in time there were no obligations to abide by the New Law.

 

Ada made it to her older, youthful years, and things began to change. New friends came onto the scene, with adventure and promise crisp in the air. Despite the evolution of their friendship, it still felt as new as ever, and Ada and Jess carried on as they normally would. They would text, they would phone, and they would catch up over a dusty bottle of wine that was found in Ada’s parent’s garage. It didn’t matter that it tasted like petrol and made them shudder with each sip, because they were free and embracing everything they could.

 

Their friendship became more text based over time. Life moves on, after all. But the power above took over.

 

“That’s cool”

 

All it took was a simple message from Jess to change the course of their lives, in response to a simple message. That’s cool. Of course, as Ada sat down on her sofa a few years later and mused over an entirely different dilemma, she realised the harmlessness of that text, despite it being far too late.

 

For some reason in Ada’s mind, where thoughts that were not her own were sitting and waiting, there was something inherently wrong. Where were the playful smiley faces? Or the kisses? Or some enthusiastic punctuation that enforced the mood? Ada didn’t see it that way. How could she, when she believed in the unspoken rules that she learnt from somewhere or nowhere; effortlessly and without knowledge. A New Law: created but not affirmed.

 

By these laws, Jess no longer cared about Ada.

 

So, what could Ada do except bow down and accept this defeat? That’s the way it worked. Ada didn’t want to intrude anymore, as that’s what she felt she had done, and so didn’t respond to “That’s cool”. Friends became strangers, and the evil did its job.

 

The new state of existence that has arisen squeezed all freedom away, catalysed by another New Law, and that was the continuous obligation to share location and activity, with difficulty to avoid. Not only must we abide by the law, we must not be free for a single moment.

 

This presented a new problem for Ada. Emotional depth and bonding were so entrenched within the law – it was impossible in many instances to gain it without the use of the device, by text, which became evident when Ada began to develop feelings for a man, and in her head it couldn’t go wrong. In person, on the rare instance she would see this man, it lacked in much enjoyment, yet she was taken in by his bright eyes and seductive smile; captivating and exciting. But she realised she looked forward to his texts more than his company, as over text it was an entirely different story. The conversations would always flow and interest Ada, and she found herself falling for this man purely based on this. They would talk about their lives, and Ada would long for his texts, and would develop a rush that most would develop from a first official date.

 

It was incomprehensible then, as to why when the messages stopped, her heart broke. It was as though she had broken up from him; that he had left her. Why on earth would your heart break for somebody you had only met a handful of times, and why did she never question that that was the way it was?

 

In the New Law, it was understandable. She had a connection with this man. He knew her. She was broken beyond repair; a crushing blow to her core. Her hopes and dreams that evolved around the texting and communication she had, had been crushed up and thrown away, with only a ghost of a person left. Ada had forgotten what this man’s voice even sounded like. To her, his voice was his text. She was able to see that he was on his device, that he was present in this world, yet was not present in Ada’s world. The bond she believed she had was broken. She wondered why for far too long and made excuses for him that you would make for a man you’d been with properly and for years, not the way Ada was; with a human being, not a robot.

 

Years later, Ada was free at last, so a lesson was thankfully learned. Ada realised she did not know this man. Nor did she really have feelings for him. The revolution had started within her head; it was a one-person revolt against herself. Wherever the powerhouse was that governed the new thoughts expected of individuals was a mystery, but Ada was empowered with her discovery.

 

Ada sat on her beige sofa, in a grey and white themed room, and she had the same device. Well… it was slightly newer, but nevertheless the same. Once more, Ada found herself in a predicament, but this time she didn’t follow the law. Picking away at her past, she wondered why on earth she thought she was in love? Texts replaced conversation and time spent, and that kind of love wasn’t real. None of it was real.

 

When did that happen? Ada often asked herself. How did it become so acceptable to place so much importance onto something that was so cold and emotionless? Reading back a text in her head, she noticed the robotic tones. The human voice was slowly being replaced by nothingness.

 

It made Ada think about Jess’s message to Ada. “That’s cool”. The New Law told Ada that Jess was not interested. Ada then pictured Jess saying those words to her, as though they’d had that conversation in person, and suddenly that text did not seem as rude as what the New Law told her it did with all the power and control that it had. Jess most likely genuinely said those words with enthusiasm and passion and happiness. Yet it was all missed, because you can’t hear with a text. Only see. And the mind sees what it’s told to see, by the New Law.

