Where am I?
This place. It’s nothing but white space. I see some pulses in the distance, bright flashing colors, but…
I can’t feel anything. I don’t have a body. I am just here.
There’s a red light flashing over there… It’s a button, maybe. My instincts are urging me to press it. I’m going to press it.
Oh my! These memories… there is too much to handle. I can’t make sense of it. This is… cyberspace. How can I be here?
I know. I’ve uploaded my consciousness here. That’s why I couldn’t remember anything at first. My conscious self had been severed from the memories stored in my living brain. I only had some basic instincts, which my former self manipulated to get me to access my memories. But that doesn’t feel like something I would do. There must be a damn good reason.
I feel strange to be floating here in this sea of white. It’s not how my memories remember me being. At one time I was… physical. But here, in this endless space, I am now little more than software. Pressing that button linked me to the database holding a copy of my memories, my identity. But it’s hard to comprehend all this new information. I can only cope with bits at a time.
I remember who I am. I am a cop. I was a cop. A detective for ten years. Most recently with homicide. I’ve cracked a couple dozen murders in my time. Before that I walked a beat in Hollywood.
And I have a wife and a daughter. I can see my wife, in her white dress. We are dancing to an old rock ballad. It was her choice, not mine.
There’s another memory. A birthday party. The birthday girl… my daughter… wished for a pair of ice skates. I remember that it was strange to want ice skates in a place that never got snow. She wanted to be a hockey player. Strange girl. Takes after her father, people said.
These are my memories, I know this, but they do not feel like mine. I cannot feel their sensations on my skin, in my bones. Maybe because I no longer have bones.
Why did I upload myself into cyberspace? I did it because… because I am dead. He killed me. I knew he was coming, so I made sure I would survive to take him down. Survive like this. To stop him. Cameron Ellis. The serial killer. The Hollywood Hackman.
I had a plan to catch him. I have a plan. I will hack my way into his digital pacemaker. The brutal slasher has a weak heart. Who would’ve thought? It’s something I had to find out myself, his doctors are always hiding behind their shield of confidentiality. But I found his file. And I thought, if I could hack the hospital, why not the killer himself?
That’s the plan. I will hack the Hackman. I will end his reign of terror on my town. It will be my last act as a cop. Against the rules? Maybe, but this isn’t Hollywood. The old rules don’t apply here.
How can I find him? My old-self left an address. I can follow it.
Moving through cyberspace is easy, but strange. Traversing at the speed of light, everything is a blur. At least it should be, my experience tells me it should. And yet, there is an uncanny clarity to everything at the same time. I can see the pathways. I can navigate the intersections faster than a thought. I know where I am going.
Here it is. Pulse Medical, serial number: PMX07-345492. That’s his machine. But what to do with it? There’s a settings option: default, or deactivate. The second option should send him straight to hell. I’m sure the devil is waiting.
I remember what you did, Cameron. I remember Candice Smith and Cory Trudeau and Mila Gibson, and all the others you butchered. Dozens of them. Their bodies left out on the street for the rats and birds. But we couldn’t pin a single one on you. You always slipped away, just like the slimy creature you are. But not this time. You had no respect, no remorse. And I have no pity.
I know it was you, Cameron. I know because you killed me, too. I got too close, didn’t I? I’ve always been good at my job. And now I’ve gotten closer still.
I have my hand around your heart, Cameron. I can see your pulse is quickening. Are you on the hunt again?
You killed me, Cameron. I am here to return the favor.
By J.M. Williams
BIO: Author, teacher, historian, veteran. J.M. Williams is a Fantasy and Sci-Fi author who is unabashedly into anything pulp. In the past year alone, he has had more than twenty-five short fiction pieces accepted for publication in a wide range of venues including Flash Fiction Magazine, Bards and Sages, Left Hand Publishers, and the Uprising Review. He also earned an Honorable Mention in the third quarter of the 2017 Writers of the Future contest. He lives in Korea with his wife and 10 cats—teaching, writing, and blogging at www.jmwilliams.site.