A Quiet Night

Maximus returned to his room late in the evening. Putting his bag aside, he sat by the window. A glazing yellowish light was radiating. He stared at the huge buildings for a while. He was living alone in an apartment on the hundred and fiftieth floor. He made a coffee for himself and again started to look out. This time he witnessed a calmness in the city. No robots were flying, people talking or helicopters hovering. The city he saw seemed decayed but not dead. He appreciated the silence as much as he feared it. Observing the layer after layer of things present in the city, he asked himself, have we lost the battle? If so, to whom did we lose? To robots, to some mystical deity, or to ourselves. Maximus works in the crime department. His job is to inspect crime scenes. Particularly to take photographs of the scenes and report them. With each click of the camera, he feels poignant. How a thing created by a human obliterates another human’s body. Maximus has been doing this same job for twenty years now. He always relapses into this habit of thinking about his purpose. He observes his surroundings and gets carried away in deep and difficult territories of the human psyche. It was one of those days when he got himself into the abyss of his thoughts inside his tiny brain which no longer is the most powerful computing thing. He always tries to create an alternate present for himself and seeks refuge in such places. Reality seems to be intolerable for him. He no longer can face them cause then he knows he will lose to them again and again. Picking up the half-left cigarette from yesterday night, lighting it up with a powerful flame from the lighter made by a brand that also makes the same cigarette. Deeply inhaling the smoke, he reminiscences the time when Rebecca always argued about his habit of smoking. “When the bloody hell, are you going to stop smoking”? Quickly she would open the windows even if it is cold outside and move away from him. The infinite time he told her that he is going to quit this habit. These memories were like a burden living inside him. He doesn’t know what to do with them.
The sun was about to set. All the huge boards of advertisements and corporate lighted up in multiple colors. It wasn’t the same ten years back, he murmured. Maximus loved reading and music. These two things made him feel himself. Made him feel the present without diluting him with the painful past or with the unprecedented future. He remembered how he loved the books of Orwell, Huxley. How he admired them as human beings and their beyond-good ability to tell so much through their writings. He also loved reading history. About wars and great movements created by great humans. He admired the great impressionist movement and the renaissance period. After 2100 all the history and its existence in the likes of paper were lost. All the things were now on the web, “a network”. It’s 2175, and to access history, one doesn’t have to read books to know about the past, they can get to experience it for some amount of digital transaction. The relationship of everything around human beings has changed. Commoditization of each aspect of human life has left them hollow and in search of their coherent existence in the world. But the reality of today seemed inevitable after a point. After all the technological milestones that humans achieved, they were too ignorant to see the doom days hovering in their backyard. The world feels shallower with each passing year. Nothing significant seems to be happening. Despite having all the means of entertainment to boost the dopamine inside a man. A person living at this age seemed less happy than his previous generation. Being surrounded by hi-tech gadgets and all, they have few things left that can make them feel human.
At the end of the twenty-first century, a war broke out among humans in the name of their belief system. The beliefs were meant to protect humans. Maximus stared at the picture of a figure. That figure was worshipped by the whole city. The mortals believed it to be the reason they survived the war, too blind to see who or what caused it. Maximus lived near “The Wall”. It was made by the Hoyte corporation. According to them, it was made as a symbol and a barrier to keep the city clean. Clean from the outsider. Maximus remembered the story that his parents used to tell. How they got themselves into the city through an agent. The ugliness that the other side of the wall holds. He’d never been on the other side but he had heard other people’s stories. He resented the hierarchy that men created in the world. The human tendency to make themselves superior to others. The greed to feel the power. Humans have now lost the ability to think by and for themselves. The political world-building by so-called leaders had made them impotent to see beyond the created reality. Maximus’s job took him all around the city. He pictured brutal crime scenes. Robots weren’t used to take pictures because of their fragility to online exploitation. He didn’t like his job but he had no other option. Examining the naked concrete of the wall, he realized how many lives it has taken just for being on the other side of it. It was almost night time, he slid into his blanket, lit up another, and puffed it twice. The long and dark shadows of towers and the wall loomed over this room. A few quadcopters passed making noise, it’s their routine job to inspect the people and what they are up to. These copters indicated the omnipresence of the leader. People hated them but couldn’t complain because they don’t have any rights. Freedom seemed like a fairy tale that used to exist in the past. All subjects of human creation have been used against them to promote the propaganda of fascism. People are puppets controlled by leaders, the cables are the media, art, cinema, and books. Everything said or visually expressed was just another form of the great narrative built by the rulers. The science and tech made to serve and develop the human race gave them everything yet couldn’t save them. Is it to blame the tech or the hands and minds of humans that used or misused them to propagate their self-interest? Man ruled the earth not because they were the first to make the tools or the first to draw a picture. It was because of the marvelous plastic mind that made them able to do so much that other species couldn’t. But it also became the reason for the great tragedy that humans faced in the end.
Max took out some sleeping pills, a robotic hand poured some water into the glass. He swallowed the medicine. His job made him wake up all night. All the gruesome images of the crime came flashing as he closes his eyes and try to fall asleep. He recalled the way Rebecca slept by his side. How she taught him to align his breath with hers and they would sleep holding each other in their arms. A cool breeze passed moving the window in the process. He sighed and shed a drop of tears as he missed his old days. The pills started to work. He stared at the ceiling now, thinking of it as the wall between Rebecca and him. God “why me?”, he asked- Silence. “How long?”- Silence. He murmured the same sentences and fell asleep.