Fiction Urban Fantasy Science Fiction

“You’re doing the right thing Jon.”

“I don’t know. It seems a little bit extreme.”

“Your dad needs help.”

Jon sighed as he exited his bright blue sedan. His eyes turned towards his childhood home. Many of his best memories revolved around the quaint one story yellow house. Typically he was glad to return to it. Today was different. Today was going to be painful. He could already feel it in his gut.

Jon’s eyes turned back to his phone. His wife’s face took up most of the screen. Her eyes tried to convey comfort, but he could see a tad of annoyance creeping in. She had been begging him to do this for months now. He had always been able to successfully avoid it. Until he just couldn’t any longer.

“Tell me about this agency again,” said Jon before he slowly began walking up the cement path that led to the front door.

“They’re called I1. Like the letter I and then the number one. They have great reviews on Nurv@na. Everyone says that they’re pros. They specialize in delicately handling people with mental health problems, like your dad.”

Jon stopped walking for a moment. “Yeah, but is believing in conspiracy theories really a mental health problem?”

“It is when you take it as far as your dad does. You said yourself that the last time you saw him he was stockpiling weapons. Your dad is going down a dangerous road and he is going to hurt someone else, or himself. You’re doing the right thing.”

Jon took a deep breath and then continued walking forward. “You’re right. You said this agency was on their way.”

“Yep. You just need to keep him occupied for a little bit and then they should be there. You can do this Jon. Be strong.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll…I’ll call you when this is over.”

“Love you babe.”

“Love you too,” said Jon before he ended the call and knocked on the front door.

Jon could hear rumbling from within the house. Then there was a pause before the door swung wide open.

“Jonny!” Excitedly proclaimed his dad.

Jon couldn’t help but smile. His dad had always resembled Santa Claus. Today that resemblance was almost uncanny. His dad’s balding head gleamed, the white strands that clung to the side of his head and long bushy beard shined. There was a twinkle in his dad’s eyes and even his cheeks appeared to be rosy.

“Come inside,” said his dad, stepping aside. “I finally did it! It’s all true Jonny and I can prove it.”

Jon entered the house as a storm of conflicting emotions raged inside of him. He was glad to see his father so jubilant. It was a rare sight these days. Most of the time his dad was either aloof, or wracked in a deep depression. It was good to see the stocky man with his hefty beer gut actually happy. At the same time Jon knew that no matter what, his happiness was about to come to an abrupt end.

“It’s all because of the IPod,” announced his dad.

“The what?”

“I always knew that something went wrong at the turn of the century. I could feel it in my bones. Like…like our universe split off from the course it was on. I never knew why. I figured it had to be a decision. Some otherwise innocuous choice that rippled throughout our world and changed it for the worse. Now I know what that decision was. It was the choice to never invent the IPod.”

“What does a pod for eyes have to do with anything?”

“It wasn’t a pod for eyes. It was a musical storage device that could hold thousands of songs on it.”

Jon scratched his head in bewilderment. “How could something like that alter a universe?”

“In so many ways Jonny…so many ways. You see it stopped Macintosh from going bankrupt in the early two thousands. Instead they became this newly branded company that sped up the development of smartphones. People in the other universe got smartphones a decade before we got them. These phones gave people easier access to the internet and those people used that to kick off the social media and streaming revolution way earlier than we did. But…but that isn’t it Jonny. No. What really caused our universes to deviate from one another was the music.”


“Yes Jonny. Never underestimate the impact of music and arts on the human soul. You see this IPod device changed the way people stored, listened to and eventually how they made music. Their songs were broken down and analyzed by machines. Their music became more formulaic and less experimental. Ours didn’t. Artists in our universe continued pushing boundaries until eventually they created it.”

“Created what?”

“The ultimate occult mix CD. Goaldeen Nurvana.”

Jon sighed and rubbed at his temples.

“You think I’m crazy, don’t you Jonny?”


“Just hold on Jonny I have proof. Just let me finish ok.”


“Ok so…where was I? Oh yeah, the Goaldeen Nurvana mix CD. Ok, so that CD was passed around to many creative people who happened to be in the San Francisco area in late 2012. Whoever heard it gained the ability to commune with ancient spirits. Some of the more creative among them were even able to infuse these spirits into their art. For example there was the creator of the Nurv@na app, Matt Lorian, who bound the ancient Greek god of addiction into his social media platform. Then there’s the rapper Phamous Gangus who weaves the Mongolian god of death into her lyrics. Oh and maybe the most popular of them all is Kulu Onya who can tie the Zulu god of influence to his paintings."

“Kulu Onya?” repeated Jon. There was a name he was familiar with. He secretly followed Rebecca Lowe on his fake Nurv@na app and he was well aware that she had gained popularity because of the Kulu Onya Challenge. He had missed the actual live stream, but had heard that it was real. “Now I have heard something about there being something up with that guy.”

“Exactly!” said Jon’s dad in excitement. “Now the interesting thing about Kulu Onya is that he wasn’t part of the initial group that heard Goaldeen Nurvana once it was burned. He was too young. His mentor, a lesser known artist named Isabella Menendez, gave it to him a few years later. Now here is where my proof comes in. You see Isabella used the CD to bind the Aztec god of truth to three living sculptures.

"The first sculpture was of a squirrel boy who goes wherever the wind blows. The second sculpture was of a whale man who follows the motion of the ocean. The last one was of a foxy lady who chases the moon and guess what Jonny. I caught her.”

