Good & Evil

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Chapter 1
 

I can’t believe this is actually happening!

Well, sort of. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been waiting for ages, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but tonight…well, tonight is just filled with excitement! Father says I’m sure to have a rating well in the nineties, which makes sense because Mother was a ninety-seven. Ninety seven percent! Can you believe that? I bet I’ll be lucky to be in the eighties. After all, I did cheat at that foot race with Mikal yesterday. He’s faster than me, what was I supposed to do?! Ha.

I should probably be trying to get some rest, but my eyes are wide open right now. I cannot stop thinking of the ceremony tomorrow and how beautiful my gown will look and how proud Father will be and of the oh so many things that are going through my head right now!

I do hope Mikal is Filed right too. Surely he will be. I can’t imagine what I would do in his absence. He and I have spent such a long time as Youths together and I simply cannot fathom a life with him not in it.

Chapter 2

I suppose you’re wondering what that was all about.

Allow me to shed some light. What you just read was an excerpt from the diary of a nice little lady who is about to go through one of the most pivotal points in her life: the Filing. Once Filed, she will be assigned social duties and expectations, a residence, and will become eligible for marital affairs. Read on, and I will explain the determinants.

You and I should be getting close in the future, as I’ll be guiding you through the goings on at Resurrection. What’s that, you ask? Well, if this transmission makes it through to its intended landing zone, I imagine you know it as Planet Earth. You see, far into your future, a small group of forward-thinking humanitarians thought it would be a good idea to rename the planet, since they started civilization anew. But we’ll get to these folks in a bit. First, you need to know the circumstances which birthed their philosophy.

Many millennia ago from my own point in space and time, your world was changed in a way that shattered the fabric of society. There are conflicting records as to the precise details regarding how this transpired, but the end result was that the world was finally conquered and reshaped into one governing culture – an ideaology that favored simplicity, sustainability, and justice. That’s right. At last, a place run by those with pure, good intentions. Sounds great, right? Again, stay on course with me and you’ll get to decide what you think of this self-proclaimed fair, just system.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of holes in the bits and pieces of information we’ve been able to uncover, but it’s been fascinating to study the ways you humans used to live and how they evolved. The most commonly accepted recollection in this particular case is that a massive conflict erupted in response to a crippling energy crises. Our findings have revealed that back then, the bedrock of civilization settled upon the use of scarce, natural resources. Almost everything that the ancients used relied on these “fossil fuels” to function, which were mined, extracted, then refined from within the Earth itself. The problem was that these finite resources eventually began to run out, and when that happened…well, let’s just say that when that happened, your world was forced to change.

For now, I’ll let you digest until my next transmission. So it was for many thousands of years, as these conflicts happened all the time. Until, of course, the crises that halted everything else.

The day the energy ran out.

Chapter 3

It happened!

Just like Father predicted, my purity rating was a ninety-five! He and Mother were sooo proud as I was filed Right! Oh this truly is the best feeling ever!

Now I must wait and see if Mikal will be joining me. He has to! He’s got to be one of the purest boys in our whole annex! He’s always helping people and doing everything he can to be as good to others as possible.

I wonder what job I’ll have, now that I’m Right. There’s so many exciting things I could be, I just can’t decide on one! Maybe I’ll join the theater. I think I would love a life on stage! Or perhaps a teacher. I could help our Youths appreciate how wonderful our community is! Oh, there are so many options I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I hope Mikal joins me soon!!

Chapter 4

Here we are again. Hopefully this time she made a bit more sense.

If its still hazy, fear not. For I am here!

When Earth was finally stripped of her last little nuggets of natural resources, people descended into havoc. There was a several year period where folks reverted to their animal instincts to survive, completely shedding the rule of law and cultural “sophistication” that tends to accompany it, behaving as the beasts from which they’d originated. And from best we can tell, this wasn’t even due to the fact that they’d run out of oil and shiny metals. It was simply because nothing had been done to effectively prepare for the inevitable shortage – which had been glaring your descendants in their willfully naïve faces for more than enough time to have done so. So naturally, the masses looked to global leaders as enemies, power hungry sociopaths who controlled the industry so they could line their pockets and enjoy the elite status that came along the position. Granted, this sentiment was brewing well before the runout in some smaller pockets, but this time it pushed the entire herd over the edge.

No, the social collapse wasn’t based on the lack of fuel for their toys. It was based on that age old, carnal desire for revenge – a necessary vindication at the expense of those who said they would never see that day. “Don’t worry folks, by the time our oil runs out we’ll surely be using something else for our energy requirements”, indeed.

No, the collapse wasn’t driven by the horrifying realization that they’d dried the well.

It was driven by a visceral hatred and intoxicating malice for corrupt leaders, and the fragile system they said to trust.

Chapter 5

I hate this place.

Mother told me I’m being too harsh. I know better. They say its almost a utopia, but this world was forged from fire and brimstone, I’m sure of it. If I could I would leave, but there is no where else on this Higher Power forsaken planet I can escape to. I’m trapped in this festering bog of brainless, hollow bodies.

The Filing was yesterday. I was Filed Left.

At first, I was numb – stunned by the shock of what was announced after my name was called. How? I’ve spent sixteen years doing every single thing I was told to do. My entire life, meaninglessly spent in an empty attempt to appease others. How could they do this to me? How could they assign me to a life of servitude and labor after all the sacrifices I’ve made?

I despise this world we ‘ve created. With every fiber within me, I hate it. I have to act. I’ve no choice. Fairness itself beckons me to do so. Something must be done to change things for those like me who our society has let down. I am not, by any stretch, a bad person, and I most certainly do not foster the selfishness and deceit with which I’ve been branded.

I simply cannot allow this to happen.

Chapter 6

Well dang! He sure doesn’t sound happy, huh?

Rightfully so, I may add. But I digress. After all, you don’t want my opinion, right? You want more context. Ask, and you shall receive! I think that was the saying. Sorry if I butchered it.

