by Cherie Ann Turpin
(30 Stories in 30 Days)
They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” – Revelation 6:16
Voluntary immurement was not a submission to the torments of old used to punish the sinful, where the guilty were literally sealed behind walls to put them out of sight and left to starve and suffocate, slowly.
To be precise, voluntary immurement, or VI, as it was now called in polite company, walled away citizens from the Phorzhicoa, the collective of Watchers who picked through every conversation, every thought, every emotion, seeking out succulent strands upon which to feed and give purpose for continued existence in this state of ultimate vicariousness. Those who could afford complete VI immersion enjoyed a pampered existence free of federal and state monitoring, as well as a much-envied freedom from Watchers by virtue of the physical and spiritual walls reinforced with armed drones. For those who desired a less extreme version and were willing to risk an occasional run-in with Watchers, semi-VI became the choice of wealthy celebrities, professionals and venture capitalists with the cash to burn to secure their dream of living a partially buried existence.
Semi-VI condo units and VI homes began to appear first in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, London, Paris, DC, Rome, and even sunny LA, as entertainers began to make use of virtual interactive presence (VIP) to “phone in” movie set performances, concerts, celebrity appearances, and interviews, thereby avoiding the scourge of the Phorzhicoa and the Paparazzi.
Complete VI immersion was still considered to an unconventional choice, though viewed by many citizens as enviable, as it was reserved for those few trillionaires who were wealthy enough to build a fully staffed, town-sized compound and farm that included medical professionals, teachers, and other compound workers who committed to ten-year contracts with generous benefits and compensation, including their own customized semi-VI condo units upon completion of their contracts.
Some of the wealthiest people on the planet were no longer seen or heard in public. VIP technology was now standard practice for business, meaning those of the Oligarch became invisible rulers, while the masses of the outside world coped with squeezing out an existence between the encroaching Phorzhicoa and perpetual government surveillance.
Disappearing from the public became a sign of the leisure class.
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