Writing Prompt: You download mysterious software called “iAmAwake”. You open it and discover that every thought ever thought and being thought by anyone is tracked. All you need to do is type in their name… but it has no record of yours.

I’ve always told myself that I should go to bed earlier: during the day, I’m like a walking zombie – the lack of sleep and the abundance of alcohol really does fuck me up. Fucking pathetic.

I was spending my evening the usual way: browsing the web; not really doing anything in particular, just reading the odd blog post and, admittedly, wasting far too much time watching pathetic videos on YouTube.

I can’t remember ever seeing it anywhere, and I definitely didn’t download it. The icon just seemed to appear on my desktop that night: two small beady eyes staring right back into mine, as if judging me for the bottle of gin in my hand and the cigarette between my lips. Fuck off. “iAmAwake.exe”, the text below the icon read.

I decided to open the application and take a look – the worst thing that could happen, I thought, was this old, piece of shit computer would get infected by a virus – something I couldn’t care less about.

The application sprang to life, presenting a continuously scrolling table of text. Page after page of indecipherable English whooshed down the screen and I found that if I tried really hard and squinted, I could overcome the effects of the alcohol and read some of the text: “Jamie Lawrence: I can’t wait to get home and spend time with Amy!”, “Alex Rose: Had the best night last night! So thankful for my friends!” and “Sophie Martin: Woohoo! Enjoying my new job so much.”.

“What the fuck?”, I remember thinking – this must be like a Twitter client or something. I don’t know any of those people, but they’re definitely far too fucking happy.

Upon further inspection, I noticed there was a search button in the corner of the window – I clicked it and a search box appeared prompting me for a name.

“Ryan Middleton”, I entered.

“That search returned no results.”

I guess they can’t read my Twitter account then, I remember thinking with a drunken grin. I might as well try some friend’s – well, acquaintances – names. I haven’t had friends for a long, long time. That’ll kill a few hours.

“Sarah Parker”, I hammered into the keyboard.

“Sarah Parker: I love my boyfriend so much. Let’s get away for the weekend!”

“Max Turner: Dinner with the old University guys later… This will be fun!”

I continued to search and search, for hours on end, often with feelings of disdain for the people whose names were on the screen in front of me.

“Why are they all having such a good time? What have they done to deserve a fucking life?!”, I remember thinking whilst downing the remainder of my gin and throwing my cigarette into the now empty bottle.

A message box suddenly appeared on the screen.

“iAmAwake.exe records the thought of every person in the world.”, the message box read.

I tried searching my name again, making mistake after mistake but eventually managing to get there.

“That search returned no results.”

“This fucking application”, I thought, “complete bullshit. It doesn’t fucking work.”

Another message box appeared on the screen.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”, it read.

That’s when I realised.

The reclusiveness. The smoking. The drinking. The negativity.

It all makes sense now. Perhaps I have to start living a life to be considered a person.