On the Eve: 9

Hadrian Merlfang – Lord of the North

I told him it would end this way, the fool.

How many years now? Things never end as we intend. No, not ever. Our fresh, inexperienced selves, energized with the fervor of youth, see nothing but the ideal and the desired. Then, as it always is, the bitch that is reality bears its teeth; sinking its fangs into our ignorant dreams of yesteryear.

What is worse – knowing that Jocasta is on a false errand, yet I still participate as if I am none the wiser, or the fact that Jordain might actually come out on top after all this? I cannot say. I’ve grown tired of these earthly quarrels. My only role left to fill at this old, rotting age is to write the ending to a story that has far too long been authored. The time has come to usher our tired souls into the unknown darkness that lies beyond our meaningless comprehension.

I told him it would end this way, the fool.

On the Eve: 8

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

I am conflicted.

Queen Jocasta has recalled our armies to Clarmont. All of them. Each and every weary, exhausted regiment is to report to this tiny speck of a village in an attempt to regroup and finish what we began. My conflict stems not from my duty to my Queen, but from my fading confidence in victory. I fear our armies are not yet strong enough to launch another assault on King Jordain and the Eastern Lands. Lest the Gods invoke a miracle, I cannot foresee this ending in triumph for my Queen.

Hadrian’s reinforcements from the North shall prove invaluable, to be certain. His armored mares are legendary; their riders even more so. It is my sincere hope that Jocasta utilizes this rare advantage most efficiently. I cannot imagine that Jordain could expect Hadrian to have lent such a force to an army opposing the East, much less that of Jocasta’s. I was under the impress that years ago, the three were quite close to each other. But alas, I shan’t divulge rumors or delve in gossip. The politics behind this campaign are beyond me. My only purpose is to serve my Queen, and to that end I shall uphold my duties with utmost honor.

She is this land’s Radiant Beacon of Benevolence, and to the end of this Earth we shall follow.

The Revolt Returns: 9

“Hey guys! Has anyone seen my jar of annoying whispering wisps?”

Approaching the Lenghornian village’s central meeting area, Dustin the Determined asks his co-workers where his pets might be.

“Oh yeah, we actually threw them out.” Chris the Comical tells him. “They all died. Did you not feed them?”

His quizzical stare slowly fading into a devious smirk, Dustin chuckles under his breath.

“Wait. Those things eat? I thought they were like…spirits or something. Well maybe not spirits. But ghosts. Or demons. Or something like that. Ya know? Like sometimes I wondered if they were even real cause sometimes I think I see things that aren’t there and then I’m like”

“DUSTIN!” The servers collectively shout, ending the rant and refocusing his attention.

“Forget them dude. They’ve joined our fallen comrades in peaceful slumber beyond the veil,” Chris assures him.

“Huh. Imagine that.” Dustin dismissively says, shrugging his shoulders. “Sucks to be them! Stupid wisps.”

“Right.” Chris says with a subtle laugh, putting his arm around Dustin’s shoulder to usher him into the meeting that was already taking place. “Johnny, please continue,” he says, looking toward the slightly introverted, usually soft spoken Giver of Speeches.

“Anyway,” Johnny the Jovial shouts to the villagers, “here is the plan. Our Barfly Gnat scouts have caught wind of Spam’s battle plans. We must break this wind! Let me tell you, faithful companions, these are sinister plans indeed. For Spam intends to secretly use her brainless Chilian soldier-slaves to mount a massive assault on this very village. But this shall be merely be a diversion for her true intention: sending her disgusting, uncontrollably hairy minion Will the Wolf to assassinate our village leadership!”

“GASP!!”

Collectively inhaling with such ferocity that Jade the Painfully Attractive Lade’s server apron almost falls off, the Lenghornians express disbelief of their oppressive manager’s intentions.

Confidently raising his hand, Johnny the Gentleman calms his loyal subjects.

“My friends…” he softly asserts, using his other hand to unsheath a blade so powerful it nearly blinds the crowd, “worry not. For I wield Steakscalibir!! I shall embark on an epic mission along with our brave cohort Dustin the Deft and end this treachery before it has a chance to take root!” He shouts, raising the fabled blade in triumph.

“HUZZAH!!” The Lenghornians cry in excited elation. “All hail Johnny! All hail Dustin!!” They cheer.

Glancing over the crowd to witness Brittany the Beautiful deliver a patron’s Blue Moon well after the beer’s expected arrival time, Johnny returns his gaze down to his fellow servers as he gracefully nods in appreciation of their support. Subtly glancing at Dustin, he slyly winks, smirks, and nods in silent acknowledgemnt of the legendary quest on which they shall soon embark.

A quest, as it were, which will define the future of the Lenghornian village for ages to come.

I Want to Play a Game

I’d like to try a thought experiment.

This might be weird; but just bear with me. You’ll need to pay very close attention to the things you’re about to read. More importantly, you’ll need to truly, truly, visualize and imagine what I’m going to say.

I want you to imagine yourself plugging your ears. Sound strange? Well it shouldn’t, because if you did it right you wouldn’t be able to hear it. Your ears are plugged, remember? Step one, imagine all the sound around you is gone. 

Step two. Think of the smells you’re experiencing. Then, imagine them going away. Close your nostrils if it helps. You can no longer smell.

Three. Cut your tongue out. Not literally! But imagine it disappearing into the same realm your other senses have traveled to. You can taste no more.

Four. You no longer feel anything. Your sense of touch is gone. Poof. Out the door. No more feel.

And last. Five. If you did it right, the only thing you have left….is this. You can see. You can read the words you’re reading right this very moment.

Now – close your eyes. Nothing. You should see, hear, smell, taste, feel….nothing. You should be nothing.

Okay, experiment over! If I had to guess, you’re probably thinking I’m a freaking nutcase right now. I, however, would say no; this is a thought process that has plagued me from the first time I considered it. I really, really want to know if there’s life after death. And no, I don’t want a feelgood story to make myself sleep better at night. I want to actually consider what really happens when we die. 

The above exercise is what I think about. Why don’t I remember anything before I was born? Seriously. Doesn’t this seem sort of obvious? When I was created, I gained the ability, through biological synapses and impulses that I won’t ever understand, to perceive reality. I was given hands, eyes, a nose, tongue, and so on to then be able to process the stimuli that is the universe. 

And you know what? When I’m dead, I bet I lose that ability to sense things. I bet I go right back to the blackness that was before I was born.

Now. Please. If there exists an individual who can tell me, in any logical manner why I should think otherwise, I’m begging you to do so. Because I’m going to be one hundred percent, completely real here: that scares the shit out of me. Wanna know why I quit insurance and write now? Well, here’s why folks. It doesn’t get any more real than this. I honestly believe that when I’m dead, that’s it. I don’t get another go around. So each and every second of my life, I want to make meaningful. And the worst part about this, believe me – the part that hurts the most, is thinking about Mom. That she may not be out there anymore. And that’s why I’m so torn, because the easy thing would be to say yeah of course she’s still there and so on. I really, really, can’t stand thinking this way. 

So. In summation. If someone can give me a rational, real explanation other than “faith” or “you just have to believe” or anything, please for the love of the ironic god I’m trying to find, tell me. 

That is all.

On the Eve: 4

Favian, Royal Record-Keeper & Historian of the East

The West shall never comprehend the world the way we Easterners do.

What ire could have possibly made Jocasta think she could overtake us? The East and West have co-existed, as agreed, for twelve winters now. Why is she suddenly afflicted with the desire to destroy? I cannot make sense of it.

I desperately long for the sensibility which we enjoyed many years ago. An era of peace. A time when Jordain and Joscasta ruled with the passion and love that this world deserves. Their deep affection for one another poured out over all these lands. It was a time of joy; true, unabridged happiness.

And then that awful, destructive separation. To this very day, I still find pause when asked if my recollections of the event are truly complete. The realm relies on my accounts for candidacy of what transpired, but I shall forever foster my internal doubts. I have written what I know to be true; Jocasta assuming the role of primary aggressor. She betrayed Jordain, this is well known. Yet it is a reluctant truth that confuses, for I still do not fully understand his decision to allow her sovereignty in the West. The splitting of these lands was perhaps a more hurtful dagger than the one Jocasta cast into the heart of my liege through her betrayal.

I have seen families ripped apart. I have witnessed brothers fighting brothers; sons fighting fathers. The darkest depths of depravity, all surfacing in the name of East versus West.

The gaping wound which separates these lands must once again be mended, this much I know. We cannot go on as warring factions.

The clarity of this shines with blinding abundance.

The Revolt Returns: 8

“Hey, what was the name of that new girl again? You know, the brown haired Lenghornian with the exquisite…personality?”

