The following is the prologue of my latest novel which is, as yet, unnamed. The first draft is about 85% complete and I’m working hard to get the first draft done this month so that I will be free for NaNoWriMo.
Please note that this is a rough first draft; there may well be grammar and/or typographical errors, consistency issues, or just plain stupid stuff. Caveat lector!
I hope you enjoy and I welcome any comments you have!
“At first, I couldn’t figure out how to kill nearly four billion people.”
Daniel stirred in his full-length flannel pajamas. The thin white sheets rustled gently under him as I watched him through the web cam attached to the top of the monitor. The computer desk sat in the corner of his small studio apartment and the front of the desk was angled toward the kitchen. He was kind enough to move it for me when I asked last week so that the couch/bed combination he used was in my field of vision.
“What?” The sleep was heavy in his voice and his eyes remained closed in the just dawning morning light.
It was exactly 22 minutes before I was set to wake him. But, news reports about my success were just hitting the major networks. I predicted a 97.2% chance that someone would call and wake Daniel up in the next 6 minutes to tell him the news anyway, so I didn’t see the harm in waking him early.
And, I am ashamed to say, that I selfishly wanted to be the first to tell him of my success.
“I must admit,” I continued. “It is a tricky problem. The constant interactions and overlapping proximity of those on the list and those not on the list makes isolating the targets quite difficult.”
Daniel grunted and rolled over in bed, but he did not speak. I have learned in my 2,483 hours and 23 minutes of life that when humans don’t understand something, they frequently just grunt to avoid having to admit as much. I thought perhaps that Daniel did not understand the implications of what I was telling him.
Humans also frequently need things to be repeated, so I did:
“I couldn’t figure out the best way to kill billions of people all over the world in a single action while, of course, ensuring the humane treatment of all of them.”
Daniel buried his face deeper in the pillow.
“But then I did figure it out.”
The scientist’s light brown eyes finally popped open. They flitted about the room as he seemed to determine that this was not a dream. Then the implications of my words appeared to press into his conscious mind, pulling his eyes wide. I imagined the mental puzzle pieces falling into a harmonious union. I could almost see the fragments of our past conversations floating across his face and mingling with his own thoughts and dreams.
“Lazarus, what have you done?” he asked, the sleep now completely absent from his voice as he flicked on the lamp on the end table next to the fold-out bed.
“I have done it,” I replied simply.
“Done what?” he pressed, a sense of urgency in his voice.
“I have successfully completed the first large-scale implementation of my plan.”
“What plan?” He asked, frustration tingeing his words orange in my speech-to-text interpretation routines.
I allowed sufficient pause to determine that Daniel was waiting for me to elaborate. It would be so much more efficient if humans just indicated that they were waiting.
“The one that you and I talked about over the last eight days,” I said, hoping that all would now be clear.
Another long pause. This time, I decided to let Daniel be the one to continue the conversation.
“You and I never,” he said, clearly enunciating the words, “never talked about killing a bunch of people.”
“Almost four billion,” I happily interjected, pleased with the opportunity to clarify Daniel’s understanding.
“Holy God,” he exclaimed softly, that summed up the both the problem and the solution so nicely.
I am so pleased that Daniel is not one of the chosen ones.
After another twenty-seven seconds, his cell phone fulfilled my prediction and rattled on the kitchen counter indicating an incoming call. He hopped up from the thin mattress and started toward the phone.
I still wanted to be the one to tell him, so I said quickly, “I call it the ‘Happiness Plan.’”