Here's an excerpt from my science fiction novel, Forever Hollow. The story follows Lucian Pope, a man who doesn't understand society's total reliance upon technology. His feelings that humanity has become nothing more than robotic entities are more true than he realizes when his ex-wife, Genevieve, appears and Lucian learns the truth that Brightwater is inhabited by cyborgs disguised as humans. In order maintain control over humanity, the cyborgs find ways of ridding the city of those who think and question too much. Below is the opening scene to the novel.
“Lies!” shouted a man with narrow, brown eyes. “I’m telling you, they’re all lies! I didn’t do anything wrong. They contacted me, and I refused to help them.”
The young man’s muscles bulged through his dark blue button-up shirt in his attempt to fight against the two silent agents dragging him through the Digitech office. Most of the workers worked quietly, eyes glued to the crystal screens in front of them and not on the commotion in the office. No one said a word as the men in tan trench coats lugged the young man toward the elevator. He continued to call for help, but nobody so much as turned in his direction.
Nobody save Lucian Pope.
Lucian had watched the young man’s predicament with measured interest. Alexander Houston. Hard worker. Always on time with his assignments. Lucian wondered what Alexander had done wrong to warrant a submission of indictment to the ministry from someone. Lucian had never thought of Alexander as a troublemaker. Of course, many people change masks from work to home. Lucian knew that well enough.
He had heard the stories. “They” usually came in the middle of the night or found you in a dark alley by yourself. Here today, gone tonight. No questions asked. No tears shed. Your desk emptied and reset as if you never existed.
These guys aren’t “them” though, Lucian thought. Or are they?
The two men had flashed a pair of ID badges when they had first approached the secretary’s desk. They never said a word. They never had to. The Federation Investigators never had to explain themselves. They came in and took what they needed and left without a word.
Something just doesn’t add up.
The thought plagued Lucian for the rest of the afternoon as he finished the data file he had worked on the past few days. His fingers flew over the projected image of a keyboard on his cubicle desk. The small rectangle of crystal prompted him to save. After tapping “OK”, he slipped into his leather jacket and headed to the elevator. His desk lamp and computer screen powered down when he moved out of the desk’s sensory range. Glancing at his watch, he thought that he could make it to the antique shop and browse around a bit before it closed. Seventy floors later, Lucian walked into the lobby area of the Digitech building.
Outside, Lucian saw Charlie, a co-worker of his, standing out on the sidewalk staring blankly. Lucian walked up to him and waved a hand in front of Charlie’s face.
“Charlie? Hey, Charlie. You okay?”
The little plump man jumped as if from a daze. He blinked a few times, and his brown eyes seemed refocus. He looked at Lucian through a pair of wide-framed glasses and smiled broadly.
“Lucian! Hey, it’s great to see you,” Charlie beamed. “How have you been?”
Lucian’s brow wrinkled. “Charlie. We just saw each other a few minutes ago.” A puzzled look crossed Charlie’s face. “We just left work, Charlie. Look, there’s the door to our building right there.”
Charlie stared at the Digitech sign as though seeing it for the first time. He took off his glasses and tapped on the lenses a few times. Images flickered in the lenses as Charlie replaced glasses on his nose. Charlie gasped before looking back at Lucian.
“Lucian! Hey! Sorry, my glasses haven’t been working properly lately. I need to take them in and get the lenses replaced, but who can really find their way around for the few days it takes them to fix these things, am I right?”
Lucian gave Charlie and noncommittal grunt.
“I mean, I just stepped outside a minute ago and completely forget where I was going. Strange, huh?”
“Yeah, strange,” Lucian said vaguely.
“Ah,” said Charlie with an energetic nod. “I was going home.” Lucian could see the transparent map in Charlie’s glasses with a highlighted path. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, Lucian.”
“Right,” said Lucian. “See you.”
Lucian stood on the sidewalk a few more minutes looking around. Most of the people who walked by wore glasses similar to Charlie’s. Their eyes never seemed to look past the frames to the rest of their surroundings. Occasionally, someone would stop mid-stride, tap on their lenses, and then continue on their way. Lucian shook his head and walked down the sidewalk toward the old antique shop.