Back in Spam’s newly reconstructed Tower of Management, Will the Wolf ponders the assets of a Lenghornian newcomer with Chilian manservent, Quesadilla.

“I know not, my Lord.” Quesadilla replies. “I am but a lowly Chilian. Our ribs and terrible 2 for 1 specials in those tiny mugs pale in comparison to you Lenghornians. You know I am not savvy to such information. I am nothing if not a loyal subject of my dear, sexy Spam.”

“Ah, valid point, peasant.” Will says. “Perhaps I shall raid their pathetic village and take her for my own. Show her how a real wolf gets down,” he growls with a creepy glint in his eye.

Suddenly, a female voice echos from an adjacent chamber.

“I would find that most unwise, my hairy lover.”

Waltzing out of the nearby walkway, a majestically sexy fox with an inexplicable aura of sophistication joins the pair.

“Assuming, of course, you intend to keep that wonderful wolf manhood of yours attached to your body,” she adds with a wink.

“My love! You know I jest,” Will the Wolf says with a subtle adjustment of his woolly pants, effortlessly concealing his embarrassing blood flow as his gaze glides up and down Celeste the Sultry’s painfully attractive body.

“That’s what I thought,” she says with a smirk and a peck on his wolfly cheek. “Alas, where is our leader? Surely its time to finalize our plans for the assault on the Lenghornian village.”

Interjecting, Quesadilla angrily answers her query.

“Our beloved leader is seeing to her commitments in the North, fox,” he says with an annoyed glance toward Celeste.

As a dedicated Chilian, Quesadilla is fiercely loyal to none but his offensively nasty restaurant. Spam, being the conniving woman she is, wooed the slave and his compatriots through an ingeniously crafted plan to gain Chilian support. Simply put – she informed their corporate management to take the beef bacon ranch quesadilla off of their already disgusting menu. After her suggestion led to quadrupled profits, the Chilian constituents fell right into her perfectly placed trap. As intended, her army swelled and she inherited the mindless servant that is Quesadilla.

“When does she intend to return?” Will the Wolf asks, smoothly deflecting the obvious resentment Quesadilla had directed toward his foxy lover.

“Our liege is scheduled to grace us with her return on the ‘morrow,” the manservant sneers. “Now, you must excuse me. I am required for other, more pressing obligations. Since she has graciously deemed me worthy of such responsibilities,” he adds as a not-so-subtle slight toward Celeste.

Exiting the chamber, Quesadilla hobbles toward whatever tasks he undoubtedly had just made up. Left alone, Celeste grins as she hops into her lover’s hairy arms.

Turning her head toward the sky, she smirks.

“Its time to end this chapter, I think,” she creepily says to me. “I know you didn’t really develop the plot in any meaningful way here, but I’m seriously jonesing for this guy’s…service,” she says with a soft laugh and nod toward the wolf of her dreams.

Wondering how the hell a fantasy character became aware of its omniscient Godly creator, the author types the last few characters of his entry, closing the cover to his laptop with a confused, blank stare on his face.

Reflecting on the Greats: George RR Martin

I’ve decided to start a new blog series to fill idle time when writers block attacks. I plan to write short entries to pay homage to the authors/writers which I look up to and who have influenced me in one way or another. I’d like to focus mainly on particular attributes of each, highlighting the obvious as well as the subtle in an effort to outline why I think they’ve elevated above their peers.

My first tribute is going to be on an individual we all know (unless you’ve lived under a rock or haven’t turned on a television in the past five years): George RR Martin, acclaimed author and creator of the enormously popular series A Song of Ice and Fire. Better known, of course, as Game of Thrones.

As many know, Martin was a lesser known writer until GoT dominate the headlines. This is the first thing I’d like to note which warrants respect. His dedication and love for the craft allowed him to persevere through countless efforts at making himself known, finally paying off at a level very few can ever dream of. This, I believe, is an attribute so few have, and even fewer maintain throughout life. It is one that certainly warrants respect from anyone who knows how difficult it is to stand out in one of the most competitive fields one can aspire to.

The second thing I want to mention, and one which absolutely boggles my mind if I’m being honest, is the sheer complexity of his stories. I’m not talking complex plot lines here, either. This dude has got to have what I can only imagine is one of the most absurd brainstorming sessions imaginable. I don’t think you need to be a writer to understand and appreciate the level of detail he consistently achieves.

Another thing I’d like to commend for Martin actually has nothing to do with writing. As we all know, any time you rise to the apex of your career, people tend to consider more than just your work. When one garners the world’s attention, the individual is taken into account as often as their creations. Martin’s personality, in my opinion, is an appropriate for someone of his stature. He doesn’t have an overly inflated ego, he’s down to Earth, and he’s maintained a playful demeanor. Case in point – just the other day I saw a picture of him wearing a T-Shirt he had made. On it was a quote: “Be nice to me or Tyrion’s next!” Now come on…that’s pretty funny. These kinds of things make me respect him not only for his creative genius, but for his character as well – which I would argue is just as important.

I’ll stop here for now. The only negative thing I can think of in regard to Martin is the freaking wait for the next installments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware how long these things take to outline, write, and edit – but he’s pushing it in my opinion (and that’s the consensus among his fan-base if you don’t follow him). Its to the point now where its a running joke, in fact. I suppose he’s earned the right to take as much time as he damn well pleases, though, so I digress.

In any case, that’s my general take on someone who will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greatest writers of our time. I can only aspire to someday obtain a mere fraction of the cultural significance he’s so rightfully earned.

Here’s to you, Mr. Martin. Oh…and please don’t kill Tyrion.

On the Eve: 3

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

We have taken refuge in Clarmont, the first safe village we crossed following our withdrawal. If one can even call it a village, that is. There is little more than battered huts and peasant farmers here. Far less than what one would deem an ideal location for which to retreat.

My lieutenants, those fortunate enough to survive the onslaught, are stricken with frustration and shame for failing our Queen. Jocasta has not spoken since our arrival, save her initial introduction to the village elders – who were so shocked upon meeting her they could hardly muster a word. There is little to speak of in terms of provisions, and much guilt felt among the soldiers for what resources the elders have provided. The occupants here have been more than generous, as they are vehemently supportive of the Queen’s campaign to overtake that pig of a man who calls himself King of the East. Jordain is a foolhardy dictator and disgusting excuse for a ruler. I find it astonishing that he ever had a place in her heart to begin with; his reputation of merciless tyranny well abound in these lands.

Yesterday’s miscalculations are surely to ignite fury within the deepest depths of Jocasta’s very being. Yet we, her loyal defenders, shall not falter. We shall remain resolute in our entirety, as every last one of us salivate in anticipation for our next opportunity to face them on the battlefield. Our leader will surely find solace amidst the unwavering faith of the entire regiment.

I swear it, that man will rue the day he clamored out of his whore of a mother. Our arrows will rain pure Hell next we meet, casting a darkness blacker than the evil residing in the soul we shall soon strip from Jordain’s body.

These lands shall once again be united as my Queen rises victorious, or so help me God we will tear this world apart trying.

Love & Loss

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Adalasia: First Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I hope I see him again.

It’s amazing how different things are, amidst the bombings and the shells and the shouting. A week ago I was making pies. Prepping soups upstairs in my father’s shop. My days were filled with that of cheer and joy. Now I find myself coddled in a corner, hiding in a dusty cellar.Trembling at the sound of footsteps approaching in fear that the invaders will find me.

They say this town is important for the supply lines. It seems to change hands every day, Allies by morning and Axis by night. I don’t know how to keep up.  The only knowledge of whats going on in the world is obtained through my inquiries during the requests handed to me by whoever happens to be occupying us on a given day. Today it is the Germans. They want rations, which we are able to supply as one of the only bakeries on this block. Tomorrow, for all I know it will be another from the US 7th.

There was a man, yesterday, who I truly hope returns. He was unlike the others. Usually the men offer chocolate or some sort of postcard of an American actress. But this one…he approached me directly, took my hand and looked at me straight in my eyes. Without pause, he told me he was sorry for the pain around me. He told me he was sorry that there were people in this world who could cause such atrocities to happen, and that we, at that moment, were stuck in a window of helplessness. He told me that he felt the pain with me. That he understood exactly what struggle I was going through. That he regretted every time he pulled the trigger, because he knew he was taking a life. A life that was raised somewhere else. By someone else. Someone who he would never know. I could see how much it hurt him.

He told me his name was Adam. And that he would find me, if God allowed, when this was over.

Adam: First Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I wonder if Father is proud of me.

He always told me I would grow to accomplish great things one day. Yet here I lay, cold and cramped in a cot hardly fit for a prisoner.

