Fiction: Update Day

I’m trying something different with the beginning of my writing session tonight.  Tonight, to get the juices flowing, I’m going to grab a writing prompt, and write using that prompt for ten to fifteen minutes.

Tonight’s prompt comes reddit.  The prompt is:

One day everyone notices the words “Human Update 1.1 progress 1%” in the corner of their eye.


Daniel awoke slowly, the blare of the alarm clock loud in his ears. He lay on his back several moments, staring at the ceiling. He was having trouble finding the willpower to pull himself out of bed.

His bare feet touched the hardwood floor, and the chill of morning bit into his legs. He cursed, rubbing his eyes as he shambled across the room towards the alarm clock. His hand hovered over the snooze button before falling on the off switch. Silence replaced the cacophony. Daniel sighed and rubbed his eyes again.

As he teetered towards the bathroom, he raised his fists to rub his eyes yet again. He stopped, blinking. It wasn’t an eyelash or eye snot in his field of vision. White text in a tightly kerned font floated in the lower right corner of his field of vision.

“Human Update 1.1. Progress… 1%.”

Daniel blinked several times. The words were only visible while his eyes were open. He fidgeted with his hands. He pinched his forearm hard enough, and winced.

“Is this some kind of trick?” he said. He smiled and waited a moment before saying, “Okay, you’ve got me. I don’t know how you’re doing this, but it’s pretty clever!”

When no one responded, he hurried out to his living room and turned on the television. A man and a woman sitting behind a desk with a cityscape behind faced the camera. On the bottom of the screen, the same words floated in a banner.

“-not sure what it means,” the man was saying. Both reporters were frowning. The man gripped his papers in a white knuckled grip that he didn’t seem aware of. The woman sat with her hands clasped in front of her, as though to trap them in one place.

“Doctor Parks, a biology professor with the University of Illinois is on line one,” the male reporter said. “Doctor, you’re on the air.”

“Thank you,” a phone voice said. “While we still do not know the exact cause of the visual phenomena, the two prevailing theories are mass hallucination, and spontaneous genetic mutation. Indeed, the latter


And that’s all I have time for tonight.

The writing prompt made me think of Daneel Olivaw, for some reason, so I named the protagonist Daniel.

I’m not sure exactly where I was going to go with the story.  This was purely seat-of-the-pants writing.  There were a number of directions I could go.  I actually like the prompt for that reason, though it didn’t really fit with a 10 to 15 minute exercise.  I could probably spend a couple of days with that and write a full short story.

Before I could finish it, I would need to look at the human condition and determine the one thing I would change to make the race better.  Remove violence?  Replace selfishness with altruism?  I’m not sure.

Anyway, that was an enjoyable exercise.  If you liked it, let me know, and I’ll do it again.  If you hated it, let me know that as well.