After the collapse we discussed, the place took awhile to get back on its feet. Chaos and depravity were the trend for very, very long time. Until, that is, that little group of leaders mentioned in my first communique came along and seized the opportunity laying there for the taking – the once in a thousand lifetimes chance to rebuild the world from its deepest roots all the way to its highest branches.

As always, it’s difficult to organize the precise chronology of events, given the time lapse. Not to mention, perhaps more significantly, that the truth is difficult to decipher from embellishment (or sheer fabrication) through the biases of historical record keepers. But we believe the basic narrative for the epic recovery is this:

Four people had a vision for a better world. Two women, two men (by chance, not intention). After shedding their differences and joining forces to wage a lengthy, non-violent ascent to the top of what little was left of society, they organized the entire globe’s population into self-sustaining, strictly governed semi-cities. They were selling a unified, mutually beneficial philosophy where each of these smaller units maintained the freedom the practice their own cultural adherences, so long as they respected the basic foundation laid for the whole. Each unit was assigned (at first, then voted for)  its own “Enforcer” to ascertain that the constituency obeyed the doctrines passed down by the Four Founders. If you ask me, they could have opted for a slightly less counter-intuitive title for these folks considered the freedom thing, but hey, apparently we’re not all great with words. Sue them (nailed that one!).

This leads us to the frustrated diary excerpt you read a moment ago, penned by one of the lucky folk who caught the short end of their society’s stick. Bet you can’t guess who that cheerful fella was, eh? Bingo! The fabled Mr. Mikal. Poor guy. Man, I’m on a roll. Never did make sense to me that the name of a dog somehow meant you’re correct, but I’ve learned enough about you humans that I’m used to the confusion by now. Oh and by the way, poor girl too, right?! No more Mikal magic for her.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Back to business.

You’ll want to follow me carefully on this part, because it gets kind of…well, weird, if I’m being candid. To me, at least. Who knows, maybe you’ll think its brilliant. Let’s find out!

See, during the process of rebuilding, the Founders tapped into the brightest minds of their time, and with the help of some scientific records salvaged from the World Before, were able to pinpoint the chemical processes in the brain that cause individuals to exhibit (what they interpreted) as benevolent actions. Of course this also meant that they were able to isolate the chemicals causing people to exhibit malicious behavior, as well. A necessary piece of the puzzle, because what would be the point of knowing how much good you have brewing inside if you’re clueless as to the bad, no? Irrelevant without the whole picture, I’d venture to say.

Thus, armed with data compiled from monitoring their citizens via devices embedded at birth, they crafted this groundbreaking, unprecedented civilization on the simplest of frameworks. At the tender age of sixteen, all members of the community were ushered through what was dubbed the “Filing”. Those who have “purity ratings” of 75% or higher – meaning at least three fourths of the chemicals produced by their brains leaned toward behavior deemed “good” – were filed to the Right. These members of the community moved on to enjoy the more comfortable, often luxurious positions that life offered. They received access to higher education, frequently obtained prominent political or social status, and gained voting rights. Conversely, those not fortunate enough to score such envied levels of benevolence were filed, you guessed it…to the Left. They were separated from their previous peers on the Right to graduate into the not-at-all stressful lives of manufacturing, service, and production. Their daily interactions varied substantially from their counterparts, as one would assume. They tended to work longer hours, had certain restricted rights, were almost constantly under some form of supervision, and were generally responsible for that which the Right simply didn’t want to do in order to keep things chugging along. Suffice to say, resentment and dissent was much more prevalent amongst them.

I expect you, my friend, to form your own opinion of this framework as you gain further insight.

And so for many thousands of years, such was the world. Until, as these things seem to go…it wasn’t.

Chapter 7

I don’t know what I’m going to tell Estella. If I’m even allowed to see her one last time, that is. I’ve tried to come up with a plan to remedy my predicament, but I find myself at a loss. I feel utterly helpless.

We were both so sure of ourselves. What am I going to do when we’re separated? The mere thought of it rips me apart. We love each other so, so much. How can they strip us apart like we’re subhuman, devoid of feelings? I hate the Filing. I said it in my last entry, and I’ll say it again. I hate it with everything in me.

Our entire childhood has been spent together. The image burns in my mind; her, silently walking to the front of that massive, ornate room. The rest of us whose names had yet to be called, all sitting in nervous anticipation as we waited for her to be Filed. My heart warmed as the Panelist shouted “Right!”, my smile widening as I watched her be ushered into the adjacent chamber to join those I was assured I’d be with any moment.

I knew it. Not the slightest shred of doubt within me. I knew we would be reunited shortly. I can still see her slowly turning around before drifting out of sight, cutely eyeing the crowd in search of me among the mass of motionless, silent bodies.

But now, two tortuous days later, I find myself locked in my room with a heart plagued of hate. I want to refuse. Refuse to report to the Overseers in charge of introducing me to my new, pathetic life. Mother tells me that these types of thoughts are exactly what placed me in this predicament to begin with, but she’s wrong. Thoughts such as these are foreign to me. I’ve always kept a Pure mind…always did the right thing.  My intentions were never misguided. I don’t care what their beloved “data” tells them. “You act primarily for the sake of appearances or facades.” Please. How can they presume to know the first thing about my mind? They aren’t me. I AM.

I must face Estella before the Separation. I just don’t know how.

Higher Power, grant me strength. Never have I been in grander need of it.

Chapter 8

Bam! Name reveal. The plot thickens!

