108 comments

Science Fiction Sad

Atlas was my only friend. My computer keys, worn and scratched with the pain of a martyr, were my link to happiness. Now that my keyboard was somewhere in the dumpster, my happiness was too. The darkness surrounded everything here at the Fawkes, but you could still see the outlines. Alcohol hung in the air, a smell that had never vacated its position. No one that found their way here forgot the experience, that was for sure. The glasses gave an escape, a door that we all strived to find in the bottom of the barrel. The Fawkes wasn't my home, though. I didn't have one.

"Leaving already, Nika?" Jim, the bartender, was washing up behind the counter. They never miss anything, bartenders, you can't hide from them.

"Yeah, it's getting late." I turned to go but rushed back to grab one more drink. You can never have too many.

The night sky was muddled with brown, like dried blood on a piece of metal. If it was blood, though, then who was bleeding? I heard Atlas's impersonal voice telling me "Cannot determine, Nainika," and I laughed. It was nice to feel like I had a friend again.

I was in Arctica, where the settlements were kind and welcoming. They gave a chance for a new life, one without the prejudice of the real world. I'd come here with the last of the scraps I made from animatron building, but it wasn't enough to live on. It was times like those, times where my stomach begged and pleaded for something to fill it, that made me miss Atlas.

When I made it back to my dark hotel room, the cold biting at my shoulders, I was greeted by Penny. She was lounging on the couch with her socks off and watching a live broadcast.

"What are you doing back so early?" Penny always talked with a sort of tone that made you think she was interrogating you. She was a great roommate, sure, but she was more of a partner than a friend.

"I came home... you know... with my feet," I said. The Uni-heaters felt like warm wind on my bare arms. I settle onto the couch and shoved Penny's legs to the floor, much to her dismay.

"Nainika." I kept looking at the TV, not talking to Penny. The odd thing was, though, that she didn't pry.

"What did you just say?" She looked at me sideways, questioning my words.

"I didn't say anything," Penny said. She sized me up for a second, and then turned her head back to the screen. The documentary on the screen was about a whale that swam across the ocean to find its daughter. It was a cute whale, if you could even call a whale cute.

"I bet it's fake." Penny was always the optimist. I chuckled to myself, my fingers still flexing to combat the frostbite. The whale had a white birthmark, which was odd. I'd never seen a whale with a white birthmark. Then again, there were a lot of things I hadn't seen.

"That's sweet of you, Pen," I teased, whacking her with a pillow. She kept her eyes glued to the screen, not acknowledging me. Well, some roommate.

I went to the kitchen, still wary of the voice, and started to heat up a pizza. There were no good flavors, so I had to have Jalapeño Delight Magnificence, the worst name anyone would ever hear. The supposedly green peppers were now a sickly yellow, and my stomach turned in disgust. It was a great day for disgusting frozen food.

"Nainika," the voice said. I had heard it before, it seemed, in another world. I could hear the flat tone, the pointed words. What was it?

"Nainika." Atlas. He was calling for me. I grabbed my coat and rushed out the door, let the wind blow in behind me. The snow piled down on my hood but I didn't care.

"ATLAS!" I screamed on and on into the darkness of the night, letting it echo into the glaciers. "ATLAS!"

"Nainika," he whispered. It seemed almost like a song, lilting its way into my ears and taunting me.

"Where are you!?" I couldn't hear any footsteps, but I have no idea why I expected any from an AI program. My chest felt raw, my heart pounding against my lungs and beating faster. Where was he? I needed him. I needed my only friend.

"Why do you cry, Nainika?"

"Because I have no purpose. You heard them. That's why you're here."

"You have a purpose to me. Without you, I would not be able to understand the complications of human life. However little, that is a purpose."

"...It's not the same."

"What about your situation is not the same to the one that I described?"

"Well, you don't count."

"Why do I not count?"

"Because I have a purpose in your mind, but you're not the world."

"How am I not the world?"

"Well..." The tears slipped down my cheeks as I held in the words like vomit. I would never release them, no, not even to Atlas. He would never understand, he'd try to minimize it. What if I just wanted to feel sad? What if I didn't feel like rationalizing it?

