Tale Of Antigone

Interviewer:  When did you know, or suspect, it all went wrong?

Me: There was nothing indicating that I’d failed until now.

Interviewer: Was there more you could have done?

Me: Clearly, I’d re-think my assumptions and take further steps, or not become so narrow in my thinking, and maybe even my objectives.

Interviewer: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?

Me: Whatever you create takes on a life of its own.  It no longer belongs to you, even if you’re credited – or reviled – for its existence.  Most of us know, or have read, Mary Shelley.  We understood, generally, that forces beyond our reference can intercede, but we also reason that that only happens when you’re careless, or evil.  I used my genetic code to create a better version of myself because I wanted to see what that would look like in the world.  What choices would she make?  What heights would she attain?  I believed all the variables were controlled and contained…  I deeply regret my arrogance.

That was the gist of the short and feeble phone interview I allowed after Antigone created and released a virus that was far more devastating than the Bubonic plague, Ebola, or AIDS combined.  She was everything I had hoped for upon her awakening.  Her human DNA combined with programmable memory – designed to interrupt inhumane or violent thoughts or actions, failed to take into account her ability to rationalize her actions.  Humanity was a scourge, Antigone reasoned.  Few were working toward sustainable life – and those could be inoculated against the virus before it was released.

She chose a swath of humanity to protect – so many scientists, leaders, philanthropists, teachers, and other forward-thinking citizens.  Antigone tiered the die-off.  There would eventually be four hundred million dead in the United States, and in all of North America; two hundred million in South America; two hundred million in Europe; three hundred million in Africa; three hundred billion throughout Asia, and Australia; and several hundred million throughout all other reaches of the globe.  The first wave of dead would be burned and buried before the second wave broke out, and before an antidote was released.  The third wave would not reach quite as many as intended because Antigone released the antidote shortly before her destruction.  Whatever humanity lived within her must have surfaced as she bore witness to her action’s outcome.

Why she spared me is something I continuously ponder.  She knew I would suffer, certainly, but did she feel some sense of connection to me as her creator?  I was not incarcerated because my scientific work was too valuable to the Government, but I was under house arrest.  My research notes, experiments, and coding work, revealed that I did not premeditate Antigone’s actions due to her fail-safe programming.  She didn’t override her programmed code, but circumvented it, which led to her demise.  I had coded an undocumented interval virus that I could remotely activate to shut down Antigone’s AI, and kill her body, if ever necessary.  I hadn’t considered the scope of Antigone’s thought process.

I had thought, of course, that she might try to undo, or act against her code, but that thinking was only as a series of precautions during her programming, or so I attempt to console myself with.  Her code worked, but her human brain, her DNA – my DNA – overcame her AI, and all other barriers to inhumane actions.  The virus, was, in a sense, humane.  It acted quickly – killing the brain before mutating to kill the body.  It worked within hours, and was stunning in its delivery.

Antigone came to see me at my Newport, Oregon, home soon after she released the virus.  She wasn’t emotion-less, but believed she acted justly.  It was a moment that changed me down to my very cells.  I had created a monster.  Frankenstein showing on a towering screen at that moment would not have construed the quake of shock rocketing through my being.

She left without further discussion, and after activating her internal virus, I notified the Center for Disease Control, whom Antigone had already contacted.  She had claimed sole responsibility, and stated her reason for her actions.  I owed the world my explanation, my regrets, and the end of my life, which will have happened by the time this tale is revealed.

Antigone is gone, and I go with her.  May the world never experience the like of us again – but knowing humanity as well as we do – I hope you’ll fare better then.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Being Honored And Honoring

The Versatile Blogger Award

I think what I like most about blogging is discovering other blogs that make me want to read more, and often change how I perceive the world, and/or myself.  I so enjoy these folks who have blogged on topics impersonal and personal, tragic and uplifting (sometimes in the same post, or at least on the same blog), and my favorites are those who can pen nearly all those states with a sense of humor.  Some have made me snort out whatever I’m drinking at the moment in a fit of laughter (which is a cautionary tale about not drinking while reading blogs), while others have left me leaving my chair for a tissue to wipe my eyes (which is why I now keep a box of tissues by my computer desk).

Here are the requirements for having such an honor bestowed upon you (should you choose to fulfill it)

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.