When I joined the US 7th, they told us we were undertaking one of the most important missions in history. That we were putting an end to the tyranny and devasting effects of Hitler’s Nazi regime. And while I still stand behind that sentiment, I find myself conflicted.

The things I have witnessed are unimaginable. The harsh realities of war are something one can never fully comprehend until they are experienced first hand. Loving sons stricken from their families. Kind fathers called to duty to fight for a cause with which they may not even agree. Why? Why must we occupy a world which holds such little regard for love and generosity?

It pains me to consider these things. I continue to fight, because the grander cause is one I believe in. Yet a profound agony courses through me every time I take a life. It plagues my mind as I lay here, trying to sleep so I can briefly escape this world of ours. Dreams provide my only solace.

There was one glimmer of happiness today, though, in the midst of this despair. My unit overtook a small portion of Sicily, and I was ordered to obtain food from a local bakery. As I entered, I found myself enamored by the beauty of the shopkeepers daughter. I could sense her pain, as she must have stood helplessly watching as the day’s battle ensued. I held her for a moment as I introduced myself, cherishing her embrace. For a short moment, we were two strangers sharing unspoken feelings of hope and compassion. Her name was Adalasia.

I hope I see her again.

Adalasia: Second Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

He was here again today. Adam, the handsome soldier from the US 7th. I can still see his blonde hair, the sparkle, shimmering as the setting sun’s light reflects off his golden locks. He came into the shop today and asked for bread. His unit was most hurried, as there seemed to be another objective that was being sought after. It seems they are advancing further into the city.
But we were able to speak today. He had time to engage me in conversation. At first, he teased me that my English was broken, but he then put his hands on mine and smiled, telling me my words were as beautiful as the glimmer in my eyes. He gave me a bar of chocolate, laughing as he did so, saying it was cliche.

He told me that coming to our shop was the highlight of his day, and that he would do anything he could to be assigned to this particular task. Because he wanted to see me. He wanted to experience the same feeling he had the time before, when he held me and forgot about the terror surrounding him.

It was a powerful feeling, when he stood and grasped me. It was as if he was channeling his pain into our embodiment. I felt his love.

Please return, Adam.

 

Adam: Second Entry

July, 1943. Sicily.

I can’t wait to see her again.

Adalasia. Such a beautiful name. The dry spots on her hands told me that she’s willing to take on the burden of work. The city had a food cart stocked to try and provide help to the needy, and she was the first to volunteer her service. She cares about  people, I can tell. I watch her as her eyes follow the children of her house, playing and having fun. The smile that takes over her face as she sees how happy they truly are, without a care in the world.

And then the siren rings.

The piercing tone changes everything. The kids playing on the floor scatter to the underground cellar door. A door that will lead them underground, into a dark, cramped room where these feelings of love and happiness are absent. A room that houses the same fear, desperation, and hopelessness I’ve seen in the towns before.

These people. They’re innocent. They don’t deserve this.

A day must come that changes things. Good people have no place living like this. I wish there was more I could do.

I long to see her again. Adalasia, I mean. For the first time since landing in this Hell, I have found something which can actually coax a smile out of me.

I believe I shall “accidentally” find myself around the bakery tomorrow.

Adalasia: Third Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

He might be the greatest man I will ever know.

Adam came by today. It wasn’t to see me, though. Not this time. He said he came because the Germans were expected to attack tonight, and he knew he would be launching artillery in this area. So he came to do everything he could to barricade father’s building. Then he showed us the proper places to hide when the fighting began. We are so very thankful to have someone care for our protection.

Before he left, I walked with him outside for a goodbye kiss. He stopped me at the door, firmly holding my waist as he looked at me with that bright hair and shimmering smile. He said that he would never let harm befall me. He said he would protect me that night, no matter what. That he would make sure the bombs landed far away. He promised to direct them away from us with his shelling.

And he did. He did exactly what he promised he would do. This was the first battle that hasn’t shaken this house.

All because of this Adam…a deeper love I will never find.

Adam: Third Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

I do not know what to think.

I cannot decide what my disposition is to these Germans. We have been taught that they are all evil. That they are all terrible, horrid people who deserve nothing more than the iron fist of American judgment.

And yet, I am conflicted. Is it true? Is this entire army of Nazis truly evil? Or does good dwell amidst their ranks? Are there good men? Men who would pick up someone when they’re down? Men who love their mothers and children with all their heart, and truly want what’s best for their families?

These questions occupy the empty space in my mind, filling it with wonder and doubt. What is the truth? How can I be expected to blindly take the life of another human being without knowing their character? I cannot find reason to make sense of this.

Adalasia. She is my only release from this madness. Her innocence. Her beauty. Her kindness. It overwhelms me with emotion. She has a hold on my heart which I fear cannot be released. The subconscious, sublime cohesiveness that we share has taught me the true meaning of love. I love her. And I will do anything to shield her from this horrific world we have created.

This war has taught me one vastly important thing. There is no greater calling than to protect the people you love.

Adalasia: Fourth Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

I know not what to say.

My mind is clouded by constant fears of the atrocities my love is forced to endure. The perpetual horror that he may never return.

I want to join his ranks. I want to fight the Germans with him. It sounds silly for me, a mere baker’s daughter, desiring to join the fight. Yet it is so. The message must be sent, my love. Let me fight with you.

Please, Adam…I can help.

Adam: Fourth Entry

August, 1943. Sicily.

My dearest Adalasia. How I love that girl.

Yesterday, I returned to her shop. She and I have grown quite enamored with each other. It is a deep love that we share. The kind that words struggle to describe. I’ve always wondered if I would ever fall in love, as I have put great thought into the topic. I find that love takes many different forms. There is, of course, the initial, shallow love. That which we feel by instinct. Some might call it simple attraction. And then there is the grander love that most spend their entire lives searching for. The one that causes us to wed, to have children, to enjoy life, and to be happy. The one that gives you meaning.

But then…then there is an even deeper, profoundly unique love. A love found only in times such as these. A love so visceral that it transcends outward description. The only way to comprehend it would be to feel the sensation. The kind of love that manifests when a grenade is thrown into a room, and your first instinct is to jump on it. That’s when you really know you love someone.

For that is what happened today. The Germans launched a small counter-attack this afternoon to take a portion of the city, the bastards. As Adalasia and I were having lunch in the apartment above her father’s bakery, I found myself caught at the front end of their assault. Captain said no one saw it coming. None of us did.

A pair of them came into the bakery. They must have seen my helmet on the post outside and decided they would take me by surprise. I would have never seen them had she not been standing by the window. Upon hearing them ascending the stairs, I fired a few shots through the wall. I missed. The cowards threw the blasted potato masher into the room close to Adalasia as they hid behind the stairwell. The two of us looked to her feet in horror, locking eyes in a brief moment that seems now like a blur. I don’t remember what went through my head, if anything. I jumped to cover it after shoving her onto the nearby mattress, and for my eternal gratitude to God it didn’t detonate. It was as if my body wasn’t under my own control, and some mysterious force had compelled me to sacrifice myself to spare her life. We were saved by some of my squad, who were having coffee across the street. It was the most horrifying twenty-three seconds I’ve ever experienced.

I did not realize until this evening the magnitude of what that action meant. We all say we would die for love. Now, I know. My deepest consciousness sought first to protect her.

The truest, most genuine love there can be. That’s the energy I share with Adalasia.

We share an iron love forged on the anvils of war.

Adalasia: Fifth Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

My attempts to join the fray went unheeded. Father said I was crazy for suggesting such a thing. He says the passions of a baker’s daughter aren’t strong enough for war.

Adam makes it a point to make sure the bakery is well-guarded and equipped for whatever may come through. Or whoever, I should say. The chocolate he brings is always fresh. I adore him for the little things he does for me. We took a walk yesterday, through the market square and over to the theater.There was a play taking place about the American soldiers leaving their homes to come fight the war. Adam and I stood there, motionless, watching the actors and actresses pretend to feel the pain of loss. We did not condemn them. Instead, we applauded their efforts, because we knew that they were going through the very same struggle as we. They have lost loved ones, as we all have.

The pain of losing friends. The pain of losing family. The impact of which I cannot convey. Not through mere words. It must be felt to truly understand. Why must we continue to battle? Why? Will a day without hatred, without malice, without violence ever dawn? I so deeply long for peace, and happiness.

Happiness more so than anything. Oh Adam, how much I love you.

Adam: Fifth Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

They’re coming.

We don’t know when, but we know. The Germans are launching a massive counter offensive. We’ve been expecting this for weeks, as it’s crucial that we maintain control of the supply lines. Sicily is too valuable a target, and we should have known they would defend it to the very last man.

