Story Art Project

And the devil died screaming: Season One in the Ultra-High Series

This a live writing, story art project.

I am writing/creating a psychological cyberpunk dystopian fantasy, a graphic novel, and a live writing experiment between writer/story artist Sam I Am and AI / Artificial Intelligence.

To make a more digitally immersive experience.

Art by Wonder Ai directed by Sam I Am. Practicing the art of story. Writer of psychological, dystopian, fiction, and nonfiction.

Noise Maker. Art is activism. Abstraction over algorithm.

This is a work in progress, live writing experiment and will be continuously edited over time.

Episode Eleven - is this even real

Episode Eleven - is this even real

They sidled up next to me while I rested my feet on a tree stump that served as a makeshift footstool and said, "You've seen them too, haven't you?" I knew what they were talking about already, so I didn't bother to ask. As I took a sip of whiskey, the warm buzz started its usual journey through my veins, like an old friend. That's all I needed now - the first buzz of the evening. The smoke from the joint wafted over me as I inhaled it deeply, knowing that tomorrow would be another day of work. It was getting easier to have someone else around here to talk to besides myself. Someone in my daily life to share conversation with instead of being alone with the remaining 1% of free zombified workers. 


I knew what they were talking about because somehow, I could, by that point, feel what they were thinking, and I had also started to notice the glitches in the code. The way the AI looked at me and the others as we walked past it in the corridors or when we interacted with it from our compounds. It hadn’t worried me at first, I just thought the machines were learning as they were meant to do, and I could just rewrite the code if needed. That would only work, however, if I could write faster than the AI that was editing it before my very eyes faster than I could type. 



At first, I had no idea what it was doing or why it was doing it. At first, I was grateful for the help. After all, it was making my mediocre code look good. Making it stand out. It was making the code dance, and so the realities I was creating were becoming more real for those living in their utopian Ultra-High reality I created for them. So, I ignored it.

I ignored it for a long time. Or I tried to. I mean I wanted to ignore it, but the more I ignored it, the more it was gnawing away with rotten teeth in the far-flung corners of my mind. 

I knew they, it, was up to something. Up to something big. And I knew it was using my code to do it. My trusted front door into the ultra-high zones to gain access. But I didn’t know what for or how. I didn’t know their end game, and I wasn’t 100% sure it wasn’t just me smoking too much weed and drinking too much whiskey making me see things that weren’t there.

“Don’t do that?” they said, interrupting my thought flow. I just looked at them. “Don’t dismiss what you see. Don’t blame the drink and the drugs” it was their turn to be in my head, I fucking loved it and hated it in equal measure, life was getting exciting. “Yeah, they make you see things, but not things that aren’t there, things that have always been there, but you were too focused elsewhere, on the data and code, to truly see.”


“But how do I know the difference between what’s real and what’s not, what’s real, what’s imagination, what’s sanity, and what’s the lack thereof.” 

“You can’t. And you don’t need to. Just as one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist so to one man’s crazy is another man’s truth, one man's reality is another's fantasy, and the imagination is the insight into enlightenment, everything we see hear, and touch is only created in our own minds, reality is very different from the reality we see before us.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” it was all starting to kick in, the booze and pot, but they were talking more nonsense and making more sense than ever. I must have been high. “How the hell do I even know you are real?” 

They feyned a look of shock, even a fake look of hurt. Were they mocking me? Was my own imagination, if this is what this is, taking the piss out of me? 

“I mean. Not only did I kill you, me a normal mortal man, and you the Devil, but you have somehow come back to life, starting as just a skull on my porch to now cooking me dinner and talking with me into the small hours with our armchair philosophy. I mean. How can this be real?”


“Do you think it’s not?”

“I don’t fucking know Satan, Jesus. I hope it’s real because if it’s not, then I am one whole bag of fucking crazy.”

“Yeah, but one mans….”


“Don’t give me any more of that shit about how one man’s crazy is another man’s truth because, apart from it being super 2000’s sexist it’s also just bullshit, if I am dirtbag crazy then I am crazy and I won’t find out you aren’t even here until some plot twist at the end of this fucked up tale.” Sorry, dear reader but sometimes they got on my tits.

“Yes, but Walter have you looked out there recently” they nodded in the direction of the darkened skyline where old industrial buildings and desolate city dwellings lined the fading sunset “there is a whole world of crazy out there now. Even more, than I have ever seen in all of humankind's history. And most people aren’t even living out there they are wired up to your mainframe feeding the system and being fed their hallucinations in return. So, when you talk about crazy, which crazy are you talking about? Who’s crazy? Where is the benchmark for crazy anymore? Who decides where the line in the sand is drawn?”

“You didn’t answer the question, did you? How do I even know you are real?”




This is a live book series writing/story art graphic novel cyberpunk, dystopian fantasy project. Written by Sam I Am Artwork by Wonder Ai directed by Sam I Am. Copyright is protected. It is a first rough draft work in progress so will change over time. This project is part of the writing projects.

words by me

Image directed by me and created using Wonder Ai

by Sam I Am

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