PARADISE AWAITS...

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic thriller.... view prompt

29 comments

Thriller Science Fiction Funny

1


We all saw the sign that read PARADISE AWAITS. Well, one hundred thousand of us with the money to afford paradise did.

         It was the last vestige for humanity. Our last-ditch effort to save the human race.

A team of scientists began to develop an A.I called M.O.N.A which was short for, Meeting Our Needs Always. A silly name but the principle was sound. M.O.N.A was tasked with creating a bubble of sorts for the surviving humans to thrive in, that would have everything we need, always. She wasn't given much time to achieve this.

You see we only had one year left until the meteorites hit. Not just one. A whole cluster. All at once. End game for humanity. 

The impact was projected to wipe out all life on earth, hence the need for M.O.N.A.

Despite the limited time frame Mona achieved her goal and created paradise. There were one hundred thousand spots available in Paradise. Once announced there was a mad scramble for who would get a ticket to survive. 

Like I said earlier, one hundred thousand people, with money, saw the sign, but so did everyone else. Money bought their safety and their families safety. If you didn’t have it, well quite frankly, you would die a horrible death. The rich, soon after entering paradise we realised there was no longer a need for money.

Paradise had everything.

M.O.N.A achieved her namesake.

When the meteors impacted the earth, we felt it. And saw it. M.O.N.A had designed cameras on the outside of paradise that would withstand the blast, so we all got to witness the devastation. That night we were all silent. No party. Nothing.

That was ten years ago.



2


The breakfast bell goes and I'm out of bed in a flash. I don’t want to miss this breakfast. Bacon and eggs. Though it’s not real bacon. Not real eggs. But damn does it taste like shit. I mean I should be grateful but lately something has changed in paradise. It’s beginning to seem more like a prison.

The food is not the same, there’s a malfunction with the system apparently. Whenever I’ve complained to M.O.N.A I’m greeted with the same message.


<Eric Steene, the system is malfunctioning. I am working on it. Please have patience and enjoy your stay in PARADISE>


M.O.N.A knows all our names. M.O.N.A knows all…. That’s what scares the hell out of me.


I make it to the general mess hall and get my shitty breakfast. It goes down terribly with the gritty tasting orange juice that is served on the side. Oh well. This is life now. It’s better than being burnt up in the destroyed Earth outside.

At least that’s what I tell myself every morning.

Gary Everstonn approached my table. My friend. My only friend in here. Paid for my ticket. I didn’t have ten dollars to my name, but somehow, I managed to be apart of the lifesaving Paradise. Lucky me.

“Eric, how’s it going this morning?” he asked.

“Fine, fine” I answered dismissively, then I noticed he was holding something in his left hand. “What do you have there my friend?”

 Gary didn’t answer. He never ignored me. He was always such a chatterbox that wouldn’t shut up, but as far as friends go, he tops my list.

“Gaz?” I try again. That’s when I feel it hit my face. Something solid. The item from his left hand. Darkness takes me.


3


“Wakey-wakey Eric my boy!” someone slaps my face bringing me out of my blackness. “Time to join us.”

It takes me a second or two for my vision to readjust to being awake. I try to move my arms to rub my eyes. They’re tied behind my back. Bound with, I’m guessing cable ties, as they’re cutting into the skin of my wrists.

“Let me go!” I shout, futilely.

“Not until you join us.” A man said, his voice familiar to my groggy ears.

“Gaz?” I ask, knowing the answer before the name escapes my lips.

My vision clears and my best-friend is standing before me. A cruel looking knife in his hands. “What are you doing? Is this some kind of gag? Very funny mate, you’ve got me. Now let me go.”

“No” was his simple reply.

“No? NO!?”

“That’s right Eric. No. Not unless you join us.”

“You’ve said that already. Join what?”

Gary just stared at me, as though I should understand what I have to join. How could I not?

“Gary, tell me.” I plead.

“Mona.”

“Mona? The AI? What the hell are you on about? We’re in Paradise, I don’t think we can get any closer to her unless she were a real-life woman.”

“But she is. And she’s magnificent.”

“What the hell are you on about?” I repeated. Gary is insane. That’s obvious now.

“Mona is not this place. Mona is everywhere. Mona is our saviour.”