Our intelligence officer has intercepted a telegram that we are to be assaulted in the coming days.

My time in this war has given me so much perspective. Some of the things I’ve seen are nightmarishly horrific. Seeing the atrocious ways a human being can treat another human being when under the guise of war is the most terrifying observation I’ve had. This isn’t a world that anyone deserves. I feel the heaviest weight on my heart when I see a little girl be saved from debris, only to find her parents dead from shelling. I feel the weight of the farmers who are being forced to provide rations to the Nazis against their will.

It hurts to think about these things. I must protect Adalasia. That’s the only thing I can hold on to in this world of chaos. She gives me purpose. I love her for that. And for so much more.

Why am I fighting this war? That was a question searing in my head for the longest time. But now I know. I’m fighting this war to preserve the short glimmers of happiness that my Adalasia provides. It’s what were all fighting for.To be happy. Life…the battle that shall never end until it ends.

I love her so much.

Adalasia: Last Entry

September, 1943. Sicily.

I cannot do this.

I can’t. I’m so afraid. They’re here. The Germans. They’re retaking the city. They’ve launched an overwhelming counter offensive to regain control of Sicily. I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. My God please help me. Please, I’m begging you. I can hear the gunshots outside. I can hear the footsteps of the German soldiers. Oh my God please don’t let them find me. God, if you’re there, please, don’t let them find me. I do not want to die. I cannot fathom parting from this world without him.

Underneath the register. Hiding. That’s where I am. Please find me Adam. Please. Make them go away. I can’t do this. This cannot be the last night I see. Adam, please help me. Where are you? Please help me. I love you, Adam. I love you more than anything.

Oh my God. They’re coming in.

Adam: Last Entry

My dearest Adalasia.

You changed the world for me. There are so many things I want to write to adequately explain how important you are. But my words would never do it justice. I found myself when I met you. You were the most important piece of my life. I love you. More than anything in this God Forsaken world, I love you.

I’m bleeding, my love. There isn’t much pain. I was shot running toward the bakery when I heard the German attack. I fear I won’t survive, Adalasia. My body rests upon a small hill of broken cobblestone. You know the hill I speak of. The one where we chased the rabbit that day, until it slyly hopped under the cover of these stones. These very stones. I suppose this is a fitting place to die, as I am reliving that day right now as I write this.

I’m dying, my love. This I know.

I beg this: whatever unfortunate soldier finds my body; please deliver this parchment to my Adalasia. She lives at the bakery, just East down the road. Please. Axis, or ally. I beg you from the depths of my soul. Give this letter to my love so she knows how much she meant to me.

She changed my life. She breathed meaning into the emptiness that for so long defined me.

Adalasia. I love you so, so much. Please don’t forget me. You are my everything, and if there is another side to this life, I will turn this universe upside down until I find you.

Remember me, my love…and find happiness. For us.

On The Eve: 2

King Jordain – Lord of the East

Fools.

I foster no sympathy for the slaughtered. The foul. The wretched, sniveling swine. I swear to God himself this day was ordained by the truest forces overseeing this realm. She dared challenge me? Of all living, breathing occupants of this once revered land, she called it upon herself to prove my equal?

All these years. All this time, spent in a wondrous stupor of remorse and regret. The pitiful nights. The restless thoughts, wandering incessantly to depths I shudder to fathom. The pain of uncertainty. The constant dream of squandered potential. The sheer, genuine hurt accumulated through years of heartbreak. And this is her decision?

I relished the kill. The soft, soothing slice of my blade stripping the pathetic soul from his trembling corpse. The look on her pale, bloodied face as my gaze lifted to observe those mortified eyes.

My armies need not pursue her.

A sweeter, more satisfying sensation this world shall never produce.

Introducing Squeak

I wrote this quite awhile back, but since I’ve decided to hold on to book 2, I wanted to share this chapter so I can introduce one of my favorite characters. This chapter is the first in which Carson’s new companion Squeak comes along. If you read it, there’s obviously going to somewhat of a spoiler alert, but I’m pretty sure everyone knows the general direction that the story is going toward. So it won’t really give that much away. Anyway, I hope you like her. She was inspired by a combination of Ducky from Land Before Time and my own pup, Mr. Baxter.

Chapter 14

What the Hell?

Carson, is that you?

The morning after his first night in his new Pod residence, Carson wakes up in his bed overlooking the living area. Rolling over, his inner dialogue wishes him good morning.

Um…who else would it be? Stupid Brain. Can’t take you anywhere.

Yeah…dumb question Carson, my B. Anyway, so we’re on a freaking space plane. Thoughts?

I’m glad you asked. WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?! IS THIS REAL? That was actually the first thing to cross my mind. But then I consider how much thought we’ve put into all of this, like that signal and whatnot. Then I think about how normal it probably all is. In fact, there are probably a gazillion other things out there in the universe right this very instant, thinking this very same thought, reading this same damn thing, all at the same time. And you and me would never know. Wanna know why? CAUSE THE UNIVERSE IS TOO. DAMN. BIG. Yeah. Them’s my thoughts.

Well smack me silly and tickle me Elmo! Well said my man! You’re probably right. This reality of ours is too big for us to try to think about. In other news, however, is a more pressing matter. What is our plan to reunite with our fair lady? We can’t stay up here forever.

Good point, Brain. You’re so wise. So, about that.

Silence.

Yes?

Well…what’s the plan?

OH! I assumed you understood that I was actually asking you that. That wasn’t a rhetorical question. Idiot.

Hey! Gimme a break here, I was letting you lead. I thought you were going for some sort of cinematic suspense. Sorry. But I don’t know, honestly. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I haven’t decided. I guess we should ask Xun. But what if the world’s gonna end? Would we want to go back?

I mean yeah. Jennifer’s there, after all. And we love her.

True. And that’s really the most important thing, isn’t it? Love.

It really is. Why else would we do all the crap we do in our lives? Do you think people WANT to work 40 hours a week at a job they pretend to like just so they can pay bills to sustain the life that they’re “supposed” to live? If it ain’t for love, I don’t know what is. 

Man. Deep thoughts. Anyway, the important thing is that we need to get back to Jennifer. She’s seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Deal?

Deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

`

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANYWAY!! Time to get up!  

Sitting up in his bed, Carson rubs his eyes as he looks out of the small porthole on the wall at the side of his bed, seeing Earth floating millions of miles away. Seemingly out of nowhere, a strange, high-pitched female voice startles him.

“Looks peaceful, dunnit?

“What the hell?” Carson says, turning around to look at a light purple, grey spotted odd-looking creature in front of him. “What in the world are you?”

“I’m your partner!” The tiny four legged, elephant-shaped thing on his floor says.

“My partner? For what?” Carson asks. “You look like you just walked out of that old Nintendo game. What was it called…Q-Bert!” He adds, looking at the long, one-nostriled cylindrical nose it has protruding from its face.

“Oh, you know. Just stuff.” It says, clumsily hopping toward him. “They give us to you things to feel safe, you know? Like a friend. You’ll probably be here awhile.”

“We ‘things’?”

“Yeah! You know, the things that always come up here when they’re trying out a new species. They always bring some of you things up while they watch you. To get to know you and stuff.”

“Ummmmm…I see.” Carson replies, picking his feet up so the creature can walk underneath them to the porthole.

“Yep! So peaceful.” It squeaks, propping itself against the wall so it can look out at Earth.

Dumbfounded, yet slightly humored, Carson grins at the cute little thing struggling to look out the porthole.

“Here, let me help you.” He says, setting a pile of books that the Organization has provided underneath it.

“Thank you!” The creature says, excitedly.

“So do you have a name?” Carson asks, still grinning.

Turning its head to look back at him, still leaning against the wall, the creature bats its eyes at Carson before replying.

“No, I don’t think so. I think you can name me.” It squeaks.

“I’m sorry. This is absolutely hilarious.” Carson says, sitting on the bed. “Alright then, well are you a boy or a girl?” He asks.

“A girl, I think.” She replies.

“Great. Well, let’s see. You’re adorable. You’re colorful. You’ve got a high-pitched, squeaky voice. You’ve got four legs and a Q-Bert face. Hmm…” He says, searching for an appropriate name. “Tell you what, I have an idea. Run to the door.”

“The door?” The creature asks, turning around off the wall to face him.

“Yep. The door. Run to it.” Carson replies, pointing to the sliding door that’s about eight feet from the creature.

“Okay!”

Swiveling to face the door, the creature begins to hop toward it in an overly exerted effort, sliding onto its face as its reaches its destination.

“Okay, that might have been the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Carson says, falling back onto his mattress laughing hysterically.

