1/11/2010                                                                                       View Comments

Invalid

A Short Story by Neal Stone

I woke up one day to find myself living in the future. How I got there is a mystery.

I woke to find myself in a room surrounded by people. They all seemed real friendly and happy to see me and welcomed me to their world. We sat and chatted and they shared with me their beliefs and their ways. They seemed to feel I belonged.

After a while of chatting I decided to explore this place I was in. It seemed to be some tall building and I was curious as to what else it had to offer. Some of what they told me I did not like and gently voiced that as I walked towards the door. I just wasn't too fond of some of their ideals nor did I like being told I had to follow them to fit in.

I walked to the door and gave it a push. The door remained closed and I heard a loud buzzer followed my a mechanical voice say “Invalid!” I tried the door again and got the same response. My new friends grew concerned and their attitude towards me changed. They walked towards me saying “You are not a valid member of our world. You do not belong!”

They grabbed me and drug me down a long hallway and opened a door. Inside were other people who also were accused of being “Invalid.” They tossed me through the door and locked it behind me. I was surrounded by the others who were also banished. They came over to me and helped me to my feet. They explained me how this world works. How you must conform to the ways of the society and follow their thinking and take on their ideals. For if you don't, you are “Invalid” and tossed aside. Treated as trash and thrown away. You must obey and conform or you don't belong.

I noticed the we were in a hallway and realized it was an isolated section of the building with long dark hallways. I decided to explore. I wondered through long dark hallways for what seemed hours. I learned from others here that I would never fit in to this world unless I changed my ways and thought like those who disposed of me here. Something I could never do.

I continued to explore the hallways until I found an old metal door. It looked as if it had not been opened in years. I pushed and at first it wouldn't budge, but I kept trying until with a loud rusty creak it opened. As I walked in I could see I was in a large room. It was dimly lit with a few red lights. I looked around and saw a large generator that appeared to operate on steam power. Lying on the floor was a large metal pipe wrench.

As I looked around I saw some lights flicker so I decided to investigate. What I found astonished me. It seems the residents of this world knew nothing about the very technology that runs their home. For in front of me was the computer system that controlled the database that determines who is invalid or valid. As I looked over the computer system I noticed a security camera pointed at me. I knew I was being watched.

I knew what I had to do. I knew if I didn't destroy this system, no one would be free. I looked up at the camera and said “I will not sit idly by while you oppress those who you feel do not belong. I will defend those who have been rejected and will free those who are imprisoned. I will bring you down!”

As I spoke another alarm started to sound. A loud short buzz over and over again. I ran and got the pipe wrench and came back to the computer. I stopped looked into the camera and raised the wrench. I gave off a loud yell and then gave a hard swing and hit the computer system. There was an explosion of sparks and fire as the system shorted out. Then total darkness. It only stayed dark for 30 seconds, but felt as if it was an eternity. Then the lights came back on. There was smoke in the air.

I then heard a loud metallic clicking sound followed by another and another then I could hear hundreds and then thousands. The computer system had a fail safe. In the event of it's breach or destruction all the locks would automatically lock tight. I could hear people running and screaming. Rushing to get through whatever door they could trying to escape or find a safe place.

One young mother was pulling her six year old daughter behind her. The little girl dropped her toy doll in the panic. As the young mother reached the door of their room, her daughter yanked free and ran back for her doll. “Jessica!” screamed the mother as the door slammed shut and locked. Jessica turned around holding her doll and cried softly “Mommy?”. She then just stood there and slowly lost the grip on her doll as it fell gently to the floor. She stood there in the corridor all alone.

What ever room you occupied, what ever hallway you happened to be strolling, where ever you were is where you would be imprisoned. A loud mechanic voice repeated over and over several times “ERROR CODE 101: SYSTEM INVALID!”

They were trapped! Trapped by their own ideals, there own beliefs, and by their own misguided values. What prejudices they had were now their prison. The oppressors were now the oppressed. We were now all invalid, all the same.

