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Zachariah Grey sat at his desk, stroking his chin as he pondered the empty page in front of him.

“No More,” he wrote, in elegant copperplate handwriting. His fountain pen scratched across the page, speeding up as his passions got the better of him.

He stopped, and re-read the page. He harrumphed, crumpled it up and threw it into the waste paper basket, then stood up to pace the room.

The problem was that he didn’t quite know what he specifically wanted to address next. He recognised that his campaign was akin to describing an elephant by its component parts, but he didn’t know whether to start with the trunk, the legs or the ears.

It was getting dark, he realised with a frown. He glanced at the clock, wondering if it had stopped, and lifted his hearing trumpet to his ear to check it. No, it was still ticking away – he must have simply not heard the chimes.

He laid the trumpet down and lit the gas lamps, then pulled the curtains to in an attempt to keep out the neon lights from the street. He harrumphed again. He didn’t have to listen to the beeping and whirring of the machines outside his door; simply laying his hearing trumpet down gave him peace from that. If only he could be freed from the sight of them.

It hit him like a steam train. That was it – the neon lights! The most obvious and intrusive symptom of the technological corruption of the land. That would be the next step in his campaign. People could argue that their cybernetic implants, flying cars and humanoid robots had no effect on those who didn’t use or interact with them, but the neon lights were indisputably unavoidable.

He sat at his antique mahogany writing desk once more, carefully refilled his fountain pen, and began to write.

“No More. No more should the hideous stain of neon light creep unwanted through the curtains of our community. No more should we be forced to gaze up at a night sky bereft of stars, the vast wonders of the universe hidden from us by the encroachment of humanity’s foe; no more should technology make our nights as day.”

Engrossed in his writing, his hearing trumpet forgotten on the side table by the fireplace, he didn’t hear the door open behind him, or the click of the revolver near his head.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Not a NaNoWriMo excerpt, as it hasn’t started yet, but a little vignette related to my planned novel “ESC”. I’m getting quite fond of the character of Zachariah, and felt it wasn’t fair for him to have to start out dead! With October drawing to a close, this will be the last of my daily stories, at least for the time being. There will be new stories on Wednesdays and Fridays only from here on. Thank you, as always, for reading.)

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