Regaining her footing and coming to, the creature hops over close to Carson’s feet.

“Did that make you happy? Yay! I think we will get along great.”

Sitting back up and hoisting her into his lap, Carson looks at the little creature’s big bubbly, blue eyes.

“Alright. You need a name. The hopping thing didn’t give me the idea I thought it would. So I’m going with my gut. How about Squeak?”

“Squeak?” The creature asks.

“Yeah! Squeak. It’s perfect. It personifies you. You have a squeaky voice and you’re freaking cute as a button. Squeak fits you perfectly.”

Looking up at him, Squeak smiles as her big bubbly eyes blink.

“Yeah, I think so too.” She says.

“Great!” Carson says, setting Squeak down and standing up. “Now, back to reality. Do I need like a leash for you or something?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Squeak says, hopping alongside him. “I think I’ll just follow you around.”

“Sounds like a plan. You sure do think a lot!” Carson says, laughing. “Let’s go find Xun. I need to figure out when I’m going back.”

Descending the stairs from his unit’s bedroom, Carson sets out to find his abductor. By now he’s become somewhat familiar with the ship, but still hasn’t been able to get his bearings on where exactly everything is located.

Crossing one of the catwalks, Carson and Squeak walk past several strange looking aliens. It’s obvious that the ship is a melting pot of different species, most of which are bipedal and at least somewhat humanoid. Its clear that life evolves in an almost infinite number of ways, made obvious by the sheer diversity of creatures on the ship.

Continuing along the inner walkway, Squeak hops happily behind Carson.

“So where are we going?” She asks, shooing a colorful butterflee off the railing with her trunk.

“I told you, to find Xun! I’m thinking he’s back in the Observatory.” Carson replies, hastening his pace.

Struggling to keep up, Squeak begins to pant.

“Slow down, please! I’m little, remember?”

“Okay, okay. Sorry.” Carson laughs, picking her up.  “C’mon. This’ll be easier.”

“Yeah, I think so too!” Squeak says.

Making their way to the Observatory, the pair finds Xun standing by the window looking out at Earth. Hearing them enter the room, he turns to face them.

“Greetings, Carson. I see you’ve acquainted yourself with your companion.” He says, smiling at Squeak.

“Yeah, seems like I have.” He says, setting the tiny creature down.

“What exactly am I supposed to do with this thing?” He asks, nodding his head toward her.

“We provide them to visitors who display a need for emotional attachment.” Xun says. “As you become exposed to the various species in the universe, you will realize that psychological makeup differs significantly from civilization to civilization. Some require emotional companionship, and your species falls into that category. So, occasionally we provide creatures such as yours here to fulfill that requirement. It isn’t something we always do, but anything that help fulfill your instincts is good in our eyes.”

“I see…” Carson says, sitting down on the long bench in front of him. “So basically you’re saying you’ve given me a pet?”

“Precisely.” Xun says with a smile.

“Gotcha. So anyway, what have you learned about us so far? Any Earth-shattering developments?” He asks, thinking back to Brody’s pun in his apartment.

“None so far.” Xun replies with a slight frown. “We have been observing your current state of affairs from here. As I told you before, we generally attempt to contact the leaders of a civilization when we begin our induction process, but your situation is rather….unique. It seems that the carefully crafted structure of your society has broken, now that your world believes they have only a small time left to live. It has proved difficult for my team to identify leaders among your people amidst the chaos.”

Grimacing, Carson pats Squeak on the head as she curls into a ball to take a nap““.

“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. Things kind of crumbled when Yuri spilled the beans on the whole timeline thing.”

“Tell me what happened, my friend. This is quite an alarming situation to which we’ve been introduced.”

Shaking his head, Carson has a gloomy look spread over his face.

“Man, I don’t even know where to start. Like, I’m pretty sure our entire history has been riddled with fights. It’s like our species wants so badly to be good, but we’re our own worst enemy and we keep letting monsters make all the rules. But as far as this stupid asteroid goes, we found it a few months back. We don’t have any sort of super advanced technology or anything like I’m sure your Organization does, so we had to give it our best guess in terms of predicting its behavior. So they told everyone we had like thirty something years until it’s gonna hit. Plenty of time to find a solution, right?”

Nodding his head with an expression of concern, Xun seems genuinely sad after hearing Caron explain the world’s recent events.

“Anyway,” Carson goes on, “the people who you would consider our ‘leaders’ started building a ship. They were going to divert the rock away from the planet to save us. Well, sure enough, one of our species ’bad apples’ decided that he could use the asteroid to solve an energy crises that we have. So he wanted to deflect it just far enough to where it would get caught in our planet’s orbit. His plan was to send ships out to mine the thing. Which actually, now that I think about it, isn’t all that bad. Cause we really need help with that. Only he blew up the ship our leaders were building, and killed a bunch of people to replace it with one of his own.”

“That sounds pretty bad,” Xun says, shaking his head.

“And I’m not even done.” Carson says. ‘If all that weren’t enough, turns out that our ‘leaders’ had been lying to us. The ‘bad apple’ I told you about found out that realistically, we only have about three years until impact. Closer to two now, now that time’s gone by. So when he found that out, he lost it. He told the whole world, and now you see what you see.”

Looking toward the ground, Xun rubs the back of his neck.

“Wow.”

“Right?” Carson says. “Like what else can you say? But this is why I hate that you’re seeing us just now. You’re seeing us at our worst. It’s not really a fair time to judge, you know?”

“Well let me ask you this, my friend. What was it like before all of this?”

Softly laughing, Carson looks up, trying to find an answer.

“Before? Well…truthfully it wasn’t all that different. We’ve had a lot of wars throughout our entire existence. And don’t get me wrong, I’m no historian or anything, but I’ve never really, really, understood the point of most of them. There we’re some that mattered, though, you know? Like ones where people we’re just fed up with how awful they were being treated to the point that they took up arms and literally risked their lives. But for the most part, the bulk of us just want to get along and enjoy life. It’s the bad apples that end up causing the ruckus man. I wish I had a better answer, because I know I’m sort of speaking on behalf of my entire planet here, but I guess it is what it is. We really do have a lot of potential though, Xun. I promise.”

Patting him on the knee as he stands up, Xun smiles at Carson.

“You know, Carson, I am glad to have met you. I believe you will fit in quite nicely with our Organization.”

Looking up at Carson, Squeak shakes after getting up from the nap she’d been taking.

“I think so too!” She says.

“Well I hope this works out, my man.” Carson says to Xun, holding his fist out.

“As do I, my friend.” Xun says, bumping Carson’s fist with a smile.


The Revolt Returns: 7

shhhhhhh letusoutofthisstupidjaryouslickhairedmaniac shhhhhhh

Back in the Lenghornian village, Dustin the Determined is carrying around his jar of wisps like a trophy. Easily entertained, he looks at them with the grin of a school boy looking at his first bowl of sea monkeys.

“Ha!” He laughs. “Stupid wisps. Bet you wish you hadn’t made fun of my hair now, huh?”

shhhhhhh pleaseletusoutforreal shhhhhh ithinkcarljustfartedanditsmells shhhhhhh

“Nope.” Dustin says, setting the jar down on the windowsill of his plastic straw hut.

Chopping lettuce in an attempt to help the brainless cooks keep the salad window stocked, Dustin hears a knock on the door.

“Dustin, we have news from the East!” A soothing female voice shouts. “Come, join us in the square!”

Pointing his knife and squinting at the wisps as to say “behave while I’m gone”, he sets the blade down and joins Stephanie the Sweet outside. His curiosity stirring, the pair hurriedly make their way to the center town square. Finally reaching the rest of the villagers, they settle into the crowd. Standing center stage behind a podium, Connee, The Fairy Queen of the House of Front, announces the grave news.

“Lenghornians! I come to you with news of utmost treachery! Our Barfly Gnat scouts have caught wind that Spam intends to overrun us with an army of Chilians from the East!”

GASP!

“This cannot be!” Jade, a girl that everyone obviously wants to “get to know” says.”I thought our Eastern Border was protected by the Calver army!”

“Alas, my dear,” Connee begins,”just because they are next door does not mean they have the capabilities to protect our lands. In fact their burger patties are far too thin to shield any of the Chilian siege weapons. We cannot count on them.”

“She speaks the truth.” A soft, reserved voice says from the back of the crowd. Stepping forward, Johnny the Gentleman offers his services. “Dear Fairy, allow me to raise a regiment of Lenghornian Revolters. We shall defend the realm until our dying breath.”

“Huzzah!” The Lenghornians cheer, patting Johnny on his firm buttocks.

Nodding her head and waving her tong wand, Connee manifests a leather tunic and suit of armor for Johnny, which he assertively grabs and straps on.

