Advanced Settings


bright-phone-against-wall-266x174

He had just begun to slipstream behind a massive 747 when the unfamiliar chiming brought him uncomfortably into waking.  He blinked his eyes, trying to get them to focus through the thick screen of sleep.  The room was dark but he could see the small rectangle of blue light on the table next to the bed.  It was pulsing slowly, the light bringing the shapes around it in and out of focus.  The ceramic lamp that shared the nightstand with the glowing phone began to throw ominous, looming shadows over his bed.

The tones that came from the phone were completely foreign to him.  He had had the same phone for 3 years and always used the stock alarm tone.  It sounded like a sleepy island band playing a tune in the morning.  It was a sound he liked actually.  He liked it much better than this new tone.

He grabbed the phone and squinted into the blinding blue light.

Nothing that he saw looked familiar.

He sat up in bed, letting his eyes adjust.  He swiped and became even more confused by the icons that covered the small screen.  None of them had names.  Not normal ones anyhow.  Each was classified with a series of 4 digits.  He tapped one of them and a small window popped up.

“Please identify yourself to access Advanced Settings.”

Identify himself?  It wasn’t asking for a password.  There was no text box to fill.  He was confused.  He nearly dropped his phone when it spoke the words aloud.

“Please identify yourself.”

The digital yet realistic voice was female, but rigid.

He looked to the corner of his screen, trying to see what time it was, but the time bar was gone.  No numbers silently ticking by as always.  He glanced around his room, but remembered that the only clock he owned was on his phone.  He rubbed his eyes when the voice broke through again.

“Please identify yourself.”

He remembered the soft green numbers on his microwave.  He got out of bed and walked toward the kitchen.  His apartment was dark aside from the soft glow of the orange street lights through the openings in the blinds.

“Please identify yourself.”

“Yeah yeah yeah, I heard you the first 3 times.”  The voice sounded irritated, but he was sure that was just his imagination.

“Please speak clearly for identification.  If you are in a compromised situation please wait until you can speak clearly.”

Now he was staring intently at his phone.  He hadn’t pressed anything.

“What the fuck?”

“Please speak clearly for identification.  If you are in a danger close situation please wait until you can speak clearly.”


It was responding to his voice.

“Fred Cross, my name is Fred Cross.”

Entry not valid.”

“Frederick Cross.”

“Analyzing.”

He pulled the phone away from his face and stared at it.  What the fuck was going on.

Access to Advanced Settings permitted.  Welcome 7380.”

The screen began to flash odd symbols and pictures.  First slowly then faster and faster.  He could not look away.  His focus grew sharper and sharper.  It felt like lock tumblers were spinning in his mind – clicking into place until the flashing images stopped on a single image of 4 digits on the screen.  7380.

Agent 7380 walked silently to the wall where a large painting hung opposite his couch.  He pressed a button that no one would have seen even if they were looking.  The hydraulic locks hissed quietly as they released.  He pulled the edge of the painting and it swung forward effortlessly.

The heavy scent of gun oil and rows of glistening black steel greeted him like old friends.

This post can also be found on the site I write with my girlfriend.  To also read her response to the prompt can also be found on vladandvera.tumblr.com

This is from a Prompt from the MasterClass

300-700 words

Choose one of three:

Advanced Settings

Slipping into another skin

Blinding Darkness

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