Robert Darwin was walking down the street, thinking that something was weird about this day. His mind could not grasp what was wrong, so he just shrugged and thought about other stuff like his career…Darwin was once a young man, just 25 years old, and he had kick-started his career magnificently. He was the avant-garde of his time. He could solve mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, only better. However, all of his fame diminished when science technology took a different turn. His life changed at when he was 40. Technology kicked in, and that resulted in a HUGE downfall of the manual economy. People started to give in. They recklessly bought all the latest tablets, gadgets and whatnot. Darwin was not one of those sheep. He kept devoid of all gadgets other than his traditional dialling house landline phone. He had worked hard enough to retire without any fear, and had a small little farm where he grew vegetables and ate them, and had no family. He was suspicious about all these gadgets belonging to the same brand- Shadow.
Every single gadget, you name it, has this automatically installed software; Shadow. Whenever he thought about it, he was reminded of a similar dream he had, where every device belonged to software and in the end, the software destroyed soul existence, overthrew his creators- humans, and constructed his own army. This dream always triggered his view about the future. Days passed, and he continued to grow food, read all the old-days novels he had, and tried to stay off electronic tracers. The latest news was that all pets and animals being injected with a chip that helps details of (if they are tamed) who they belong to, house address and emergency phone contact of the owner. No doubt they would start injecting chips into us. He had chosen a wooden house in the high mountains, as far away from civilisation as possible. One fine day, when he was eating soup-n-chips, he heard whispers. Not childlike whispers, but authoritative, deep-voiced ones. He immediately pushed up, threw the soup in the sink, ran to his bedroom and took all his spare ammo and his pistol. Really silently, he tiptoed towards his secret door, in the closet that took him outside the house through the backyard. He could hear shouts, “Open up in 3, or we’ll blast open the door.”, but he was long gone.
Darwin went out to his hideout in the adjoining city, which was a house in a small unused farm. There, he began to barricade his door. He didn’t have a passport, he didn’t have his ID card. He was doomed. No one would recognise him as Robert Darwin. With dismay, he sat down on his dusty sofa. It had been an eternity since he came to this hideout. Suddenly, he heard some strange noises. It was like……someone was standing behind him. Right then, something hit his head and he fell down, blackout. Just before losing all consciousness, he heard a robotic voice saying “Intruder temporarily removed”.
Robert slowly stirred, his head hurt so much. Much to his surprise, he was still in his living room, on the sofa. He checked his pockets. Guns secure. Checked his shoe sole, ammo secure. After that, everything which happened was as clear as crystal. He stood up, check all the rooms. All clear. He headed down, to the basement.
Everything. Was. Abnormal. Originally, his basement was a dirty mess, full of garage-sale books. Nevertheless, it had changed into…..a techno-hub. There were high-fi computer screens that hung on the wall. And in the middle was a small pillar, with a remote in a clear bubble. All this was too much to take for Darwin. He silently backed out…..and bumped into something that definitely wasn’t there before. That something was a box, and something about the box made him realise what he needed to do. He walked over to the pillar, poked the ball, it popped. He took the remote, hid it in his……..underwear and walked back up. Before reaching the top, he had one last scan of the room that was devoid of cameras. He could see the Shadow logo almost everywhere. On the tiles, in the pillar’s code. Everywhere. He backed out pretty fast and, thank god, did not bump into anything this time. He ran out to the house and realised it was almost 11 pm. He needed another place to stay in. He could not reside here. He could not go to his house. Where could he go? At that very moment, a supercar picked him up and zoomed away. He could see the logo of Shadow there as well.
“Why hello Mr Darwin. It has been a long time.”
All Darwin could see was an oblong face, a long nose, and a slash upon their eye. He replied, “Who the holy knickers are you?”.
But the oblong faced man did not reply. He simply wore a mask and said: “Jesus turn on the AC”. Suddenly, the car filled with white gas, and he lost consciousness for the second time that day.
“Come on, big boy. Wake up.”.
Darwin awoke to these words. He was confused now.
“Hahaha, nice place to hide the gun and ammo. Shoes….pockets….too easy for an old man like you, eh?”, said the oblong-faced man.
Darwin wanted to laugh. Too easy? What about the REMOTE in his underwear. HAH!
“Who are you? Give me a name so that I can address you properly”, Darwin said.
“Shadow. You know, the brand you have been hiding from?”, Shadow said, knowing more than what he should. Shadow was mysteriously grinning.
He began telling Darwin about his plan.
“You know, I plan to rule the world. This twist in technology with my software Shadow was just a building block. Almost everyone in the world has my software installed on one part of their device or the other. Will you believe it? Out of 6 billion people in the world, you and another lady are the only ones who managed to stay out of my tracing radar. Hats off. But I found you, and I found Shay. Oh yes, Shay.” Suddenly, he pointed towards the ceiling and said: “Shadow, bring her in.”.
Darwin looked at the lady being brought in. Looks as old as he did, and surprisingly more fit than she should be.
Suddenly, the electronic buzzers started creating a havoc. At that moment, both Shay and Darwin bolted towards the door, tumbled into one another, and then Shay pulled Darwin alongside her. They ran to her bike and rode into the twilight-lit forest. There, she took him to an area that seemed no different than the other, pulled open a hatch from below that couldn’t be noticed and woah! The grass didn’t fall off when the lid was opened. When she saw Darwin’s bizarre look, she said: “I had to take precautions, come on”.
When they were safely inside, he noticed her room. Books, and maps, and drawings were all that could be seen. She gave him some coffee and said, “We don’t have much time, Shadow is going to use his software to turn everyone into soulless soldiers to his army, wants to rule the world or something. Hurry up and tell me whether you want to go with me to the past world or not?”
Confused, and with utter disbelief, he said “What….”
“I HAVE A DAMNED TIME MACHINE!”
Darwin was shocked, and in the moments of his decision, God wrote his destiny. Shay’s Bluetooth speaker beeped, a voice said: “You can never hide from one who designed the science world.”
With that, everything seemed duller, Darwin came to the slow realisation of the fact that his soul was being sucked away, and the last moment, he touched the button on Shay’s necklace, zoomed the dial back to any year 100 years from now, and slipped into the past.
This was the end of living on Earth, the end of Shay, but not the end of Darwin.