Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Sight Seeing"

It will be safe.

That's what my mother said when me moved to Iceland near a volcano.

I was really nervous about living so close to something that could kill me.

But somehow my mother convinced me to move.

Life in Iceland was pretty peaceful for the most art. We lived in Kirkjugard a small village near Selfoss.

I was walking home from school. I saw a man walking, looking sort of down.

I, being a friendly person, decided to talk to him.

"Something wrong mister?" I asked.

What I noticed first was his long grey trenchcoat and grey hat.

He smiled at me and said: "Nothing, just thinking."

He looked at his pocket watch then ran off as if he had someplace to be. There was something uncomfortable about him that I knew, but nothing I couldn't get passed.

I decided that instead of walking the usual route, I'd try being brave and walk along the bottom of the volcano for a change. I had been living there for a while at that point and thought it was time to face my fear.

Along my travel homewards, I met the same man again. He was looking at the volcano with such enthusiasm.

"Hello again," I remarked.

He didn't look at me, just kept looking forward.

"Beautiful isn't it?" he asked.

I didn't retort. He made me feel even more so uncomfortable than before.

He took out his watch again, looked at for a second.

"Click," he said as he clicked on one of the pins on the pocket watch.

I found him too weird to continue to be there.

As I continued to walk home I felt it. The ground underneath me was shaking. Rumbling and cracking noises could be heard from the volcano.

"Beautiful isn't it?" I heard the man ask loudly in the distance.

"Filling the Gaps"

At the end of the day, what do humans do?

We eat and build things and make art and kill each other, but none of that matters. All of this is utterly pointless.

What we do is multiply, clean and simple. That's all we're good for.

People are afraid that we'll all die in some catastrophe, that the apocalypse will arrive and blow humanity away. What they fail to realize is the true horror: what happens if we live.

We're already crowding this planet. Say we manage to go to another one. How long until we fill it up? This solar system? Once we've taken one, we can take two. Four. Eight.

One galaxy, then sixteen, then sixty-four.

We'll fill up any space. And eventually we won't find any more space.

You can't stop people from multiplying. And you can't just kill them off to make room. You can't put the juice back in the orange.

Then we'll really run out of space. We'll become a universe of flesh and bone and lifeblood.

And finally, the time will come and we'll all become the smallest part of the Tower which reaches ever upwards.

"Another Evening"

She'd asked to be tied up. It had become a ritual between them now.

Scarves, tied in expert knots. Legs together, hands together. She smiled an intimate smile of thanks. He tried his best to be gentle, though she'd ask him not to be. What if he hurt her? He didn't think he'd be able to live with himself if he did that.

When she relinquished control, he had to shoulder it, a massive burden. He told himself it was a labor of love when he grabbed the scarves, but he knew it was wearing its way through him. He was anxious and stressed, always waiting for that one moment when it would all crash in because she'd keep asking for years at least and he'd want her to smile and it was all just probability wasn't it?

So he buried his anxiety and his fears for a while and went to her. She accepted him, gladly, and he went to it, mechanically. It was a practiced routine, and he thought one day he'd become perfect at it and she'd be safe.

And in a few minutes it was done. And he continued. She told him to stop. Then she laughed and told him to stop. Then she stopped smiling, and her face became darkly serious, and she told him to stop.

And he wanted to. He almost tried, but he wasn't the one moving any more. Something had come and knocked the burden out from under him.

And as he saw her face and heard her screams, all he could feel was relief, because mercy of mercies, he had finally failed.

"Gravity Ends"

Imagine the big blue sky stretching out in all directions. It's so much bigger than us, so indifferent to us. When I was a kid I'd fear the thought of falling into it, falling through a giant expanse of air and falling off the Earth. I felt like one day gravity would end, and everything would go tumbling out into space. All of the buildings in the world would topple with unnatural speed in every direction, and we'd all just be whisked away.

Then I learned about high-speed winds, hurricanes, twisters. They couldn't take apart our world all at once, but they can certainly do it one piece at a time. And then, worst of all, I learned of where the winds come from, and what brings them to wreak havoc on us. Someone, somewhere in the world, is fighting one of them right now.

