Flash Fiction: "deepfake" by Eric Farrell




deepfake.

The gals got me good. She’s two or three layers down, minimum.

deepfake.

She’s someone, then someone else.

Now she bears the likeness of your treasured Tom Cruise.

But his face is plastered on a dishboy, whipping a wet rag around, vaquero-style.

And this monstrosity is digitized across the deck of a private yacht, in the shallow waters outside Mallorca.

deepfake.

She’s a nebula.

A couple keys, a shifting visage.

She’s someone else, then someone else.

Just when I thought I reeled in that tropical Tom Cruise,

she demanded ransom. I chased her across the web, moonlighting on the internet. I found her trail, and then poof. Nebulous.

deepfake.

She’s someone, then someone else.

She’s never going to let me catch her. You can’t catch a butterfly if you can’t molt your own skin. She knows this. Knows

I’m vulnerable, knows I can’t go as deep as her.

Everything I’ve ever built up, she’s got in the palm of her hands. She’s on the run, hoping to lose me forever. Once all trace of her is gone, and the alterations to reality have been made, there won’t be shit I can do. She’ll ruin me.

deepfake.

She’s someone, then someone else.


To hell with that. She can’t do this to me. I’ll find her at the bottom of spiraling sanity. I’ll chase her through the

ones and zeros. I’ll get her and prevent my inevitable doom.

deepfake.

Her identity’s gone.

She’s someone, then someone else.

Now she’s Pamela Anderson, circa-1997.

But only from the breasts down, with the bust of Ricardo

Montalbán crowning her torso.

She’s shoveling caviar into the furnace.

deepfake.

She’s someone, then someone else.

I’m trying to find the next layer she’s hidden herself within, but I can’t see it.

When I finally find her, I notice the furnace is powering the drive of her interstellar spaceship. The flag of Ukraine gutters in the stale planetary wind. The gauges glow and quiver in anticipation.

deepfake.

I couldn’t catch her in time, she’s too many layers deep.


She’s someone, and someone else.

#END





Eric Farrell (he/his) hails from Long Beach, CA, where he works as a beer vendor by day, and speculative fiction author by night. His writing credits stem from a career in journalism, where he reported for a host of local newspapers in the Los Angeles metro area. His recent fiction can be found in Pulp Modern, Etherea Magazine, and Orchid’s Lantern.