The irony was so much that I fell to my knees and burst out laughing. As I did so I heard one more loud metallic click and the creak of a very large rusty door. A door that had not been opened in centuries. I then felt the warmth of the sun on the back of my neck. We, the oppressed and imprisoned, were free.

Epilogue

A woman and her daughter were standing by a fence. The daughter asked “Mommy, what is that place over there?”

Her mother answered “That is the remains of the old city from the war years ago. No one lives there anymore.”

“But why mommy?” Her daughter asked.

“Because the land is invalid. No one can survive there anymore.” She replied.

“Then what is that man doing there? The one next to the big building? And who are all those people?” The daughter asked.

Any system that oppresses and seeks to extinguish the rights of others. Any system that forces the ideals of hatred, or seeks to kill, destroy and injure those who only desire to be free. Any system that seeks to imprison those who speak out against injustice or seeks to control by manipulation, fear and intimidation. Any system that seeks to discriminate or hold prejudices for ones life, nationality, race, gender, belief or unbelief or ones desire to be who they are. Any system that forces it's ideals and seeks to control the lives of others by force. That system is invalid!

So look deep into the heart of what you believe if you dare. For you never know, staring back at you will be “ERROR CODE 101: SYSTEM INVALID”.

Alone in a corridor, a small child cries.

12 comments:

webmdave said...

Well written, Neal. All "boxes" dogmas and ideologies limit those inside them to a "tribe" that by its own definition must be opposed to and in competition with all tribes on its outside.

Tribalism is the bane of our world and its fruit is competition to the point of war. One world tribe using the whole world's resources to save the environment and all people on the planet is the only solution. The world is fractured and at war with itself as it is and the environment and its people are are the victims. This concept is much to radical progressive for all the tribes today who are murdering themselves. Conservative death seems to be the popular chosen option. See www.thevenusproject.com

webmdave said...

Cool Neal,
Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith and Fritz Weaver...."The Obsolete Man"

webmdave said...

That sort of reminds me of a idea that I had: A society whose populace worships a computer virus. It's called the "Immaculate Infection".

webmdave said...

Absolutely a wonderfully written piece of truth! The Real Truth!

webmdave said...

Very interesting dream, Neal. Hopefully one days all such dreams will disappear. I hope so at least.

webmdave said...

the way I say it is "any religion that requires the use of force to expand and maintain itself is false, as the one true religion if it did exist would spread itself naturally by word of mouth and its truth would be self evident"
The reason why there is a huge rise in none belief and different religions is because people are not getting their heads cut off anymore for it so the Christians claim its because of the devil but the real reason why is because their religion required the use of force to keep itself allive and because they no longer have that tool they are doomed to go back to small cults from where they came.

webmdave said...

the way I say it is "any religion that requires the use of force to expand and maintain itself is false, as the one true religion if it did exist would spread itself naturally by word of mouth and its truth would be self evident"
The reason why there is a huge rise in none belief and different religions is because people are not getting their heads cut off anymore for it so the Christians claim its because of the devil but the real reason why is because their religion required the use of force to keep itself allive and because they no longer have that tool they are doomed to go back to small cults from where they came.

webmdave said...

Very interesting dream, Neal. Hopefully one days all such dreams will disappear. I hope so at least.

webmdave said...

Absolutely a wonderfully written piece of truth! The Real Truth!

webmdave said...

That sort of reminds me of a idea that I had: A society whose populace worships a computer virus. It's called the "Immaculate Infection".

webmdave said...

Cool Neal,
Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith and Fritz Weaver...."The Obsolete Man"

webmdave said...

Well written, Neal. All "boxes" dogmas and ideologies limit those inside them to a "tribe" that by its own definition must be opposed to and in competition with all tribes on its outside.

Tribalism is the bane of our world and its fruit is competition to the point of war. One world tribe using the whole world's resources to save the environment and all people on the planet is the only solution. The world is fractured and at war with itself as it is and the environment and its people are are the victims. This concept is much to radical progressive for all the tribes today who are murdering themselves. Conservative death seems to be the popular chosen option. See www.thevenusproject.com