Authors: E. S. Lowell
Tags: #lowell, #magic, #sci-fi, #fantasy, #lich king, #e. s. lowell, #science fiction, #post-apocalyptic, #the last fairy tale, #music, #rpg, #kindle, #video game, #artificial intelligence
Loganville, GA 30052
The Last Fairy Tale by E. S. Lowell, III
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or an actual event is purely coincidental.
Text Copyright © 2015 by E. S. Lowell, III
Illustration Copyright © 2015 by Ink and Dust Publishing L.L.C.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher at:
Ink and Dust Publishing L.L.C.
P.O. Box 2948
Loganville, GA 30052
Dust jacket style & design, typesetting and book design by
E. S. Lowell, III & Loakmanie Guiadeen
For my momma, who taught me our own version of Imp Stew. Though you are no longer here, you are always in my heart.
“Where you goin’?”
“To the moon!”
The Girl between Life and Death
Number 139b of Orphanage Nine was no longer alive. It wasn’t the first time the flag had been raised in the Coalition’s body-tracking system. In fact, this flag had been raised quite frequently, considering the rate at which people were dying. This time, though, was different. 139b was removed from the database of the living, but wasn’t moved to the database of the dead. In fact, it hadn’t been detected as “dead” at all. It had quite literally disappeared.
The body-tracking system and every Patrolmech it was linked to halted for just a moment. The system was iterating through a series of commands that it had never encountered. This made the system a little uneasy. But in less than a second, the system had fixed the issue and updated the Patrolmechs with the new data.
With the database updated and broadcasted, the Patrolmechs continued their incessant patrolling. The system continued repeating the list of the existing people, going from 138b to 140b and skipping 139b. Olivia Wickworth, number 139b of Orphanage Nine, no longer existed.
Once Upon a Time
Mr. Gloome was sitting in his office, his feet propped carelessly on his desk. He was a tall and corpulent man with a nose like a beak and hardly any chin. His features were altogether like that of any man; he had two arms, two legs, a head, a face, and so on. One might have looked at him and simply seen an ugly, high-nosed, middle-aged man dressed in a laughably tight and raggedy suit. But what one would have failed to see, as was the case with most people not in possession of special equipment, was that he had computer-aided deoxyribonucleic acid, also referred to as CADNA.
Except for the few who remained in the International Panel for Human Advancement, no one knew the story behind the true origins of CADNA. No one cared much anymore, either. Everyone, including Mr. Gloome, just knew they had it and had to fight it to stay alive.
He stood up, grabbed his keys from his desk, and strolled over to a sturdy black cabinet on the other side of his office. A few decades ago a more efficient method of securing valuable items had replaced primitive security devices such as the cabinet. This new method, referred to as System for Protecting and Collecting Electronically, or SPACE for short, had been developed for more than a century and during the years had gone by many different names. Although it was useful for storing electronic information, after the Blackout it had no purpose. Now a small generator provided by the Coalition powered the orphanage’s most critical devices.
As Mr. Gloome fit the key into the cabinet lock, he suddenly remembered a time before he had to use locks and keys, a time before he had to manage an orphanage, a time before the DNA Flu outbreak. He quickly shook his head and cursed himself for remembering.
“That time is over,” he muttered to himself. “You had nothing back then, Gloome. Just think of all you have now!” He snickered as he threw open the cabinet doors.
The entire cabinet was filled with boxes, all of them labeled: AVDNA Vaccines. These antivirus vaccinations were now the only way to keep CADNA free of errors. Mr. Gloome reached up, grabbed a box, removed two syringes, and replaced the box on the upper shelf. After locking the cabinet tightly, he tucked one syringe in his coat pocket and placed the other on his desk. He plopped himself back down in his chair and raised one hand. With a grin, he counted down from five with his fingers.
Five, four, three, two, one.
A bell suddenly rang throughout the orphanage. It was the first bell of the day, the one responsible for waking the children and alerting them to come to the dining hall for breakfast. However, because things didn’t usually happen that way, Mr. Gloome had taken to using his own method to wake the children. He leapt from his chair and danced over to the brass tubes on the far wall. The tubes served as an intercom system for the orphanage; it conducted sound without using electricity. He flipped open the cover on the speaking tube and leaned to it. This was his favorite part of the day.