And here they come now. I guess this time it's me. Whirling through the sky, whipping up the winds. I would run, but they have the wind at their backs, always. Coming to shatter another piece of the world and lift me up into the big blue sky.

Will it hurt to fly?

"Can You Please Read the Minutes?"

The following is the audio recording of the meeting, during which Eric Forge, 42 of <city removed> was brutally beaten to death by Serenade, Inc. CEO Robert Morgan. This particular tape was corrupted for reasons unknown. Large areas of corruption or static are marked with "██."

Robert Morgan: Thank you all for attending this meeting! If you would please take a seat. Thank you. Mr. Brown, if you would please be so kind as to shut the door. Thank you. Alright, does everyone have the agenda? Good. Let's dive right in with item one: sales records in our <city name removed> stores. From the reports we've received from the store managers and my own visits, I can personally confirm that sales have risen by an average of four hundred percent!

*scattered applause*

Now, I’d like the manager of our top selling store, Mr. Forge, give us a few words. Mr. Forge.

Eric Forge: Thank you. As Mr. Morgan said, average sales have risen by four hundred percent. Personally, my store's sales have risen by approximately four hundred and sixty three percent.

Morgan: Excuse me, Eric, could you say that again? I could have sworn that you had said ███████████████.

Forge: Um, f-four hundred and sixty three percent.

Morgan: I thought you said the store had the highest sales record. It obviously can’t if it only increased by █████████████. As a matter of fact, I thought ██████████████████████████.

Forge: My apologies, sir, I must have misspoken. Could- could we move on please?

Morgan: Very well. Let’s move on to item two. Thank you, Eric.

Eric: Of course.

Morgan: Item two: Testing for our new product is going well. If all proceeds according to plan, we’ll have the Microsonata Three out on the market by next quarter.


Morgan: Polling shows that interest in the Microsonata Three has risen considerably, and that sales are expected to rise from the Microsonata Two by around one hundred and fifty percent. Additionally, █████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████ as well as potentially increasing our net in█████████████. Excuse me, Eric, what did you say?

Forge: I didn't say anything, sir.

Morgan: Eric, I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to make a fool of me.

████: ██████████████████

Morgan: What did you just say? I don’t need your help for that?

Forge: S-sir, I haven't said anything, I swear to God.

Morgan: ...let's move onto item three.

██: █████████████████████████████

Morgan: ████████ YOU SON OF █████████████████████████████████████.

*tape ends*

As can be seen, the distortion hits around halfway through the tape and continues until the end. After Morgan can be heard saying: YOU SON OF, there's almost two minutes of static, in which can be heard muffled screaming and the sound of metal hitting flesh.

On a separate note, the company building has been closed after a number of so called "nervous breakdowns" were reported and the building was found to be infested with some kind of fungus. Disaster Control has been sent to the building, which has no plans to be opened in the immediate future.

"The Exchange"

Once I am finished writing this account, my master will kill me.

His face showed great pain as he dropped a handful of seeds into the hole he'd dug by hand and covered it back up. There was little room for a tree here, but one would rise out of the ground all the same. Assuming the owners of this yard didn't decide to start chopping trees. I imagine some precaution has been taken against that.

He was once a Runner- I never learned his name. He always stayed one step ahead. My master had seen fit to send me to catch him, and I chased him for months. It was like he had experience, though I thought he was just lucky at the time.

If his body doesn't give in, there should be a few acres of forest encroaching upon normal life. My master's reach extends.

One day, this guy stopped running. He didn't make a stand or anything- he literally stopped running, like he couldn't move. And this girl appeared, walking funny. I could tell a fellow proxy when I saw one, and I knew I hadn't been the only one after him. She told me there was an offer on the table for this "escapee", that there was a dispute between my master and her mistress, and the details were being worked out as we spoke.

In exchange for a taken victim, the Duke would receive expanded territory. As soon as the deal was worked out, strings sank into this man's flesh and he went to work. He hasn't stopped for five days. Blood is dripping from his broken nails and shards of stone are stuck into his palms. Once he's finished this work, he'll return to her domain, and whatever she does to him afterwards I don't want to know.

But I failed him, and the Duke is still unsatisfied. And now is he behind me.