 Jon looked at his dad in bewilderment. “You caught her?”

“Yes son, she’s in the basement.”

“You’re holding a woman captive in your basement?”

“No. Of course not Jonny.”

“Oh thank god.”

 “I’m holding a living sculpture that was infused with an ancient god in my basement.”

“Dad! None of this is real. It can’t be real. You’re getting brainwashed by extremist.”

“That’s what the fake media wants you to believe. Don’t be a sheep Jonny. Let me show Jonny. She’ll reveal the truth to you just like she did to me. She has to.”

Jon sighed loudly. His eyes turned to the window searching for signs of a vehicle from the agency. This had gotten out of hand. If his dad was truly holding someone hostage in his basement then he was partly to blame. He had waited too long to get his dad help. And now he might have crossed a line. On the other hand maybe his dad was so far gone that he tied up a literal sculpture in his basement. Either way he had to know. “Show me what’s in the basement.”

Jon’s dad brimmed with enthusiasm. He excitedly scurried to the basement door. Jon quickly noticed that a series of seven deadbolt locks had been added to the door. Not a good sign. His father fished a set of keys out of his sweatpants and made quick work unlocking each lock. “Jon. Just remember one thing. Don’t touch the sculpture.”

“Whatever dad. Let’s just get this over with.”

Jon’s and his dad quickly descended the rickety, wooden stairs that led down to the unfinished basement. Then…then there she was.

Jon couldn’t believe it. All the air that was in lungs was instantly sucked out. His heart raced. His mind whirled. His jaw dropped.

She was bound by her wrist and ankles. Spread out in an x shape against the concert wall. Two beady eyes stared at him from a mostly humanoid face, only her nose was that of some sort of animal. Her ears were large, pronounced and furry. They jutted out from her tightly braided gold colored hair. Her body was nude, but covered in golden fur that shimmered even in the dim light of the basement.

“It’s…its cosplay. That’s it. Has to be it.”

“No son, this is the real deal. This is my proof.”

Jon and his dad stepped closer to the bound figure as if in a trance.

“She revealed the truth to me, Jonny. All of it. She’s the one that told me how our world diverged because of the IPod. She also revealed the truth about Utah. It was destroyed by the Giant Orange Seashells. They’re an alien race that has been monitoring our air waves. When they heard the Goaldeen Nurvana mix CD they attacked us. It was meant as a warning. They fear that we are going down a dangerous road by reawakening ancient gods. To appease these invading aliens a special government agency was developed. An agency called I1.”

“I1?” Jon’s heart raced as his stomach was suddenly filled with a sickening sensation.

“Yeah like the letter I and-“

“Number 1,” came a female voice from behind them.

Jon and his dad quickly turned to see two women dressed in identical vibrant orange suits standing behind them. One was older, with short cropped gray hair and a stern face. The other was younger with a bright smile, excitement gleaming in her eyes and a tight bun of dark black hair resting atop her head.

“Hiya,” said the younger woman.

The older woman scoffed and shook her head. “I told you not to say that. We are professionals. Carry yourself that way.”

“Sorry partner.”

“Don’t let it happen again.”


The older woman sighed and tugged on the bottom of her suit’s blazer. “Sorry for being rude. I’m agent Washington. This is agent Doe. We are from the I1 Agency.”

Jon could see his dad’s eyes turn towards his work bench. He knew that his dad held a gun in one of the drawers.

“Don’t bother Mr. Fitzpatrick, my partner is an Ubermon. You know what that means, correct?”

“Yes…yes I do,” squeaked out Jon’s dad.

“What is going on here?” asked Jon.

“Everything your father said was true,” replied Agent Washington.

“I’m sorry Jonny,” said Jon’s dad in a defeated tone. “I thought I covered my tracks.”

“You did,” said Agent Washington. “Very well I might add, but your son turned you in.”

“Jonny?” asked his dad. A pool of tears welling up in his eyes.

“I…this…how…what…I mean…”

“Don’t worry, it’s all over now,” said Agent Washington. Both her and Agent Doe reached into their blazers and produced handguns. “It’s neither of your faults really. We’ve manipulated the game. It makes our jobs easier. All we simply had to do was put all of you into your own bubbles. And then turn those bubbles against one another. Next thing you know daughters don’t believe mothers, sisters and brothers war with one another and sons turn in their own fathers.”

“My wife,” whispered Jon.

“Don’t worry we’ll make it a tragic story,” said Agent Washington. “Conspiratorial father kills son before taking his own life. The people inside of all the bubbles will spin it and love it and run with it. Your wife will gain so many followers on Nurv@na that she’ll easily be able to replace your income. Maybe our agency will even sponsor her content. Doesn’t that sound sweet?”

“It sounds very sweet, partner,” chimed in Agent Doe. “Like a modern day love story.”

Jon’s dad took his son’s hand in his.

“But,” pleaded out Jon

“Shhh,” hissed out Agent Washington.

Two gunshots echoed out from the basement.

March 29, 2024 22:41

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Martin Ross
00:19 Apr 04, 2024

Great response to the prompt -- imaginative and fun, and cool twist. I have an old Zune collecting dust back home, and I'll think of this story when I dig the low-capacity relic out. Nicely done!


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David Sweet
02:19 Apr 03, 2024

Very creative! Interesting and inventive take on the prompt. Music is more crucial than we think in society. All that started with the explosion of the Internet and the iPod. Nice way to weave all of that together with supernatural elements as well.


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