When a family’s dream vacation turns into a nightmare, they must fight to survive the consequences of a harmless Internet search gone wrong
Mike and his family were eagerly awaiting their trip to Lanzarote. They had planned every detail, from their hotel room in Puerto Del Carmen to the activities they were eager to experience together. But when they finally arrived and settled into their hotel room, 121, Mike had the feeling that something was off.
He tried to push it aside, determined to enjoy the holiday with his wife and daughter. They spent the first day exploring the island, taking in the beautiful scenery and immersing themselves in the local culture. But as the sun began to set, Mike’s daughter suddenly came down with chickenpox. Mike watched in horror as his daughter’s health rapidly deteriorated. “I need to find a way to safely fly home with her,” he thought to himself, but as he scoured the internet for answers, all he found were empty promises and adverts for private medical clinics.
As the night went on, Mike realised that they were trapped on the island with no way out. He tried to keep a brave face for his family, but the weight of the situation was crushing him. They were making memories, but they were memories of a nightmare. As the sleepless hours passed, Mike grew increasingly desperate. He knew they had to get off the island, but he couldn’t find a way. The clock was ticking and he could feel the tension growing with every passing moment. He couldn’t shake off the feeling that they were in grave danger.
Mike was deep asleep when he heard the loud banging on his hotel room door. His heart raced as he jolted awake, trying to make sense of what was happening. “Police! Open up, you’re a risk to public safety!” shouted the voices outside. He stumbled out of bed and made his way to the door, but it was too late. The police had forced it open and he found himself being roughly thrown to the floor.
He could feel the cold metal of the handcuffs biting into his wrists as he was arrested. His daughter was sitting on the bed, her eyes wide with confusion and fear. “No, no, no daddy!” she cried, her voice small and scared. “Very naughty!”
Mike couldn’t believe what was happening. He had no idea why the police were there, or why he was being arrested. He tried to protest, to explain that he had done nothing wrong, but his words were lost in the chaos. He could only think of how much he wanted to protect his daughter from this nightmare.
He realized that he was trapped in the search engine for wrong keywords. “Public safety! I never search for this phrase!” he shouted to them but they would not listen. As he was dragged away, he could feel his mind start to unravel. Was he caught in some sort of nightmare? He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Search engines didn’t have cars, and he never searched for anything related to public safety. He was confused and scared, trying to understand what was happening.
He didn’t understand how he could be mistaken for someone who posed a risk to public safety. He had only been searching for information on how to safely fly home with his daughter who had chickenpox. He could only hope that this was all a bad dream, and that he would wake up soon. But as the car drove away, he knew that this was not a dream, and he was in deep trouble.
Mike tried desperately to wake up from the nightmare he found himself in. The panic rose in his chest as sweat poured down his forehead. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to force himself to wake up, but the dream persisted. The search engine in his head continued to generate search results, taunting him with images of a dark, windowless room and his own interrogation. He was accused of a crime he knew nothing about, and he couldn’t shake the feeling of fear that consumed him.
He screamed out, “No! No! No!” as he saw someone typing the words “dark, windowless room” into the search box. He could see the images of his own interrogation as the top search result. He tried to explain that he had only been searching for information about his daughter’s chickenpox, but the words wouldn’t come. The search was still active, and it felt impossible to stop it.
He was trapped in this nightmare, unable to wake up and unable to escape the overwhelming fear that consumed him. He didn’t know how long he had been stuck in this dream, but it felt like an eternity.
Suddenly, he heard a voice calling out to him, “Wake up! What’s wrong with you?” It was his wife, shaking him gently.
“What happened?” Mike asked, confused.
“You were using the search engine again,” his wife complained. “It’s giving you nightmares! You’ve been screaming for the last five minutes.”
“I couldn’t stop the search,” Mike explained, still trying to make sense of what had just occurred.
“Have some water,” his wife said, handing him a glass. “And start using AI. At least that allows you to stop generating answers.”
Mike took a sip of water and closed his eyes. “For now…” he thought.
This short story was written using Open AI Chatbot. All images were generated using DALL.E 2 (Open AI)