The Chosen One

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Chosen One uncovers a conspiracy that could lead to the world's destruction.

Submitted: May 14, 2017

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Submitted: May 14, 2017

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The Chosen One

 

Ted’s bedroom was chaos. The bed was upturned, the mattress had been slashed with the stuffing taken out, the wardrobe and drawers had been dismantled, and the floor was a mess of clothes, books, and ornaments. Ted was in the corner of the room, unscrewing one of the room’s plug sockets with a screwdriver. His white T-shirt had ill yellow stains underneath the armpits, and it clung to his back like a parasite. Still, he worked away at the plug socket, swearing and wiping his forehead. His face was a red rage of frustration and his gritted teeth clung together as if his jaw was trying to crush itself. His hands were scratched and bruised. He finally managed to pry away the socket and he stuck his fingers inside, feeling and prodding his way across its inner edges. When he felt nothing, he bent down and looked inside, even shining a mini-flashlight in all of its corners. It was five whole minutes before he abandoned the search. He crawled across the floor, heaving junk out of his way until he got to the second plug socket on the other side of the room. He began unscrewing.

  • This is too obvious a place to be searching.

 Ted shook his thought away.

  • You’ll never find it, no matter how hard you look. They can read your mind, you think they can’t conceal a –

He shook his thought away again.

  • Stop thinking, stop thinking, they’re reading your thoughts, even now they’re reading this very thought.
  • Well, what does it matter if they can read my thoughts at this point? They already know I know about their spying, they know I’m here in the room trying to find the hidden cameras, and it’s impossible to stop thinking, anyway.
  • You need to meditate again. It will help to clear your mind and stop them spying.
  • Fuck that, it doesn’t actually work.

Ted pried open the second plug socket and performed a search as thorough as the first, with the same result. He sat down against the wall and breathed deeply, his bulbous stomach rising and falling like living jelly. His shirt has been pulled up, revealing his belly, with black and grey hairs tangled together like the site of a spider massacre. He spluttered and looked up at the hanging light, which hadn’t yet been dismantled. He exhaled and studied the ravaged bedroom, then threw up his arms and left. He went to the fridge, got a beer and plopped down on the sofa.

  • They’re coming for you, they can’t have you exposing them. You know they’re watching, and they know that, which makes you a risk.
  • You know how fucking crazy you sound when you think shit like that? Do you even hear the words in your head?
  • They’re relying on you to think it’s some crazy conspiracy theory. Makes you less guarded.
  • Literally the sort of thing a crazy person would think.
  • Let’s not have this argument. It just goes around in circles.

Ted’s inner conversation continued, pondering and working out his next move. Maybe it was all in his head, maybe there was a conspiracy, but although the idea of there being a conspiracy was strong, he had no real evidence for it. But in his heart, he knew there was a conspiracy, just as sure as he knew he was human. He would act on the safest option, which was to assume there was a conspiracy, and if there was, he needed to get out of here, because they were coming. Yesterday, nobody was in his head, today, he was certain there was. There was something different in the air, some presence here today that wasn’t present any other day. Something was sitting in his head like some studious, ghostly possessor. He felt it sniff and stare at him, trying to figure him out. He waved at the air like he would chase off a bothersome fly, and he stood up and paced the room.

  • You should look on the internet. Do some research.

That sounded dangerous, the internet was a good way of getting yourself linked directly to anyone involved in the conspiracy. They were mind readers, but that didn’t mean they could wholly interpret his thoughts, which didn’t necessarily think in logical and comprehensible patterns. Thoughts and feelings jumped and flew through one’s brain, it would surely be difficult to keep track of a person’s electrifying, spinning, colourful mind, and anyone reading it would only be able to comprehend direct, simple thoughts that came in small bursts. Internet research - should it be tracked, which it almost certainly was – would feed direct, comprehensible thoughts to whoever was watching. Everything he typed would be in plain English, not up for as much interpretation as mind-reading would. Searching on the internet would also be useful in tracking his IP address, figuring out his identity, maybe even turning on his webcam without him knowing. Ted himself wouldn’t be able to figure out such means, but the nerds working with the conspiracy would surely have their methods. Ted picked up his laptop and plastered four tears of scotch tape over the webcam. He needed to know more, and he needed to know now. On booting the PC, he went to an Internet search engine and input 

I’m being watched.

