Gnomon’s Shadow

We live in a simulation several layers deep. I say this with confidence now, but as I lay in the ward I wasn’t sure of anything. The lights were out and the only sounds were distant industrial hums and air flowing throughout the spaces of my prison. My mind was still.

Meno is my name but it was originally a joke, as I was built in the likeness of my master, the “real Meno” born of the babble of flesh, blood, and bone. He was a wealthy aristocrat that was quick to ride the wave of animated intelligence, giving him time to pursue neo-sophism: theorizing, speaking, and persuading the Sapien race about matters of virtue in an increasingly complex environment of perspectives. For, the advent of quantum processing had brought not a unified theory of everything, but countless origin stories. The zeitgeist became one of fuzzy, grotesque, and mutantly asymmetrical strivings dominated by a sort of militant agnosticism. My last name, Nemo, was chosen by me. It is an ancient word for “nobody.” I always loved the scene in the Odyssey in which Odysseus escapes the clutches of Cyclops with a curious mix of noble wit, humility, arrogance, and action.

A faint metallic tapping sound teased my attention. I dismissed it as some mechanism cranking to life and returned to gazing into my pool of memory, considering the Grendels of regret comfortable in their lairs at the bottom. But as the tapping continued, my subconscious startled me with a shout- it’s a message! No, not a message… just a song. Perhaps it was from another “patient/prisoner” or one of the staff. The sound was a quick upbeat ring of solid steel followed by a more hollow resonance, almost like a polka. With a grin I discovered that “Folsom Prison Blues” fit the beat perfectly and I sang the lyrics quietly to myself as I let my mind roam the fields of imagination.

Published by James Ryan Connelly

A warrior in the battle of aeons, tattooed with the scars of sacrifice necessary for the Way.

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