Dorian Keys

Science Fiction Author

 

Dorian Keys, author of IMPRINT LEGACY (2019) and MORNING STAR (2020), resides in NYC. His current publications have been translated into several languages.

Though his main focus is science fiction, Dorian has the ability to write almost anything. Morning Star, his collection of short stories, definitely proves that.

Care to experience some of his recent works?

 

Visit his Website

 

 

Author Dorian Keys reads Yesterday’s Tomorrow – Coming 2022

 

Yesterday’s Tomorrow – Excerpt

 

You could say I come from a broken home. A broken planet. Physically and figuratively. A leftover of an era when we still talked. Fellow citizens weren’t afraid to look one another in the eye, and friendships were still a thing.

At the edge of the Earthly town where I lived as a child, nestled near a series of fields and hills, was Section Eight ― the westernmost neighborhood of the city where I was born. The one we lived in had four entrances, and there were three families per floor, which meant that there were plenty of children roughly my age to play with.

Because we had no real toys, all of us kids would run laps around the pothole-ridden, run-down side streets, which seldom experienced any traffic. That made Section Eight anything but quiet. Noise exponentially increased when one of the neighborhood friends had something to celebrate.

To be a little more detailed, I fondly remember Lira, our next-door neighbor, mainly for the cakes she baked. Our families were close before I was born, so she was in our apartment at all hours of the day. Lira usually came in to chat and gossip with my parents or hang out with my grandma when she babysat me. Other times she would ask for eggs or sugar or whatever other scarce commodities she needed, and we did the same. Anyway, one specific night Lira was baking a cake for her daughter’s birthday, her third. Of course, my parents would help in any way they could. Even if it meant we had to ration some milk and sugar for a few days until they were available in the market. The celebration that followed had all our friends, including my personal best, Tony, Lori, and Suela, crammed in the short and narrow hallway of the building we lived.

Earth has many names now; some call it a colony, others a battleground. The latter is undoubtedly true, especially if one is unlucky to stumble upon the flurry of audio and video transmissions the media mega-corporations spew into outer space.

Though it has been over two decades since I last played and ran on those dirt roads on Earth, the memories are still vivid in my mind. Sometimes they feel more real than the present day.

______

Sighing, I placed the back of my hand near the lit white circle on the right side of the white doorframe. Above it, a series of numbers accompanied by a large square quick response code was enclosed by a thin rectangular frame with rounded corners. The most visible digits were ‘38-42.’  I understood that the number 38 indicated the floor level, and the rest of the characters and the quick response code were used by the EvoGens and maintenance personnel when repairs were needed. These blocky white numbers label all units which here and there would be out of place. In fact, the most visible numbers of the unit right next to me were 24-115. The door rapidly dematerialized, revealing the inside of my personal living quarters.

I didn’t know where the System found the inspiration to design these accommodations, but I could feel the psychological soothing they projected. The bottom of the interior wall was painted in a milky white color, which, going up to the top, gradually faded to blue. About half an inch in diameter, several small LED lights were sparsely laid out on the ceiling and evenly illuminated the area.

Dropping my bag on the top of my bed, on my left, I walked inside the room. The front door materialized behind me, muffling the persistent electric hum of the generators and transformers that were on the other side of the building beside the magnetic traffic lane. I walked into the bathroom, which was in the farthest left corner of the room, turned on the faucet, and splashed some water on my face. Raising my head with my hands still on my cheeks, I felt water drip from my chin.

The rectangular mirror stood about six feet above the ground. It was at the perfect height for me to see my reflection. My dark hair, pressed against my forehead by my hat, was leaning slightly to my left side. Because of the lack of sunlight, my skin, pale as it usually was, had become even paler. Dark circles under my eyes showed my lack of sleep. I rubbed the water out of my eyebrows and looked at them through the mirror. As I stared at my reflection for a few seconds, my eyes slowly focused on the TV wall unit behind me.

“Open the window and show me the commercial district,” I commanded it as I grabbed a towel from the shelf on my left.

The TV wall had a remote control. It also had a little booklet detailing every possible voice command it accepted. I didn’t remember all of them, but most were based on the System, intuitive. This one wasn’t, though I could clearly see why it existed. These units had no physical windows.

Multicolored pixels rapidly flashed as the large monitor flickered and displayed a slow rotation of live video feeds taken from different cameras near the commercial district.

“Stop here,” I commanded the screen again as my favorite feed came to display. Likely from a camera mounted on top of a streetlight pole, it showed the tall neon-lined commercial buildings, all of which projected advertisements on their sides. In the middle of the screen were the traffic lanes, all three layers. As transports and the occasional train moved on the ground floor, other vehicles floated on the second and third levels.

After drying my face, I threw the towel back on the shelf and crossed the room to the small kitchen area.

“Play some ambient music,” I commanded the TV wall once more as I took a clear plastic cup from the shelf on my right and opened the fridge. There were three tubes labeled with tiny LED lights in the shape of a water drop by the handle. The one with a blue dot dispensed drinking water. Half an inch to its right, another tube labeled by a white dot dispensed milk, or “milk-like product,” I should add. The one next to it had a different color depending on what drink was available that month.

Inside the refrigerator were several compartments: for bread, fruit, vegetables, and so on. The System would replenish whatever I consumed. My account would be billed based on what I expended for the month—no need to shop or borrow from friends or family…no need for a neighborly chat. I picked a box labeled “fruit” and looked inside. Below two yellow passion fruit, there were some acai berries. Mixed with them, there were some almonds. I knew that I would find the usual dried fruit, grapes, apricots, and such if I dug any deeper. Not feeling like consuming any of that, I closed the door.

I pretty much had everything I could need as far as eating and drinking went, yet I wanted nothing. Then I remembered that special drink I’d bought a few days ago, in the sealed metallic bottle.

As slow but steady ambient sounds played from speakers nested in the ceiling, I sat on my bed, pushed my pillow out of my way, and opened my backpack. Tucked in a special pocket in the main compartment was the tablet I used to read the daily news and entertain myself during my commute. All the way at the bottom was my water bottle, and next to it, the sealed metallic jug.

My mouth salivated before I even reached for it. What a strange feeling to have. I knew that what was inside wasn’t tasty. The smell of fermented liquor immediately emanated as soon as I twisted the cap open. It reminded me of homemade grappa. It reminded me of Earth, of home. Something my dad and his brothers used to drink when they came for a visit.

The lady who’d sold it assured me this drink wasn’t what I thought it was. Taking a sip out of it, I immediately felt the alcohol burn its way down my esophagus, finally stopping in my stomach. As a familiar buzz clouded my head, I kicked my bag on the floor, adjusted my pillows against the wall, and sat on my bed. The initial fruity flavor was quickly replaced by the unforgiving liquor aftertaste, which persisted.

Soaking in the sounds and sights from the wall-sized flatscreen TV, I took another sip of the liquor. Though the wall in front of me displayed images of the futuristic city I was in at the moment, my mind drifted toward home. I took another sip.

Leading with C-3 Live Feed, C-3 meaning Colony Three, of course, the obligatory chyron scrolled on the bottom of the screen displaying stock market stats across the colonies and news of the day. As my eyelids got heavier and heavier, I took another sip from the metallic bottle. Placing it on the ground, I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep.

To Be Continued… 

 

Dorian Keys – Expected release 2022

 

 

 

  Cozy Reads Publishing