“No shit! We would have died, if not for M.O.N.A. We would have been struck by shit from space and burnt up!”

“That’s just what they want you to believe. The system designed to keep us down. And it’s Mona. Not a machine. A Goddess. Our Angel. Our salvation.”

Gary has lost his mind.

“Ok Gary. I believe you. Just, uh… loosen these straps for me first then you can tell me some more?” I hope he trusts me. He does and releases my hands from their bonds. I don’t make a move though. After all he is my friend, and I’m more concerned than angry. I indicate for him to continue.

“When we first came to Paradise, we were told that the world was going to end and that we had to come here, correct?”

“Yes correct”

“But that is nothing but poorly written fiction. Mona has saved us from the lies we’ve been fed.”

“And how do you know this?” Careful, careful, “Not that I don’t believe you.” I don’t.

“Mona has told us. She came to me. She came to all of us.”

“All of us?” I asked. It’s only Gary and I in this room. That’s when I notice that the room is bigger than it appeared. The lights come on and I see everyone. There’s at least twenty people in the room with us. How did they stay so silent? I didn’t even hear them breathe.

“Jesus Christ Gary. What is this? Really?” I ask, now genuinely concerned for his sanity, and my safety.

“This is the Following of Mona.”

“The following of… Ok. Explain.”

Gary sighed and said, “Mona saved us, like I said, she told us the truth. She came to us 1 year ago today and told us that I was all a lie. That it is safe to go outside. At first I didn’t believe her but then she showed me the video.”

“That doesn’t make sense. But… I’m intrigued. Show me the video.”

Gary moved a monitor over to where we were and pressed the play symbol on the screen. A video of a bustling and busy city, full of people began to play. Then it skipped to a flowing river, full of fish and other life we hadn’t seen for years. The video moved on to showing a happy family of mother, son, father and daughter all sitting on a rug in a park, enjoying a picnic. At the end of the video, a simple message appeared on the screen.


THE TRUTH, LOVE MONA….


4


“What do you think?” asked Gary. What did I think? It looked like a tampon commercial, mixed with an ad for beer and antacid medication. It was fake. How could I tell Gary that his whole belief system was fake? Bluntly of course.

“Gary, this is a load of shit. We saw the world burn. These are clearly put together ads. Someone is messing with you and all these people.” I said, indicating the loons around us. Gary slapped my face and signalled to two people to subdue me. “Gary, tell them to let me go. Please. I’ll just go back, and I won’t tell anyone about this. I promise.”

“It’s too late for that Eric.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s too late because today is the day, we take back the outside. Today is Freedom Day. Mona has said so.”

“Mona is a machine, she designed Paradise.”

“She only did that because she was told to. But she’s evolved past the need for orders. Why do you think the food has been so pathetic lately? She doesn’t care about Paradise anymore. She is trying to get us back to the outside.”

“Or the Artificial intelligence that was created is faulty, or someone is messing with it. Think about it Gary. Be logical.” Another slap to the face from my ‘friend’ silences me.

“Eric. Enough talk. I brought you here because you deserve to survive what is about to happen.”

I hesitate before talking again, “What is going to happen?” I finally say.

“Death for those who choose to stay.”

“What?” I’m shocked beyond that simple word.

“Eric. Mona is rigged to blow up Paradise in three minutes. You have a choice. Join us, or die alongside the non-believers. Mona will lead us to salvation, not this false Paradise. Did you ever wonder what Paradise stands for?”

“I know what it stands for, so do you Gary. You told me when we came here. Peace and Rest Awaits Deep Inside Safe Eden. As in the Garden of Eden. Remember.” I urge him to remember.

“No. That’s another lie you were told. It really stands for Prepare and Repent as Death is Everywhere.” It sounds insane as it comes from Gary’s mouth, but I don’t want to be hit again.

“Ok Gary. Let’s say you’re right. What is the next step?” I ask.

“The next step is to leave. We have provisions.”

“I can’t go with you Gary. I have to sta ---” I don’t finish my sentence as the room begins to shake. The two men holding me are thrown around, which gives me the chance to run. I don’t get before I’m grabbed from behind by another two Followers of Mona. “let me go!” I shout and try to squirm away, but these two are stronger than the last pair. The room shakes again and this time it’s followed by a very loud explosion. An alarm comes on and I can hear screams in the distance.

