My story is titled "Close Your Eyes". I was heavily inspired by a utopian society that almost exaggerates the reality of our world today. This Flash Fiction is about a boy who lives in a completely electronic world but is curious about nature and colors. He later wakes up in this seemingly dream world that is meant to represent everything beautiful about the Earth. I wanted to incorporate a detailed description of this world as I am extremely passionate about the environment and I think it is important that we all take care of the Earth's natural beauty. In addition, I love stories that leave you thinking at the end, so I decided to attempt to relay that effect to my audience.
The obnoxious buzzing and vibrations of their devices flooded the entire classroom, echoing precisely off each of the claustrophobic walls. This created a consistent hum that was more familiar to Tristan’s ears than the voices of his classmates, as his focus was glued to his virtual reality tablet. It became muscle memory to learn on a device, making education an individual experience. At home, Tristan’s strength never forgave his mind and its habits to see life through a tiny screen: the norm for anyone who had experienced the perfection cast by a metal telescope.
Tristan’s neck hung down and his eyes followed, gazing effortlessly at a pixelated yet vivid green landscape. His mind floated in the clouds, picturing the beauty of some seemingly far away planet. Occasionally his view drifted to the single window above his bed, originally built by distant ancestors, of whom Tristan winced at the thought. Scanning over the desolate grey, Tristan quickly jolted his head back to its downward position, gaining reassurance through the familiar brilliance of his tablet. A sudden rush of warmth entered his bloodstream, guiding his heart back to its steady tune, his virtual sanctuary.
Sometimes he wondered about trees, and how they might sway in the wind – if he ever saw one. He constantly attempted to suppress this thought, as he desired to be content in his bubble. He had heard rumors about real forests like the ones on his device, but his young mind never knew what to believe. Everything he learned at school was about ancient technology, including a detailed background of a man named Steve Jobs from Cupertino. His brain exploded at the thought of life in another city. Tristan only knew the colossal steel buildings and houses packed so tight that he could hear the daily program playing on the neighbor’s television.
There had been a warning broadcasted about the harmful effects of the current climate change. The excessive use of electricity had caused natural disasters to strike in a pattern that seemed to circle Tristan’s town. The booming sound of his heart soon pulsated throughout his entire body as he flung back onto his bed, pale, overwhelmed by the possibility of destruction to everything he’s ever known. His eyelids flickered quickly before snapping shut, revealing a vast land of mystery.
Darkness. That’s all he saw as he sat up, his hands pushing down gently behind him on the soft soil. For a moment, everything was still, peaceful. Suddenly, a rush of cold air brushed the boy’s brown curls into his face, to which he immediately tucked back into place. Calmly, he examined his hands, now covered in dirt, and realized they felt empty. He couldn’t put a finger on why he felt this way. Something braised his face softly, and as he looked down, a lovely shade of green that resembled something so familiar, yet foreign in that exact moment of time, sat upon his lap. He traced the path from which the color had originated, and choked on his breath when he saw a whole sky of green, dancing and twirling with the wind. The day was getting lighter now, as he sat watching the magnificent show before his eyes. He felt the warmth of sunlight kiss his skin, basking under a cloudless blue. As he took time to gather his thoughts, he envisioned his true desire: to escape an earth permanently damaged by human brilliance, an irrepressible, terminal brilliance.
He took each step with gratitude, softly lifting and then placing each foot in the virgin soil that fed the giants surrounding him. He noticed the incline ahead of him, and was determined to conquer it despite his untrained limbs. Heavy breaths, each one bursting with hope and life, seemed to propel him up the hill. He must have felt connected to the earth, for he reached the peak with a fearless smile. The silence overwhelmed Tristan with grace, and he felt more satisfied than ever with the simplicity of these rolling hills. Because he was so thoughtfully immersed, his fear disappeared completely, washed away by the sounds of white water crashing forcefully into the bank of teal. It was that same raging sound that shook Tristan’s body awake, only this time coming from the tablet flung beside him on his bed, which projected a live image of a rushing river on some seemingly far away planet.