"Stay." Emma Le told her pet. "Now swim!" Boomer, her goldfish, stared at her with unblinking eyes and opened and closed his mouth. Emma sighed, she had to get this paper finished for her history class but she found it hard to concentrate. Already, she counted her paperclips (she had eight small ones and two big ones) and had two piles of paper, one pile to be shredded and the other for anything else. She had to close her twitter feed because of all the activity on #projectmars, the hashtag that appeared everywhere this week. And by everywhere, she meant EVERYWHERE, like literally everywhere in the world. Times square, prime time commercials, web ads, on every social media feed and spray painted on fences for good measure. In every language too.
Some people thought it was the work of an ad agency or a promotion for a new movie. Maybe it was one of those crazy suicide missions to fly on a one way ticket to Mars? Whatever it was, it got people talking.
Boomer was now busy sucking rocks at the bottom of his bowl and would later discover a new castle minutes later for the umpteenth time. Emma pushed back from her desk and unscrewed the fish food bottle next to the bucket which held the fishnet and extra rocks. Tapping the bottle gently, Emma watched as boomer eagerly broke the surface for his meal. "Somebody’s hungry!" she laughed. The thought of food made her hungry too. "hmm, what should I eat?" she said aloud. She picked up her phone to text her friends when she saw emails, notifications, and Facebook alerts that she had purposely been avoiding trying to finish her paper.
One text message from her friend said it all.
PROJECT MARS IS A GAME!!!
She rolled her eyes. "I knew it was some type of publicity stunt!" she said as she tapped the side of Boomer’s bowl, "It got everyone worked up for nothing!"
She followed the link provided to the web page to see what the hype was about and watched the intro flash animation load up .
As the music filled her room from the speakers on her desktop, and the wall paper showed the solar system zooming into Mars, she would later recall that moment as being the last time things were ever normal.