The earliest memory he could recall was the tink tink tink sound he kept hearing on the street.
She was laying next to him, still reeling from the previous night’s fiesta, unconscious but still breathing. He began to carefully remove the paper thin sheet that covered their naked bodies.
Slumbering over to the bathroom he gathered what he could from what he could see. His head was throbbing, in a typical vodka/gin hangover. His mouth, raw from last night’s relentless acts of debauchery.
Gently closing the door, he turned quickly to a giant mirror, now illuminated with the flow of orange incandescent light bulbs. They gave off a slight hum humming and it reminded him of the electric scooters, making those sounds only to alert humans but not really necessary.
Staring into his dugout eye holes he opened the tap with a single flick. The water was ice cold. He splashed his open eyelids with the cold fluoride water that flowed from her moderate apartment building. It was indeed nice, as she suggested earlier. Wooded floors that creaked; with the aesthetic of an artful hipster.
After washing as best as possible, he gathered once more and exited the bathroom swift, in a motion of a Navy SEAL. Unnecessary to be quite frank. She was still out cold. Her body partially covered. Succulent, he thought, but alas adeu. Not even the solar coming through the wooded window shutters wasn’t enough to awaken her. She did like to party, hard after all.
Uh, what to do — what to do? He thought to himself as he double laced up his red and white Nike's. Those sneakers that you get for around forty-five euro. The white matched his faded blue denim jeans, a slim fit. The morning was his; she still rested so what was the plan?
What was he to do?
After a quick inventory check our guy exits the apartment into a hallway familiar to the assault of 2032. Chipped paint, dim lighting so that you couldn’t really make out that the wallpaper had some sort of brown slime on it. Like someone was smoking meat out here. Smelt like that too. The carpets had a damp spongy feel as he glided cautiously through.
Patiently waiting for the lift. These apartments had those new fancy OTIS lifts, the ones that spoke to you in a kind of nice way. You could speak back to them, in a sort of cathartic conversation, and it would probably be more conversation than was spent last night.
They had a nice big yellow alarm button, these new fancy OTIS lifts, that just rang up instantly a female-AI that could assist you, dispatch the needed emergency services and calm you in any possible lift-scenario-situation, in any language of course. At no point a real human voice, not in a long while.
“Going down” it said calmly and he chuckled at that, reminiscing the sight of her blonde dreadlocks doing her thing down there. You’d have to go through two doors because of the mailbox foyer and you’re on the carrer — the fresh air and silence. Oh how sweet it suckled his nose and ears and chilled his skin through his jacket. Electric cars whizzed by; again only because humans wouldn’t hear them coming otherwise.
Cyclists shimmered past in their solar absorption suits, those fancy ones you get at the upper end stores that also cost an unnecessary fortune. They looked like a school of fish; their shiny Plasticine-type suits reflecting the solar. An Asian looking woman walked briskly past our guy and sort of tucked herself into herself even more in the cold. It was indeed cold. But he was hot in his thermal body suit working bio-metrically to regulate his internal temperature. How fancy of him.
The solar shone, in all it’s glory. If you looked up through the concreted carrer towards the sky you’d see the O-Zoner’s working away, spraying their chem-trails in the sky. Reworking the damage done, or at least protecting this part of the world.
Other parts were fucked. Completely and utterly. Desert. Nothing for miles. Other parts completely consumed by the melted arctic ice. Melting the arctic shelf also released archaic viruses that killed about three quarters of the global population. Bubonic plague, Spanish Flu and the sort. Horrible stuff eventually counteracted by the solar that comes through the atmosphere.
Religious types thought it was the end of days. Some offered themselves in anticipation. Others thought that this natural purge was a sort of reset. The ones that survived, the ones you thought wouldn’t, reclaimed the old salvageable cities after the Third World War.
They harnessed different AI’s to perform different reconstructive blueprints that could build habitable environments for humans in the changing world. The AI developed within a few days and implementation started immediately. By this stage, the global trajectory was looking dim, it was about mitigating the damage. Hence the solar absorption suits, but no need to be fancy.
These new cities thrived. There were few people, AI had provided easy solutions to human problems and soon it became the go-to solution for everything. The AI mind-hive suggested many things to the humans; however the entire consciousness of AI’s in different industries and having different purposes all suggested the same thing to the humans: Singularity.
Gaps in the ozone provided unfiltered solar energy. Energy was no longer an issue. These giant solar farms exist for kilometers as far as the eye can see. Gigantic solar arrays provide energy to the cities and power almost everything. They were set up by The New Governance, the unknown suppliers and overall caretakers of the New World.
Under these large panels, climate refugees seeking refuge in the cooling shade, built their homes and communities. It’s tough; resources are hard to maintain above surface in the Wasted Lands.
There were underground routes between these cities, being caught out there in the Wasted Lands meant imminent death. Imagine being cooked slowly enough but quickly enough to see your flesh turn red, then a light brown, then charred black soot. All while still conscious of course. It’s that fast too.
Our guy catches the nearest underground to the nearest station furthest away from her. Here, he gets a coffee; or what they now called a “coffee”. It doesn’t matter. He downs it swift, shimmies out the door double time and sits back and waits for the next underground to the city of Barcelona. Yeah, it’s still around surprisingly. Most of the city is waterlogged though. You can get to some parts by gondola, those residences still get hit with solar though.
The next train south was in 15 minutes so our guy just sits and waits. Entering the metro from the station above, he watches silently a mother and child, well mother and a child. We’re living in a time of singularity, remember this please. This generation is digital. Our guy isn’t, he can’t be. Not yet in any case, maybe in the future — he’s already born. The new children however are ‘born’ from biological parents, but instead as the child’s consciousness develops in the womb, it is simultaneously being uploaded to the mind-hive and is then aborted post birth.
The child’s consciousness, now mapped into one’s and zero’s, is assigned a body. The child’s consciousness develops as per normal, but doesn’t require a body anymore. No more human needs. No more aging, sickness or injury. Just pure digital.
There’s also a whole market now and it’s growing. Birth and customisation is a big industry. You can get all sorts of trinkets and things to add to your body to enhance it. Arms, legs, eyes. The appeal to customise the children of the future was so appealing that only a very few number of purists kept having real children.
The oldest child is 7 years old. It can withstand temperatures exceeding 200 degrees Celsius in the Wasted Lands. It can be armed with all sorts of mandibles. The child is only seven. Well, it’s quite the feat nonetheless. Our guy notices the child’s picture on a poster inside the train station. Oh what they have done to that child.
The inter-city-underground-train arrives and our humble white and red doubled tied gets on, heading to his apartment in Barcelona, or what’s left of it.