Slavery and Death

  Little Clouds “Continue the training, Tzina,” I tell her. “It’s time for us to enter the network.” “Not yet,” she answers, “but my fire twin will join you briefly for the next step.” Tzina and Shazira go back to their nests, and I send Berek away. I don’t want him to watch while I dissolve my body. I flow it into water and air. The pattern body disappears a few minutes later. The change happens so quickly that there’s no pain, but I’m disoriented for a moment. Then, I’m filled with sadness, a sense of loss, and the smell of decay that comes with dead flesh. The smell of death fills me whenever I release my body. It makes no sense, since my body just vanishes, but fortunately it passes quickly.

Continue reading

Fast and Slow

  Night Night is the same as day, here in the cave. Only our inner clocks tell us that the day is gone. Every Jiku knows whether it’s morning, evening, or night, even in a dark place, with no clues from the sun. We always know the exact hour and minute. Time is twisted when we enter or leave a simulation, when we transport from one part of the world to another, or when we move between worlds. Still, a few seconds later, the inner clock finds its way. I welcome the peace that night brings, but Dilasa doesn’t want it to come. What is she afraid of? Right now, this cave is the safest place on the planet! “Do we train, even when we sleep?” asks Berek, interrupting my thoughts. “No,” says Tzina. “We’ll spend two thirds of the day in the games, but our nights are for rest,…

Continue reading