This Is the Rule by Joe Butler

Upon waking, you take three strides to your computer. It signs you in when you smile at the camera; this is the rule.

You log in and check to see if you have broken any laws. You don’t recall a time when this wasn’t the case, and you pay the fines for saying forbidden words under your breath.

Your job is flying drones across a landscape you do not recognize and dropping explosives on people you do not hate.

You’ve never seen a real blue sky above that crumbling skyline.

But when you sleep, you dream of it and nothing else.

Joe Butler lives and works in London, but dreams of living and working elsewhere. His writing has been featured in Pilcrow & Dagger, Story Bits, Bandit Fiction, and New Orbit. You can find him at and on Twitter as @writelikeashark.