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Dispatches from the apocalypse: the realme 12 5G samples

“There must be some mistake.”

Lisa turns the yellow box over in her hands. It looks the same as the rest, save for the ‘12’ after ‘realme.’

She is manning a realme pop-up store in the lobby of a laboratory, in the middle of nowhere.

This isn’t quite the “marketing executive” role she had in mind. She was secretly hoping to be sent on location and build content, like what she used to do before graduating.

But a first job is a first job, and she likes the brand.

Her supervisor went to the restroom three hours ago, and still hasn’t returned.

“Just like yesterday,” she harrumphs.

The customer, a bored looking scientist, taps fingers on the glass counter. It is her only sign of impatience.

“May I see it,” the lab coat asks.

“No, ma’am. I’m on the website, and this phone hasn’t been released yet.

“The sheet inside says… oh my God. 108 megapixel camera, a battery bigger than my powerbank, stereo speakers, 256gb storage… a side-mounted fingerprint scanner button… riding mode?! … What is riding mode?

“But I don’t know why it’s here…”

There is a loud bang down the hallway. The quiet corridor reverberates with the sound of doors crashing against the walls.

A tall, burly scientist in Crocs bursts through, stumbling and landing heavily on one knee. He scrambles up, and tries to make his way towards the lobby.

Four other white coats tackle him, like linebackers going for the quarterback.

His scream sounds like it comes from the darkest corner of his soul.

Then Lisa sees the blood.

Her customer grabs for the phone.

“Give me that.”

Lisa pulls back reflexively and crouches in a corner of the stall, holding the yellow box close.

The suddenly aggressive lab coat lunges further, heaving her waist onto the counter. Her formerly impassive face becomes suddenly intense. Her fingers reach like claws as Lisa shrinks further.

Then the burly scientist rushes the woman, and she disappears from Lisa’s view.

“That phone…” the customer is gasping, trying to speak through the pain. “Virus… weapon data… need documentation… analyze…”

Her voice turns into a rattle, and is gone.

Like a child, Lisa covers herself in the corner with her jacket. Glass shatters around her, and she is pelted with what feels like the RedMi phone box stacks on the counters.

She holds her scream in with her teeth.

Her lip starts to bleed.

She stays there until the sounds fade away.

And just to be sure, she stays hidden some more. And more. And more.

Then the jacket is wrenched from her grasp by an inhumanly strong hand.

It is the customer, her lab coat stained in blood, a ragged wound gaping on her neck. She dives for Lisa, wheezing that awful rattle in her throat.

Then the eyes change from feral to determined.

“… document… analyze…”

Back to feral.

Lisa screams as the woman’s teeth sink into her face.

She wakes with a start.

She peeks out from a corner of her jacket holding her breath. It’s dark, save for a single LED light flickering in the hall.

The dust had apparently settled hours ago.

One of the taller display stands had fallen over, showering her with glass and phones, but ultimately shielding her from those nightmares in a gap between itself and the wall.


She looks down at the realme 12 5G box in her hand. Confirming that the phone is inside with a shake, she stuffs it into her backpack, grabs her helmet and gear, and heads to her bike.

It’s on its side, in the parking lot that looks like a child’s playroom.

Lisa picks it up, starts the engine, and weaves through the maze of crashed cars and assorted trash littering the once-pristine compound.

The sun starts to rise as she rides home.

[To be continued]