Progression #57

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Seven of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-seven [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

“This means that they have been listening to our conversation since I woke up.” Charlotte said. She walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed next to Jack.
“Really? How? I’m not getting the splitting headache like earlier when one of those things was rooting around in my brain.” Jack said.
Charlotte shook her head. “That’s different. Only some of them are powerful enough to read minds. The rest just tap into the digital grid.”
“Meaning?”

“All of it.” She swept her hand across the room. “The phones, the televisions and all of the other electronic devices and appliances. Hell, even the streetlights and the light bulbs. They all function as spy devices now. Everything monitors everyone all the time.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“I am not kidding you, Jack. All of these devices normally just pick up on wireless data and transmit it to be analyzed. But when a Sentry is nearby they can tap in to listen and watch what‘s going on.”

“Why are they just standing around, then?” Jack said.
“I have no idea. Maybe they are confused because you are listed as dead. Maybe they are waiting for a drone strike. Or–” She stopped talking and her eyes opened wide with alarm.
“Char? Or what?”
“Or this has all been an elaborate setup! Maybe you have not returned from the dead at all- Maybe you’re one of them!” She stood up and started backing away from where Jack was sitting.
“That’s ridiculous!” Jack said.

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Progression #56

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Six of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-six [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

“I don’t know about someone kicking in the door,” Jack said. “But I went out for a cigarette earlier and some sort of robot was trying to read my mind!”
“What? What did it look like?” Charlotte said. She leaned forward on the bed with a worried expression.
Jack described the strange android in the black suit to her and explained the painful sensation of having his memories scanned.
“That was a Sentry, Jack! That means they know you’re here and I’m sure they have the place surrounded by now.”

She raced over to the nearest window and peered out between the blinds.
“What the hell is a Sentry?” Jack said as he walked over to join her.
“Look!” She pointed at the window. “Three of them are hanging out in the alleyway right now!”
Jack peered out at the figures and felt a chill running down his spine. “Those things cannot be human!”
“They were human once upon a time…” Charlotte said. “They are members of what was once called the transhumanist movement- People hell-bent upon merging man and machine.”

“Well, it looks like they succeeded.” Jack said as he backed away from the window.
“Just one of many groups you were investigating when you were killed. You really don’t remember any of this, do you?” She said.
He shook his head. “Reading through the journals conjured up a few vague memories, but even my death remains a mystery!”

Progression #55

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Five of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-five [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

“It is not just in your imagination, my love.” Charlotte said.
“What do you mean?”
“Privacy is dead. Everything is monitored and recorded. Stored on supercomputers to be analyzed and categorized. Nothing is secret and, apparently, nothing is sacred.”
Bullshit.” Jack muttered under his breath. “Whatever happened to freedom?”
“After the wars spiraled out of control and the value of the dollar crashed the masses were convinced by the mainstream media to trade in their freedom for security- But, ironically, they ended up with neither.”

“On my way here this afternoon I saw a van drive by that had people in the back with black cloth bags covering their heads!” He said.
Charlotte nodded. “Happens almost everyday. People will just suddenly disappear.”
“And then what?”
She shrugged. “Some are sent to torture camps, others are just killed outright. The rest are sent to reeducation camps.”

Reeducation camps?” Jack said.
“Brainwashing. Mind control.”
“I- I cannot even fathom all of this right now! It is all just too much!” He stood up and started pacing back and forth at the foot of the bed.
“There is only one thing that I cannot figure out.” Charlotte said. “The security cameras would have scanned and identified you on the way here. They know that you have returned from the dead. So why hasn’t anyone kicked in the door yet?”

Progression #54

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Four of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-four [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

1)

“Well,” Jack said. “I do not even know where to start. I discovered my obituary shortly after I returned to the condo. That was a very uncomfortable thing to read, to say the least.”
“And you were not home, Char. I did not know where you were- Or if you were even going to return!”
Charlotte reclined back on the pillow and remained silent.
“Then I saw the stack of old journals. I randomly picked one and started reading through it. There are a few similarities between the life I left behind and

2)

this one- But many other events and details are completely different…”
Jack shook his head. “I just cannot understand how people have allowed the country to go to hell like this- Endless wars, roving homeless, and unimaginable amounts of debt. Riots and swat teams all over the place, secret arrests and torture- This is pure insanity!”
“I know.” Charlotte said. “It was really bad when you passed away, but over the last two years the tyranny has only intensified. It is like a festering wound.”

