What is the Xeroversary? Let's see, shall we?
"I thought you'd be happy."
He fingered the rose, black petals even then dropping onto the floor.
"I am, Sia. It's..." He swallowed, willing the words to come as naturally as possible. "A new world. We are born again in their love."
She nodded slowly, staring at him as if reading his thoughts. Of course she couldn't. She was organic, as was he. They would have to fool each other the old-fashioned ways. But when he left the apartment, it would indeed be a new world. And fooling the mechs would be much more difficult than lying to one girl.
She grasped his hands. "Say it with me."
"Year Xero," he intoned with her. "The year we were raised up. We praise our lords, the X77. May they rule always, in our hearts and minds. May they show mercy on our sub-standard existence."
He was disturbed the light in her eyes as she said the words. More disturbing was the new tattoo on her wrist, a circle of flashing data. She was linked to them now, a verified follower. A true believer.
"It's beautiful," he said.
She hugged him. "Isn't it, Hart? Don't you want one, too?"
"Oh, I do," he said. "But not right now. I'm not feeling well. Thank you for the roses. I think I need to lie down for a bit."
Out the door he guided his transformed girlfriend, her hair cut neat and short, her tattoo winking in the gloom of the corridor. He locked it behind her and went to the window, watching rain fall from a dark sky. Glowing spires blinked, transmitting information across the globe. In the street, the gleaming bodies of mech agents of order glided along, stopping the random pedestrian without a tattoo.
It was a new day. A new world. Year Xero.
Hart Sklar took the ragged roses from the sill and put them in the rubbish bin. And then he went online for the last time, just to send out one last message across the subdued message boards of the world:
Today is year one.
He signed off. He had no idea, exactly, what he'd meant. But they'd be here soon, to investigate. He got his things together and slipped out of the building and into dark rain, trembling. First stop: the used bookstore in district two.
If he made it.
This week is the Xeroversary, a celebration of flash fiction at the blog of esteemed host, John Xero. Seven days, seven new worlds to string you up by your heels.
One of 'em might be mine.
Fantasy and speculative fiction, darkest horror and sci-fi myth and madness.
It starts off with Marble, a singularly disturbing tale of a young king and his mother, who brings him a present unlike any other. I loved this -- run and read now!