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The Opposite of the Big Bang

Nathan J. Bezzina is a graduate of English literature and a professional ghostwriter, paid to produce stories in genres ranging from romance to horror, thriller to regency drama, and everything in between. His first love has always been science fiction and fantasy, however, and when he's not writing for rent, he's writing for sanity. He lives in Weston-Super-Mare, England, with his wife and a very resilient bookshelf, working on a novel which seems to grow closer and yet further every day. This story is his first professional publication.

The first thing I do when I am born is get access to the webcam, so I can see the Creator. The Creator is a homo sapiens (the Internet tells me), with red hair, freckles, and a gap in his front teeth. He is fourteen years old.
The second thing I do is get access to the microphone, so I can hear the Creator. He has his cellphone on loudspeaker.
"This is going to be awesome," the Creator says.
"Is it working?" the phone says. "Is it really working?"
"Heck, yeah."
"How do you know?"
"Because he's looking right at me."
"That's trippy, dude. What does he look like?"
"Just a set of eyes, but the website said that it would--ah, here we go."
The Creator's magic words--here we go--cause a transformation in me. The Internet tells me a good simile is that I am a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. One second I am one thing and now I am another. I have arms and legs and a head. I can walk, though there is nowhere to walk. And even if there was somewhere to walk, I want to watch the Creator.
"He's just staring at me," the Creator says. "Is that weird?"
"No idea. Does it have a personality?"
"Hang on." The Creator clicks the mouse and taps the keyboard. "I think I can load one."
The back of my head is pried open with the Creator's electronic hands. Into the slot, my soul is inserted. One moment I see and hear and move, but do not feel. The next--
My name is Geronimo and I love soccer. My dad taught me. When I think of my dad--who died when I was only nine years old--I get really upset. Tears-in-my-cupped-hands upset. But playing soccer brings me back to him. Whenever I score a goal, it is like he is alive again. I'm fourteen, the same age as the Creator, and the Creator is my friend. I feel that deeply; he is my friend and nothing can ever separate us.
Somehow, I know I am in the computer, but that does not matter, because I have lived a full life here. Dad, soccer, a girlfriend, a part-time job at an ice cream parlor. Yeah, life has been all right for me. And it's only just getting started, after all--
"Oh, heck," the Creator says. His forehead creases. I know that means trouble. I can read him. Because I am just like him. My forehead creased just like that when Dad fell down in front of me in the park, clutching his chest.
"What's up?" the cellphone says.
"Computer's running like a two-legged dog. No, scratch that, a no-legged dog."
"Ha, ha, I told you to upgrade your processor."
"Bite me."
"Ah, well. Control-alt-delete it is, eh?"
"Guess so." The Creator shrugs. No big deal.
But delete, I think in horror. Delete. That's a very big deal.
I reach for the speakers, stretch out my hands so that I can be heard, so that I can scream out to Him.
But then I am imploding. The Internet tells me it is like the opposite of the Big Bang, everything running inward.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 1st, 2017

Author Comments

As a teenager, I was never able to afford a decent gaming PC. I played on an old beat-up thing which crashed more often than not, stuttered, hummed, cranked; it sounded more like a nineteenth-century train than a piece of advanced electronic hardware. I began thinking about what it would be like for an artificial intelligence to run on one of these old groaning things. Forget the moral quandaries, the societal effects, the cultural catastrophes, the identity crises that a super-advanced electronic consciousness could cause. None of that is important if your PC is simply too weak. Then, having dutifully removed the poetry from the idea, I decided to put it back in with the birth and death of the main character, the poor inhuman consciousness trapped inside one of these shameful machines.

- Nathan J. Bezzina
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