Characters for a Day

By: Sam Mortimer

Considering which character I’d prefer to be in my novella, even if only for a day, I’d rather not be any of them. Each character’s life is tougher than nails and has perilous cruxes to figure out. These characters’ lives are metaphorically dragged through the mud, then, they’re dried off with smoldering ashes of their loved ones.

If I had to choose though, there’re two characters I’d ponder being. The first one is the ubiquitous Ultimate Reality. While the idea stems from ancient beliefs, Screams The Machine shows Ultimate Reality in a slightly different light. Ultimate Reality’s purpose evades the human mind, yet it is ubiquitous. Its incomprehensible expanse interests me to the highest degree. I wonder what’s currently beyond our human senses, what else there is to discover about our universe. How much of our biology limits us? What portion of the universe do we not experience? What can’t we see, touch, hear, or smell? We could be missing out on entirely new sensations. Maybe we already feel it? The answer is, I don’t know.

Ultimate Reality is everywhere, even in our dreams. At one point in my life, I had recurring nightmares of demonic possession.  I’d feel a malevolent force invade my body. It had such brute strength that it could slam me against walls in these nightmares. Then the demon made me experience mental anguish I’d rather not type about. I’d wake up terrified, transfixed with fear. I literally couldn’t move. Eventually I read Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World, and learned about sleep paralysis which monumentally helped me understand. In Screams The Machine’s world, those experiences would be part of Ultimate Reality.

In contrast, I’ve also had a significantly peaceful dream, which might have transcended my normal senses. I was one with the universe, experienced some sort of cosmic atonement. It’s difficult to describe the peace that basically intertwined with my essence. I didn’t have a physical body in the dream; I was everywhere at once—or as much ‘everywhere’ as my physical brain allowed. In Screams The Machine, Ultimate Reality is everything known and unknown. That’s exciting to me.

The second character would be a Robotic Military Sentry (RMS). RMS units are nightmare-eating, bipedal war machines that look like mechanical shadows. They utilize some daunting weaponry, such as plasma beams. It was horrifying and gratifying describing some RMS scenes, because I abhor violence but love technology. Second, RMS units are fueled by human fear and literally feed off nightmares. That’s an ultimate antagonist. They’re armed to the teeth and have unlimited sources of energy.

How exactly do RMS units operate? Are they artificial intelligence? Connected to a neural network? Do RMS units simultaneously function in unseen and seen dimensions? The Solution’s technology taps into aspects of Ultimate Reality. RMS units are Solution tech, which means it is probable RMS can harness primal energies and access incorporeal aspects of the human mind.

In the end, a whole new level of consciousness is required to be either Ultimate Reality or RMS. Not sure I’m ready for that, but I would certainly endeavor to understand new levels of awareness.



Cash carries a disease; one that’s already killed a large majority of the population and something needs to be done. To stop the crisis from escalating, The Solution (a worldwide organization) is formed and rises to great power. They monitor people’s dreams and shape reality to fit their own wants and needs. In an effort to control existence itself, The Solution is searching for what they believe to be the ultimate tool; a person with the ability to master a deep connection with the mysterious, pervasive energy known only as The Ultimate Reality.


Watching her neighborhood decay, her friends and family perish, Elizabeth Reznik needs to find meaning in her life. She discovers her existence is more meaningful than she could ever have imagined. Operatives of The Solution seek her out, take her from her home and perform brutal experiments on her. Their conclusion? Elizabeth is the one they have been searching for; she is the key to gaining complete power.


The stratagem of The Solution is single minded – own the resources and you own the people. And the last resource available is free will. They will own your thoughts, they will orchestrate your dreams; they will dine on your fears. But there is always a cog in the machine… or in this case, a scream.


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Author Bio:

Sam Mortimer has worked the graveyard shift in law enforcement, attended film school, and has been writing strange stories since age eleven. He loves reading, music, and strives to meet the demands of his five cats.



About Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs the websites on the JournalStone Network

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