They Say I'm A Traitor

3 min

Hello! I am Christine; an aspiring author, artist, and college student, living in Northern Maine. I have helped organize a writing group on my college campus which is meant to encourage other writers  [+]

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They say I am traitor. Maybe I am, Rose thinks as she surveys the scene. The house is a mess. A glass Coca-Cola bottle lays on its side. The cupboards stand open. The house has been ransacked. I did what I had to do. The thought finishes as she adjusts her backpack. Resting her shotgun on her shoulder, she strides out into the wasteland that was once the city. The police would be looking for her. Her plan is to hide out during the day and travel at night. Who would have known figuring out one single bit of seemingly open-ended code in a video game would have resulted in all of this?
Her family had always hated her love of technology. Video games especially. It had been her love, and eventually her job. She checked codes on video games, fixing typing errors and clearing bits of unneeded code before the testers got the game. Her keen eye for coding mistakes and anomalies is what got her into this predicament. As she reminisces, Rose looks at the empty buildings, finding one that looked like an old apartment building. She glances around, and darts in the front door. So far, so good. No cops, or military troops were out yet. Yet is the keyword, as soon as the sun set, they would be out in force.
“One fucking bit of code, seriously.” Rose mumbles as she starts down the hall, trying doors as she goes. That one little bit of code that showed the government was trying to brainwash the kids. Turn them all into cooperate zombies that would be happy to work simple nine to five jobs, have the 2.5 kids and white picket fence. The government didn’t want rebels and had found a way to prevent that. Rose, being very strongly against cooperate hypnosis, has brought her concerns to her bosses who in turn brought it to the government’s attention.
That little bit of rebellion; that attempt to do some good, had caused chaos. To stamp down any further issues. Rose had just wanted to bring the code to her boss’s attention. She had just wanted to let them know she had removed it. Shortly after the news broke, martial law took over. Cops and military personnel had taken over the streets. Games and systems were confiscated, and protesters arrested. The more rebels that were arrested, the more that rose up. Looting and destruction of property became common place. Once beautiful cities were now burned and damaged beyond recognition. Rose looks down the hall of the building. The carpets are damaged and the walls full of holes.
Underground groups had risen. They have consoles and games stashed away from before the code. Rose has heard, through her brief looks online, that they wanted to keep gaming alive and well. Several of them were looking for her. They want a leader, but Rose doesn’t see herself as one. To her she is just a coder. Just a gamer who got to work her dream job and it ruined many lives. Does she have the courage to stand up and be a figure head?
As she moves, she tries each doorknob in turn until one of the finally swings open. Rose slowly pushes the door open. “Hello?” Rose calls, not immediately seeing anyone. She steps inside, pulling a flashlight from her belt. Turning it on, she shines it around. The apartment is empty but looks as if its occupants could return at any time. In this day and age, someone could be hiding, or they could return at any time.
School books sit on the coffee table, with homework half finished, and backpacks rest by the door. Slowly she makes her way across the living room, toward the kitchen. Plates sit on a small table, just three places set. She opens the fridge, finding nothing edible. The food inside long since rotted. Rose tries the cupboards next, finding everything covered in dust. All the boxes grey-brown and grimy, like ghosts of meals past. Living room and kitchen cleared, she makes her way down the hall. Each room is checked in turn. She finds a master bedroom, a kid’s room with two beds and a bathroom. There are no family photos, but by the toys Rose assumes that a boy and a girl once lived here. Another small family disrupted by her choices. The word traitor pops to mind again, but she shoves it back into the recesses. Returning to the living room, she sits her backpack down on the floor then drops on to the couch. The springs squeak and a cloud of dust puffs up around her. Rose sneezes.
“All this chaos over one little bit of fucking code. Just my luck.” She sighs. “Maybe I should do something.” The sun is just coming up as she settles herself back on the couch. Laying the shotgun across her lap, she dozes into a light sleep. One hand wrapped around the butt, with her finger resting on the trigger guard. Maybe she did need to step up.

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