Monday, October 18, 2010

Before The Internet (Short Fiction)

Author's Note: This is merely a scrap of "Prompt Fiction" as I like to call it, a short sketch under 1,000 words written to the theme of a randomly generated prompt. I don't usually post short fiction on this blog, so enjoy the read! 

Title: Before The Internet. 
Word count: 859


What did I do before the internet?

Kacy drummed her pencil along the edge of her desk. She didn’t really need the pencil, it was just a good distraction and something easy to hold in her hand while her mind tried to work around the mental roadblock.

It wasn’t a hard assignment. It wasn’t an easy assignment. Kacy wasn’t even sure if it was really an assignment to begin with. A derisive snort left her corner of the computer lab as s she sat back in her chair, twirling the pencil around in her hand.

Yes, the pencil was a very good distraction.

Internet. Internet. Before. What on earth did I do before that?

Kacy squirmed in her chair for a moment. Her memory wasn’t long or short, it was kind of stuck in the middle. For all of her sixteen years of life, she couldn’t recall an exact moment where she wasn’t connected to the internet. At least, not a moment that she wanted to use for this particular English teacher.

The snort turned into a sigh that she voiced aloud once more.

Internet. Internet. Probably stuff people did before I was born? No. He wouldn’t like that. It has to be real. Ugh. There’s nothing real in my life, so help me!

She idly tapped the pencil all along the plastic edge of the computer lab table. The option of staring up into space was interrupted by the stained, tiled ceiling, a distracting view when Kacy thought about it.

She didn’t want to think, so she opted to close her eyes instead.

That helped, some.

Her eyes were tired, her mind was tired and the rest of her body made no complaint.

At least, a moment. She allowed. Just a moment. Mrs. Price will be on my case in a moment.

As if on cue, the stern class monitor cleared her throat from somewhere on the left. Kacy turned her head towards the sound.

“Miss Iyllis?”

“I’m thinking.”

“Could possibly stand to think with your-”

“All I ever did before the internet was sleep.” Kacy’s eyes popped open as she searched the stern face and latched onto to the filmy blue eyes behind the thick glasses before her. “I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been connected somehow. My family’s always been that way-”

“Then try thinking harder. If you were legitimately trying to complete this assignment, I’m sure you would have already thought of the correct answer.”

“There isn’t a correct answer.” Kacy straightened in her chair. “It isn’t a right or wrong answer, it’s just the truth.”

“Then that shouldn’t be a problem for someone like you, right?”

Kacy swallowed. An off-kilter memory slapped her upside the head.

“…well, no, I can’t. I’m going to Church.”
 

“Can’t you skip it?”
 

“I’m playing the flute, so no. You’re welcome to come though.”
 

“As if. Look, can you make it or not?”
 

“I can’t.”
 

“Because of that? Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to get her permission? Ugh. You’re such a-”
 

“Lindsey, please don’t start with-”
 

“With what, church girl? It was you that blabbed on Petersen in Soci, wasn’t it?”
 

“What? No! I didn’t. That wasn’t me, honest!”
 

“Yeah. I know. You church people are always so honest. Walking lie detectors and all that, right? You make me sick.”
 

“Lindsey!”
 

“Would you two keep it down? This is a library. People are trying to study.”

A slight tingle ran through her fingertips and Kacy tucked the pencil into her messy bun and arranged her hands on the keyboard.

Thanks for the hint, Mrs. Price. I’ll definitely write the truth.

The cursor on the page blinked expectantly and with a smothered sigh, Kacy began to type.

In my life, the moments without internet are few and far in between. For the instances when I am disconnected from our virtual world, the moments that follow more than make up for it. The worldwide web has always been a significant part of my life, due to my family’s tech savvy and line of work, I have always been surrounded by computers and electronic devices, of which most of them are wireless. The only moment in time where I have not been connected to the web in one way or another would have been before I was born. And even so, that would not be an entirely accurate answer, because my mother kept a constant video log and blog for the entire nine months that I was…

A dull chime sounded hollowly in her ears.

Kacy sighed and reached back behind one ear to pull out the pencil from her hair. She took the pencil and plugged it into the air above her left elbow. There was a beep, a hiss and then a familiar digital voice.

“Education session, one-one-nine-one has reached the timer’s limit. Please reload simulation and try again. A new prompt will appear.”

A half laugh registered. Kacy leaned back in her capsule chair and let her fingers dance over the keypad to reboot the learning session.

She smirked.

A time before the internet? Yeah right!

© Sara Harricharan

1 comments:

Yvonne Blake said...

You got me at the end!
(should've known it was sci-fi...not autobiographical!
...coming from you) *smile*