Unplugged pages

He clutched his pack close to him in the same way a child (afraid of losing a possession to an older sibling) grabs onto a favorite toy. Nobody was in the room, but the fear was instinctive, and prodded his action without his needing to even think.
He knew what the book was, though he’d never seen one. Truthfully, he wasn’t even sure of that. How could one know for sure without The Feed. The sum of human consciousness, direct and accessible … and infinitely malleable. There was no permanence, no solidity. The Feed could say one thing one day, and something else the next, but there’d be no way to know beyond a vague sense of unease.
The book, he knew, was rigid. It was permanent. For untold years it remained. Unchanged. Odd. He wondered what it actually said (the need for reading long since gone and forgotten.) The mess of marks inside was foreign to him, but he could make out glyphs used on the cover … numbers (still used) … 1984. If only he could ask about its meaning before they took it away.

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