Forgive me. You must excuse my occasional whimsical disposition as I recount these often sad, passion-infused diary scribblings. I find it hard to entertain myself after reading such depressing recollections of heartbreak, injustice, and the like. Not to mention the fact that there are millions of other stories just like the one you’re reading. Not because people during this time and age enjoyed keeping diaries, mind you. On the contrary, most hated keeping one. Unfortunately for them, maintaining a daily journal was a requirement passed down by the Four Founders. In an attempt to instill a more accurate sense of awareness of ones self, it was mandated that all citizens write about their days, thoughts, desires, dislikes, etc. Perhaps even more cringeworthy, they were required to read said journal entries from time to time. They’d even be forced to watch a recording of these readings sometimes, the intent being that any opportunity to observe your thoughts from a third person perspective, you better realize who you truly are. In turn, theoretically, providing a firmer grip on how you can change and become the model human that the Founders thought you should be.

Idealism. Isn’t it wonderful?

Anyway, back to our two lovebirds. I presume by now that you’ve got a clearer image of who we’re dealing with. Estella, the (finally named) bubbly, soft-hearted damsel, and Mikal, her perhaps not-so-self aware mutual love interest. It would be a warming tale to be honest, were it not for a society structured to destroy any hope of them having a life together. I suppose the lingering question at the moment is pretty obvious: did that structure succeed in keeping them apart? Well that, along with the ever-present philosophical issue of whether any of this is even fair to begin with. But one thing at a time.

Oh, the tingle and excitement of uncertainty…don’t you just love it?!

I know I do.

Chapter 9

Oh, what shall I do?!

There must have been a mistake. There MUST be. Mikal has been Filed left! I shan’t see him again, and my heart aches unimaginably thinking of it. All this time we’ve spent in anticipation, patiently waiting for the day when we would be Filed together. How could this have happened? He is pure! More so than me, I know it!

I asked Father what could be done. He says there is nothing we can do to change the Filing. Mikal will live a life of labor and servitude. It isn’t fair! He always did what was right. Always! How can they possibly say he was not pure enough? He was more genuine than any of the others. And there are so many who were Filed right who are surely less so than my Mikal.

Oh, I know not what to do. My heart yearns for him so dearly. I cannot bear such pain for the rest of my life.

What can I do?

Chapter 10

Sort of makes you feel sorry for the girl, huh? Yeah yeah, maybe its just puppy love and they’ll grow out of it in time, but dang. She sure sounds like it hit her deep.

Funny thing, love. It’s different in everyone’s eyes, wouldn’t you say? I mean, are we sure our good friend Mikal here was intent on the benevolence of his little fling with Estella? Or did he just play the game the right way so he could land the beautiful girl? And even if he did, could there still be love tucked away underneath all that manipulation? Surely something sinister had to be going on under the hood for him to be Filed Left though, right? If the higher ups had all that science stuff going on, isolating all those “good” and “bad” chemicals, could one really argue the result? Is the sorry sap just lying to himself so he can rest that sly little head of his at night? Or could he actually be the victim of an unintentionally twisted system after all?

Load of questions, I know. I just can’t help but find myself asking them as I read through these diaries. They make me wonder where lines should, or even can, be drawn.

Plus, who’s to say what’s good and evil anyway?

Chapter 11

A curious thing happened today.

I was visited by a Youth who had just completed his Filing. He has been sent Left, and assigned to the Ward of Mechanics to maintain and service the Community’s machinery. I recall his approach this morning, slowly opening the door to my office as he peered inside with the strangest glint in his eye. It was most odd as I’d never witnessed such a cheerful laborer so recently Filed. But to my surprise, the young man excitedly sat down, actually thanking me for my work and commitment as an Overseer. He told me he appreciated the Filing and that he now understood why he was Filed Left. He told me our process has opened his eyes, and made him realize what true “purity” is.

It is strange. I cannot recall one Youth who was filed Left displaying such gratitude. Without fail, my experience with them has been one of contempt and resentment. After all, the whole process is designed for that very reason. They predominantly behave as what the Founders label as “bad”. Therefore their natural response when Filed Left is the aforementioned. Those who instead appreciate our process, and are “good”, see their Filing as positive affirmation, and would respond positively if Filed otherwise, viewing it as such a lesson – which is precisely why they are Filed Right to begin with. After all, the Founders assured in our curriculum that early on, its common knowledge that one’s internal thought process and response to adversity defines one’s true moral value. It is not their outward appearance or often misguided interpretations of observers which determines purity, as was usually the case in the World Before.

The evil deserve to be sent here. This is known. They should produce goods and provide services for the Good. But it is for this that I am at an impasse. This newly Filed Youth has shown the indicative behavior of one that is good. Has our process failed? Have we condemned someone who is Pure? He is the only remotely positive individual in a group which has never failed to foster anger, irritability, and other punishable characteristics.

What should I do with this Mikal?

Chapter 12

Damn.

That’s all I have to say at the moment. Because truthfully, my mind is bamboozled after that one. I’m going to need a second to reread and get this straight.

Alright. So context clues indicate that this was a journal entry of one of these Overseers who make sure the rules are followed in these microcosms. Hmm. Sounds like our boy is making some moves, doesn’t it? Because I’m guessing Mikal’s a smart fella. And I’m also guessing he knows that at this point, his only hope of getting the girl is gaming the system. So sure, why not pretend that you’re a changed man? What does he have to lose? Life is going downhill regardless. Hell, he must’ve done a bang-up job if Mr. Overseer wrote that wonderful little entry about him, right?

Yeah, our pal Mikal knows how to play. Which again, makes me wonder what his intentions were with our girl in the first place, but I digress. Perhaps its possible to simultaneously be good at the game and capable to love after all.

Or is it? Wait for it…

Jury’s still out. Ha!

Chapter 13

I am troubled this evening, to painful ends. I cannot cease thinking of Estella, and what may be going on in her life as rot down here. On my honor, if that Donovan even thinks of making a move on her, I will launch myself from this confinement and end his existence with such fervor that naught even a faded memory of the coward remains. I must find my way to her.

I spoke with the Overseer earlier today. I told him how much I appreciated the Filing and the community its created, and that I was grateful for the process opening my eyes. Initially, he sat there motionless; silent with a look of utter confusion. As I went on, though, he appeared to ease into a state of what seemed like unexpected satisfaction. I think my plan is working.