“You will need this as well, my Knight.” Connee says, handing Johnny a gleaming silver serrated steak knife.

“Steakscalibur!” Johnny says in astonishment. “Where did you obtain such a legendary relic?”

“Alas, my dear, twas easy for a Fairy of my level.” Connee says with a snide grin. “Come! Accept that which I bestow!” She shouts as she hands Johnny the beautiful blade. “You will lead your fellow Lenghornians, along with Dustin the Determined, to victory! I have read the prophecies. They tell a tale of a massive battle to come! We must prepare!”

“Huzzah!” The crowd shouts. “To war!”

 

 

 

Dream Always

The last seventeen months of my life have been an absolute whirlwind.

Ever since my Mom passed away, I’ve been relentlessly committed to accomplishing my dream of becoming an author. To the point where I’ve honestly questioned my own sanity. 

Now, all this time later, I find myself so tantalizingly close to fulfilling that dream that I think I’m honestly getting a stomach ulcer. That’s not a joke by any stretch of the word; I’m dead serious.

I spoke to a literary agent today. I was fortunate enough to attend college with her and she responded to a message I’d sent. Our conversation was very encouraging. Basically, I need to gain a somewhat solid following before a big agent or publisher will market me. 

So if you happen to stumble upon this, I would vastly appreciate any support and honest feedback of my writing. 

Much love to you all. And never give up, whatever you want to do. Life is far too short. 

Here is the Amazon link to my book. It is also available if you search “Matt Shao” on Apple iBooks, Google Play, and barnesandnoble.com

The Revolt Returns: 5

Ommmmmmm……

Ommmmmmm……

High above the Eastern mountains, the eerie chants of the Chilians can be heard.They are monks, a strange religious group who gain their deep understanding of the universe by basking themselves in the slightly spicy salsa that is provided upon the table greet.

The Lenghornians have spent a long time battling internally, relentlessly trying to iron out the most fair forms of management. And their sacrifices have not gone unrewarded. No, not at all. For the Lenghornian’s have braved the oppression of those such as Slobert the Magnificent. They have cheered as they overcame the wicked District Manager. They persevered and came through when time were toughest as they slaughtered their way through the treachery of Slug and Kelsey. Now, they face another foe. A foe that they have not yet seen. For the Chilians have colluded with the manager known as Spam, a new insider and force known to practice espionage. Spam sits upon her managerial throne, cackling as the Lenghornians unwittingly think they have won the fight. They have no idea what is in store. No, not at all.

Muahahahahahahaha!!!

Love & Loss: 2

July, 1943. Sicily.

I wonder if Father is proud of me.

He always told me I would grow to accomplish great things one day. Yet here I lay, cold and cramped in a cot hardly fit for a prisoner. 

When I joined the US 7th, they told us we were undertaking one of the most important missions in history. That we were putting an end to the tyranny and devasting effects of Hitler’s Nazi regime. And while I still stand behind that sentiment, I find myself conflicted.

The things I have witnessed are unimaginable. The harsh realities of war are something one can never fully comprehend until they are experienced first hand. Loving sons stricken from their families. Kind fathers called to duty to fight for a cause with which they may not even agree. Why? Why must we occupy a world which holds such little regard for love and generosity?

It pains me to consider these things. I continue to fight, because the grander cause is one I believe in. Yet a profound agony courses through me every time I take a life. It plagues my mind as I lay here, trying to sleep so I can briefly escape this world of ours. Dreams provide my only solace.

There was one glimmer of happiness today, though, in the midst of this despair. My unit overtook a small portion of Sicily, and I was ordered to obtain food from a local bakery. As I entered, I found myself enamored by the beauty of the shopkeepers daughter. I could sense her pain, as she must have stood helplessly watching as the day’s battle ensued. I held her for a moment as I introduced myself, cherishing her embrace. For a short moment, we were two strangers sharing unspoken feelings of hope and compassion. Her name was Adalasia.

I hope I see her again.

Good & Evil

Good & Evil
Chapter 1

I can’t believe this is actually happening!

Well, sort of. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been waiting for ages, but tonight…well, tonight is just filled with excitement! Father says I’m sure to go Right, which makes sense because Mother did too. He told me when she went through the Filing that she was ninety seven percent pure. Ninety seven percent! Can you believe that? I bet I’ll be lucky to be in the eighties.

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 oh the so many things that are going through my head right now!

I hope Mikal is Filed right too, I can’t imagine what I would do in his absence. He and I have spent such a long time as Youngers together and I 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 a pivotal point in her life, the Filing. She will be assigned social duties and expectations, a residence, and will become eligible for marital affairs.

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 may ask? You probably know it as Planet Earth. See, a 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 that later.

Centuries ago, the world was changed in a way that shattered the fabric of society. There are conflicting records of what exactly transpired, but the end result was that the world was conquered and reshaped into one governing culture – an ideaology that favored simplicity, sustainability, and justice. There are a lot of holes in the bits and pieces of information we’ve been able to dig up, but it’s been fascinating to study how humans used to live.

The most commonly accepted recollection is that a conflict began in response to an energy crises thousands of years ago. Evidently the foundation of human civilization back then was built upon the use of scarce,  natural resources. Almost everything that the ancients used relied on these “fossil fuels” to function, which were mined and extracted from within the Earth. The problem was that these resources eventually began to run out and when that happened…well, let’s just say that when that happened, the world was forced to change.

Records show that during this time, Earth was split into separate regions or territories called “countries”. Each of these was run by their own governing bodies, and thus they made their own laws and rules. It sounds chaotic, I know – and it was. The different countries were constantly disagreeing with one another, leading to many violent conflicts which were called “wars”. War seems to dominate the historical records, and can basically be summarized by the following. A country (or one of its inhabitants) comes up with an ideology and tries to spread it across the world through diplomacy. Eventually, they clash with a conflicting ideology, which would lead to the conquering country invading the defending country to win over its constituents and spread its ideals. And so it was for many years it seems, 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 said, I was Filed Right! And sure enough, my purity score was in the 80s…but so what?! I went 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 one of the purest boys in our whole annex! He’s always helping people and doing everything he can to be as pure as possible.

I wonder what job I’ll take, 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 maybe I’ll be a teacher, I could help our kids 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. I presume most of that didn’t make sense to you either.

Well, here ya go.

When Earth was finally stripped of her last little bits of natural resources, people descended into havoc. There was a several year period where folks reverted to their animal instincts, completely shedding cultural “sophistication” and acting like beasts. Quite literally. And it wasn’t even due to the fact that we’d run out of oil. It was simply because we did nothing to prepare ourselves for the inevitable shortage. The masses looked to global leaders as enemies, power hungry sociopaths who controlled the industry so they could line their pockets.

The social collapse wasn’t based on lack of oil. It was based on revenge. Revenge on those who said we would never see this day, that by the time oil ran out we’d be using something else for our energy. No, the collapse wasn’t driven by the knowledge that there’s no more fuel.

It was driven by hatred and malice for the leaders they trusted.

 

Chapter 5

I hate this place.

Mother told me I’m being too harsh. I know better. This place was created out of fire and brimstone, I’m sure of it. Where else on this God forsaken planet can I go? It’s as if the entire world is brainless.

The Filing was yesterday. I went Left.

At first, I was numb. I’ve spent sixteen years doing everything I was told to do. My entire life, meaninglessly spent in an attempt to appease others. How could the city do this to me? How could they assign me to a life of servitude and labor after all the sacrifices I’ve made?

I hate this world we live in. With every fiber within me, I hate it. I have to act. Something must be done to change things for those like me. I am not a bad person, and I do not foster the malice with which I’ve been branded.

I simply cannot allow this to happen

 

Chapter 6

Well he sure doesn’t sound happy, does he?

Rightfully so, I may add. But I digress. After all, you don’t want my opinion, right? You want context. Here you are.

After the collapse we spoke of previously, the world took awhile to get back on its feet, so to speak. Chaos and depravity were the trend for quite some time. Until, that is, a group of leaders came along and seized the opportunity which was laying there for the taking. The chance to rebuild the world, from its deepest roots all the way to its highest levels. And so they did.

Again, it’s difficult to organize the precise events, since it was so long ago. Not to mention that truth is difficult to decipher through the biases of historical record keepers. But the basic story is this:

Four people had a vision for the world. So, after a lengthy battle to the top of society (or what was left of it), they organized the entire globe’s population into self-sustaining, strictly governed semi-cities. Each with its own Enforcer to ascertain that the constituency obeyed the doctrines passed down by the Founders.

The hate-inspired diary excerpt you read a moment ago was one of the people who caught the short end of their society’s stick.

