Everyone now has a constant stream of information flowing into their heads. News, films, music, books. It's never-ending.
Ana has finally had enough.
She wants out.
She wants to stop the Stream.


1. One

News bulletins have been reporting a fatal cargo train crash in New Mexico station. The driver, the second-in-command, and fourteen onlookers were killed.

Shut up.

One nine-year-old child's head was crushed beneath the wheels of the train.


The skull smashed, the brain irreparable. Nobody tried to save the child as it was so clearly dead.

I let out a strangled scream and throw myself at the wall while the calm, metallic voice spoke of horrors inside my head. The voice doesn't waver. I butt my head against the wall, trying to drown it out. It crackles slightly and I straighten on triumph, but then it carries on, talking of the most recent tsunami in Third Order Atlanta.

The world sways slightly in front of my eyes. I raise a hand, trembling, and feel my head. Something wet and sticky is in my hair. I take my hand away. My fingers are dappled red.

“Ana? What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” I call back shakily.

I cross hurriedly to the chest of drawers, seeking out the materials. I yank open the top drawer. No. I open the second. Yes.

A fistful of plasters, bandages and antiseptic cream lie on top of my brother’s biology textbook.

My hand trembles as I lock myself in the bathroom, clutching the cream and bandages. I wipe my head with wads of toilet paper until it comes back stained only faintly with pink. I smear on the cream before wrapping a bandage around my head so it looks like I have a toothache.

Great. Just great.

I splash my face with water, sighing.

“When you were gone, I thought my heart would never heal........”

The latest song on the charts starts playing inside my head. Big drums, raspy guitar, throaty vocals. It must be the Music Channel’s turn.

I grit my teeth and tuck the used medical stuff behind the mirror. I unlock the door and step into the hallway.

Emi walks out of the lounge door and freezes. “Whipped cream and noodles, Ana! What the heck happened to your tooth?”

I walk up the stairs and slam my bedroom door in answer.

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