I must do what is necessary to convince them that I am good. The others in my Ward just complain, cowering in the shadows as their negativity festers into hopeless depression. They remind me of the livestock some of the other Wards tend to, embodying a kind of robotic aura of conformity. I, however, am finding it almost effortless to navigate the system down here. If I continue to feign this grateful sense of sincerity, I’m confident I can turn my misfortune into opportunity. Yes, I will use their system against them. I will make it my own, and through my efforts return to my love.

My Estella.

Chapter 14

Now you just hold on! Who the heck is this Donovan schmuck?

Sure didn’t see that one coming, I can tell you that. Hopefully we’ll learn more about this mystery man as we continue to juice these fruits. Because this is definitely juice if I may say so myself. Silly humans.

That said…so what do you think? Does Mikal truly love her? “‘My’ Estella.” Sort of an odd term to use, no? Almost sounds like he views her as his property. Property he doesn’t want to share as it were, which he made abundantly clear. But I don’t know. Perhaps I just don’t fully understand human dialect, and calling another individual your own is perfectly normal for you weir…I mean folks.

Yeah. Maybe he does love the girl. But that begs another question in my much more evolved eyes. How does he even define it in the first place? Love, I mean. ‘Cause the way I see it, if Estella’s future was just as bright, hypothetically, with someone else amidst this padded lifestyle up there, shouldn’t that be a good thing? In fact considering his tainted status now, I would guess its even brighter! So should Mikal not be happy for her happiness? Isn’t that what love is supposed to be? Unconditional? Or am I interpreting all of these records the wrong way…is love only present for humans when it serves one’s own ends?

Oh come on, now now. Don’t fret. I’m fully aware I’m asking for a solution to an unsolvable dilemma. Its not like I expect anyone to have the answer to such unanswerable questions. They’re, you know…rhetorical. Truthfully, I doubt we will ever really have the answers to such things. Pushing the deep thoughts aside, though, let’s all be honest here. Based on his train of thought, I think its pretty darn safe to say that Mikal is only going to “love” Estella if she loves him back. Thank goodness she does, based on her own assertions, because I’d rather not picture what that kid might do if she moved on to someone else. Better watch that back, Donovan!

Either way, I admit, he’s a sneaky little bugger isn’t he? Manipulating the manipulators.

Good for him.

Chapter 15

Day after day after day of work. Raw hands, tattered hair, and dry, cracking skin.

I’ve run into difficulty in my attempts to deceive my arbitrators. Our Overseer is discontented with the work that my Ward doing, and he frequently takes his frustrations out on us. The project with which we are tasked, of course, is building the monument. That despicable, eyesore of a waste of resources which will be dedicated to the Founders. Once complete, its hideousness is expected to be visible from any point within the entire community.

The hand that feeds, indeed. That is how these alleged “leaders” view themselves. So infinitely generous and benevolent that they require absurdly sized, ego-stroking statues of each other so the underlings won’t forget who they should be worshipping. I scoff at the notion. If only they knew how brittle their structure truly is.

Recently I’ve made attempts to reason with those I can trust. Oliver, the bread maker’s son, agrees that we are living as livestock. He sees our rulers’ chains for what they are. He knows, as I do, that this way of life cannot go on. That we must change it. We have agreed on our intentions to act. There is no longer a choice. For me. For them. For my Estella.

For there is no greater travesty than that of idle hands.

Chapter 16

Well well well!

Sounds like our guy is falling a little deeper into the depths of depravity, wouldn’t you say? Openly acknowledging his attempts of deceit and manipulation like that? He even sounds proud of it. Ballsy move, if you ask me. What if these Overseer people busted the door down and found his journal? He’d be screwed, right? Not that he’s given them reason to, I imagine, but still. I mean from what that Overseer was saying, Manipulative Mikal sounded like he’s nudged his way into being their Star Boy. But still you can never be too careful, I always say.

Anyway, warning! I’m going to go ahead and share a teensy tiny spoiler, because I’m all alone over here with no one to talk to and I can’t contain my need for entertainment. So don’t be mad, okay? Here goes.

According to our records, Mikal ends up causing quite a stink. There. That’s all I’ll spill. See? Not so bad, was it? But yeah, it’s funny, don’t you think? You crack open the history books and the people who tend to take center stage are those pesky ones who just couldn’t seem to follow the rules. The folks who got pushed a liiiiiittle too far, and then bam! They snap and end up burning the house down to make space for a new one. Don’t feel bad, though. I’m sure everyone else has their place in the history books, too. The pages are probably just, you know…stuck together or something.

Weird how the world works, hmm?

Chapter 17

I received painful news today, I am sad to say. Though I now understand why Mikal was Filed Left.

Today the Overseer collected the new Right Files and took us into a room in the Capitol Building where much was revealed. We learned what lies behind the inner workings of someone infected with the instinct of deception, and how many who are Filed Left falsify their behaviors to project a personality they believe is desirable to the subject they are directed toward. It was a particularly taxing lesson for me mentally, as I never imagined the mind of someone such as my Mikal could be so sinister. He seemed so…good. Yet now I have learned that this whole time, his behavior never aligned with his intentions.

It is a worrisome realization, and one which carries deeply impactful ramifications for us both. Equipped with my new knowledge base, I am confident I shall find myself partial to Donovan, who has been uncommonly sweet to me as of late. Father says that having been a boy himself, its clear to him that Donovan is courting me. And its true…he is very good to me. Which is what I should be looking for, isn’t it? Someone who treats me with respect. Plus, he was given an honorable position with the Ward of Entertainment, so if I decide to pursue theater, our union would be the logical one.

I still find pause when thinking of it all, though. It will surely break Mikal’s heart were he to ever learn of Donovan and I. Even more confusing to me is that Mikal DID treat me with respect. Even more so than Donovan, I’d wager! But I am told that none of it was real. It was all just a farce so he could get what he wanted.