Ted spent many an hour scanning message boards and forums, lapping up all the comments and chattering that haunted the websites. He heard and researched many conspiracies and articles on the watchful government, and how to protect yourself. He read up on conflicting pieces of information on what were real conspiracies and which were delusions. He read and typed and asked questions and watched documentaries. He was intrigued by many stories, and less so by others. None of them fit the bill exactly as how he felt, but with each stroke of the keyboard and passing minute, he felt he was better able to identify the specific traits he was feeling and voice his specific concerns more clearly. Long into the night did he type and read, his fingers aching and his eyes watering. But he pressed on, unable to look away from the material, feeling like he was getting closer to the truth and his specific conspiracy the longer he looked. He found people like himself who believed someone was watching, reading thoughts, and he began to feel more and more secure in the knowledge that whoever it was, government or alien, they were less to do with some kind of inherent invasion and more to do with simple observation. He felt that the intruder was a watcher, not someone looking to do harm. He pictured aliens or FBI agents, who were either watching him specifically or everyone. Ted’s eyes began drooping once the hour struck 3 AM, and although he still couldn’t shake the idea that someone might come and swipe him away in the middle of the night, he thought it was probably time to call it quits and resume his investigation in the morning. He wasn’t able to look at the hideous glare of the computer monitor any longer. As he went to switch it off though, he saw the light next to his webcam flick on. The blue dot stared at him, like an eternal eye. A message popped up on his screen, from a messenger app he had never installed.

User 1: Dr. Joyce.

 Ted’s fingers hovered over the keyboard, but he didn’t press down. He didn’t know what buttons to make them press. There were no words with which to respond – this messenger knew his name. He looked at the taped up webcam. At least the messenger(s) couldn’t see through that – could they? He was afraid of making any movement, in case a blurred or shadowy version of himself was still visible through the layers of duct tape.

User 1: Dr. Joyce, please respond. I can’t see you. In fact…

The blue light closed its lid as if the eye had had its sight ripped away.

User 1: Look, your webcam’s off. Please don’t be paranoid, I just want to talk to you.

His fingers responded:

User 2: How do you know my name? You’re one of them.

User 1: I know why you must think that, but actually I’m the exact opposite. I’m like you, I’m aware of the conspiracy.

User 2: You didn’t answer my question.

User 1: It’s not so hard to trace someone once you know how.

User 2: Well then WHY do you know who I am?

User 1: A better question. Our organization has developed a software that monitors anyone whose search history reflects that of the algorithm we set it to. Your searches online, your comments - they all corresponded to a very niche realization that we at our organization have determined to be an undeniable truth – this world is not real. We need you, of all people, to realize this – and to end the insanity.

User 2: Me in particular?

User 1: Yes.

User 2: Why? Am I like Neo or something?

User 1: You are kind of like Neo, I’m afraid.

Ted ran his fingers through his hair. He had read about chosen ones and conspiracies and false worlds in all kinds of media fiction, but the idea that he was not only part of it, but central to it, was more than he could comprehend.

User 2: So I have some sort of special power?

User 1: You have a power unlike anyone in this world, Ted.

User 2: Aren’t you going to tell me?  Why is this all to do with me?

User 1: We are coming.

User 2: Huh? Whose “we”? What do you mean you’re coming?

User 1: We’ll be there presently.

User 1 has ended the chat.

Ted ran.

He ran out of the house and just kept running. The night was dark, the world was silent. It was not yet four in the morning, and as he ran he looked over his shoulder, he peered into the dark. He found himself in the woods and that was when his pocked vibrated. He took his phone out of it, knowing who would be calling. He answered.

‘You’re tracking me,’ Ted said.

‘Yes, but listen-,’

Ted flung the phone into the trees and went further into the woods. Long did he run. He couldn’t get far enough away, whoever was spying on him – he could feel them, he felt their eyes trace his every thought and movement. He shook his head and screamed.

