Flash Fiction: Ungeziefer

This a piece that I somehow regurgitated at my workplace during a break. Minimal edits, so I do apologize if it looks rushed. I hope you enjoy this short story. I’m going back to the mundane.

The massive propaganda speakerphones echoed through the harrowingly empty streets as a gray-faced public servant was trying to make his way home. Walking on the streets was always dangerous, even when completely authorized to do so. The not-so-secret police could arrest anyone at any given time just for good measure. If the records were clean, they’d dig until they would eventually find dirt. There was a database of dirt on everything just lying around, it knew everything about everyone.

The database didn’t sleep or eat. It required minimal maintenance and never needed winding. It collected information on all the so-called ideologically or otherwise unsavory vermin. But little did anyone know that the machine’s census was pure and unbiased. It couldn’t distinguish a human being from another and for years it hoarded all the information it could gather.

Undisturbed governments watched as the machine filled itself ceaselessly full of private memories over private memories. Categorizing forgiveness with malice, and sullied love with threats.

At first everyone thought the machine would keep them safe and others likened it to a god who heard all holy prayer. Though soon there was no escape from the police state where everyone was a tiny insect, clawing to life around the all-knowing, decadent despot. The tyranny of information kept the gray-faced man forever hiding.

But there was a glimmer of hope. The machine couldn’t record the ghoulish winds that wailed along the sidewalks. The winds that would forever fly free over London’s lonely bridges.


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