 

Ada sat on the sofa, and to be frank, she was put out. Finally, she was trusting and happy after her heartache from before; she had something real now. Ada liked her reality and enjoyed her non-compliance to the law, yet the loss and scars from her wars with the law still very much visible.

 

As with all scars, they never disappear. Sometimes, the scars redden and made themselves be seen.

 

Ada decided to act, and how she decided to act went against the law. She didn’t get upset, as their conversation was not proper. Nor should she have the power to know that he had seen her message; privacy doesn’t exist in the eyes of the New Law. This was the sole cause of the fret that had her sitting in her living room as she was, pondering over her previous encounters in such a way.

 

Ada responded with a simple message; seemingly hypocritical, but not so.

 

The message read: Ring me.

A single sound. A bright light, a robot’s voice, one that has no dialect or personality, merely words on a brightly lit screen that is like a God in the minds of ant like humans. Only a small device and nothing of any sustenance; to a person unaccustomed… but nobody is unaccustomed.

 

Ada dwelled. She dwelled because she knew she was caught in a trap and deliberated a response. Staring at words – for they were only words – and a conversation that really wasn’t a conversation, because it was text, begging the question of what defines a conversation, but to Ada, it felt like one.

 

Intimacy seemed to only happen over this way; slowly, and then all at once. She thought back to what led her to that exact moment, as she sat in her living room, with its grey and white themes of sulky dreariness, and the sofa she sat on was an off-coloured beige, and the only source of colour from the phone screen, like a rainbow of promise shining through. Ada was taken back to the feelings of worry in the past that a certain tone was ‘off’ through its language, and immediately casting that aspersion. Maybe this wasn’t done at the time, but presently, she imagined those words said in real terms, during a face to face conversation, and her mind began to open to new contemplation.

 

The conversation she revisited was between herself and a friend. Her name was Jess, and they’d known each other for years. As all childhood friendships do, it started off as innocent, playful and happy times. At this point in time there were no obligations to abide by the New Law.

 

Ada made it to her older, youthful years, and things began to change. New friends came onto the scene, with adventure and promise crisp in the air. Despite the evolution of their friendship, it still felt as new as ever, and Ada and Jess carried on as they normally would. They would text, they would phone, and they would catch up over a dusty bottle of wine that was found in Ada’s parent’s garage. It didn’t matter that it tasted like petrol and made them shudder with each sip, because they were free and embracing everything they could.

 

Their friendship became more text based over time. Life moves on, after all. But the power above took over.

 

“That’s cool”

 

All it took was a simple message from Jess to change the course of their lives, in response to a simple message. That’s cool.  Of course, as Ada sat down on her sofa a few years later and mused over an entirely different dilemma, she realised the harmlessness of that text, despite it being far too late.

 

For some reason in Ada’s mind, where thoughts that were not her own were sitting and waiting, there was something inherently wrong. Where were the playful smiley faces? Or the kisses? Or some enthusiastic punctuation that enforced the mood? Ada didn’t see it that way. How could she, when she believed in the unspoken rules that she learnt from somewhere or nowhere; effortlessly and without knowledge. A New Law: created but not affirmed.

 

By these laws, Jess no longer cared about Ada.

 

So, what could Ada do except bow down and accept this defeat? That’s the way it worked. Ada didn’t want to intrude anymore, as that’s what she felt she had done, and so didn’t respond to “That’s cool”. Friends became strangers, and the evil did its job.

 

The new state of existence that has arisen squeezed all freedom away, catalysed by another New Law, and that was the continuous obligation to share location and activity, with difficulty to avoid. Not only must we abide by the law, we must not be free for a single moment.

 

This presented a new problem for Ada. Emotional depth and bonding were so entrenched within the law – it was impossible in many instances to gain it without the use of the device, by text, which became evident when Ada began to develop feelings for a man, and in her head it couldn’t go wrong. In person, on the rare instance she would see this man, it lacked in much enjoyment, yet she was taken in by his bright eyes and seductive smile; captivating and exciting. But she realised she looked forward to his texts more than his company, as over text it was an entirely different story. The conversations would always flow and interest Ada, and she found herself falling for this man purely based on this. They would talk about their lives, and Ada would long for his texts, and would develop a rush that most would develop from a first official date.

