Alex and the Wolves

The following text was generated with help from Adam King’s Talk to Transformer, which talks to OpenAI’s GPT-2 neural network AI to generate paragraphs of original text one word at a time. The feature image was created using Morphogen’s Artbreeder.


Alex and the Wolves

Alex and the Wolves

Alex gasped. Something big was close.

Alex was making his way back to camp when the sound of distant baying rose from a distance.

He decided to stop by camp. Before he started, he could hear the wolves howling nearby. He set out to his camp in silence, his stomach growling as he wondered what was wrong with it. He should have caught the feeling he was supposed to, but somehow the wolves never felt right. It was as if they never really belonged, as if each of them demanded their own space and were meant to be controlled.

He didn’t know what it was like to be lonely, to be alone.

A part of him wanted to go to touch them, to communicate with them, to nurture them, but he knew what that was like. At that moment, the need for food was too great, and he made his choice.

He swallowed the bile, knowing he had done the right thing, and continued walking away from his pack. They would wait there. This is our game, this is how we survive. I must teach them, feed them, I must keep them calm. It’s them they need me to be.

Later, outside, the drunk and his friends asked if he’d gotten the last letter.

“Yeah,” he said, a little bitterly, “but don’t worry, my mother already got the notice.”

He managed to slip out of the room he was in, gazes following him wherever he went. It didn’t seem to bother him, despite the fact that his movements felt shaky. He almost seemed distracted, and I could see him looking down, studying his hands. I didn’t have to see his expression to know that he was sweating.

His flashlight beam traced the path that led away from the group as the other members of the group all made their way back. They just happened to be more than a little distant from the spire when the light faded to show a sliver of light on the far side of the bar. For a second, they had been holding hands, making funny faces and simply enjoying the inebriated atmosphere that always greeted them here.

The tension became oppressive. Kat stepped into the path of their own footsteps, but then just as she did they all walked towards her, disappearing into the crowd of people. But as Kat walked by the group who had just stood there, her eyes drifted downwards to the bottom of her skirt and saw that they were still there.

Before Alex went to live with the wolves, his mother had become paranoid. She began making him bed nets, so that the squirrels wouldn’t crawl out of his bedroom window. Alex tells me, “My mother didn’t want us to go to them. She said, ‘I’m going to see if I can’t convince you to keep them away from you.'” He laughed nervously. His mother now lets the squirrels go out into the forest with her, but she has no real way of knowing if they’ve come back. As for Alex, he lives with his brothers and sisters.

What I heard at the monastery was similar to what I have heard everywhere I have traveled, and I certainly know that life under seclusion can make us think we’re somehow isolated from it. I think at any moment one might experience something more menacing or pleasant in the environment of the physical space; and though the physical distance of our habitat may make us superficially harmless, or at least humane, it is what keeps us from being absolutely harmless or humane, and to this distinction is added another more complex one: The hidden environs of the physical world are filled with thousands of communications, minute more and more than radio, by power-law waves, all passing and re-passing us, a universe which stretches out on all sides of us and is constantly in contact of some sort. This enormous and collective materiality of space is something that we, today, are entirely without consciousness of and do not acknowledge. It keeps us, in short, from the status of a stand-alone, autonomous starfaring life-form.

Alex sniffed the air. Something was there, certainly. Something that moved in the shadows, that somehow he recognized as being alive. Not like a cockroach or a wasp, but…like a living thing.

“Death.”

That seemed to satisfy Kirito, the white wolf. The shrill, chirping sound of an insect calling, he thought. It was like they knew something, but couldn’t tell him.

Then, and only then, did Death move closer to the wolf on the ground. Eyes widening, Kirito felt the painful sting of crystallized chlorophyll melting in his paw pad.

They say that humans are driven by fear because we have the potential to make mistakes; but if the mistake is making decisions, then we’re always going to be trapped in the spiral of error that drives us toward self-destruction.

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