Beta Test

The dim desk light threw a warm glow across the keyboard as tired fingers pecked at worn letters. A clock ticked, the second hand monotonously marking time, seconds into minutes, minutes into hours. Crushed cola cans leaned drunkenly against a stack of books, the ever-present, always growing “must read” pile. The top-most book was open, pages fanned away from a bookmark, the title promising he could code an artificial intelligence in twenty-one days.

He made a deft key press and a web browser popped up. The site was already bookmarked, nestled between Engadget and Google. The mouse cursor hovered over the words “Ficly Preview” for a moment before he clicked.

His hand twitched, the cursor jumped up the page, highlighting the word “inspiration” in a warm, welcoming yellow. His finger jabbed at the mouse button and the screen went blank. An eyebrow shot up; that wasn’t right. A cursor blinked, before a stream of letters appeared rapidly on the screen, as if typed by some unseen person.

“Shall we play a game?”

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