Thank you so much Renee Mason of:

http://pooterandboogersplace.wordpress.com/

I found Renee’s blog after she ‘liked’ one of my posts, and I was riveted from the start.  Although the first post I read was intense in subject matter, it was the way she wrote that pulled me along and invested me in what was happening, making me want to know more.  I’ve since found her to be delightfully sarcastic, hilarious, and real.  I’m grateful to have found another writing sista in the blogosphere.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

~ I go out of my way to find humor.  I seek out friends who I can make laugh, but more appreciate when they make me laugh, or when we laugh together.

~ I can mimic accents fairly well (as long as I can practice them for a while before trying to speak them authentically – or at least what I hope is authentically…)

~ I have been singing since I was four or five, and first recorded a song for a local advertisement when I was seven or eight (with my entire second grade class).  I am not a great singer, but I am a good singer.  Singing is one of the few things I ever cared about excelling at.  Acting and writing are my other life pursuits.

~ I like meeting people and learning about their lives.  Humans, for the most part, are so cool.

~ I dislike judgment around age so much I never tell anyone, and I lie if pressed to reveal it.  It’s less about vanity and more about not wanting to be codified.

~ Fear and procrastination have been the biggest obstacles to achieving what I desire in life.

~ I am sometimes ridiculously selfish and petty, but I am also often generous and magnanimous.

3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

5. Post a picture of the Versatile Blogger Award on your site.

http://brendamarroyauthor.com/ – Brenda’s is one of the first blogs I discovered that speaks to my heart and soul, adding fun, joy, comfort and another woman writing friend on the journey!  Thanks Brenda!

http://belleofthecarnival.com/ – I don’t know Belle Of The Carnival’s real name, but I do know she’s hilarious, entertaining, and thought-provoking.  I’m happy to have found another phenomenal woman writer out here in Internet-land.

http://happyvalleynews.wordpress.com/ – Paul resides in the same area I do, and I recently found his blog and have looked forward to his writing, video posts and commentary ever since.

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ – Lesley Carter’s blog is about LIVING!  Reading her blog has inspired me to be braver, laugh more at myself, and just do whatever I can to enjoy this limited time I’m given.  She’s who you want cheering you on when you’re not quite sure you can do it.

http://notquiteold.wordpress.com/ – Nancy Roman’s blog is fun and thoroughly enjoyable.  I like her take on every day life, along with her sense of humor!

http://quotidianhudsonriver.com/ – I found Robert Johnson’s blog after he had ‘liked’ one of my photo-challenge posts, and I’ve come back to his site again and again.  His pictures of the Hudson River and take on life around it make for a fascinating photo journal.

http://lifeasiknowitv1.wordpress.com/ – I first met Molly through another blog that she had chronicling some of her life and times in Alaska, particularly a hiking challenge she embarked on.  It was comforting to have her posts during a time that was not so great, and I love her new blog: ‘Life as I know it’.

http://talinorfali.wordpress.com/  – Talin had me at Lemon cake! Her blog isn’t a food blog, but she posts recipes sometimes that I can’t wait to try, and her writing style is comfortable and familiar.

http://kanatyler.wordpress.com/ – Kana’s Chronicles makes me smile and want to read more (ok, sometimes I cringe like when I saw the picture of the stitched up leg, but it was a good post…).  I appreciate her humor and take on life.

http://findinglifeinadeath.wordpress.com/ – I only know her as ‘Rising On The Road’, but as with many of my favorite blogs, I found her blog because she found mine.  Her writing is lovely, and her life journey is as varied as it is beautiful to read about.

http://melodygodfred.com/ – Another versatile woman writer I found on WordPress is Melody Godfred.  I’ve learned so much from reading her blog posts, and am looking forward to reading her début novel!

http://blinkutopia.com/ – I’ve followed Jim Culleny’s topical commentary for years in my local newspaper, and I’m delighted to read more of his writing and even some of his poetry too.

http://thelaughinghousewife.wordpress.com/ – Tilly Bud is another happy find on WordPress.  Her posts keep me giggling, and often pondering.

http://chicoryskies.com/blog/ – Deborah Gregg Folk Art Paintings.  I so enjoy Deborah’s art.  The colors, style and subject matter keep me going back to look at her latest creations.  Thanks, Deborah!

