Word Count: 966
Writing: 59 minutes
Editing: 21 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Warmth. That’s the best way to describe it. A world full of the most natural and comforting warmth one can possibly imagine. He liked to think it was like the warm embrace of a loved one inside a mother’s womb, before birth. The device was called Yazz, but if you knew how it worked, if you were a pro, you could call it Liquid Gold.
It had been at least ten years since the device was introduced into society by Microsoft, to help enhance people’s day by projecting the world through their emotional state. For instance, if someone was happy then it would be a beautiful sunny day outside, whereas if someone was depressed it could be raining or snowing. All depending on what their personal preferences were of course. Microsoft claimed it would help humans remember that the world truly is their making, and train their brain to have a more positive outlook when in bad moods or going through tough times.
People were afraid at first, but they’re always afraid at first. Yazz looked like a large, dead, robot spider. Once turned on the dome piece censors—spider legs—would relax themselves becoming easily moved and adjusted, and able to fit comfortably around the human skull. In the middle, a small, blinking red censor held the device together on the crown.
He’d been a Yazz owner for almost ten years and could barely remember the world without it. Microsoft said they didn’t encourage long-term Yazz use, but he never believed them. Why else would there be so many customizations, and ways to personalize your Yazz? He knew lots of people like himself, Yazz masters. Men and women who knew the mysterious device so well, they could achieve something that only others like themselves would ever be able to fathom. Liquid Gold. But most didn’t start out in the liquid gold state, for some it was easy. For others, it could be a long, hard road to hoe.
He thought back to his first few months using the device. It frightened him and he hadn’t wanted to wear it, but it wasn’t optional. They regularly used it as a therapeutic mind training device on people who attempted to kill themselves. He looked down at his wrists in the sun’s warm golden rays. He’d gotten lucky by being found in time, but back then all he’d wished was for a couple more minutes of bleeding, a darkness that lasted. Not just another failure. Instead, he got a white room with soft walls, new gown, and a device called Yazz that they forced on his head so it could rain all the time.
It was a month before he got mad, before he hated Yazz enough that he became determined to see the sunshine through his window. He sat and listened to the therapist during their sessions, attempting each and every technique at optimism and controlling his moods. It took another month before he was able to see the sun. But after that first time, when the rain finally broke and the sun crept through the darkness of the gray clouds, it became a regular visitor. Until finally there were no more rainy days in his life.
After a month of happiness, he was ready to be released back into the outside world. Upon departure they told him he would have to return his Yazz. Not a problem, he thought, sure thing. The time came, the button was pressed, and the legs released. He blinked, once, twice, again and again. It wasn’t a dream, he couldn’t make it change, rain poured from the sky outside. They told him it was okay, it would be whatever he wanted to make of it. He’d beaten the rain before.
Now he walked basking in the yellow-orange glow that radiated from everything his eyes touched. Full-time users had become a regular thing after a decade of the device being on the market. It always made his heart sink when he saw someone sitting, alone, with a Yazz on and a broken look on their face.
One girl in particular always stood out in his mind. He was walking up the street on another liquid gold day when he saw her sitting at a bus stop. She was by herself, wearing all back, torn jeans and ratty coat, very goth. Their eyes met as he passed the bus stop, she had the bluest eyes he thought he’d ever seen and they were leaking tears rapidly. He stopped walking,
“I don’t know why you’re so sad,” he said, “But a girl with eyes that blue should never live in a world so dark. It’s all what you make of it.” Then he gave her a big smile and continued walking.
What a world, he thought. It was the future after all. Science had provided humanity the opportunity to live in a reality of their choosing. A world completely and utterly up to the individual user. He walked by men who were down in the dumps and surely seeing rain or snow at that very moment, while others passed with what he could only assume was the same stupid smile he wore every time his eyes were opened. People criticized the Yazz users, saying they were a drain on society, living in a fantasy land, common degenerates, and so on and so forth. But he knew something they didn’t, something these close minded people would never be able to comprehend. As far as he was concerned Yazz was the key to enlightenment. The key to a new life where people could truly and utterly be happy. They could call it whatever they wanted, because at the end of the talking he got to walk away from it all in the land of Liquid Gold.