The memory jarred my mind, the snow piercing my skin like spears. "Why do you cry?" Atlas's figurine appeared in the screen. The snow piercing my skin, the voice disappearing in the wind. Atlas would come back. He would. I knew him better than to leave me.

When you come back, Atlas, I'll tell you all the things I've learned. I'll tell you about Jim the bartender and all of the stories he tells. I'll tell you about those documentaries that Penny loves to watch. You'd want to hear about that, wouldn't you? And I'd tell you all of my stories, all of the things I've done. You'd be surprised the places I've gone. I'm here, though. I'm here, waiting for you.

January 15, 2021 00:01

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108 comments

Nainika Gupta
00:09 Jan 15, 2021

LUKE.... I am speechless...firstly because you dedicated this to me, and second because that lesson?? of having a purpose...you made me cry.. thanks so much, friend :D

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Nainika Gupta
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

BTW I love in your bio how you said.... "Services I provide' XDXDXD legit snorted my hot chocolate out of my nose XDXDXD

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. .
00:18 Jan 15, 2021

XDDDDDDDDDDDD Yassss XDXD And to your above comment, yes I tried to make peeps cryyyyyyyy

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Nainika Gupta
00:40 Jan 15, 2021

well, you def achieved that <3 can't wait for more!!

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. .
00:41 Jan 15, 2021

:DDDDDDD

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. .
00:04 Jan 15, 2021

This is almost exactly 1000 words. Enjoy the continuation of Atlas and take the lesson to heart.

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Mira Caplan
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

:)

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. .
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

:D

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Mira Caplan
00:07 Jan 15, 2021

This is the definition of...a bunch of different things that mean <why aren't you a bestselling author already???????>

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. .
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

XDDDD Thanks so much Miraaaaaa I dunnooo

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Mira Caplan
00:16 Jan 15, 2021

XDDDDDDD We are going to be one of the best writing duos ever...

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. .
00:17 Jan 15, 2021

YASSSS WE ARE

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Mira Caplan
00:18 Jan 15, 2021

YEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I'll be High Fantasy, you'll be the epitome of greatness. (Just don't let that go to your head too much XD)

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. .
00:18 Jan 15, 2021

I won't!!! Also, do I get no thanks for the EARTHSHAKING FEAT OF SELFESTEEM I did at lunch??

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Nainika Gupta
13:30 Jan 22, 2021

hey hey hey!! How's it going????

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. .
13:39 Jan 22, 2021

Great!!!

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Nainika Gupta
13:40 Jan 22, 2021

good to hearrrrrrrrrrr :D finals are over for me, thank JESUS good gravy they were hard, but how was your week??

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. .
13:43 Jan 22, 2021

XD That's greatttttt my week is going awesome, its HERCULE POIROT'S 100TH ANNIVERSARYYYYYYYY

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Nainika Gupta
13:43 Jan 22, 2021

XD yay, AWESOME!! WOW - ITS BEEN THAT LONG??? jeeez loll :D

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. .
13:44 Jan 22, 2021

YEAH I KNOWWWWWWWWWWW ITS BEEN A LONG AGE OF ZE LITTLE GRAY CELLS!!! Also, yesterday I stayed up until the 21st minute of the 21st hour of the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century XD

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Sunny 🌼 🖤
15:19 Jan 16, 2021

*Totally not me looking at the title and thinking this was some kind of biography, nah I'm not that stupid...* But if I'm being serious this story was really good. I think you managed to describe Atlas and Nainika's relationship very well and only a few moments and this world you created is really interesting. I just kinda wish we got to expand on it more, maybe get a lil more backstory? But other than that this story is great.

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B. W.
23:18 Jan 15, 2021

Heyyy

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. .
23:18 Jan 15, 2021

Heyy!! Its been so long!!!

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B. W.
23:20 Jan 15, 2021

How are you doing?

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. .
23:20 Jan 15, 2021

Great!

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B. W.
23:21 Jan 15, 2021

Are you planning on writing any new stories?

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. .
23:22 Jan 15, 2021

Yeah, I might soon.

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13:03 Jan 15, 2021

I loved the amount of emotion infused into this. I've been told by admission officers/portfolio reviewers to do more subtle character development, and I love how you did it here; "Why do you cry?" could honestly be the name. I won't get tired of that line for a long time. As for the trivia... Idk if it's still up, but we have to worship Agatha somehow I only remember the roles of the people in "And then there were none", (Except LOMBARD!) so I'll try the separate series. Of course, and then there were none has to be put (I was just one year ...

