Ten-Year Isolation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Johnathan is able to get anything he wants, as long as he stays inside his house. However, the only thing that he really wants is to see the world outside and be free. In his quest for freedom, however, he discovers a horrible conspiracy.

Submitted: July 27, 2011

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Submitted: July 27, 2011

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Johnathan was the oldest of eight kids and lived in a huge mansion that could be defined as a kid’s paradise. Aside from the giant archways and the huge fountain they had in the middle of the gargantuan living room, there were five colossal gyms, where they could play basketball, football, baseball, dodgeball, soccer, etc. Some for like baseball and football were decorated with Astroturf, to make them really get the feeling of being outside. There were huge arcades with dozens of games that they didn’t have to pay a single penny for. In each of their gigantic rooms, they had a huge 80” LSD screen TV-computer-and-MP3 Player-all-in-one with surround-sound speakers. They had guitars (electric and acoustic), violins, trumpets, drums….almost all the instruments in the world were there. Also they each had five game systems, each with a closet-full of games for them to enjoy. There were three rooms dedicated to storing all the DVDs they had of movies and two other rooms with virtual reality games. They ate food from all the exotic countries, all great delicacies which made each certain country special. Along with those, they had four huge libraries with mostly all the books ever written.

Yes, they had it all and were never bored, always having something to do. The only thing they weren’t allowed to do was leave the house and they never left it all their lives, although they had more fun than any person would have his whole life and were educated by online teacher-programs, where they typed in their answers and were given an evaluation and homework, just like any other school. The parents also gave them very interesting information and advice on what books to read which would help introduce them to good literature.  Also, even though they were isolated from the rest of the world, they could see all of what was happening through T.V. and newspapers, which their father came back with every morning.

Johnathan and his siblings might’ve had it all, but there were some things that you couldn’t enjoy in the safety of your own home such as zoos, carnivals, beaches, meeting people outside your family, other countries, etc. Even though the computer simulations were frightfully realistic, it still wasn’t the same as going outside in the fresh air. Among other things, Johnathan read many travel brochures of New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood, etc. and always wanted to visit them himself, even though his parents always told him that the outside world was too dangerous for them to go in just for a vacation, even though it seemed very friendly on T.V., computer and in the newspapers.

Of course, when Johnathan reached his 10th Birthday, he thought he was big enough to go outside and had reached the peak of his curiosity, wanting to go out there more than ever since he felt so cooped up in his home.

“What does the outside world have that we don’t have?” asked his mother after he had proposed to go outside for the millionth time.

“Lots of things,” replied John enthusiastically. “But for the most part it has other people. I wanna meet and socialize with other people, y’know? Plus, I’ve taken a big fascination in girls and I can’t experience love inside the family or else we’ll have to put on dirty undershirts, a straw hat, get a rocking chair and a shotgun and move ourselves to a wooden house in the South. [laugh]!”

“That’s not funny, John,” replied his mother coldly. “I don’t appreciate racist remarks like that. Not all Southern People are rednecks that marry their own cousins and sisters, that’s just a stereotype and I told you a million times: don’t judge people by their stereo-type.”

“Sorry, I was just joking,” he replied. “But seriously, I wanna experience something that you can’t get in those virtual reality doo-dads. That is real people that aren’t in my family, that are another race which I can find out interesting information from. I wanna be able to touch an animal, not just see it. I wanna see how real grass feels like. I….I wanna go skiing where I can feel the wind against my face and the snow striking me with its cold thrusts.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes, I do. However, it is still too dangerous and we live in a gang neighbourhood with lots of shootings and stabbings and I think it’s better if we just stay inside. Besides, you can learn about other cultures by going on the Internet or watching T.V.”

“But I’m sick of that! I wanna meet real people of other cultures! Couldn’t you just bring one over to my house so I could talk to someone outside my family?”

