Zero Property

“IT’S TRUE, I HAVE IT!” Danny yelled. The lanky teenager presented the two approaching suited men with the small, glassy rectangle he found the previous day. He had been walking home through the forest when an errant glint caught his eye.

He found a thin rectangle of glass, about the size and shape of a playing card. White text glowed on the screen when he touched it:

“Access Denied. Soul Mismatch.” Danny thought it might be an advanced phone prototype; those were always getting lost, and kept it. Today as he made his way to the forest shortcut,  he spotted two imposing men in dark suits and sunglasses. Danny’s panic combined with his only real-life experience: TV. His mind burned through a list of possibilities that all ended with the two men being from a shady organization that wanted his found tech. He hoped they would take it and leave without killing him. The suit on the right pushed Danny’s hand away.

“Outta the way, kid. We don’t care about your new phone.” The other man ignored Danny completely as they both walked by him toward the school. He took a deep breath while he listened to the footsteps fade away behind him.

“Nice!” Danny cheered to himself and started his walk again. He poked at it several times while he navigated through the forest on auto-pilot. Each time it returned the same message, no matter what combination of taps and swipes he tried. He tried his thumb as a last resort. This time purple text appeared on the screen instead of white.

“Zero-Match Access Granted.” Then, Danny heard someone clear their throat. He looked up and saw himself standing next to a girl.

“It’s rude to go through other people’s nodes,” the other him said. “Even if it’s another you.”

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