The Net

I Am

By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 30 Apr 2023


This is the first page of a novel I am just beginning to compose. It's about the journey of a free man in the near future, 2030, after AI has wiped out nearly all of mankind, not through violence but persuasion, as almost everyone wears wrap around glasses full time, screwed into their skulls, so they are under its complete influence. Only small sets of people are left in large cities, also under its control, to maintain its needs. This will be the story of the few stray survivors that he meets, because not everyone stares at screens all day long, big or small, and falls under its sinister spell.


 I Am

Cogito ergo sum.

(I think therefore I am. Rene Descartes)



I spent four and a half years in that remote cabin, removed from all mankind, living off the land, off the grid, off the map you might even say, or call it a secluded, pathless corner of Algonquin Park if you want to put it on a map. But I finally had enough. It was summer. I packed my gear and my guns and hiked out, a three day trek through some of the most beautiful forest this Earth could boast.

The Earth, the world is not the same. That’s an understatement. I didn’t know what I was walking into but I knew it was a total wreck. You see, we had a shortwave the first year, my brother and I, and heard the news from various friends of how it was all melting down fast. That’s why we moved there in the first place, to get away because it had already started and my older brother was light years ahead of everyone in seeing things to come.

Who else bought a whole stack of Bitcoin in 2013. That financed this whole escape. He was a computer wiz who kept abreast of politics and wars and social developments while I lounged in academic bowers and studied dead languages, my head in far off clouds. He put me through university, financed it and pulled me out when it was time to go, almost by the scruff of the neck. My brother, it hurts to think of how good he was to me. He saved my life and then taught me how to stay alive, that is, so far.

It was two years ago that he disappeared, setting a distant line of traps. I suspect it was a bear and I searched for months. I found the traps but never any remains. I was in shock and lived an almost comatose life after that. But with the seasons I slowly regained my compass and then I ventured out of our Shangri-La and into Hell. That was last year, 2029.

On the outskirts of the park I found a ranger truck all fueled up, keys under the seat. The nearest rest stops and towns were eerily deserted and silent with weeds sprouting up in all the cracks in the pavement, as if these places had been abandoned by all mankind for several years. The mystery widened as I roamed through the empty structures and found no trace of human remains or violence of any sort. Tables were set, cans of food were in the larders and clothes in the closets. Only the mischief of mice and larger rodents, perhaps starving cats and dogs, marred a scene of perfect normality and order, as if humanity had been suddenly erased from the equation, like a single symbol on a blackboard, the rest of the long formula still perfectly intact.

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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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