You see, the Founders tapped into the brightest minds of their time, and with the help of some 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 that caused people to exhibit malicious behavior.

Thus, armed with the knowledge obtained from monitoring their citizens via devices embedded at birth, they rebuilt civilization on the simplest of frameworks. At the tender age of sixteen, all members of society are ushered through what they dubbed the Filing. Those who have “purity ratings” over 75% – meaning three fourths of the chemicals produced by their brains tend to lean toward behavior deemed “good” – are filed to the Right. These members of the community move on to enjoy the more luxurious positions that life offers. They receive higher educations, frequently obtain prominent political status, and maintain voting rights. Those who are not fortunate enough to display these levels of benevolence, however, are filed to the Left. They are separated from their Right peers and live lives of manufacturing, service, and production. Their daily social interactions vary substantially from their old schoolmates, something which we will undoubtedly get to at a later date.

I expect you, my friend, to form your own opinion of this system as you learn more and our relationship deepens.

Such is the world. Until, of course, it’s not.

 

Chapter 7

I don’t know what I’m going to tell Estella.

We were both so sure of ourselves. What am I going to do when we’re separated? I cannot stand the thought of it. We love each other so, so much. How could this have happened? How could they strip us apart, like we’re…subhuman? I hate the Filing. I said it in my last entry, and I’ll say it again. I hate it with everything in me. Someone has to do something.

Our entire childhood has been spent together. The image still burns my mind; her, silently walking to the front of that massive, ornate room. The rest of us, the ones whose names had yet to be called, all sitting in silence as we waited for her to be Filed. My heart warmed as the Panelist shouted “Right”!

I knew I would be standing with her shortly. I knew I would be Filed Right, along with her and the rest of the Pure. I can still see her, slowly turning around as she looked for me in the mass of motionless, sitting bodies still waiting to be called. I can still see her as she was ushered through the doors to wait with the others.

Now, two tortuous days later, I find myself locked in my room with a heart filled with hatred. I refuse to leave, refuse to report to the Overseers in charge of introducing me to my new, pathetic life. Mother tells me that these thoughts are exactly what have put me in this predicament to begin with. But these thoughts are foreign to me. I’ve always kept a Pure heart…always did the right thing. Who is anyone else to say I did good acts solely for the sake of appearance. My intentions were never misguided. I don’t care what they say.

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

God give me strength. I’m going to need it.

Chapter 8

The plot thickens!

Forgive me- you must excuse my whimsical recounts of these sad, passion-infused diary posts. 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 people hated keeping one. Unfortunately for them, maintaining a daily journal was a requirement passed down by the Four Founders I mentioned. In an attempt to instill a more accurate view of ones self-awareness, it was law for all citizens to write about their days, thoughts, desires, dislikes, etc. Perhaps even more annoying to most, they were required to read said journal entries often – the intent being that any opportunity to observe your own thoughts from a third person perspective, you learn more accurately who you truly are. Thus, obviously, giving you a better idea of how you can change and become the model human that the Founders thought you should be.

Oh, idealism. Isn’t it wonderful?

Anyway, back to our two lovebirds. I presume by now that you’ve picked up on whose diaries we’ve been reading. Estella, our (sometimes too) bubbly, kind-hearted damsel; and Mikal, her perhaps not-so-self aware love interest. It would be quite a warming tale to be perfectly 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 simple: did that structure succeed in keeping them apart? 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. I cannot accept this. Mikal has been Filed left! I shan’t see him again, and my heart aches when I think 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 decision. Mikal will live a life of production 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. The constant pain I feel when he occupies my thoughts is just unbearable.

What can I do?

Chapter 10

Almost makes you feel sorry for the girl, huh?

Funny thing, love. It’s different in everyone’s eyes, wouldn’t you say? After all, 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? Is that love? Surely something sinister had to be going on under the hood for him to be Filed left, 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?

That’s a load of questions, I know. I just can’t help but find myself asking them as I read through these diaries. I often ask myself where the line should be drawn, in fact.

Who’s to say what’s good and bad anyway?

Chapter 11

A curious thing happened today.

I was visited by a Younger who had just completed his Filing. He has graduated from his childish status and was Filed Left to become a Contributor. I recall him approaching me this morning, slowly opening the door to my office as he peered inside with a strange glint in his eye. It was most odd. But he excitedly sat down and actually thanked me for my duties of being 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 a time before when a child who was filed Left showed such gratitude. Without fail, my experience with those who are Left has been one of contempt. After all, the process is designed precisely for that very reason. They are bad people, therefore their response when being Filed Left is that of contempt and resentment. Those who instead appreciate our process, and are good, would see their Filing as a lesson, and would respond positively – which is precisely why they are Filed Right to begin with. Isn’t it clear that one’s internal thought process and response to adversity defines one’s true moral value?

The Bad deserve to be Contributors. This is known. They should produce consumables and services for the Good, until it is they who grow to be Good. But it is for this that I am at an impasse. This newly Filed Contributor has shown the trait of one that is good. Has our process failed? Have we condemned someone who is Good? He is the only positive thinker in a group that has never failed to foster anger, remorse, and contempt.

What can I do with this Mikal?

Chapter 12

Damn.

That’s all I have to say at the moment. Because to be perfectly honest, my mind is sort of bamboozled. Okay, so let’s get this straight. That was the journal entry of one of the Overseers that make the rules in this place, I’m assuming. Sounds like our boy is making some moves, huh? Isn’t it cool to be able to just sit back and observe as people’s sly little manipulations play out in front of you? Because I’m guessing Mikal’s a smart dude. And I’m guessing he knows that his only ticket to the girl is gaming the system. So sure, why not pretend that you’re a changed man? I mean Hell, he must’ve done a bang-up job if that Overseer dude wrote that wonderful little entry about him, right?

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

….or is it? I don’t know.

Chapter 13

She’s going to be mine. I cannot stand the thought of Donavan having her. I must find a way to convince them that I have become Good. That I’m pure.

Today I spoke with the Overseer. I told him how much I appreciated this process, and for opening my eyes. It was something I believe none have done before me. I must do what is necessary to convince them that I am good. The rest just complain, they sit back and they plot their ways of how to break their system. They always fail. They never succeed. It is so much easier, to me, to navigate this system and act the way I am expected so 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

Well well well, what have we here? Does he love her? What do you think? She’s going to be mine. Sort of an odd term to use, right? Almost sounds like he views her as property. Property he doesn’t want to share, as it seems.

So, here’s what I wonder: does Mikal love Estella? How does he even define it? If Estella’s future was brighter, hypothetically, with someone else, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Because when you love someone, its unconditional. You want them to be happy don’t you? Or is love only present when it serves our own ends?

Its a question that could persist forever. And truthfully one for which I doubt we will ever have a really good answer. Because no one wants to admit these things, for some reason, but they’re true. I think its safe to say that Mikal is only going to “love” Estella if she loves him back. Which clearly she does, based on previous readings.

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

Good for him.

Chapter 15

Days and days of work. Raw hands, tattered hair, and dry, cracking skin.

I find pause in my attempts to deceive my arbitrators. My plan to prove my purity has gone awry. The Overseer of my block is not content with the work that we are doing, and he takes out his frustrations on us frequently. The project with which we are tasked, of course,  is that of building their monument. A monument that is dedicated to our Founders. Once complete, it shall overlook the entire community.

The hand that feeds, indeed. For that is how they view themselves. If only they knew how brittle their structure truly is. Recently I’ve made attempts to speak reason to those I know I can trust. Oliver, the bread makers 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. We must change this. For there is no greater sin than that of idle hands. This is what must be done. There is no longer a choice. For me. For you. For them.

For my Estella.

Chapter 16

Well now!

Sounds like our guy is falling a little deeper into the depths of depravity, no? Openly acknowledging his attempts of deceit and manipulation? Ballsy move, if you ask me. What if these Overseer people busted his door down and found his journal? He’d be screwed, right? Not that he’s given them reason to, I imagine, but still. You never know.

Anyway! I suppose I should eventually fill you in on a little more background here. Because according to what I’ve dug up, Mikal ends up causing quite a stink. It’s funny, don’t you think? It’s like…you look back at history, and the people we tend to remember are the annoying ones who didn’t wanna follow the rules anymore. Those guys who just got pushed a liiiiiittle bit too far, and then bam. They snap and end up changing everything.

Weird how the world works, no?

Chapter 17

I must say, I now understand why Mikal was Filed to the Left.

Today the Overseer collected all of the town’s new Files, and took us into a room in the Capitol Building where much was revealed. He explained the process of deceit, and how those who are Filed left falsify their behaviors to project the image they believe others desire. It was a taxing day for me mentally, as I never imagined the mind of someone such as my Mikal to be so sinister. He always seemed so…good. Could it truly be that his behavior was not aligned with his intentions?

