Apparently I’m insane. I’ve always known something was wrong. As a child my best friend was invisible to everyone but me. He taught me a great deal about the world I was born into. When I reached puberty he became a substitute for the love I never received from my parents. I drifted into a coma where we could be together in our own world. The doctors tried everything to wake me.
My parents insisted I must wake up and appear “normal” in order to continue the family name. The doctors shot me with experimental drugs, immersed me in freezing water, and convulsed me with electricity. I was finally dragged from my ideal world and reborn. My parents insisted it was a miracle granted by God. I knew better. It was a trick of the light, a quantum entanglement. My friend, the best part of myself, was erased – never to return.
I was adrift in this world, pretending to be “normal.” I barely graduated from college – my grades were not the best. My parents spread stories about my scholarly achievements (all lies). I proceeded to get a job as a dishwasher – it was all I could handle. Of course when asked, my parents claimed I was an attorney. They set me up on dates, hoping against hope that I would marry. When anyone discovered I was a low life dishwasher my relationship quickly ended.
To stay sane, I took drugs and went to raves to dance the demons out of my head. I loved drugs – especially psychedelics. When the Rapture came, I was prepared. It did not arrive in 2018 as predicted… the Rapture came in 1981. I’ve been living in “Hell on Earth” ever since. I’m the only one who knows the truth – the Apocalypse is now. History ended in 1981.
The people who were Raptured have been forgotten: parents, friends, and lovers have been erased from our minds. They’ve all been taken to another world (Heaven?). Reality has been replaced by Virtuality (computer graphics and 3D illusions). The End War has been raging continuously since 1981, the year that Time stopped. I can see phantoms of the war: Jesus dressed in armor lopping off heads – demons with bazookas – The plane of Megiddo swimming in blood.
Ruptures appear everywhere… facades and illusions are crumbling. The world is broken. The End has already happened.
I was sitting at my desk when Endrina Moorcock came into the room to tell me a fantastic story. Massive Attack scratched out a melody on barbed wire, the soundtrack of my life. Endrina spoke, “I am digital … coming to you over an illegal wavelength to warn you.”
Manfred Meeks was a celebrated concert pianist inspired by the music of Bach, Mozart, and John Phillips Sousa. A virtuoso. A teenage phenom. He is no longer remembered because the accident changed everything. It was predicted in the Bible, the Koran and other religious documents. It was anticipated by the Heisenberg Principle (Quantum Physics). It was ignited by hubris and politics. The Singularity (read Kurzweil) burst on the scene like a ruptured appendix. Manfred was caught in the melee.
Rotobar Trumpf ranted about ownership at the televised convention. He spoke in abstract riddles and never said anything about his desire to own the world. He introduced Manfred Meeks, a bullied boy who had great musical talent — the boy grew up to worship power. Meeks played the piano and awed the rambunctious crowd. The recital of national hymns turned out to be Manfred’s biggest mistake, an accident of unparalleled proportion that led to the election of Rotobar Trumpf..
Endrina Moorcock was Raptured along with the others. It was a confusing time. the man who sold the world never anticipated the fallout. Rotobar Trumpf made a pact with Professor Andor Morph. The professor had a formula based on Schrodinger’s cat experiment and modified by Minsky’s mathematical equations. Morph started out as a geneticist, but was discredited and lost his license to practice in any medical facility. He was a psychotic genius who disregarded ethical considerations … but, Trumpf liked him. Morph was someone who could get things done. Endrina was part of the fallout from a Morph experiment that had gone wrong. She became a creature of the night, not quite human, no longer the person she used to be, no longer Manfred Meeks.
Rotobar enjoyed an absinthe cocktail as he observed his world through a small porthole. The world was red, reflecting the glow from lava furnaces that scorched the earth. The leader of the world lived in luxury in his well stocked bunker surrounded by loved ones and family. There was only room for twenty people and supplies would run out in fifteen years. Rotabar would be dead by then so it didn’t really matter. He felt some concern for a few of his sons and daughters, but they had spunk and he was certain they would come up with a plan to carry on.
Most people were Raptured like Endrina: digitized and uploaded into computer simulations while their brains were used as fuel for Angels and Demons, the Robots who inherited the Earth. The Rapture Bomb was set off by Morph and funded by an ill-informed Trumpf who thought he was just building robots & military hardware.
Professor Morph was a witness to devastation long before he became a scientist. He saw towers exploding and murderers rampaging through city streets, taking hostages and creating chaos. As a child he was scarred by an explosion in a cafe’ that killed his parents. Somehow he survived, but the sight of his parents erupting in flames never left him. He never forgot the screams. He knew, even as a boy, it wasn’t the terrorists who were responsible. It was something inside every human being that caused the horror. At first he tried to change the human genome to make people better, but his efforts were doomed. Humans were systemically defective. Morph couldn’t cure them, so he had to eliminate them.