There are many other blogs that I’ve come across and read, so it was hard to pick some and not others for my count of fifteen, but there are some that would have been on the list no matter what.  I think I appreciate the varied audience that writer’s have.  Some only like humor, some only horror, while others go in for adventure or romance, and there are those who take a pass on fiction altogether and stick with facts – which we all know is often stranger than fiction anyway.  I appreciate being given this award, and I hope those I returned the favor to will feel honored as well.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

A Short Story

Today I decided to post a story I wrote while in college.  It was printed in my college newspaper, and while the writing is acceptable to me, I feel like I’ve grown more as a writer since it’s publication.

~ Happily Ever After ~

Jerri Higgins ©1989

Diane turned the corner and thought she saw Chris across the street.  Her heart pounded as she retreated back around the corner.  She inched her head out to look again, and a weakening sensation of relief came over her as she saw it wasn’t him.  She prayed she wouldn’t meet him on the street.  Continuing on to Avernon & Bullock, Attorneys at Law, Diane couldn’t stop her hands from trembling.  ‘How strange’, she thought, ‘to feel such hate toward someone I still love.’

Eighteen days ago they were together, but that night he had come home and ended their relationship.  She remembered clearly and painfully his pronouncement as he sat beside her on the couch – the couch they bought at Cassandra’s Furniture in Soho when they first moved in together.  He bluntly stated: “I’m not attracted to you anymore” and he hoped she would “be okay”.  His words made her feel numb, and sounded remote, like he was talking about someone else.  Hadn’t he pledged his eternal love to her?  Didn’t he say, just a few months ago, that they would be together always?  She replayed his words over and over in her mind.  He said it had been building up for a while, and he tried to get back the old feelings, but he couldn’t.  And then, he got up, took an already packed suitcase out of the hall closet, and walked out the door.

Diane shook her head in an effort to stop ruminating on what happened, and went over her speech to try to win him back, if he would listen to her.  She straightened up and made her steps more resolute.  She would do nothing of the sort.  She didn’t want him in her life if he didn’t want to be there.  Five years meant little to him.  There was someone else out there for her, wasn’t there?  Diane turned to go home, and then checked herself. ‘No! I’ve got to do this’, she thought. ‘I need him to see me and make sure there’s nothing left for him – for us’.

Her gait slowed as she walked, but she was intent.  In her mind she saw his deep, grey eyes – those beautiful eyes that could look so hurt that she would give in during an argument – even when she was right.  Diane came out of her reverie, surprised to find herself a block from the intersection before the law building.  This was where she and Chris had met six years before.  She had been rushing for a taxi, the same one he was running for.  They argued over it for a minute, and both stubbornly got in, announcing a mutual destination of LaGuardia Airport.  Diane laughed first, then Chris.  He said he could have waited, that had he missed his plane, he might have been able to relax for the first time in months.  She told him she had to make the plane for her first assignment as Head of Public Relations for Greylock Investments.  She was headed to a meeting in Chicago.  He, too, said that he was on his way to Chicago.  Diane continued that the investment firm she worked for was reviewing a number of law firms; among them was Avernon & Bullock.  Chris had looked at her so surprised that Diane blushed thinking she had been babbling.  He had laughed at her expression and revealed that it was his father’s firm, and how big the odds were against them both getting in the same taxi, bound for the same destination.

Diane reminisced with a smile how he had affected an accent like Humphrey Bogart’s and said: “Of all the taxis in all the world and she had to get into mine…”

Chris’s father, George Avernon, and his partner, Charles Bullock, owned the prestigious law firm in New York.  Diane remembered her nervousness; she wanted to impress Chris.  His easy manner and disarming smile relaxed her, however, and they chatted all the way to the airport and managed to sit together on their flight.

They became fast friends and were dating steadily within a few months.  They fell madly, passionately in love, and by the end of the year they moved in together.  Sex was incredible; life was good.  They worked too much to get very used to one another, and Diane once remarked how their life together felt like a modern fairy tale, to which Chris responded by swirling her around, dipping her in a graceful movement, and bringing her up to him with a tender kiss, said: “here’s to our happily ever after!”.

