Stark Reality

(100 word flash fiction)

She eased into the immersive reality machine and touched the power button. Excited and impatient to try out a new software. Utterly untried. Called Stark Reality.

The smell hit her first. Harsh, acrid, almost forgotten. The smell of burning.

Explosions rent the air. Soldiers passed in jeeps shooting randomly.  She turned to flee, tripped and fell.

A deafening thunderclap lifted her off the ground and threw her against a wall. Pain lightning streaked through her body. She could barely see. She tried to feel her face. But where were her hands?

How was she going to reach the power button?


I wrote this story and went to bed and spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the nature of reality. It seems our bodies are virtual reality machines with our sense organs giving us the input. Our brain is the computer and our mind the software. But all of this is controlled by the Ghost In The Machine who decides when to power on and off (dramatically called birth and death). After powering off, the GITM might find another VR machine and power on again. Who knows? The GITM does this for no other reason than to have an immersive experience, much like we would go on a roller coaster ride 🙂 However, we tend to identify with the machine, the computer, the software, the whole package or even software generated concepts like gender, race, nationality, all the while forgetting that we are none of these. We are here just for the ride 😀 Well, not my thoughts exactly. The mystics have been saying this for centuries 🙂

It’s that time of the week, when one’s mind itches to see the photo prompt that Rochelle faithfully puts up for the eclectic group called Friday Fictioneers. Today’s story is for the prompt below –

PHOTO PROMPT - ©Claire Fuller

PHOTO PROMPT – © Claire Fuller

38 comments on “Stark Reality

      • I have had a re-read. Interesting concept, but a tad ambitious to get across in a hundred words I’d say. I’m familiar with the philosophy, have even contemplated it from time to time, but I certainly didn’t ‘get’ that from the story. Probably just me.

      • Dear Jolly,

        Your story on the story raises some intriguing questions. I’m glad I came back and reread.

        I wish I could say I’ve completely recovered but some challenges have arisen. Nothing insurmountable, just unexpected. Thank you for the well wishes.



  1. To me this didn’t read like a time machine, but the ultimate computer game where you smell, feel, are in it. Like StarTrek’s holodeck when the safety mechanism is turned off. Great thoughts on the reality of reality. Of course it’s simple: None of you are there, and I’m the center of the universe, with a vivid imagination. 😉

    • Thanks you. Glad you got it 🙂 I did say immersive reality machine, dunno why the others thought it was a time machine. But it doesn’t mater. We are all holographic projections, after all 🙂

  2. Jolly, what an unusual and fascinating story. I enjoyed your commentary at the end, too. We make a lot of assumptions about who we are, but we are we really? Just today I was in my yoga class and my teacher talked about how the body remembers things in a different way, through cell memory. Your mind may have forgotten experiences, but your body never forgets. So, while is certain poses, your body is talking to you, where is holds pain or discomfort. I found that fascinating and I could relate it to your story. Great job! You should fly with this one.

C'mon, don't be a silent spectator ....

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