by Jonah Kruvant
In a futuristic American society where all citizens have computerized chips in their brains and insert needles into their veins to enter a virtual reality, Victor Vale leads a fairly typical life. He is an officer of the law with greater ambitions, a family man, and a dutiful citizen of the Nation. Yet when The Chief assigns him a case to go undercover and expose a community of illegal “creators,” Victor finds himself strangely compelled to creative writing. For the first time, he starts to question the world around him, and becomes involved in a web of lies, uncertain of whom to trust, and unable to distinguish between virtualism and reality. As he searches for answers, Victor slowly begins to unravel hidden truths about the world, and even uncovers an astonishing secret from his own past.
In order to prove to the “creators” that he is genuine, Victor writes a manuscript, at great risk to his wife and son. When books are banned and ultimately destroyed, Victor realizes that his book alone has survived. Only then does the reader come to a startling realization in a unique narrative twist.
Not long after the Cleansing Act, I was promoted to Detective. I was thirty-four. I had a wife and child to support. A career to pursue. My son wanted things, my wife wanted things; hell, I wanted things. I had worked on the force for thirteen years and it was time I got my detective badge.
That was all I could see back then. I didn’t care about creators.
Then I was assigned to the case. But even before I stepped into the Chief’s office, events began taking shape that marked both the beginning and the end of a new chapter in my life. It was on my way to the police station, wading through the unbearable stench of the dirty human flesh of the Slums, that I began to question things, what I thought I knew about the world … and about myself.
So this is where I start my story. This is where I begin my book.
That day, for whatever reason, I felt conscious of my surroundings. The beggars were pushing each other out of the way to get under awnings and balconies of restaurants and apartments as it started to rain. The restaurants were filled with shattered glass, moldy kitchens. The strongest beggars lived in cramped apartments with cockroaches and termites. The ones that couldn’t find shelter that morning just lay there, shivering from the cold. Some would let raindrops fall from the sky into their open mouths. Two naïve children were chasing each other around bodies and giggling, cleaning dirt out of each other’s hair. The bright lights of the skyscrapers, the swiftness of the skytrain, the convenience of the airpath—all a beggar had to do was look up and he would find himself in a fantastical world of dreams.
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