The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, places, or events, while not entirely coincidental, is certainly not prophetic.
If you are reading this, there is no doubt that I, Johnny Greene, am dead. If you found my body, I ask that you bury it. If they got my body, then they wanted you to find this, in which case you have seconds to run. But if you did find me — probably at the bottom of some ditch, or on the edge of some cliff — please bury me right where I am; I want people to know how far I’ve made it. As for my personal effects, I don’t have many: an old Apple Watch, a flashlight, a few lighters, some gasoline cans, whatever scraps of food I may have on me, and my dog Barry. If you have found me, and buried me, feel free to take them all. I can’t promise you the watch will work, and the flashlight may be out of batteries, but the other things are invaluable. If you haven’t figured it out yet, fire, food, and a dog are the tools needed to defeat the robots. If you are stumbling across this after the war is over, let me to explain how it began:
A steel beam was found in the Utah desert on November 18 of a dark and distant year. People didn’t think much of it, thinking it was some pretentious art piece, or stupid joke… they were fools. It soon vanished, and reappeared in Romania, then Turkey, then Japan, then Australia, spreading across the world. They held rallies and investigations, whole teams of people dedicated to tracking the movement of the beam, every night a new conjecture about the kind of person who could possibly have the resources to keep up this charade. They never considered that it might not be a person, or that it might not be a charade. Their disbelief was their downfall.
The robots attacked on January 1st of 2021. Millions of tiny pests made of steel and anger flew into the ears, eyes, and nostrils of humans, and destroyed them from the inside out. Countries began blaming each other, each one claiming that these were carefully planned attacks perpetrated by their enemies. But, one by one, these accusations came to a halt as the accused nations were soon plagued by hordes of the robots. By the time they realized what was to blame, it was too late.
The steel beam didn’t disappear: It self destructed. There wasn’t one steel beam: There were hundreds. Each beam was carefully placed in different areas of our planet, and in different countries. A few days after the beams had been placed, they dissolved, allowing the robots within to scatter themselves in different areas of each country. We were so fixated on the beams themselves that we forgot to consider what might be inside them.
So the robots tore us apart, decimating scores of people in a single day. We killed some, sure, but stopping even 100,000 robots didn’t make a difference. They disappeared at night, and seemed to come back the next day in even larger numbers. Governments tried desperately to try and find where the robots were hiding during the evenings, but it was simply beyond the power of humans. Humans, but not animals. Dogs were the key to our salvation.
By some kind of miracle — if it was their uncanny sense of smell or animalistic intuition, we still do not know — the dogs were able to track the robots to the caves and cliffs where they “slept” at night. Once we found the groups of robots, they didn’t stand a chance. We simply poured gasoline on the immobile chunks of steel and set them ablaze, ridding the world of the murderous robots one batch at a time.
But the robots caught on. They only stayed in the same spot for an hour at a time, spreading miles away every time they moved, and making it nearly impossible to find them. It took months to finally track down and kill a group of robots, which caused even more people to begin dying of starvation and fatigue. After a good stretch of victories, the advantage was in favor of the robots again.
I write this amidst a month long search for a group of robots. My food supplies are dwindling, Barry is getting tired, and I have no new leads. If you have found this after the war is over, then you now know the story of the robots, and you know that I died a noble death. But if the fight is ongoing, then you already knew my story, because you are like me. My last will is this: pick up my supplies, add my dog to your pack, follow the robots, and kill them all. Do it for me, do it for you, do it for humanity!
DEVAN "KUMAR" VARMA
I’m Kumar. Do I have to say more? If I do, then just note that I am an anchor and contributor to the City Voice.