I don’t know. Its so exhausting. I think I need to sleep on everything because its all so sudden.

Love is complicated, to be sure.

Chapter 18

Sigh.

They’re funny things, these journals. They started as a very simple tool to help folks understand themselves. After sifting through so many, I realize that what resulted is a treasure trove of deeply rooted, unabridged thought. Wait. Not going to ramble this time. Caught myself.

You’re welcome!

So there’s a gray area that concerns me after reading our beloved little lady’s change of heart. Why did Estella think Mikal was evil simply for being deceptive? At the end of the day (I’m getting good at this), all the kid wanted was a life with her. Just because he might have told her that, I don’t know, her open-mouth chewing didn’t irritate the living daylights out of him doesn’t mean he was being evil, wouldn’t you agree? I mean let’s really zoom out and look at the big picture here. Is his manipulation really indicative of some kind of assumed, malicious intent? Isn’t that what the Founders claimed to despise to begin with? The World Before and how everything was based on assumed interpretations rather than pure, objective reality? Sure, misleading others to obtain things we want is pretty much universally frown upon – but in this case, he just wants to be with her! How is that evil? If you ask me, I think we’re tiptoeing on some pretty sensitive territory with this Filing thing. Is the entire thing just a hypocritical regurgitation of the same mistakes that were made time and time before? Sure, it may look a heck of a lot different, but its basically still the same stuff it was before you swallowed it.

Blah. Why do I always do this to myself? Let’s just both do what most others did back then so we don’t drive ourselves insane with all this thinking. Go with the flow! ‘Cause I admit, life sure is less depressing that way. Oh, what’s that one you all said about that? I remember! Ahem.

After all…ignorance is bliss.

Chapter 19

Pain.

Its consuming me. Yet ironically, It’s the only thing that seems to be keeping me on my feet in this life of the Left. Without it, I would have surely succumbed to the hopelessness surrounding me. Feeling such constant, inexplicable hurt instills within me the need to have it end, and there is but one thing imaginable which boasts the power to do so.

My tormented thoughts uncontrollably drift toward Estella almost every waking second it seems, pondering what she may be doing and how our separation is affecting her. I am putting forth my strongest efforts to convince the Overseer that my mind is pure so that through some miracle, he appeals to the Enforcer on my behalf. But how can I prove something that they already believe to be false? How can I change their minds when they say they have the tools to look into my thoughts? They’ll undoubtedly say, as always, that I’m simply trying to manipulate them. It’s a system I cannot overcome. This blind faith in their technology shall be my undoing.

Still, I do not have it within me to concede. I am driven by one, sole purpose: to be with my Estella. Such insatiable desire fosters no capability of subsiding. It can only grow stronger.

Yes, I will find a way to break these chains binding, or so help me I will die trying.

Chapter 20

Okay. I have to say…I’m torn on Mikal.

Part of me can’t help but feel for the guy. We have to keep in mind, these are private journal entries we’re reading here. No reason to hold anything back, so what we are observing are the genuine, no-holds-barred thoughts which resided in that complicated brain of his. And looking back, it sure as heck sounds like he loved the girl. Granted I’m no human, so this is my best guess – but I feel pretty strong about it.

On the other hand, though, I also think that Mikal was his own worst enemy. Because he sure was a resentful cuss, wasn’t he? Who knows. Maybe he didn’t see the good in other men, which would explain all that talk about making Estella “his”. You know, as if he was the only one in the world who could treat the girl the way a girl should be treated. Sadly for him, he didn’t seem to understand that this sense of competitiveness gave him an aura of insecurity and distrust. So that’s the dilemma his subconscious mind unknowingly created for him. Well…according to my esteemed, superior-species intuition, that is. 

If I had the chance to slap the kid in the face and say “no!” really loudly so as to obtain his undivided attention, I would sit him down and tell him “listen, Mikal. We need to discuss the psychological foundation that’s supporting your personality.” Then I would somehow come up with a way to delicately, without offending him, tell him that his personality isn’t really that fun to be around. Well, his real one, I mean. Because apparently, not many people got to witness that one. He’s a manipulator, after all. So yeah. After I deflated any sort potential aggressive responses to my intervention, I would say something along the lines of “you know what you need, my friend? Depth. You need depth. Now that doesn’t mean you’re shallow! So don’t fret. You just need, you know…a better ability to look within yourself and come to terms with who you truly are. Because if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, you’re kind of doing the exact same thing that got you chucked into the obscurity that is being Filed Left. Make sense? Now dry those tears, you’re the man who’s winning the girl back, remember?! So let’s work on this together! It’ll all be okay. Okay?”

So yeah. What do you think? Do you think Mikal needed a lesson in self-awareness, or do you think he was simply an unfortunate victim of an unfair world? Regardless, there’s one constant that I’m confident we can both agree on. A life of a Left is a far-too-diluted life. They basically oppressed into a overly-simplified existence of production and service. Life should be so much more than that. It’s the experience of experiences, wrapped into a tragically short window of time. So short that we should all be fighting as hard as our souls and bodies are capable to cram in as much happiness as this mysterious universe could possibly allow. Because when the hustle and bustle of daily life ebbs, that’s what its all about, no? The generation of happiness. Primarily, as nature would have it, for ourselves. And once that box is checked, coming in at a close second should be the same thing, only for others. Everything we do, everything we create, everything we imagine…should be conceptualized to further and better the lives of us as biological organisms. Creating, in other words, more and more of it. Happiness. That is the key to life.

Oh and yes, I know that was a rant. 

Sue me.

