I have always been obsessed with flying. I wanted to soar since I was a kid, jumping from the third step of our front porch hoping that sheer willpower would launch me upwards. Dreams of unencumbered flying were the sweetest gift: for a few infinite dream-moments I experienced a buoyancy and freedom that could not be replicated in the waking world.
The germination for the story “Mass Exodus” was a single thought: what if we all had this ability to fly without explanation?
This strange occurrence would be met the way all news today is met: as a collective mass of reactions online. Social media has an unprecedented effect on how we process the world, especially unusual or upsetting events. The near-instant access to everyone’s responses moves us closer to a hive mind than ever before.
As an idea quickly propagates throughout a system like an aggressive virus, the hive mind could, conceivably, be hijacked to perpetuate a mass delusion or used to propel a jump in the evolution of our brains and psyches. As the main character tries to figure out what’s what and resist a powerful collective belief, she risks becoming humanity’s sole outcast.
Ultimately, the question that came out of this story was: if everyone believes in something, how do you know if it’s a mass delusion or a new reality? I invite you to read and decide for yourself.