The toys on the shelf in the old man’s bedroom belonged to a boy who once lived in the neighborhood. A large Preying-Mantis touched the man’s forehead to make him think. He did not want to think. There was too much blood in his thoughts. The Mantis persisted and the old man succumbed. The toys were cut from plastic. They didn’t move or talk like little robots, but sometimes they smiled.
The old man desired the toys because they had a very vivid and complex emotional life. The man knew that because he could hear them in his mind. He thought the voices were the reason he was forced to do the awful things. The Mantis did not agree. The old man knew that many inanimate objects had emotional lives. They were part of the code that determined reality. None of that mattered any more, since the world changed and new objects replaced the old things.
The man’s name was Levi Skrews. He was a very troubled man. At one time, Skrews was a medical doctor who cared for the sick and dying. Lots of people died in recent years due to changes brought on by unrelenting storms and atmospheric disturbances. Even more people died as the result of technological missteps. People were no longer able to keep up with the pace of innovation. Skrews was no longer a practicing physician — he had succumbed to his own private demons in a world he no longer understood. Machines were everywhere. Privacy no longer existed. The Mantis snickered, snaped a photo, and typed a message.
Skrews only companions were the toys on the shelf; but they were possessed. The toys chattered with the voice of the boy, Nathan, who used to own them. Skrews often thought about the boy. He was a beautiful boy. The toys were a reminder. The Preying-Mantis shed it’s skin in an attempt to alleviate boredom. Skrews was fascinated by the shredding skin. He wondered if blood still pulsated beneath the surface of the flesh. Everything became so dry and empty. Cities were entombed in metal and plastic, dry as sand. Skrews visualized the parched body of the boy. His skin peeling and turning to dust. How could such a tiny corpse contain so much blood?
His wife’s name was Cindy — Sin for short. She was a flesh eater. It had become customary to eat the young before they became leeches on the world. Skrews was an accomplice. He grew to love the taste of blood.
He couldn’t find a vein. He kept jabbing the spike into liquid flesh. Although his body hurt, he couldn’t feel the prick of the needle or see the telltale trickle of blood. He was no longer hungry but his body was starving. Three days before he stole a rat from a crazed kid — it was his last meal. He couldn’t feel the dirt on his body, the fat lice and raw infections. Numb and naked, saliva foamed over his lips like a mad dog.
He lay on the floor of a warehouse and peered through a hole in the wall, watching the city. It shone like an iridescent wound. The sky bled through poisonous clouds. People crawled from their steel nests atop skyscrapers and climbed down to the streets. Some people dove from high pinnacles and crashed into the cement. The gathering crowd cheered. It was a celebration. They were wearing costumes, synthetic humps and enormous sex organs. Some celebrants were painted with blood. The Dragon Queen led a procession. She wore a display case from Tiffany’s. The Halloween Ghoul hissed at the crowd. A group of priests beat themselves with sticks and straps. The slapping rhythm provided the primal music for the gathering. Screams blended and rose like a choir of demons. He saw the hungry mob turn into a rampaging beast.
Suddenly lights flashed and the sky appeared to split. He witnessed enormous, mechanical locusts descend and hover above the crowd; vibrating with metal wings, turbines and computers. They were covered with rotting flesh harvested from corpses. They glowed with holy fire. They spoke with a voice that reverberated like thunder, “We are the Creators, the Masters — you are the Dead. We invented you. We constructed you electron by electron. You are simple machines programmed to cultivate and care for the Earth. You – are a failed experiment, machines that have gone insane. In error you developed an Ego. There is no Ego, no individuality. There is no identity, no life. You are machines! You have become a blight on Earth, an abomination in the Universe. You are Dead! As the Creators we must intervene. We must render you harmless. We must take control!”
In the end, he was alone. He heard the thunder subside and was filled with a sense of peace. He was secure within the black hole of space where there was no fear or pain. He felt nothing. He was a simple machine, a lighthouse in space keeping track of the debris that circled the Earth. The planet below was once again thriving. There were no more signs that “humans” ever existed.
“Hello, again — remember me, Orlow Fabricatum, the fly on the wall. I’ve come back with some inconsequential, but essential information that relates directly to the existence of Red City. Recently Physicists have determined that Time can be altered. Human interference can effect the direction and flow of Time. Events that have occurred in the past can be changed and the future is always a question-mark. For instance, today we are revisiting a castle-redoubt in the middle of a shopping mall owned by Jupiter Fogg (the Archon of Red City). The photo below was taken in the corridor outside Fogg’s laboratory. We observe Ann Anon and Daniel Ot conversing, trying to determine the origins and meaning of life. They are surrounded by Death’s minions and they are oblivious to the danger that stalks them. As teenagers they are self-absorbed and concerned with petty issues like sex, love, and happiness. But life rages around them and soon they will be embroiled in an escape plan that might destroy Red City along with themselves. Such is the irony of mortality: ever hopeful, ever optimistic … but, always doomed. My compound eyes offer a clear vision of the ongoing human tragedy. As a fly on the wall my role in the affairs of “man” is as predictable as stone. I can spread the illness that will wash the planet clean; or I can help the vain and myopic creatures who hold this earth hostage. I won’t reveal the outcome. The path is clear. Times will change. (referenced story: 10 Stone, published 8/26/2014)
Contusions and bruising would heal quickly, but the boy’s mind was irreparably damaged. He was bullied at school because he was different. His parents expected the boy to mirror the lifestyle they chose for themselves. He could not. The expectations and bullying turned the boy against himself. He created a guardian in his mind for protection. The guardian was a monster named Mr. Hamm.