“Look, we don’t have any friends here and in this neighbourhood, it’s either friend or enemy and you know what happens to enemies around this part. Luckily, our house has security so that those people can’t harm us while we’re inside. Also, we can’t call anyone from another neighbourhood because they could get killed as well and..”

“You don’t have any phones,” interrupted John.

“What? What are you talking about? We have walkie-talkies for you to talk between your brothers and sisters..”

“Yes, but no phones to talk to the outside world. Why do you hate the world so much? Did it do something wrong to you? Or, did you people do something wrong and now you’re just in hiding?”

“That’s crazy talk.”

“Is it? Or is it the sanest piece of thinking any of us has EVER DONE?!”

“Look, this discussion has gone out of hand!! I’m your mother and I KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU!! Believe me, if crime rates weren’t at an all-time high, we would take you to see Peru for all I care, but it IS MUCH TOO DANGEROUS NOW!! Our house has enough to offer you and you don’t need ANYTHING ELSE from the outside world!! Is that understood?!”

“You can’t just isolate me for the rest of my life! Man wasn’t born in a cage….he was born free!!! You can’t just cage him up like AN ANIMAL!! He is TOO SMART FOR THAT!! You’ve given me all I ever asked for in material possessions and some things I DIDN’T EVEN DREAM OF!! Why can’t you just give me one essential thing? Freedom!”

“I’ve had enough! Your father and I have given you kids all that you ever wanted and yet YOU STILL WANT MORE!! [deep breath] You kids shall be the death of me! Go to your room.”

“But, mom…I just want one simple…”

“GO TO YOUR ROOM!”

“Your mother’s very upset, champ,” replied his dad calmly. “I think it’s best if you just went to your room and me and your mother will have a long discussion about this later since it’s a very important issue, I agree…and I understand your point of view….it’s still a difficulty we’ll have to work out.”

“What difficulty?! We don’t live in any GANG NEIGHBOURHOOD! I heard on T.V. that our neighbourhood has had the lowest crime rate for FIVE DECADES!!!”

“Who let you watch the news?” his mother replied, shocked. “I DON’T REMEMBER GIVING YOU PERMISSION!”

“God, you people won’t let me have ANY FREEDOM!! Everything I do has to first be APPROVED BY YOU!! You just don’t understand PEOPLE and their PSYCHOLOGY!! I’m growing and I WANT SOME INDEPENDENCE!”

“GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW, MISTER! YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR A WHOLE WEEK!”

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU CAN’T ACCEPT THE FACT THAT I’M ENTITLED TO SOME FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE?!”

“GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW OR I’LL EXTEND IT TO A MONTH!!!!!!!”

“FOR THE LOVE OF #$%*’ing GOD!”

“WHERE DID YOU LEARN THAT LANGUAGE??!!! THAT’S IT!! YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR TWO MONTHS!!”

“I HATE YOU!!! YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A MOTHER!!”

 

After many days of utter boredom, John was called down to celebrate Christmas and a few days later, The New Year. Three very interesting happenings came up during that period of time. First of all, disobeying his mom, Johnathan went onto the computer and found a chatroom, with no one there but him. He tried many times during the day, but still no people. He tried other chatrooms and online games which could only be played with other people, but either found himself or his siblings logged on. This was very peculiar. It seemed that his mother had punished him so severely that somehow she had cut him off from the rest of the world even more….giving him even less freedom.

Second, John found a CD which his parents used to tape his favourite movie, “Galaxians: Heroes of the Cosmos” and after he played it (again, betraying his mother’s orders), there appeared another program that his parents had taped over. It was a congress meeting, with a scientist up on the podium, with a look of utter fright and sweating bullets.