Chapter 21

I miss him. I miss him so, so much. Earlier today I took a walk along the river and sat at the spot Mikal and I used to catch fish. As I was walking, my mind drifted to the time he took me there for an actual, real picnic. I never even knew such a place existed so close to the community. If an Overseer had discovered us, of course, we surely would have suffered a sever punishment, but still…it was such a magical day. He had it all set up, the crazy boy. He snuck us out through the shadows and when we arrived, I could immediately tell he had everything all planned out. He had a path through the brush all cut out, a great big stocked basket full of the most delicious fruits, and so much more! Oh how I wish I could just go back in time and relive that day.

But then my thoughts return to the here and now, and the elation fades to…I don’t know. Abandonment? Now they tell me that during all that time, Mikal was fostering sadistic thoughts. That all of those sweet things he did were just to win my heart, so he could have, well…something else. They tell me he doesn’t truly care for me, and merely pretends so he can have me. I just cannot believe it! He always treated me respectfully, and not one time did he ever do a thing that made me uncomfortable.

What’s more, now Father is pressuring me to obtain a husband, as its expected at my age. Of all the boys with me on the Right, its more than clear that he favors Donovan. I haven’t decided what I will do. But more than anything, I wish so, so deeply that Mikal could be the one I wed.

I miss him so much.

Chapter 22

Ugh. Well there goes my cheerful disposition. Give me a moment. I have to, uh, wipe some dirt from my face. My species doesn’t cry, alright?! So save it.

Okay back. Oh, Estella. I feel for you, girl. Just imagine it. The one person you love more than anything in the world, stripped from you without the slightest cause for concern by said strippers. Just like that: gone. Not even a goodbye. Consider this. Who is the one person that you most assuredly could not fathom a life without? Think of their name. Their face, greeting you with a warm mug of coffee as you waltz into the kitchen after a hot, fresh shower. Think of their smile as they tell you to have a good day, and the image in your head as you think of them while you’re gone. Think of allllll those wonderful things about them that you just “can’t even” about.

And then imagine life without them.

I don’t know what’s good. I couldn’t tell you what’s evil. What I do know, however, in my time sifting through your historical records – is that you humans have a grand capacity to feel. So much so that there have been a handful of occasions during which I’ve found myself envying such passion. I can tell you, since I’m an expert on these things, that your species is quite unique in that regard. You folks really do have an inordinately strong emotional capacity. 

Well I say it makes me jealous, but the truth is that I quickly remind myself of how vulnerable such softness renders one, so in the end the envy just morphs into pity. I mean come on! Did you READ what we just read? Who would want to live like that? It sounds awful!!

Anyway, no offense. Its not your fault that nature decided to make you guys sort of squishy. So lets ignore that, because there’s a more important cloud that’s been hanging over our heads this entire time that I think its time we confront. 

Every single thing we’ve been reading was manifested because of a small group of individuals decided that they knew what components of the human condition were “good”, and which were “evil”. Let’s think about that by trying to place ourselves in the minds of the ones subjected to this reality. They’ve spent their entire lives being taught these tenants which had been handed down one generation after the other. So much so that considering the malleability of the human mind, it was probably darn near impossible to consider that such teachings may actually be misguided. Especially when you live in a society where such questions and goings-against-the-grain carry the severest of punishments. In fact the mere suggestion that you might be questioning their dogma would gain you nothing but public humiliation and the label of selfish dissenter who can’t appreciate what they’ve been given. Is any of that right?

But don’t let my rantings come off as attempts to influence your opinion. They aren’t. Because sure, its true that its natural to crave structure and consistency. So from a high level perspective, such a strict, rigid society may actually be what’s necessary to prevent the chaos that lurks in the animal instinct. Jury’s still out, I suppose. But there’s one unavoidable truth that affects us all, whether we’re capable of admitting it or not. You heard me. Even species as evolved as mine fall victim to this universal truth.

You see, we all justify our actions, as good or bad as they may be. We all have a story we tell ourselves as we lay our heads to sleep which allows us to purge the guilt and remorse from our self-perceptions. Because be honest. Does anyone, ever, humbly admit to being evil? Okay, maybe like…two people have. But come on. The answer is no. So why do you think this is so? Ugh, again. I so wish it was me I was transmitting to you in space and time, more than ever right now.

I would love to know your answer.

Chapter 23

He visited again today.

As I sit here, I’m consumed by what I can only describe as a sensation of awe. Such a situation has simply never occurred according to my research, as I’ve attempted to uncover any records detailing a remotely similar event. As such, I can arrive at no other conclusion: we have failed this boy. This Mikal.

His attitude deviates so much from that of his peers. Upon entering my office, he promptly informed me that the quartermaster of his block was not rationing food properly. At first, I must admit I’d grown tired of such accusations. As prior experience dictated, I assumed it was a ploy to obtain more rations as it always turns out to be. Yet after telling him as much, he insisted I at least grant him the opportunity to elaborate, explaining his concern. I am glad I reluctantly decided to allow it, because I was deeply struck by what happened next. After hearing his explanation, it was revealed that he, himself, would be afforded a lesser ration, should the oversight be corrected. What surprised me even further was that it took several probing questions for me to even uncover the fact. A realization, as I reflect on the exchange, which leads me to believe that he was sincerely just reporting an issue that was adversely affecting his peers. Had this Mikal been attempting to feign the appearance of true altruism, he surely would have made sure I knew that his report was not intended to better his own circumstances.

I was so stricken by my confusion that after I completed the day’s responsibilities, I visited the commissary to confirm the revelation that he had nothing to be gain by exposing this error. Sure enough, my cautious suspicions were validated. I found myself both elated at finally witnessing true selflessness present amongst the Left, and mortified that such an individual had been subjected to the Ward for me to experience such elation begin with. I am now convinced that it is my duty, my moral obligation to submit a revaluation request to the Enforcer. The entirety of relevant evidence clearly indicates the reluctant admission that our beloved system has in fact failed us. If we are to accept this society in which we live with arms as open as it claims are merited, then it is incumbent for us to act when uncovering egregious errors as such.

There is much to consider, for us all.

