Storytime: So Far I...
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Hello. I have a plump collection of unpublished stories and poems I've written over the years and I've decided to share some as I go. Not all of them will be filled with light. The following is a story I wrote last year after overdosing on global geopolitics. With everything now happening in the world, it seemed relevant. Enjoy.
So far I am surviving. It’s been a week since I was disconnected from the grid and two days since I was released into the Promised Land Sanctuary to complete my dying.
When the implants were first removed I didn’t feel any different. The numb, comforting cocoon of collective thought and emotion lingered for several days. When it started to wear off, that’s when the fear began. It’s been with me ever since. I'm told this is part of the enlightenment, the gift for having done my duty.
I'm 55, entering into my first and final freedom. When we're born we're swaddled into the cooperative, our implants designed to grow with us and feed us the right information we need to become good citizens. If our behaviour or our thoughts deviate, we are corrected. We know that without this shared harmony, we would be wild and destroy our Mother, as we almost did before the Supreme Shepherds steadied us into our mutual understanding.
Now we're kept from Her so She can heal from our assaults. Our breeding is controlled. We care for our communal farms, we follow our curfews, we keep our cities and compounds clean, we work for the common good. Wastefulness is never tolerated. This way we are safe and so is She.
We're not permitted to live into old age, as this squanders the resources necessary to maintain a strong working collective. Instead, when we reach the age of maturity at 55, the SS grant us the opportunity to choose how we will commune with our biology and achieve our awakening through death.
Once a citizen ran up to me and told me the SS were lying, that they were hoarding and abusing Her bounty while we subsisted on our rations and supplements. That They live and live and never die. That our deaths are recorded for Their entertainment. I reported that his implants were malfunctioning. I didn’t see him again.
Leaving the collective is only an option, not a requirement. Imagining yourself alone with only your own thoughts feels like a glitch in the system. For this reason most choose an entire week of their favourite entertainment, followed by their preferred opioid experience.
As we approach the deadline, if we can’t decide, we can throw the dice. Six is to leave, all other numbers get Netflix marathons and chill. If the decision (one way or another) is to leave, we're given a week in isolation to adjust to life as an individual, after which we're presented with a menu of departure options.
Those with territorial or aggressive natures that had required intense suppression, can seek nobility in a violent death in the gladiator ring against armed SS soldiers. The suddenly suicidal can leap from bridges or hang themselves. If we become addicted to our body’s increased adrenaline, we’re allowed to have as much as we want. The only choice that's not available is to go back into the grid. Once you’re out, you’re on your own.
I chose the sanctuary. The chance to wander through one of Her lonely places and let Her claim you in any way She chooses. A direct donation of your flesh to Her soil. Amid the confusion and terror of disconnection, I’ve found my devotion to Her has soared. It was an easy choice.
They set me down beside the sanctuary wall, next to the lake shore. Once the flyer left, I sat for a long time, unable to move. She is enormous. She makes incredible sounds, like when water laps over small stones or a bird with long wings flies overhead. I’d seen one before but I’d never heard one. Not like this. I have no reference for any of the things I’ve smelled. I root my nose into the grass, the sand, between the rocks. I plunge my face into the water to feel it bite my scalp.
Of course, I hate Them now. My hatred blossomed along with the fear. I know the citizen I reported was right. I feel all the connections that were denied to me and I am enraged. I know my furry is futile, and that sorrow will weaken me. I want to save what energy I have for loving.
My goal is to get to the river and follow it for as long as I can. All my instincts are newborn. I'm thirsty but I’m afraid to drink the water. I stayed too long in the sun next to the lake's reflection and my skin is red and painful. I’m hungry. Truly hungry. My limbs feel strangely light. Soon I'll try to eat something. Every bite will be an adventure. What a magnificent day.
Perhaps They are watching. I have no desire to make an impression. I just want to stay here a little while longer, to feel all of this Freedom for at least one more day.
PS. When I originally wrote the story, I had dubbed the overlords Assembly of Supreme Shepherds. However I thought the acronym A.S.S. might ruin the flow for the reader, so I changed it to SS. Now you know.