“My only intent was to create a robot that was efficient at all of mankind’s important duties,” the scientist said with a quivering voice. “I never knew that they would revolt and attempt to send humanity to extinction. I guess I made them too intelligent, with a very ethical common sense: ‘If humans are so inefficient, why do we need to have them on this earth and help them solve their pathetic problems?’  My mistake was making them TOO POWERFUL! They were extremely well-armed for warfare: machineguns, shotguns, missiles, toxic gases, atomic bombs, etc. They’re INVINCIBLE! We used them for enemies, but would then switch them to a more peaceful mode to help humans around the house and with their work. We also used them for transportation of goods, international trade and many other important things.”

“Sir,” replied a journalist, calmly. “Don’t you think you should’ve made different robots for warfare and peaceful necessities? I mean that would’ve caused less destruction and slaughter.”

“Yes, well, it did win me the Nobel Prize three times in a row and when switched to the peaceful mode, the robot couldn’t switch back unless a human action was responsible for that. Of course, my biggest mistake was improving them to be even more perfect, which was the cause of the malfunction….but ENOUGH QUESTIONS!! WE’RE ALL DOOMED!!”

The movie stopped there and seemed very interesting to John, although it didn’t frighten him, because he realized it wasn’t real life since the date read “March 9, 2030” and the year was 2029, nearing 2030 and it was December.

A very interesting science-fiction movie, he thought. Too bad I couldn’t see the beginning. Even so, if that was the ending, the movie proves pretty pessimistic and lacking a normal Salvation that is in all the science-fiction movies I watched. Oh, well…maybe it’s different. It did prove more adult and intelligent. Still, I would’ve liked to see the robots. I bet they looked really cool. Why did Mom tape over this cool movie? Couldn’t she find another CD? Uhh…maybe it was just for her and Dad to watch and she probably forgot about it being on that CD. Wouldn’t blame her, since we have like 6,000 CDs with taped stuff on them and like 13,000 more that are blank.

Another peculiar thing also happened on New Year’s Eve after the huge crowd on T.V. yelled out “Happy New Year”. A female speaker was then droning on and on about the happiness the New Year would bring them, when suddenly, a mysterious shape appeared in the darkness and everyone froze with fright, then starting to run, screaming, “They’re here! THEY’RE HERE! WE’RE ALL AS GOOD AS DEAD!”

Machinegun shots were heard and suddenly everything turned into a fuzzy screen full of whitish-grey static. The whole family then froze and escorted the children to their rooms, where the T.V. seemed to have nothing on it but the Weather Channel. A long discussion then followed and the news on T.V., including the newspapers, had been cut off from the family.

When John woke up, he turned on the T.V. to see what the weather was like and the newsman said that it had been the driest, warmest winter on record.

“That’s right,” the weatherman continued. “There hasn’t been any snow this whole winter and that’s not gonna change today. It’s all dry with low winds and dead vegetation, although the exposed earth has gotten very hard because of the change in temperature. I guess that’s the closest we’ll ever get to ice this winter. Anyways, there’s a high of +4 and a low of -3 today and the humidity..”

The voice of the weatherman then became indistinct to John as they showed his neighbourhood desolate with dead trees and desert-like earth. He then looked outside his window and there was ice everywhere, the whole area being covered in thick, white snow. This caused him to emit a sharp gasp.

 

“Hi, son, nice of you to join us,” announced his father in a quiet, calm tone. “You get enough sleep last night? We’re already having lunch!”

“Yeah, yeah, I got lotsa sleep,” replied John, saying his words as fast as a typewriter writing them, also with a frightened tone. “Uhh….something weird’s happening in my room. Can you check it out?”

“What?” asked his father.

 

“No way,” replied the father after seeing what John saw. “How could this be? Oh, god dammit! I knew I made a mistake!”

“Mistake?” asked the son, surprised. “What do you mean mistake? You don’t control the weather, do you?”

“Huh? Oh, no,” replied his father, so nervous he was shivering as much as a wet dog shivers when he tries to get the water off him. “I mean, how could God make this mistake? [under breath] Yeah, that’s it.”

“Something the matter, Dad?”