"A Eulogy for God"

His boots resounded across the cathedral floor, prominent over all other noises like everything about him; important and undeniable. They huddled away in the corners, muttering fearfully in the pews as they stared at the ground, not daring to meet the people’s gaze, jabbering their final prayers as they awaited what was to come. The man paced up and down the central aisle, footsteps echoing across marble even through the carpet. The sound of his breathing also clearly audible, sounding more like the gas exchange of some rusted machine, as the gases hissed in and out of his mask.

"You can have a second chance," came a voice from the pulpit, "You can still be saved," spoke a man at the head of the cathedral.

"You can still have bliss."

The gas-masked man did nothing to acknowledge the speaking one, continuing to pace, gazing at the terrified people, whatever expression on his face obscured, his hands in the pockets of his hoodie like some bored teenager. The calmness was unnatural.

"You are all heretics against the true god. These...symbols," he said, gazing back at the crucifix with disgust, "are merely symbols of your heresy; your devotion to a false deity! Your 'god' promises eternal life! It cannot give that to you, but we can...He can!" he waved a hand towards the masked man, who stopped in his tracks and appeared to look at the man at the pulpit, but he looked passed him, at the crucifix, and slowly strolled towards the head of the cathedral.

"Through Him you may continue forever as part of a greater whole, part of Him!"

The man reached the altar and gazed up at the crucifix with a look of triumph behind his mask, the Christian Saviour gazing back down at him with an eternal expression of sadness and agony.

"As long as He remains, you shall never fade."

The masked man turned to face the people gathered in the house of God, his features dropped from him, his flesh turning to liquid and pouring from his body, revealing what lies beneath. Lies. Lies to the core. All present gasped as they saw what they wanted to see, their loved ones returned. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, friends; all returned to them, arms outstretched to embrace and cry and love once more.

"But first, you must discard your shackles..."

Several other people holding machine guns moved to the top, spreading gasoline across the crucifix and the altar.

"...defy your false gods..."

A match set the area alight, spreading over it, charring it and destroying the symbols of faith.

"...accept your new lord..."

The stain glass windows were shattered as the people rounded the building, breaking in the saintly images with the butts of their rifles.

"...rise up, stand up..."

A group of the huddled masses rose to their feet; in fear, shock, awe and disbelief. The crucifix hold to wall was burnt through and it came crashing down upon the altar, flames consuming it angrily, illuminating the one who was many, the one who was the dead, their new saviour; He who controlled life and death, He who was God.

"...come forward..."

The risen people walked forth, unable to resist the call of their loved ones, the people they would have given anything to see once more and now they could, forever. A sound of laughter echoed about the walls, it had no source but one knew where it came from, He who was God laughed. In triumph, He laughed. The head of the procession arrived before Him, shakily ascending the steps, the sound of gunshots behind them unheard and unheeded as those who did not accept Him deserved only death, to be used as mere tools by He who was God while they would be given more. They gazed up at Him with awe, adoration and reverence, longing to be with Him, to be part of the whole, to be complete and perfect, existing in bliss forevermore.

"...and embrace Him!"


If you read this, terrible things will have happened and I'll be dead.

You won't read this at all if I succeed.

I've been alone for so long. Ignored. You assholes wouldn't listen to a word I had to say, would you? Not about anything.

You'll listen up good now, won't you, motherfuckers? Right when I blow your fucking heads off.

Mary was my last hope. I loved her so much, but I'm numb to her. I can't speak to her.

You say she's been looking for me, but she knows our love is gone. I felt it die.

You all turned my heart to ice. You all killed me in every way that matters.

I'm so empty, it's like the air around me is getting colder. I'm alone.

But I'm not helpless.

I'll stop all of you from doing this to anyone else. Tomorrow, I'll show you someone to fucking ignore.

"The Last"

I stepped out into the bright sunlight. It seemed odd that the sky was clear and the sun was shining whereas down on the ground the world was destroyed. Everywhere I looked there were the bleached skeletons of the dead and the decayed remnants of buildings. There was a building nearby it was a scorched, blackish-grey colour. It had been red just a short time ago. I do in fact mean a short time ago. I had gone down to work on the fallout shelter and closed the door behind me. I heard my wife call my name turned to open the door then I just remember stepping out here. Did I lose consciousness? How long was I out? It can't of been this long. This place looks like it's been years. My house is still mostly intact gonna take a look. I doubt I'll like it but I have to find out what happened to my family. Maybe then I can find out what happened to the world.