Chapter 24

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?????

Alright, I’ve been waiting for the right moment to uncork this metaphorical bottle, so be warned: I am about to employ one of those terms that while some humans used in abundance, others shunned it as if a pair of soiled underpants. Ahem, again.

Damn!!

Sounds like our boy is heating up! Even in the midst of all the that labor, the disgusting hovel in which he called home, the label of societal dreg…he plot twists my incomprehensibly advanced intellectual expectation’s face off! I’ll give the guy this: he sure is proving to have a much firmer grasp on the human psyche than pretty much anyone else in this suspenseful saddening story.

But yes, while we all (well, most of us) want to applaud the sly little underdog, we must refocus back to the point at hand. As much as I don’t want to ask at the moment, I must. So here goes.

Does this make him the deceitful, maliciously fake demon of which he’s been labeled? As much as I’ve been trying to subtly, simultaneously praise and admonish any given behavior this whole time so as to project a sense of neutrality, I have no choice at this point but to reveal my true thought after that one. Which is pretty simple to be frank, as I already shared it. 

Damn!

You heard me. From my perspective, the guy is so unshakably committed to his desire to be with his love that he will do quite literally anything within his power to do so. That, to me, says more about a person’s character than any amount of dialogue or written word ever will. Because you and I both know there is an extraordinarily overused colloquialism that we are probably both thinking right now. Oh yeah. That’s the one!

Actions speak louder than words. 

And even in the midst of such obvious, objectively observable realities, there are still those who would insist that Mikal is a bad person for being manipulative. Which, mind-blowingly, makes a certain kind of sense when you really think about it. Or at least becomes the most gray area that has ever attempted to be gray.

So. As always, I’m dying to know…what do you think? Is it truly immoral to employ deceitful tactics if they are solely intended to acquire a perfectly understandable, innocently-desired outcome? Well, assuming his desire IS innocent. As Estella herself mentioned earlier, who knows…perhaps the real plot twist is going to end up being that it all was about procreation, after all. Or the act of procreation, I should more appropriately say.

But as we’ve said time and time again by now, at the end of the day, there are but few assurances tied into this twisted tale. Call what Mikal was trying to do “good”, or call it “evil”. Either way, there is no denying it.

The kid was passionate.

Chapter 25

I’ve decided to go through with it. Soon, I shall be wed to Donovan.

As expected, Father tells me that there is no better match for which I could hope. That Donovan occupies a highly respected position, and is of pure mind. While yes, I do agree that may be, I so dearly miss my Mikal. They continue to claim he was misleading in order to posses or control me, but I cannot purge him from my thoughts. We loved one another with such depth. So often did I daydream of the ceremony that would at last formally acknowledge our unique bond.

Today, that image is replaced by one only recently introduced to my mind. And as sad as that may sound, our reality dictates that this new image is the only one which can be realized. The image of Donovan. He is a sweet boy, and there are no doubts to his intentions. But there is so much missing, so much more that I long for that my Mikal could provide. We had adventures! We took risks. Walks, runs. There was no obstacle we could not overcome. Until the Filing. That awful Filing.

Oh, Mikal…how I miss you.

Chapter 26

These constant changes in perspective are confusing the heck out me, have I mentioned that? 

Fortunately for you, all you see are these transmissions of mine. If you were here, however, you would witness what goes on behind the scenes. Which isn’t much, truthfully, outside of my frustrated efforts in deciphering who the heck is writing and what order to put them in. Because hopefully, you recognize and appreciate the amount of work it takes to not only navigate a world filled with gigantic, completely-unknown-to-your-timeline bloodthirsty predators without becoming lunch, geographically pinpoint the precise location containing these scribblings, dig them up, recondition them to a point where they can actually be read, and then figure out the chronological order in which they were written. And what’s more…all alone!! 

Okay, okay. Taking a deep breath now. Please forgive my frustrations. I know none of this is your fault. It just isn’t easy having no outlet with which to communicate with another sentient organism other than with primiti – er, ancient individuals not even of your species who occupy a totally inaccessible point in spacetime. So not only will I never physically acquaint myself with them, I’ll never even know if they received my messages to begin with, because they don’t have the technology to reply! Its emotionally draining, alright?

But that’s no excuse. I knew that this wouldn’t be easy coming into it. That I’d be spending all sorts of time trying to catalogue my thoughts and organize these events for you. And ironically, you don’t even know why I’m even doing it. So just try and respect the struggle. All I’m saying. 

Phew. Alas…such is the challenge of a story teller, I suppose. It is the task of mining thoughts from the deepest chasms of often twisted and tormented minds. The embarkation of a perpetual search for life’s innermost truths, and the endeavor to expose them in the brightest, most radiant light imaginable. Species be damned. As ultimately, we all share similar stories. Your species, my species, and yep – even those bloodthirsty monsters. Much as I’d prefer not to admit it, even those awful, gigantic, smelly, mortifying creatures likely go through the same types of experiences as you and I. 

I don’t even know where to begin after this last entry. It would probably assist in our opinion-forming if we knew anything about Donnie-Do-Gooder, but regrettably I didn’t dig any of his writing up. Either way, one thing is for certain. You and I should both and thanking Mikal and Estella. For sadly, they both lived a life of such passion, such daring, such substance…and you and I have the wonderful opportunity of experiencing their journey, allowing us to learn more about them, ourselves, and the human condition at large.

Because at the end of the day who are we, really? Or you, rather. My people are already self-aware, so obviously we scoff at such queries. But yes, who are you? Complex, certainly. I posit that you are your thoughts. Your thoughts comprise your genuine self. And ironically, the only person who ever unquestionably knows one’s thoughts devoid of doubt…is one’s very own self. Sounds sort of lonely, don’t you think? You will be the only individual who ever truly, viscerally knows you based upon raw knowledge straight from the source. All those other people? Nah. They’re only acquainted with the person that they’ve interpreted you to be. Who they think you are. And as we should all know with abundant clarity by now, interpretations aren’t exactly shining examples of objective reality. They are simply what is believed to be true as dictated through mere observation.