3)

“There was a journal entry in there about…” Jack trailed off in mid-sentence. He suddenly had a faraway look in his eyes. “About…” He lost his train of thought again and remained sitting in place upon the edge of the bed.
“Jack?” Charlotte said.
“I… I just had the strangest sensation. It felt like we were being watched by a bunch of people with electronic devices. There was a typed transcript of the conversation we’re having off to the side and photos of us sitting here in this room!”

Progression #53

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Three of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-three [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

1)

Charlotte pulled away from the embrace and held her husband at arm’s length. She looked up at his face. Her blue eyes were shimmering with fiery fascination.
Jack laughed. “I am real!” He said. “I cannot explain the forces that allowed me to cross over to this world today- But the spectral form I encountered in outer space-I think it was God…”
“This other place that you left behind-” Charlotte paused mid-sentence. She suddenly remembered what the voice in her dream had told her:

2)

He believes that he has crossed over from his world and into another dimension. Even though this is not exactly what has happened to him it is imperative that he believes this explanation until the time is right.’
“Yes?” Jack said.
“Was I there, too?”
“Of course you were there! We had just recently celebrated our fifteenth anniversary! This morning you had already left for work by the time that I climbed out of bed.”

3)

“Really?” She said.
He nodded. “It was just a typical day. I was working on a painting when I decided to go out for a walk. Hermes was there- Being lazy and rolling around on the ground.”
She chuckled nervously. If the voice was telling the truth then this other version of me- And the cat- Were they just creations in his mind? Charlotte thought. A sort of simulated afterlife that attempted to reconstruct what made him happy and comfortable?
“Please, continue.” She said.

Progression #52

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part Two of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-two [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

1)

“Yes, it‘s true.” Jack said.
“How is this possible? I don’t understand!” Charlotte said.
Jack walked over and stood next to where she was laying down.
“I’m not sure if I understand everything that has happened today, either.” He said.
Charlotte turned over and slowly rose up to a sitting position. Her expression was a jumbled mixture of joy and fear.
“My life has been hell since you left me here.” She said. A tear was starting to well up in the corner of her eye.

2)

“I know, sweetheart.” Jack said. He shook his head slightly and sighed. “I am truly sorry.”
He sat down on the edge of the mattress beside her and, using the back of his hand, wiped away the tear as it streaked down her cheek.
Charlotte leaned forward and wrapped her arms around him. It was the embrace she had spent two years longing for. The moment that she had been praying for.

Jack placed his hands on her lower back and pulled her close, then nuzzled the side of her neck.

3)

“The world has changed so much…” Charlotte whispered.
“I know.”
“Jack- Everything that you predicted and warned people about, all of your research- It has all happened! The world is spiraling out of control- Consumed by hatred and darkness. Most of the people have been ignoring it, acting like everything is still the same…”
“Shhh. I think everything will be okay. Remember, love conquers all…”
He moved his mouth up to hers and initiated a long, slow kiss.

Progression #51

[Chapter Fourteen – “Awake” — Part One of Seventeen]

progression number fifty-one [To be continued…]

[Original writing & photography by J. E. Lattimer]

© 2013 J. E. Lattimer all rights reserved

*

[For my subscribers who do not read English]

1)

June 5th –
I had to travel downtown to Natasha Aosoth’s gallery again this morning. She wanted to touch base on the show and make sure that everything was going well.
She asked me a lot of questions and I did my best at avoiding most of the answers.
It was the first time I had ever seen her face emerge from the darkness and, as I searched her countenance for any sign of expression I kept thinking to myself:
I am not so sure that this woman is even human…

2)

Jack closed the journal and placed the hardbacked volume in his lap. He stretched and rubbed at his eyes. Reading about the many experiences from another version of his life was really taking a toll on his mind.
What kind of trouble did I get into here? Jack thought. Some sort of satanic art gallery owner who did not seem to be human?
He had yet to find any real clues that explained his untimely demise- But he was starting to get a bigger picture of what this life had been like.

3)

He longed to go outside and smoke a cigarette but did not want to endure another painful encounter with the android that had been scanning his mind.
Jack was just starting to climb off of the mattress when he had the distinct feeling that he was being watched. He turned around and saw that Charlotte had opened her eyes.
“So it is true.” Charlotte said. “You really have returned to me.”
Her voice was barely above a whisper.