The inside of my house was surprisingly well preserved. Unfortunately so were the bodies. I found them. My wife and kids. Their bodies, in the kitchen, sprawled together among some rotted pieces of wood that were probably a table. So confirmed their dead. I already knew that would be the case. I guess that's why I'm not as bothered as I should be. I mean you'd think I'd of been distraught upon finding them but really I just feel numb. Maybe it's just too much to take. Everyone is dead. The world has been destroyed. What is there left for me to do? I have food for some time but not forever.

Should I just end it now? There's probably not much chance of me surviving anyways.

Steven Larse

DAY 32

I went exploring. I brought some food and water and checked around the whole neighbourhood then spread outward eventually covering an area of... I don't actually know. I probably should have measured somehow. I know I left the city for a bit... I'm not sure how I found my way back actually.

I decided not to kill myself. Not for any real reason. I just can't do it. On day 12 I took a knife. Put it to my throat. I actually sliced in enough that it started to bleed but I just couldn't go any further.

I'm going to be here until I die naturally or at the hands of something else. I might as well learn what I can about what happened and what the world has become. Maybe there will be other survivorsor some new civilization living in the ruins. Hell, maybe there will be mutants or something that could end my suffering for me. I can only hope.

Steven Larse

DAY 119

I can't escape it. No matter how far I travel in to the wastes I always find myself back here. I tried to kill myself again just decided to wander off into the wastes with no food or water. After a few days I found myself back here and I couldn't keep myself from eating and drinking. I tried two more times afterwards with the same results. I must be unconsciously trying to live. Damn you subconscious stop saving me I don't want to live in this desolate world.

Of course the hope of survivors or any other living thing turned out to be a false hope. It was never very likely in the first place. Can't die... No reason to live. Just lonely oblivion forever...

Steven Larse

Day 274

I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't know who I'm writing for. I don't care and there's no one who will ever read this. So why can't I stop? Everytime I venture out and come back I update this journal. It's like a compulsion. Maybe it's my subconscious again. Maybe I'm writing to keep myself sane? Or Maybe I'm writing because I've lost my sanity. It's just a meaningless routine that has etched itself compulsively into my diseased mind.

Sometimes I imagine I hear children laughing or my wife calling me like she did on that fateful day.

Steven Larse

DAY 4469

It's been years... I'm not sure how many I just know it's been more than ten. The last dregs of stockpiled food and water ran out today and almost immediately I found a supermarket close by that somehow has all the food fully intact. Even the perishables are still good. I could survive for another 100 years or so now. It's like the universe is mocking me. No matter what it won't let me die.

You know I think it's my birthday soon... I wonder how old I'll be.

Steven Larse

DAY 7056

I'm not so good at math. How many years has it been now? I don't know how I'm even keeping track of the days. Somehow I just know what day it is. My updates have been really jumpy. Entire years passing in seconds in this journal. The years feel like days to me. Time runs together in one huge clump. Only the night and day show the passage of time. I must be doing something to stave off boredom.

Steven Larse

DAY 16146

I walked from one side of the world to the other. Several times. I didn't bring any food or water with me. I just happened upon a convenient amount whenever I needed it. I'm only back now because my joints have started to lock up and I'm not sure I can continue much longer. I must be in my eighties by now. Gonna have to start stockpiling food and water for when I can no longer move at all...

Steven Larse

DAY 16644-Death Day

I can feel it. I've been stuck here for some time. Growing weaker with every passing day. I can tell this is it... This is the day I die. Alone in this forgotten world I've finally been granted my fondest wish.

Goodbye Marla, Eric and Stella. Goodbye and Hello I'll be seeing you all again soon. I only have one more journey to make. I'm going to die where I awoke. It just feels right. So I'm going back into The shelter. One last time.

Steven Larse

Having called her husband, and having received no answer for well over 10 minutes, Marla Larse opened the door to the shelter, where he had been working, to check on him. Inside she found only an old decrepit body clutching a journal in his hand.