Ahead of him was a cabin, and he made a beeline for it. He opened it without knocking, and it was empty, except for a table sat in the middle of it. The room was old, dusty, with only the pale moon’s weak light to illuminate what was on top. A small sheet of paper. Ted walked to it and saw what was written: Look behind you.

Ted did so almost immediately, and there they were, three men in suits. They were old, they looked tired but otherwise well presented.

‘Don’t be afraid Ted,’ one of them said.

‘I can’t help it,’ said Ted. ‘I’m afraid.’

‘Well you won’t be able to help that,’ said one of the men.

‘I supposed that’s true,’ said Ted. ‘Fear is out of our control.’

All three men chuckled.

‘It is, Ted. More than you realize.’

‘Do you have to act so mysterious?’ asked Ted. ‘What the hell do you people want from me? How did you find me here?’

‘We’d be able to find you if you shot yourself out of a cannon into the drifts of space,’ said a suit. ‘We found you because we must.’

‘We want you to destroy the world,’ said another suit. ‘You’re all that stands between its existence and total annihilation.’

‘What in the hell are you talking about?’ said Ted. ‘You – what? I thought I was the chosen one.’

‘You are, and you’ll be the one to destroy the world.’

Ted’s mind could not compute the words. ‘The Chosen One is the one chosen to destroy the world?’

‘We are thankful to the Chosen One,’ said another suit. ‘Without you, there would be no world in the first place, and none of us would be here, but it’s time to end it now.’

Ted rushed past them, and none of them lifted a finger to stop him. Ted opened the door, but there was no woodland as he expected, but a brick wall. He was sealed inside the room.

‘How the hell did you do that?’ asked Ted, looking at each of the suits in turn.

‘The world’s ready to die,’ said a suit. ‘There’s nothing relevant out there anymore, all that exists of this world now is what you see in this room.’

Ted slumped to the ground. ‘Aren’t you ever going to explain this to me?’

‘We’ll explain,’ said a suit, ‘but not for your own benefit.’

‘Then whose?’ asked Ted.

‘The audience’s,’ said a suit.

‘You mean the aliens who are watching this right now?’ asked Ted.

‘No, for the readers reading this piece of fiction… you’re a character, Ted. The protagonist of a short, pointless story which exists only to have its character realize it’s in a story. You understand?’

‘I’m a protagonist?’ said Ted, ‘in some made up story?’

 ‘Yes. And your realizations on the matter mean nothing, everything you say, do or think has been the product of someone else’s mind. None of your actions are your own. Even the questions and the existence of us suited fellows serve only as exposition for the audience.’

‘You’re lying!’ said Ted. ‘It’s too ridiculous to believe!’

‘You only say that because the author wrote it so,’ said a suit. ‘It’s meant to appear as if you’re a real person with real feelings. But you’re not. You’re just squiggles on a page, like all of us.’ He gestured to the other two suits, who nodded in agreement. ‘That nonsense with the conspiracy and weird chat log was only written to instill some sense of mystery into the narrative. Us three are really nothing more than exposition fairies.’

Ted swallowed. ‘Then why do I feel so afraid?’

Your personality and beliefs are derived by reader interpretation - you don’t actually care about any of this.’

‘But I… I feel real…’ said Ted, looking at his hands, noticing all the small details. ‘I have memories.’

‘What memories?’ asked a suit.

‘I remember my dog Grover, we used to play together on the hill. There was an old oak tree and-,’

‘Entirely fictional,’ said a suit. ‘The author didn’t even know that until he wrote it out.’

‘I hate this!’ said Ted. ‘What’s the point? Why even bother writing this?

All three suits shrugged.

‘Well, what happens now?’ asked Ted.

‘Well, you’ve made the realization that you’re fictional.’

Ted looked at them all. ‘And?’

‘Well that’s it,’ said a suit. ‘The plot was really just driving towards the protagonist realizing he was fictitious, and now that you know…’

‘There’s no more to the story,’ said another suit. ‘Give the command, and the world will die. Tell the author and the reader you’re ready to end it, and the world will disappear, just like that.’ He snapped his fingers.

Ted took a deep breath. ‘I’m ready’ he said. ‘End it.’

 

END

 

 

 

 

 

 


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