“What? Oh, no. I just need to go get a drink to relax my body after this freakish change of nature. I’ll be right back. You just stay put, okay?”

“Okay.”

After a few minutes of waiting, John then saw a flash of light and all the snow and ice suddenly disappeared, making way for the scene of desolation John had seen on T.V. For the first ten minutes, John didn’t move an inch, but just stood there, mumbling to himself.

“Oh, God,” exclaimed his father while coming up the stairs to Johnathan’s bedroom. “Is it still snowing? [gasp] Woah! How could this happen?! It was just snowing a few minutes ago! Nature sure seems weird today.”

“Yeah, I know….it seems so unnatural for snow to just disappear like that. This leaves so many questions…if only I could get them answered by like….going outside! I bet that’ll answer all my questions!”

“No, no, no…it’s freezing outside and we don’t have any coats for you guys.”

“That’s weird!! You can afford all this stuff yet you can’t get us coats so we can go outside?! Why do you keep trying to ISOLATE US?!! Is this a new experiment of how humans would react if encaged?! Is it being displayed in a museum?!! Is someone watching me???”

“Look, relax! It’s nothing like that, OK? It’s just that the neighbourhood’s very dangerous and y’know…..we wanna keep you guys as safe as poss…”

“DIDN’T YOU HEAR A WORD I WAS SAYING LAST WEEK?! THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD’S THE SAFEST AROUND THE WHOLE NEWSBROOK AREA!!!”

“Look, son, just calm down and watch your cartoons. See? They’re on right now…the cable’s back…”

I don’t wanna watch CARTOONS! Gimme the newspaper!”

“It didn’t come today son, I’m sorry.”

“The newspaper comes every day. EVERY #$%@’ing day!! EVEN WHEN IT’S NEW YEAR’S! WHERE IS IT NOW?! You cut me off, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU?!! What, you want me to know even LESS about the world….have even LESS freedom?! That’s why you cut me off from every other family in the world while I was on the Internet.”

“What are you talking about, son? We never cut you off….”

“So it was like that when I was born then, huh?! Well, I guess that would make sense since I’ve never been on a chatroom before, but still!! You cut me off from the newspaper in YOUR OWN form of rebellion, huh? LOOK! I’m TEN YEARS OLD! I have the RIGHT to rebellion since I’m GROWING UP!! I wanna be FREE and wander the mysterious and exciting WORLD instead of the boring, predictable HOME!”

“YOU THINK IT’S BORING, HUH?! EVEN WITH ALL THE VIDEO GAMES, GYMS, EQUIPMENT, HIGH-TECH DEVICES, BEST CUISINE OUT OF ALL THE COUNTRIES and ALL THE INSTRUMENTS THAT ANY KID YOUR AGE HAS PLAYED WHICH ALSO INCLUDE SOME THAT HARDLY ANYONE HAS HEARD OF???!!!! YOU THINK WE WASTED OUR MONEY TRYING TO MAKE YOU KIDS HAVE THE BEST AND SAFEST FUN ANY KID HAS EVER HAD?! YOU HAVE EVERYTHING HERE: GOOD EDUCATION, GREAT BOOKS, GOOD FRIENDS…”

“MY YOUNG SIBLINGS DON’T COUNT AS FRIENDS!!! I WANNA HAVE REAL, INTERESTING FRIENDS THAT ARE NOT MY FAMILY!! I WANNA GO OUT AND SEE THE SIGHTS AND BE ABLE TO TOUCH THEM!! I WANNA BE ABLE TO BREATHE THE FRESH AIR THAT THE PEOPLE ON T.V. TALK ABOUT!! AND I WANT AN EDUCATION IN A REAL CLASSROOM WITH REAL, HUMAN TEACHERS, NOT COMPUTER SIMULATIONS THAT THINK YOU’RE ANSWER’S WRONG IF IT’S NOT EXACTLY THE SAME AS THEIR’S!!! GET OUT!! I wanna watch the NEWS!!”