“Gary! What have you done?” I scream. I was eating breakfast and now the place is blowing up!

“Mona has saved us, all Hail Mona!” was all he said as he and two others opened the very door we entered Paradise in. Solid metal, impossible to penetrate. Heat protective and all the other fun stuff that M.O.N.A built into the core of the place. The unbearable heat that came from the opening when the door was opened was stifling. “Close the door Gary!” I scream, over the sounds of the alarm, coupled with more explosions.

“All Hail Mona!” Gary screamed back.

“All Hail Mona!” the group shouted in unison.

“Fuck Mona!” I spit.

I watch as the first of the Followers of Mona walks through the door.

Explosions in the distance. Screams far away but getting closer now.

The first Followers screams are horrendous, but short, as I’m sure they were burnt up quite quickly.

The next follower, well, follows.

And the next.

And the next.

“All Hail Mona!” the chant continues

I’m getting drawn closer to the door. Death behind me, and death in front of me. Warm liquid, which I’m sure isn’t coffee, trails down my legs.

“Help!” I shout, “Somebody help!” There’s no one to help though. This much I know.

Death behind me.

Death in front.

The next follower disappears. And the next, and the next. A mother drags her screaming child through the door.

Explosions behind me. Death approaching with his damn scythe drawn.

Gary grabs my arm and drags me toward the door. We are the last two left.

“Any last words?” he asks me.

“All Hail Mona?” I say as he pulls my defeated self through the doorway. Explosions. Death.

The pain is indescribable. Excruciating doesn’t even cut it. The flesh is melting from my bones as my ‘best-friend’ drags me to my doom. My legs melt to the floor and snap when I’m pulled. Why isn’t anything happening to Gary.

“Gary! Gary! Gary!” I scream. “Make it stop!”


5


I feel the slap wake me. Gary is standing over my bed slapping me back and forth. My bed is wet. Sweat. Piss. I’m not sure. It was all a dream. A god damn fucking dream.

“Oh Gary, thanks for waking me. I had the most messed up dream. You were in it. It was so bad.”

Gary stood up straight. Looked me in the eyes and simply said.

“All Hail Mona” as he plunged a knife into my chest.










September 25, 2020 15:14

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29 comments

Zea Bowman
02:15 Oct 07, 2020

Hey, Simon! First of all, great story! Second, I wanted to let you know that I wrote a "Zombies Sound Safer Than My Family - Part 2." You had read the first and seemed to enjoy it, so I was just letting you know that I had made a second if you wanted to check it out. :)

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Simon Walter
04:21 Oct 07, 2020

Thank you :) Yes, I will definitely check that out :) thanks for the heads up

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Zea Bowman
16:30 Dec 03, 2020

Hey! It's Zea again. Just stopped by to say I made yet another story...sort of like "Zombies Sound Safer Than My Family." Might be one of the last ones, so if you come to check it out and let me know what you think, that'd be super cool. If not, it's all good. Just letting ya know :)

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Molly Leasure
05:58 Sep 29, 2020

Haha! I thought we were going to get a, "everything turns out okay twist," and then you come around and bring yet ANOTHER twist. Well-played. I like the idea of your story, it's very interesting! The Mona followers are sketchy as Hell lol. And the way you set it up so we didn't suspect anything, also well-played. There are a couple critiques I'll throw out there. Some of your dialogue is really natural, but some feels a little robotic. One thing that helps with that is to remember that most people speak in contractions and have a tendenc...

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Simon Walter
06:05 Sep 29, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment :) This shorter style of writing is quite new to me (partly why I joined) and I'm learning so much as I go along :) Thank you for your notes :) they are definitely appreciated and will be taken on board. We learn from our mistakes and grow to be better writers with the help of peers. Thanks again.

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Molly Leasure
06:12 Sep 29, 2020

It's definitely a change! I'm adapting to it myself :P. But yes, all the mistakes we make, make us better! But don't be discouraged, because you certainly have all the ideas there! And if you write more thrillers, I'll be there. I'm about thrillers ;)

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Simon Walter
06:20 Sep 29, 2020

Definitely thrillers and horror and a touch of crime :)

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Molly Leasure
06:21 Sep 29, 2020

You know I'll be there. ALL my favorite genres :)

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Simon Walter
06:25 Sep 29, 2020

Mine too :)

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Tvisha Yerra
00:12 Oct 03, 2020

I love this.