 

It was incomprehensible then, as to why when the messages stopped, her heart broke. It was as though she had broken up from him; that he had left her. Why on earth would your heart break for somebody you had only met a handful of times, and why did she never question that that was the way it was?

 

In the New Law, it was understandable. She had a connection with this man. He knew her. She was broken beyond repair; a crushing blow to her core. Her hopes and dreams that evolved around the texting and communication she had, had been crushed up and thrown away, with only a ghost of a person left. Ada had forgotten what this man’s voice even sounded like. To her, his voice was his text. She was able to see that he was on his device, that he was present in this world, yet was not present in Ada’s world. The bond she believed she had was broken. She wondered why for far too long and made excuses for him that you would make for a man you’d been with properly and for years, not the way Ada was; with a human being, not a robot.

 

Years later, Ada was free at last, so a lesson was thankfully learned. Ada realised she did not know this man. Nor did she really have feelings for him. The revolution had started within her head; it was a one-person revolt against herself. Wherever the powerhouse was that governed the new thoughts expected of individuals was a mystery, but Ada was empowered with her discovery.

 

Ada sat on her beige sofa, in a grey and white themed room, and she had the same device. Well… it was slightly newer, but nevertheless the same. Once more, Ada found herself in a predicament, but this time she didn’t follow the law. Picking away at her past, she wondered why on earth she thought she was in love? Texts replaced conversation and time spent, and that kind of love wasn’t real. None of it was real.

 

When did that happen? Ada often asked herself. How did it become so acceptable to place so much importance onto something that was so cold and emotionless? Reading back a text in her head, she noticed the robotic tones. The human voice was slowly being replaced by nothingness.

 

It made Ada think about Jess’s message to Ada. “That’s cool”. The New Law told Ada that Jess was not interested. Ada then pictured Jess saying those words to her, as though they’d had that conversation in person, and suddenly that text did not seem as rude as what the New Law told her it did with all the power and control that it had. Jess most likely genuinely said those words with enthusiasm and passion and happiness. Yet it was all missed, because you can’t hear with a text. Only see. And the mind sees what it’s told to see, by the New Law.

 

Ada sat on the sofa, and to be frank, she was put out. Finally, she was trusting and happy after her heartache from before; she had something real now. Ada liked her reality and enjoyed her non-compliance to the law, yet the loss and scars from her wars with the law still very much visible.

 

As with all scars, they never disappear. Sometimes, the scars redden and made themselves be seen.

 

Ada decided to act, and how she decided to act went against the law. She didn’t get upset, as their conversation was not proper. Nor should she have the power to know that he had seen her message; privacy doesn’t exist in the eyes of the New Law. This was the sole cause of the fret that had her sitting in her living room as she was, pondering over her previous encounters in such a way.

 

Ada responded with a simple message; seemingly hypocritical, but not so.

 

The message read: Ring me.

 

The cold, damp underbelly of the city reeked of the decaying waste fed from above. Static with lost energy and stirring thoughts, the entity that existed far from humanity starved for more; an appetite not quite yet satisfied. Far from humanity yet occupied by all humans, the one thing these days they all shared. The desire of theirs to aesthetically please created the underworld, and was visited by all, yet they were not aware they visited. The brightest minds in the lowest depths of their own world.

 

Vast and endless, it contained every remnant of souls lost. Sometimes, it was just a snippet of a soul, other times it was the full take over. It was there to serve the insecure, the weak and the vain, and it did so with the pride of a parent, watching their child grow. The child always did grow, but what became nobody knew. Not a soul.

 

Ada scrambled. The air was thick with fog, and her attempts to get through took every ounce of strength to shove past, like it was a brick wall of mist she was fighting. She knew where she needed to go. Oddly familiarised with her surroundings – a labyrinth of her own thoughts – yet she believed it to be the first time she had ever stepped foot through there. It was her feet that knew the way, as they knew the truth. Ada had been many times, but her trips were forgotten as quickly as they started.

 

The fear was real. Ada wanted to scream out for help but couldn’t find the words. She didn’t know how she ended up there in the first place, or where she was – despite the homely familiarity. When she began to feel at her most hopeless, the light began to flicker in the far distance. Ada desperately clawed her way towards it.

 

The light highlighted the shadowy figure below it, curled up into a foetal ball and unrecognisable by sight, but Ada’s instincts became her trusted ally and she knew that she needed to continue.