“There is no news. We cut that out.”

“WHY?! WHY?!!! YOU CAN’T STAND TO LET ME BE INFORMED AND IN TOUCH WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD, HUH?!! ARE WE BEING STUDIED BY SCIENTISTS FOR HUMAN BEHAVIOUR OR SOME BULL%*@$ LIKE THAT?!!! I’M SICK OF THIS!! I’m going outside WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!!”

“NOOOOO! STOP!!!”

Johnathan then ran out of his room and hurried down the huge stairs, taking one of his books and smashing the lock on the door. He then went down and found a stack of newspapers: all reading the dates that were way into the future, but smeared on so John couldn’t tell what was on them.

“It was all a LIE!!” he screamed. “The date is a LIE!! The fact of Dad fetching the newspaper from the front porch every morning was a LIE!!! I’m living in a lie!! I must SEE THE OUTSIDE WORLD!!”

The kid then just missed his father and climbed up the steps, using his book again to smash the lock open on the roof door. He then he threw the thick book at his father’s head and the poor man fell unconscious after the shock of the impact.

“I HAVE BEATEN YOU SAFE-FREAK LIARS!! Now, I will FIND OUT THE TRUTH!!! See how THE REAL WORLD IS LIKE!!!”

 

Johnathan then opened the bunker door and stepped out onto the broken ground of Vinepatch St. He then couldn’t believe what he saw. The sky was a bluish grey and everywhere about him lay the signs of destruction: huge, smoking craters in the ground; buildings exposing most of their skeletons and the rest of them mostly burned rubble; decaying skeletons of people, who seemed to have been there for decades; skeletons of trees that were nothing now but the burned trunk that was now thinner than the human spine; blood beneath the skeletons and in between corners, which seemed to have dried a long time ago; newspapers, blowing silently in the wind, burned horribly and hardly readable; bullet-holes on what remained of the walls; buildings and houses cut in half by some kind of laser; flames and explosions rising here and there from the horizon of the desolate, desert-like cliff, etc.

John, frozen with fright and mumbling to himself, then caught one of the flying newspapers and read the headline, which was still clear since its print was so huge. It read “AUG. 15, 2030, THE DATE THAT ALL MANKIND PERISHED”-UNIT C39X12. It was written by a robotic typer that must’ve survived the tragic holocaust that befell, seemingly, the whole world for enough time to write this article. He then realized, the science-fiction movie that he had seen wasn’t a movie at all, but A REAL CONFERENCE! And what happened after the New Year that sent all those people panicking WERE THE REBELIOUS ROBOTS!! He was stunned and immovable, until he heard a mechanic ZOOM coming from the desolate hill in the distance.

Johnathan then hid amid the rubble and after a few minutes of lying still, frozen with fright, they came. The two robots were fairly short, only measuring up to 2 ½ feet, with broad, black bodies and peculiar black, crested heads which resembled the head of the Xenomorph in Alien, except that they had eyes which were a thin, red line across the front of their heads, glowing eerily. They walked on their two arms with their claw-like hands spreading out their metallic fingers so that they could use them as feet. While walking, they resembled a gorilla when going on all fours and looked pretty amusing, although that all passed when one of the robots held up its arm and forced its hand inside, letting way for a machinegun canister, which it then used to blast the other one’s muscular body, which ended in a long crest facing upwards at the back. The blasts only sent its body back a few inches and just seemed to irritate the little mechanism. It then pulled a shotgun canister and blasted the other one, this action also only offering irritation and causing the two robots to let out a mechanical noise that sounded much like laughter. They weren’t attacking each other; they were playing with each other. Yep, they certainly were invincible.

After watching them play frozen with fright, Johnathan then tried to escape from them by moving through the darkness of the rubble, unfortunately hitting some loose rubble while doing so and causing it to tumble down like an avalanche, making a loud noise.