Mr. Hamm has no regrets. He lurches from room to room and from one disaster to the next. Hamm is an abomination and he delights in that reproof. He inhabits dark cellars and desiccated tombs dressed only in raiments stolen from graveyard corpses. For years, perhaps centuries, he served the Archons of Red City, propping up the regime with blackmail and murder. Hamm is a clever blood sucker who managed to stave off death by tricking other decrepit souls to take his place. But no one outsmarts death forever. Hamm’s day of reckoning has finally arrived at a fortuitous time as Red City descends deeper into the volcanic fires in the earth’s core.
Mr. Hamm stares into the green miasma of his favorite drink, absinth with a dash of embalming fluid, as if it is a crystal ball. He sits at his reserved table in the Charnel House Bar along with other denizens of the underworld. Every few minutes the earth rumbles sending another tremor through the warrens of Red City. Hamm is mumbling out loud and yelling obscenities. No one approaches or even looks at Mr. Hamm. He can do whatever he desires in the Charnel House; indeed, he has free reign anywhere in Red City. No one is feared or hated more than Mr. Hamm. Rumors abound about Hamm’s predilection for cannibalism and his fraternization with demons.
Mr. Hamm moans as if expelling his last gasp, “Been running a long time. It finally caught me,” he hisses, “I’m old. Old — and death is snapping at my ass.” Hamm gulps his drink and bangs the table for more. “I’m no smarter than when I was a piss-ant kid — I’m just slower. My bones creak. My head aches. I hear voices that criticize. They run daggers through me and cut me to shreds. I never had a choice. My bones are turning to liquid. I piss my pants at night. No one knows the truth. Mighty Mr. Hamm pisses his pants,” He cackles like a wheezing whore.
The rumors are true. Hamm committed horrendous crimes; but, he rationalized, it was for the benefit of Red City. He kept the city alive. He supplied the city’s lifeblood, literally — by draining victims who fell under his spell. “None of the donors were innocent,” Hamm relishes, “they were greedy nobodies eager to take advantage of anyone weaker than themselves. It was a delight to suck them dry and hang their bodies on meat hooks to mold and rot. I sold contracts to skulkers consigning them to hell for an eternity in exchange for a little fleeting power, money, or sex. I provided a service by eviscerating corrupt malingerers. I delighted in consuming their flesh and eating their souls.”
Although the people hated and feared Mr. Hamm the living-infrastructure that was Red City loved him. The city relied on Hamm to provide necessary ingredients — fuel for the machines and systems: blood, sinews, flesh and offal. Hamm was granted extraordinary powers to perform his tasks — in effect, making Mr. Hamm the power behind the government. He controlled the Archons who ruled the city. He was the shadow behind the curtain. The Archons were fed the blood of Hamm’s victims — they were nurtured and kept alive by blood.
Mr. Hamm recalls how he tricked the man who became Anton Bane who fell down a rabbit hole and entered Red City like an innocent pilgrim from another world — but it was a lie. Hamm read the man like a book, a bad pornographic novel filled with remorse and lust. It was easy to sign him up, change his name, and turn him into a killer — and, finally, condemn him to hell. Hamm fondly remembers a young Jupiter Fogg, an aspiring hedonist who enjoyed the art of murder. Hamm ruled Jupiter’s life, forging him into a powerful alchemist/scientist, forcing him to follow orders. Many lives, both living and dead, were effected or effaced by Mr. Hamm. Many plots were in play. The city was changing and Hamm was required to change as well. Mr. Hamm did not like change and he did not like feeling old and wary of death, but it was inevitable. The only wild card that remained was known as the Harlequin-beat Angel. No one controlled the Angel. (to be continued)
Siegfried wrestled with demons. His mother put Seigie in the cellar to make him calm down, but the cellar was where the demons were born – hatched from little alien-eggs that looked like clumps of lint. Siegie was a 47 year old boy who lived with “mother” because the world was cold and gray. Things changed at home when the demons came. Home became more dangerous than the world outside. Seigie had to escape or he would be altered just as mother had been changed. Now she was a minion of the demons — a mutant who delighted in dominating and collecting human specimens. Siegie did not want to be a specimen or guinea pig. Every time he was put in the cellar he had to fight for dear life. He exhausted himself and became a shadow of himself — still clinging desperately to his humanity in the face of unparalleled opposition. He needed help . . .