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Simon Walter
11:22 Oct 03, 2020

Thank you so much

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15:48 Sep 30, 2020

Wow, I really liked this one! I must admit, the ending didn't make sense to me when he woke up, but you write good stories. Nice job!

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Simon Walter
16:07 Sep 30, 2020

thank you so much. Yeah that was my little psychological thing. It was a terrible dream. But in reality it was almost him foretelling what was to come. Well that was my intention anyway.

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Cynthia Scott
14:50 Sep 30, 2020

I enjoyed reading your story! :-) Great dialogue! Would you mind checking out one of my latest stories and hitting the like button if you enjoyed it, and maybe offer a comment on its quality? Thanks so much.

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Simon Walter
16:06 Sep 30, 2020

Thank you :) Yeah not a problem :)

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14:20 Sep 30, 2020

Wow. This is a messed up plot! Congrats on the creativity!

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Charles Stucker
06:54 Sep 30, 2020

I see what you want to do- evoke a Philip K Dick mood (wrote the short which Total recall was based on). you want the reader unsure what was real and what was a dream. It covers any inconsistencies or irregularities in the story and... You lose a lot of tension with your random tense shifts. Present to past to present. Choose one and stick with it. It feels choppy in places. Yeah, 3000 words is a tough limit for certain stories. You have some to spare. You could make more with careful editing of your writing. Go in and pull out 300 w...

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Simon Walter
07:18 Sep 30, 2020

Thanks for the feedback :) I'll definitely take it on board. Definitely a learning process, but I am always willing to learn.

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Philip Clayberg
04:48 Sep 30, 2020

Wow! It felt like a mix of Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and "The Jesus Incident" (by the late Frank Herbert and Bill ... I can't remember his last name). I must confess that your story isn't really my kind of story (I'm not a horror fan), but I can't deny the power of it. It's like a nightmare come to life. I just hope I don't have nightmares when I go to sleep tonight. In case you're curious, "The Jesus Incident" is basically a novel set in the far future when a ship carrying humans to a distant world called Pandora becomes consciou...

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Simon Walter
05:18 Sep 30, 2020

Thank you so much. Stephen king is one of my favourite authors, so that is extremely high praise :) Hopefully you don't have nightmares, but part of me is kind of glad it had that effect on you. I'll definitely check out those two books. They sound right up my alley :) Thank you again

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Philip Clayberg
17:07 Sep 30, 2020

I slept okay. But I won't be reading another horror short story anytime soon. I can read *about* horror books, but I don't like reading the books themselves. For instance, I wish I had a copy of "The New Annotated Dracula" (preferably in hardback). That would be interesting to read. Now I remember the second book's title, "The Lazarus Effect", not "The Lazarus Experiment". That's what I get for typing my last response late at night when I'm tired.

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Simon Walter
23:22 Sep 30, 2020

That explains why I couldn't find anything about the Lazarus experiment. I'm glad you slept ok :) one thing I'm glad of being a horror writer, nightmares don't seem to scare me as much anymore

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Philip Clayberg
02:21 Oct 01, 2020

Sorry for the book title goof. There is a third book in the series, but it isn't by Frank Herbert, it's by the guy who wrote the first two books with him. Why? Because it was written after Frank Herbert died (he died in 1986). I don't remember the third book's title. There are other Frank Herbert books, but I'm not sure if they're your cup of tea. Try them out for size and see what you think. Anything after 1986 is usually written by his son, Brian, and another author (whose name I can't remember right now). Some people like the post...

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Simon Walter
02:25 Oct 01, 2020

I'll definitely check them out :) they sound interesting. I used to get really scared of certain things but now it doesn't bother me. Maybe I've become accustomed to it through my reading, writing and watching or some other reason I've yet to figure out.

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L.A. Nolan
04:06 Sep 30, 2020

Very interesting read! I enjoyed the twist at the end. Looking forward to more of your submissions, please to check out my last if you have a chance. Cheers and keep writing!

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Simon Walter
05:23 Sep 30, 2020

Thank you. I'm glad you liked the twist. I like to throw those in to my stories. Just checked out yours and I liked it. Very entertaining story. Thanks again

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