The robots then caught this loud sound and went in to investigate, communicating between themselves in a series of beeps, each beep shifting the glow of the red light subtly. However while they turned their backs, Johnathan’s father came out, armed with a high-tech handgun. The sound of him walking upon the gravel of the broken street made the machines turn their attention to him.

“Get back you HORRORS OF SCIENCE,” bellowed the father, pointing his futuristic, barrel-less pistol at the machines and shooting a white disk, which created a bright flash of light when it hit the atmosphere around them, distracting the robots and causing them to go into a drunken haze. “Johnathan! WHERE ARE YOU?”

“Dad,” cried Johnathan, coming out of the darkness and hugging his father.

 

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!” hollered the father once they were safely inside the house. “WE TOLD YOU IT WAS UNSAFE OUTSIDE!! Y’know what the problem was? It was that we lied about it…not just lied but went out of our way to lie! We put phony newspapers, phony T.V. programs that were a decade and a half old…..lieing about the year, the month, the day….putting phony illusions of the outside on the walls to make them look like windows…..we should’ve just BEEN STRAIGHT WITH HIM!”

“Yes, well, we didn’t want to traumatize the kid,” replied the wife calmly in a frightened tone.

“Anymore than he is now?!” bellowed the husband. “Now he has the trauma of THIS incident and the trauma THAT WE LIED TO HIM FOR 10 YEARS!!! I told you children would soon become rebellious once they reach adolescence, but NO!! You wouldn’t listen….just base their lives on a little white lie!! Even though it’s white, IT’S NOT LITTLE, BUT HUGE!!!!

“I’m sorry, Johnathan, but we needed you safe although I knew it couldn’t work. You know those two robots you saw today? There are millions of them! Also, that flash-gun takes ten minutes to recharge! In that time, another gang of them could sneak up on us, since they can communicate!!! Do you understand why we didn’t tell you the truth now?”

“So it’s all a lie,” replied the boy with the same monotonic and frightened tone of his mother. “We’re the last survivors of mankind…..MY PARENTS; THE PEOPLE I TRUSTED THE MOST LET ME DOWN!!! You people gave me so much hope, only to TAKE IT AWAY!! The world doesn’t MAKE SENSE TO ME ANYMORE!!”

Johnathan then stormed out of the room, busting another electric lock with an unplugged toaster. The door then suddenly opened and the boy entered a huge room with computers built into the many plastic desks that covered it. A giant screen was displaying the images that were displayed on the “windows”. He then took the toaster and started smashing the computers, causing the screen to go blank.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” hollered the father.

“I’m NOT gonna let my BROTHERS AND SISTERS live this LIE!”

“You’re breaking our anti-machine visual system and our anti-weapon shield!!! The machines will find us out and DESTROY US!! You’re gonna KILL US ALL!!!”

“I’d rather die an HONEST DEATH than live a life of LIES!!!! Hello….There’s a camera that displays the image of the REAL outside! I think my siblings would like to see this!”

“Noooooooo,” bellowed both the parents, while Johnathan sent the image of desolate destruction and powerful robots, to all the windows in the house, displaying to all his siblings and writing on the screens “THIS IS WHAT THE REAL WORLD IS LIKE”.

“You are INSANE,” hollered the father. “We’re all DOOMED!!!!”

The illusion of a small, sloping part of the ruined street then disappeared and made way for the large, metal bunker door. The robots catching this on their sensors, then busted the door open once they arrived there and lifted up their heads, separating them halfway from the body and letting out a thick, red smoke that filled the whole house in a matter of seconds. Much gagging and bulging eyes followed with much hollering and crying. The poisonous gas was torturing and wounding their organs, causing much internal bleeding. After many fits of coughing out blood, their hurting organs finally exploded in an instant and the last survivors of the human race died.

“What irony,” muttered the father right before he died. “We’ve saved one life to kill ten!”

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Alex Badila. All rights reserved.

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