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. .
13:24 Jan 15, 2021

Thank you so much!! I loveeeeeee putting emotion in the stories I write. YAS I LOVE AGATHA!!! And yes, I'll give it to you, but I was thinking more along the lines of series of books like Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, tommy and Tuppence, and Superintendent Battle. Glad to find another superfan :)

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13:33 Jan 15, 2021

I wouldn't say I'm the superfan; My creative writing teacher/ homeroom teacher is beyond obsessed. I just know the plays better than the books bc I'm a theatre nerd!

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. .
13:34 Jan 15, 2021

XD I am such a superfannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ugh why do I love them books so much I be addicted to Hercule XD

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Penny Loveheart
03:19 Jan 15, 2021

thanks for including my name Litlover .

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. .
13:22 Jan 15, 2021

No prob, Penny

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Hey, is it okay if I quote you from your bio?

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. .
17:59 Jan 19, 2021

Ofc!!

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thx

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Frances Reine
15:17 Jan 15, 2021

This was so emotional, I actually can't wait for what you come up with next week. What was the answer to your last emoji puzzle btw? That one was most bewildering and I'm super curious.

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. .
15:19 Jan 15, 2021

The last one was the fountainhead XD

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Frances Reine
15:20 Jan 15, 2021

OHH. Nice haha

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. .
15:21 Jan 15, 2021

XD

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Amany Sayed
15:08 Jan 15, 2021

Wow. I dunno if I've read a story of yours yet, but this tells me I certainly need to start! The writing voice was just a perfect balance and I loved it. Ending, check, beginning that pulled me in, check, story in general, checkeroo! I truly enjoyed it. Keep writing!

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. .
15:08 Jan 15, 2021

XD Thanks so much, Amany!!! This is a continuation of an older story I did.

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Amany Sayed
15:09 Jan 15, 2021

Wow that was fast! Yeah, I saw from the comments. I better go have a read!

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. .
15:09 Jan 15, 2021

:D I'm on here a lot XD

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Kate Reynolds
03:08 Jan 15, 2021

AMAZING. Sometimes one word is all you need :D

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. .
13:21 Jan 15, 2021

XD Thanks, Kate

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Kate Reynolds
13:25 Jan 15, 2021

Npp!!

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. .
13:26 Jan 15, 2021

:D

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Kate Reynolds
13:28 Jan 15, 2021

:))))

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. .
13:32 Jan 15, 2021

:))))

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. .
13:31 Jan 15, 2021

:))))

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Maya
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

AMAZING, Luke!!! I had no idea you were doing a part two of Atlas, so it's such a nice surprise! You did a great job of showing a gloomy tone to match how Nainika felt. The meaning behind the story was so important and sweet! Every story you write is soooooo good! :)

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. .
00:15 Jan 15, 2021

No one had any idea heeheehee!! Thanks so much!! You're too kind.

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Maya
00:17 Jan 15, 2021

No problem! You're an amazing writer! :D

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. .
00:18 Jan 15, 2021

Thanks so dang muchhhhhhhhhhh

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Maya
00:21 Jan 15, 2021

Of course! You deserve it! :)

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. .
00:23 Jan 15, 2021

:D

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hello! would you like to be in a reedsy cast story im gonna write about superheroes? if so, please fill in this form: Superhero's secret identity (can be real or made up): Superhero name: powers: what their uniform looks like: where they are from: their personality: any other notes: Thanks!

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. .
13:25 Jan 22, 2021

Superhero secret identity: Luke Howard Superhero name: Litlover Powers: Imagination into reality, jumping into book worldss What their uniform looks like: Blue with a pencil staff Where they are from: Boston Personality: Piquant, Smart, Friendly THANK YOU FOR INCLUDING MEEEEE

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. .
13:51 Jan 22, 2021

:DDDDDDDDD

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13:51 Jan 22, 2021

:DDDDDDDDD

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Kate Reynolds
20:54 Jan 15, 2021

NEW STORYYY

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. .
20:59 Jan 15, 2021

OMG YAY

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Kate Reynolds
20:59 Jan 15, 2021

:DD

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