Then, three years later, Diane’s firm had a major restructuring, and she was laid off.  Depressed for weeks, she stayed in, needing more of Chris than he could give.  She looked for work intermittently, and tried to get out of her slump, but began to be bothered by little things that Chris did or said.  She felt Chris withdrawing from her but when she asked he would tell her: “Nothing’s changed; I’m just overworked, and tired.”  But he was leaving earlier and coming home later too.  Diane hated herself for the way she felt, for arguing over petty issues, and she vowed to make things better.

She began getting up with Chris and making his lunches before her now daily routine of cold calls and any networking opportunities she could find.  She finally got work in sales at a graphic design firm, and after a while it seemed that her and Chris’s life was getting back to where it once was.  Chris seemed more at ease.  They were making love more – and they were talking more frequently again.  Diane noticed that Chris was paying more attention to their relationship.  He would even occasionally keep her awake late into the night again, telling her childhood stories, discussing his dreams and hopes for the future.

“That’s it!”, she said aloud.  A few passersby looked disdainfully at her.  Diane was too caught up in her conclusion to care about her impropriety.  ‘He only talked about himself’, she thought.  ‘I was never included.  Maybe I should have talked about what I wanted.  He probably wants to start a family and thinks I’m too involved in my career!  Maybe…’

Diane cut her thought short.  It wasn’t about a family that Chris left her.  It was because he thought he couldn’t be happy with her anymore, but she needed to convince him otherwise, if he’d even hear her.  Chris’s last blank look toward her flashed through her mind, and her anger flared.  The sad fact, she mused, was that she still loved him, and wasn’t handling the break-up as well as Chris seemed to be. Diane switched her thoughts to how Chris would see her looking and feeling her best, and he would realize the terrible mistake he had made in leaving her.  He’d beg her forgiveness, saying that he didn’t know what had come over him, and although he wasn’t worthy – would she give him another chance?  A smug satisfaction filled her to think of Chris on his knees, begging Diane to take him back.

A slight laugh escaped Diane at this thought, but a blaring horn brought her back to reality and she shuddered to see where she was.  She checked traffic and stepped off the curb.  Across the street the chrome block letters of Avernon & Bullock seemed to mock her.  The black marble facing that had always represented elegance to Diane, now seemed cold and stern, as cold as Chris’s words: “I’m just not attracted to you anymore.”  Her stomach turned with that thought.  She shrugged it off with a more determined stride as she tightened her grip on her shoulder bag, pulled open the glass door, and stepped inside.  Her heart raced again with the thought of what she would say to Chris as she proceeded down the long hall.

The last door on the left was only a few feet ahead.  She stopped in front of the dark, mahogany door.  Diane breathed deeply to steady herself, but her hand shook as she grasped the cool black knob and turned it.  The receptionist was gone, as she had hoped, but she knew that Chris almost always ate lunch in his office.  Diane glanced at the clock above the desk: 12:15.  She crossed the room to Chris’s office and cupped her ear to the door, but heard nothing.  Perhaps he’d gone out to lunch after all.  She knocked lightly, half hoping there would be no answer.  The sound of his familiar footfalls across the hickory flooring of his office made her stomach flutter.  Chris opened the door; his usual pat expression of greeting leaving his face.

“Diane! – Why? – what are you doing here?”

Diane looked into his eyes.  Wasn’t there a flicker of his old feelings for her?  The love must still be there – it just needed coaxing, she thought.  It couldn’t have left him so soon.  She quickly suppressed those feelings, and said:

“I want to know if you might change your mind about us.”

“Look, I’m very busy”, he stammered.  “It’s over, Di.  I don’t have anything else to say.  I’m sorry, but that’s it.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that, Chris”, she said while reaching into her shoulder bag, pulling out a .38 Special and pointing it at him.  She saw the color drain from his face as he gasped and blurted out,

“Diane, what the he…”

She fired twice into Chris’s chest, and watched him fall to the floor, surprised at how calm she was now.  For a moment, time seemed to stand still, and then a cacophony of noise sounded all about her.  She heard other doors banging open and the sounds of shouting and movement in the hall as clearly as though it were all going on next to her.  She would never know who found them.  All she thought, before taking a final breath and firing into her heart, was that she and Chris would be together, forever.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.