[INT – LUKE’S ROOM – EVENING]
See the boy at his screen, hunched over, glowing a ghost blue. His fingers are mobile, going crazy, tap tap tapping away at a thousand unseen problems.
See the boy’s eyes dart to and fro, always searching, locking on and then moving forward. See the colour of his glow pulse, grow dark and then reappear again brighter than ever.
He’d complain of boredom but he knew that wouldn’t help anything. He’d just have to keep going… keep posting. Keep lyi… No that’s not the word, he thought to himself.
A bang on the door.
Luke lifted his head away from his work with a sharp snap. He felt his heart skip one important beat. He didn’t even realise how dark it had gotten in that room while he’d been away. So much time must have past without even realising. Had he eaten dinner even? Luke wasn’t sure and he didn’t really care.
“You decent?” Came the voice from the other side of the door.
Luke had to think of something quick, he definitely didn’t feel decent. Sure, he was clothed and awake, but he didn’t feel ready to see anyone in the flesh just yet. It had been a long day and he was exhausted. He felt spiritually sweaty from his work.
“Gimme a minute” he called back. He voice broke in the middle of his sentence and that was that. He wouldn’t be talking much to anyone tonight.
The door handle turned and then suddenly the black world was cut open. Slowly, surely, a thin strip of light began to grow.
“What are you doing in there? Come get some dinner” The voice was clearer now. His sister’s, obviously. It was caring and sweet, professional, but ever so delicate, as if she’d never offended anyone in her life and didn’t plan to start now.
She was younger than him by just under a year. That was a hell of a streak for Mum. She hadn’t been able to keep it up though and so Luke and Perrie had to deal with life as the last two Bracken children on Earth.
Who was Perrie though? Who am I really living with? Luke half-wondered to himself. Almost without thinking about it, Luke was at work, sleuthing away. With a few quick taps, he was through, through into a world of digital Perrie.
The last thing she had posted was a lie, Luke knew that…
14 hrs ago
Mt Lofty conquered 😎
… but he wouldn’t say anything about it. He loved his sister too much to call her out, even though he knew how easy it would be. The truth, that she had driven to the top of Mount Lofty’s lookout point and then walked for half an hour into the brush before turning back, could be shared with all the effort of hitting a number of keys. But no… no… Leave it.
“Well, you coming or what?”
Luke disregarded the question of food again. He wasn’t hungry.
“Got a few Likes on your Mount Lofty post, didn’t ya?” Luke laughed nervously at his own question.
“Really?” Perrie feigned ignorance of her Facebook popularity. “How many?”
“Fiiiiffftttyyy… three now.” Luke decided the best thing he could do would be to Like the post himself. With this inconsequential move he could show her that he was a supportive brother rather than some sort of jealous rival. It felt like sound strategy in some grand, hidden game.
“Cool. Cool cool.” Perrie was in the room now, leaning with her back against the open door. She was still in her jogging gear. Bright pink Nikes, high-tech grey crop top. “Anyway, like I said, it’s dinner time. Dad’s going out to the Fish ’n’ Chooks. When you’re done stalking people, come eat.”
Now that he resented. I’m not stalking anyone! I’m not doing anything that everyone else isn’t doing! You’re putting all this on Facebook! It’s public, you know?
“Sure.” Luke said. “Just give me five more minutes. I just wanna Google something.”
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Operation Electric Forever, was created during the SA Writers Centre Digital Writer in Residence program during 2016.