 

“Hello?” She asked curiously.

 

The figure turned to look at Ada, and the figure Ada instantly knew, but not necessarily how or why.

 

“Hello.” The strange figure responded in a blunt and toneless manner.

 

“Where am I?”

 

“You know.”

 

“No, I do not know.”

 

“You’re you. This world is yours.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

Ada didn’t understand but she began to feel the effects of where she was and was drowning in confusion.

 

The figure vanished.

 

Ada shouted after the figure, knowing she needed to see them as soon as possible; they were the answer, but the answer was running away from her. The light began to buzz and flicker, startling the frightened young girl, as she looked around for a new direction.

 

In a flash, she was in a new place, but it was identical to where she was before. Her instincts spoke again, and she knew she was where she needed to be, as around her were memories long forgotten, hung up like prizes and gripping Ada with a newfound sense of comfort.

 

“Are you there?” Jess shouted out. “Please, come back out!”

 

Alas, her words were enough, for it was her world after all, and the figure reappeared.

 

“Do you still not remember me, Ada?”

 

“No. I can’t even see you.”

 

The response was not words, but a visual reminder of who she was facing. She remembered who this was; their relevance in her mind maze puzzling Jess. Why was somebody who she barely knew in school prominent in her subconscious wanderings? A person who was a brief acquaintance, who she sometimes walked to school with and ate lunch within a group with, suddenly her guiding voice. It was her friend Jess who was friends with her, not Ada.

 

“I know you.” Ada concluded. “Why are you here?”

 

“I’m always here.”

 

That much was true. She always was. Everyone she had ever seen, met or walked past on the street had a place in the world she was in.

 

“What do you want from me?”

 

“A reply.”

 

Ada sank. The ground disappeared and she hovered in the air below her and found herself absorbed in an abyss of lightning strikes and pounding thunder; a storm was breaking out. Siren sounds chilled her bones and rang in her ears.

 

“I broke the law.” Ada declared.

 

The fear of a guilty past catching up with a clueless Ada overwhelmed her and she burst into tears.

 

“You know the law.”

 

“But I didn’t. I don’t.”

 

Ada wasn’t sure about anything at that present time. It was so clear to her now, as her mind brought her to a new place where she was just a visitor. It changed the way she viewed all past occurrences, and she wondered how she could be so dim. The New Law was glaringly obvious, what was stopping her from seeing things clearly shocked her.

 

“I just forgot.” Ada tried to defend herself, but the still shadowy figure didn’t appear interested. In fact, it remained frozen and wouldn’t let her past. There was no breaking away. It wasn’t running anymore.

 

Ada couldn’t deal with the situation at hand in the slightest. Who knew that an absent-minded mistake whereby she read a message on her way to work and got side-tracked would lead to such disastrous consequences? What could she do? The New Law took over, and her obedience was obvious. Leaving a message on ‘read’, the law dictated, made Ada a criminal. That was not the done thing; no matter how she felt or her life as it was at the time. There was control over her every move within her applications and the implications of breaking from this led to a poison in an unreachable part of her mind – where the control existed.

 

Whilst Ada was there, she searched for who was dictating this. She shouted out as loud as her lungs could muster for answers, but her voice merely echoed to no response. The invisible power that was the New Law hid themselves well …or was hiding after being found.

 

“I didn’t break the law, I swear.” Ada protested.

 

“Yes, you did.” The figure argued. “All these people agree with me.”

 

More shadows emerged from the mist, and once again Ada could not recognise who they were, but it was them against Ada and they were closing in. Ada began to shrink, smaller and smaller until she was reduced to nothing, and her thoughts were no longer hers, but instead the law using her as its vessel.

 

As before, her instinct remained intact, and Jess acted out. She blocked the first figure. The New Law allowed you to cancel people out of your life, and Ada had no other choice. There were no hard feelings, and she even liked the person, but the new voice won. It was louder than her echoey pleas, and who was she to fight?

 

Ada was back at the bus stop, scrolling mindlessly as she waited for her bus. Late, of course. The sun began to break through the grey clouds, and Ada was none the wiser of where she had been. It was even less than a micro-second. Ada was none the wiser.

 

She still blocked, though. No real thought, or feeling, went into her actions, but the New Law dictated, and she did what she was told. She didn’t know she was being controlled. A momentary realisation gone in a flash. As was the figure.