Stream

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.
*FOR THE SCI-FI COMPETITION*

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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.

SHUT UP.

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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