Coming soon to a Kindle near you
Growing up I read books and wrote stories. I started ELLE in the spring of 2015, on a lazy vacation in the Bahamas. What began as a exploration into the human psyche quickly morphed into a vision for a future that reads eerily close to today's present.
The year is 2080. The world: hyper-connected. The doctrine: radical transparency.
People are monitored by The Agency through a nationwide network of scram-cams. Live feeds are streamed 24/7 on The Triangle. Cutters work underneath it all to trim the tapes for a price. Privacy is luxury paid for by an elite few.
Thoughts are monitored by ELLE. A smooth, circular white implant who's all the rage. Developed by Henry, approved by The Agency and instrumental to the success of The Ark: a collasel datacenter designed to house the worlds consciences.
But as society nears total adoption, to what lengths will ELLE go to take control?
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Kegan Fisher, February 22, 2017
Privacy is a luxury.
It was a power play. The words looped across an oversized HED sky screen in downtown LA. Abruptly, the scram-cam dropped fifty feet, screeching to a halt just above twenty plus thousand foreheads tense with scrutiny. Children bobbed in and out of sight, blissfully unaware of the gravitas. A forty something woman in a salmon colored coat elbowed her way upstream while a lineup of armed Agency reps did little to quell the chatter. Tightly knit groups of government workers, donning union approved green, clumped in solidarity. Above, drones hung, stalled and silent in a marble sky. Their hulking black shadows a visual reminder of the 24/7 surveillance to which we’d become accustomed.
It’s not like everyone was there. Only the poorest inner-city folk turned up to the rallies. Agency workers, street cleaners, drone tweakers, down and out hackers living below the sight line who’d come up for air. The rest of us thumbed our noses from our lean-backs, and popped on a headset to get in the thick of it. Viewing was mandatory but it didn’t matter where you tuned in from. Wealth radiated out from the city center, and as the buildings got taller, the pockets got deeper, although subjugation through city planning wasn't exactly a new idea. Today's crowd was thinner than usual, but that could have been the season. It was cold out and preachers didn’t last long in winter.
Enough of this shit.
Excerpt: Chapter 2
Kegan Fisher, February 22, 2017
I chose Graham Island for its insignificance. A speck of land in an otherwise barren sea. It stank of seawater. Secondhand swill. Salty black and tie-dyed with oil. Only runaways swam in the water. Undocumented and in search of sanctuary. Brave enough to wet their feet. Toes curled over calloused bottoms as they waded knee deep towards the horizon.
Peaking just a few feet above water level, climate change had all but eroded the island, whittling the population down to just under fifty. Refugees mostly and a guard post stamped in Sandspit that shuttled people back and forth between the mainland. He was a pot-bellied, bald man with a penchant for thermal lycra whose responsibilities included making sure no one got to the island not worth going to.
Principals aside, The Agency wasn’t interested the island. There weren’t enough people to imprison, natural resources to strip, or land to occupy. So here we were Janet and Elle and I. Tucked into a mud bank and forgotten. Destined to live on as a low-frequency murmur in the dark web. A rumor at best. Exiled to the coldest, upper most point in the Northern Hemisphere. Population 49 (registered) and me.
So we started over. I built a house at the end of a long strip of land dangling into the sea. From overhead it looked like a t-bone steak. A fat articulated joint that scraped the top off the water like pond scum. Somewhere between a sandbar and a jetty. Wide enough to walk down, impossible to access by car.
On the north of the island a horizontal piling waded neck deep into Vancouver sound, metal beams stair stepping some five feet apart over a fifty-foot span. It had become something of an antiquated town message board. Washed clean and reborn in high tide. Someone, a street kid most likely, had scrawled the word fascists in faded marker - while high-beam, hand-held water jets carved illegible obscenities in the stone.
The south of the island was flat. Eaten by erosion, the black rock shore slipped at times beneath the water only to re-emerge twenty feet later like swiss-cheese. Small bubbles escaped buried sulfur pockets. Eggs rotting, and yet strangely I missed them. Reeds grew between the rock beds. Lanky, segmented things - 1/4" wide, green and brown and black. A tangled mess of greenery impervious to pollution. Invasive in their procreation. They grew, sometimes feet into the air before succumbing to the wind. Bent over and broken, they slumped into the sea. Fodder for sea wrath. In spring, the husks of horseshoe crabs turned up, turned over. The skeletal remains a reminder of the world before it was white plastic and suicide proof.
And so time passed. Days changing to dusk. The sun rarely shined. When it did, colors stained the sky like the watered-down acrylics of mourning. A kaleidoscope of saccharin pollution doing little for the 294 days of steel-shot grey.
By year ten, I itched with impatience. They would pay for their incompetence. Their short-sightedness. Their inability to grasp the future, to understand what we were building. There was ever only one finale. One last chapter. One final hurrah. The single and finite endpoint to the story. My newfound patience had only strengthened my resolve.
What we needed was - ‘Jack.’ I smirked. ‘Now where was he?’