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The phone rings at 6:19 AM. I grunt as I force myself to wake up and grab it. But I am too late and it goes to voicemail. I hear the voice of my brother’s friend Ben.
“Hello Layla. I am very sorry to tell you that your brother James is dead.”
I don’t hear the rest of the message. Tears stream down my face, “This is a mistake!” keeps repeating over and over in my head. My eyes stare at the ceiling for the rest of the day in bed.
I wake up the next morning and finally step out of bed. My blue eyes are swollen profusely. I call in work sick. It’s hardly even a lie. I clean myself up and drive to Ben’s house, half a block from my apartment.
He opens the door as soon as I step on the mat.
“Hello Layla. I am sorry for your loss.”
His face is perfectly still and calm, showing no hint of dejection.
“How did it happen?”
He stares at me, no change of expression.
“He was murdered in his home in the middle of the night.”
My heart stops for what seems like a lifetime, his lifetime.
“Who knows?” he replies, “The police are investigating it.”
Still his face doesn’t move an inch.
“Come in.” he states.
When I don’t move he repeats.
“Come inside Layla.”
His black eyes twitch. Finally some sign of movement. I sigh and walk in. When I reach the inside he steps aside and says he will get me some tea. I just stand there as he walks away.
Then something catches my eye; a metallic light from the hallway. I walk towards it, quietly so Ben doesn’t hear me. It comes from a slightly opened door. When I reach it, I push it open. My mouth drops as I stare at it. It’s a giant silver cube…I inspect it carefully, and questionably. Why is this here? It is about ten feet by ten feet, with a small opening at the top. But then I see the letter on the floor.
Here is the machine you requested. It will get rid of all other technology, ever since humans walked the earth. It will also make it impossible to make any other technology, and the human race will die out. It’s nearly perfect. All it needs left is a power source; something that will run it without using any kind of technology.
I have done my best to serve you.
“What?” I whisper, “My brother was trying to destroy the world with Ben?” I know he was good at mechanics, but this?
“Why yes Layla, yes indeed.”
Goosebumps shoot up my arm, and my breath shakes as I slowly turn towards Ben.
“Your brother was a trusted worker of mine, well I guess until I had to finish him off.”
I’m stricken with his words, but I should have known, how could I have not known until now?
“Yes I killed James; but it was only a matter of time. We will all die soon enough, very soon. But I see you have read the letter.” He smirks.
He continues,” If the world has no technology, it cannot move forward, and therefore cannot survive. I hate the world, as it hates me. But we do not need to go into that…” he continues,” As I was saying though, if no one can create things, or use the things we have already created, well things fall apart. No more factories, stores, buildings, farms, cars, airplanes, trains, computers, internet, phones, bags, wires, film, cameras, pictures, chairs, even paper and pens. Shall I go on?”
I shake my head, but he continues yelling, outraged.
“Books, toys, housing, clothing, doors, knobs, medicine, hospitals, alarms, light bulbs and much, much more. The world will die, much like your brother has already.”
He pauses, and looks at me for a moment, and comes inches away from my face.
“There is only one thing left I need. That is a power source for it; something that can run it, without using any technology. Do you know what that is Layla?”
I shiver away in fear.
“A heart. A young healthy heart. One that is easily within my reach. I know where I can get it, from your brother’s body. Now go. If you tell anyone, I will know. Then I might just use your heart instead.”
“Go.” He instructs.
I run out.
I stand next to the Ice Cream Shoppe on the corner. Two thirteen year old girls stare at my tear stained face through the window. If only they know they wouldn’t be eating their ice cream. Pretty soon they wouldn’t even have ice cream, or anything else for that matter.
I stare at the lights of the beautiful city San Francisco, lights that would soon disappear. Why does this all have to happen? Why can’t life just go on? I continue to sob on the trunk of my car. If only James were here to help me out, but he is the problem. Now I have to go, before it is too late.
I run to my apartment, all twenty blocks, while my car still sits there. I grab my gun, the one I have never used, and sprint down the block. I’ve never tried to play hero before. I was always the one who sat in the back of the classroom; the one who didn’t act. The one who waited for others to answer the question. The frizzy red head girl, but not hot tempered; just a cry baby. So why am I doing this now, I wonder to myself. I actually don’t know why. I can’t think. So I just keep on running.
He and the cube are in the front room. I see James red, red heart in his hands. He is walking slowly towards it, savoring the moment. Then he turns, and sees me holding out the trigger at him, and puts it into the opening. I shoot.
I run inside, and see his blood draining out of him. He gasps and says, “You cannot stop it now, in the matter of seconds the world will run out of technology, and you will all die, slowly, one by one.”
He smirks weakly,” The only thing that can stop it is also something that is destructible, but with no technology. “
He smirks for the final time, and falls dead.
I fall onto the ground exasperated. We are all going to die, die because of this evil, deranged man and technology. How ludicrous. I am furious at this whole situation. I finally yell,” I hate this! I can just stop it myself.” And I grab his heart out and it stops. I weep as I run away to bury it with James properly.