And so far, you know what I’ve observed? Love, far as I comprehend it. I’ve witnessed a pair of individuals battling a system that’s doing every single thing in its arsenal to prevent them from obtaining genuine happiness. For these two, thoughts drift toward each other even amidst the unlikeliest of circumstances.

If you ask me, that simple observation is one of the rare examples of what it means to be truly, undoubtedly, in love.

No?

Chapter 27

It is done.

I do not know whether my predominant feeling at the moment is one of surprise, or expected affirmation. In either case my efforts, at last, have been rewarded with the result for which they were so meticulously expended.

Today, I was unexpectedly summoned to the Overseer’s office. He informed me that throughout my time here under his supervision, he has never bared witness to a constituent who displayed such inordinately considerate, selfless characteristics as I have. What’s more, he said that after careful consideration, he decided to submit my candidacy for the privilege of Reevaluation to the Enforcer himself!!I could not believe it! Even though yes, I’ve been working toward this very day all this time, I was almost certain my ears deceived me.

This is it. This is my long-awaited opportunity of regaining a life with my love. My Estella. For so long, the others in my Ward undermined my actions, laughing as they claimed I was misguided to conform. To adhere to their despicable system. They incessantly berated me for my feigned appreciation in lieu of the hardened conditions forced upon us. Still, I found it within me to maintain the strength to persevere. A necessary respite, of course, which was provided by nothing more than an intoxicating desire to reunite with my only purpose in life. My beautiful, perfect Estella.

I have made history among our people. After the initial shock subsided, the Overseer revealed to me that I am preceded by only one other who achieved a second chance. And I’ve done it for the heart of my one true love. I knew I was capable. In hindsight, I knew it. I knew all it would take was willpower, reluctant humility, and extreme perseverance. Patience. Soon, I will deservedly take my place on the Right. A place which I have more than earned. I have outsmarted this laughably revered system, and it is a feeling so grand I cannot fathom that there are words adequately capable of describing it.

Tomorrow cannot come too soon.

Chapter 28

No. Human. Way.

Our boy did it! Against all odds and literal entirety of a long-standing socio-economic system…Mikal emerged victorious!! I can honestly say, whimsical banter aside, that I am proud. This unlikely white knight (in my opinion of course) of a human fostered such a seemingly impossible degree of mental fortitude that he was able to shatter all conventional expectations cast upon him.

Of course, it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the acknowledgement that we have only been subjected to a small snapshot of what all transpired throughout this time, considering all we know is what was briefly relayed to us, but I think its best I keep those reservations to myself. Right now is a cause for celebration, is it not?

Don’t answer that. By now, you and I should both know that there’s no right response to the question. Because at the end of the day (I just love that one), none of us really know the true intentions of anyone in this tumultuous tale of twists and turns. So let’s just do the easy thing, and congratulate the kid, alright? He did it!!

Good for him.

Chapter 29

 

By the Higher, I have never felt so conflicted in all my life!! I cannot believe the news I received today. What in the world am I to do?

Mikal has returned!! I still feel the effects of overwhelming shock. My Commitment ceremony with Donovan was just last week!! I don’t even know where to begin. Its against the tenants handed down by the Four to sever a Commitment. Should I even suggest such a thing, I would most assuredly be viewed as an outcast. Yet I cannot help but foster a burning desire to do so. I cannot stop my thoughts from imagining what the future would look like with my Mikal. Oh, I am so confused.

I know Donovan loves me. This is unquestionable. Not once have I been presented with reason to doubt so. He always treats me with respect, behaving in a manner which not once has created cause for concern. With Donovan, my life here will be one of comfort. Not even that…it would be one of luxury. With his position and that which comes along with it, my every desire would be attended to in abundance.

Yet I must be honest with myself. I would be remiss to claim that a life with him could compare to the one I’ve dreamt of with my Mikal. I’m convinced we were simply made for each other. The excitement that sweeps over me when I think of the times we’ve shared together, and the possibility that they might yet be attainable again infects me with a sense of “what if”. What if??

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Never in my life have I experienced such sheer confusion. I know which choice is the safe, logical one. Still, I know which choice my heart desires.

I simply do not know what to do.

Chapter 30

Hmm.

There’s a really good one I dug up not long ago that I’ve been waiting to use. After reading this last entry, I’d say its about time I rip the cover off it, because I’m about ninety-nine percent pure and certain it pertains to our girl right about now.

She sure is in a pickle, wouldn’t you say?

This is tough. To be frank, even an evolved intellect such as mine can’t discern the most appropriate route, circling back to our established meaning of life that is the pursuit of happiness. What would you do? If ever there was a fork in the road…

Obviously we’ve got Mikal, the guy our beloved Estella spent pretty much her whole childhood with. The fella who walked through Hell, brilliantly deceiving his way out of the bad hand that society dealt him – all in the name of love. We think. Then there’s the other guy. The safe pick. The guy with the clean record, who has all the right connections and can undoubtedly provide a very comfortable, stress-free life. Because I imagine if our little lady opts for the former, there’s a whole heck of a lot of stress on the horizon.

So which is it? Do we go right or do we go left? Do we continue to go against the grain, further trying to break the system to rekindle a fiercely fiery passion? Or do we take the safe, reassured path and let the hand we’ve been dealt simply play out?

An unfair decision to be forced upon someone, sure. But such is life, isn’t it? As we know, this society was intended to work seamlessly. These kinds of scenarios should have been ironed out; prevented from happening during the original Filing. A mistake such as this has never been made before. Other than that one, of course. And yet now, on the dawn of the second hiccup by which this Utopia has ever been humbled, we must consider the most profound decision one can make: who’s heart shall we tear apart?

One will see Good, another will see Evil, indeed.


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