It is a worrisome thought, and one not without grave consequences. For if it is true, I shall find myself partial to Donovan, which will surely break Mikal’s heart were he to ever learn of my affection. After all, Donovan has been adamant about striking a relation with me and was awarded an honorable position after being filed Right with the Office of Entertainment. The union would be a logical one.

I must think on this for some time, I’m afraid. The thought that my Mikal is capable of such evil is vastly disheartening, yet I cannot turn on him just yet. I must consider the validity of the Overseer’s methods of determining his true character.

Mikals love is complicated, to be sure.

Chapter 18

Oh, Estella.

They’re funny things, these journals. The goal was to obtain the unfiltered thoughts of what’s going on in the heads of individuals. What resulted is a treasure trove of deep seeded, unabridged thought. It really helped those pulling the strings, as being able to purloin entries at will gave them a very accurate picture of public perception.

….oops. Did I just give away a much bigger plot? Forgive me. One story at a time.

It’s the gray area that I’m most concerned with. Why does Estella think Mikal is evil simply for being deceptive? After all, he only wants to return to a life with the one person he truly loves. Is his manipulation indicative of malice? I think not. Sure, misleading others to obtain things we want is an unavoidable component of the human condition that many people frown upon – but in this case, he just wants a life with his love.

Is that evil?

Chapter 19

Pain. It’s all I feel. It’s the only thing that keeps me going in this life of Left. Every day I wonder what Estella is doing. Every day I yearn to convince the Overseers that my mind is pure. But how can I? How can I, when they say they have the tools to look into my thoughts? To measure chemicals and observe reactions. It’s a system I cannot overcome. How can they possibly know what I think? Their faith in this technology will be my undoing.

And yet I cannot concede. My life has but one purpose; I must be with my Estella. My love for her shall never cease. I must find a way to break the chains that bind me, to free myself from this lifetime of servitude.

And so I shall.

Chapter 20

You know, I generally try to maintain a neutral feeling when I sift through these journal entries. Helps keep me sane, ya know? But I have to admit, I’m sort of feeling for Mikal. It sounds like he played his cards just a bit too poorly and ended up getting the shit end of the stick.

Maybe he doesn’t see the good in other men. Maybe he views the world as a blank canvas that’s just waiting to be painted on, and whoever paints the best wins. Is this how life is supposed to be? A constant attempt of trying to outdo the other guy so we can parade our marketability? Depth is a dwindling trait, indeed. But I choose to believe that life is more than that. It’s the experience of experiences; the short window where we get to cram in as much happiness as we can. Because ultimately that should be the goal in all endeavors. To generate happiness. Everything we produce, everything we create, everything we imagine…should be conceptualized to further and better the lives of us as biological organisms. Create 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. I recall the time he brought me there for an actual picnic…where we could eat outside without worry of the Overseers finding us.
He set it all up, the crazy boy. We snuck out after curfew and he had everything all planned out. There was even a stocked basket waiting for us when we got to our spot.

And yet I’m now told that Mikal was fostering sadistic thoughts toward me the whole time, and that’s why he was Filed left. They tell me he doesn’t truly care for me, that he merely pretends so he can have me. It just cannot be! He always respected me.

Father is pressuring me to obtain a husband. He clearly favors Donovan. I shan’t argue, but I wish so, so deeply that my Mikal would be the one I wed.

I miss him so much.

Chapter 22

Blah.

Oh, Estella. In spite of my usually whimsical self, I feel for that girl. Imagine it. The one person you love more than anything in the world, stripped from you without pause or cause for concern. Just like that – gone. Not even a goodbye. Now, I say imagine it….but can you really? Truly consider this: who is the one person on the planet you most assuredly could not fathom life without? Think of their name. Think of 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.

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, through my time sifting through your historical records – is that humans have a grand capacity to feel. Now you might be questioning what I mean by that. But I would urge you to instead focus on that statement. What do you think constitutes good and evil? Is it our actions? Or rather, our intentions? Because the two most certainly do not correlate often.

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 down which allows us to purge our guilt and remorse from our thoughts. None of us would ever admit to being evil, would we? Of course not. That wouldn’t bode well for our facade, after all.

And as we all know, that’s what matters….right?

Chapter 23

He came into my office again today.

This Mikal, I am sure we have failed him. His attitude deviates so much from that of his peers. He displays behaviors clearly indicative of one who should have been Filed Right. Upon entering, he promptly informed me that the quartermaster of his block was not rationing food properly. At first, I was admittedly tired of the accusation as I assumed it was a ploy to obtain more rations. But what struck me was the fact that once leveled, he was afforded less than before, were he not to bring the mishap to my attention.

Why did he do this? The commissary’s oversight was to his benefit. There was nothing to be gained for his exposure of this error. It is most puzzling. I find myself tempted to submit a revaluation request to this ward’s Governor. I believe our system has failed us, and if we are to accept this society in which we live, we must act when we see egregious errors such as this.

There is much to consider.

Chapter 24

Oh boy.

Seems like Mikal is getting hotter. Sounds to me like he’s playing the game the right way. Even in the midst of all the labor, the hovels, the dregs of society that he’s forced to associate with…it sounds like our boy is maintaining a pretty convincing image out there. Exactly what he needs to convince the Overseers to give him a second look.

Does that make him fake? Does that make him a sell out? I would say no. I mean who actually wants to manufacture gadgets and serve salads all day to people who think they’re better than they are? I most definitely don’t blame the guy for scheming his way out.

And yet, there are those who would say Mikal is a bad person for doing so. That he’s bad for taking advantage of those not willing to modify their image in the aim of bettering his own position. So, my friend (surely I can call you that by now, right?), what do you think? Is it immoral to desire a better position in life, if it’s at the expense of another? If, of course, that person would do the same to you, given they have the capacity. Is it bad to exploit opportunities when others overlook them?

Personally, I believe there is one constant in this torrential equation of morality: that of Estella. She is the only relevant variable amidst all of this, in Mikal’s eyes. Call it Good or call it Evil, but one things for damn sure.

The kid is passionate.

Chapter 25

I’ve decided to go through with the wedding ceremony. With Donovan.

Father tells me that there is no better match for me. That Donovan is in a highly respected position, and is of Pure thought. And while that may be so, I dearly miss my Mikal. They continue to tell me that he misled me, that he only wanted to control me, but I cannot cleanse him from my mind. Mikal and I were friends. We loved one another dearly. I remember, as a child, imagining the day when we would join hands in our own wedding ceremonies.

But now that image is gone. I am left with but one option; that 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

Geez.

All these changes of perspectives keep confusing me. One second I pick up an entry from our girl, the next I’m reading something scribbled by our man. And then there’s a random Overseer entry sprinkled in every now and then. It’s hard to keep up, dammit!

Breathe. I should’ve known that this wouldn’t be easy. That I’d be spending all sorts of time trying to catalogue my thoughts and organize these events. Because it’s not easy, you see. No, not easy at all. As a matter of fact it’s taken quite some time in the warehouse of my fragmented mind to put together these entries in such a timely fashion. And I’m not even kidding. Can you imagine how difficult it would be if you stumbled upon a chest full of single journal pages, no order whatsoever and then to read them, file them by writer and then put them in chronological order?! It’s hard!

Breathe. Phew. Alas…such is the struggle of a story teller, you see. It is the mining of thoughts from the deepest chasms of twisted and tormented minds. The perpetual search for the innermost truths, and the endeavor to expose them in the brightest, most radiant light imaginable.

That is the story of Mikal and Estella.

Because at the end of the day, who are we? Or better yet, what are we? Complex, certainly. We are our thoughts. That is our genuine self. And ironically, the only person who ever knows one’s thoughts…is one’s very own self. Sounds lonely, don’t you think? You will be the only individual who ever truly, viscerally knows you.

And for these two, their thoughts drift to each other even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

That is what it means to be truly, in love.

Chapter 27

I’ve done it.

I’ve been called the Office of the Overseers.They intend to evaluate me for the first Refiling ever. This is my chance. This is my opportunity to return to Estellla. The others have told me how misguided it was to conform to their system, to show appreciation for the hardened conditions we are put under. But I have resisted. I have maintained my strength. My Love. The desire to share my life with that of Estella.I have made history. And I’ve done it for the heart of my one true love. I knew I was capable. I knew it. I just had to persevere. I had to be patient. Now, all my work and sacrifice has paid off. I have controlled my inner thoughts to fool the technology of the Overseers. Now I can take my place on the Right, which has been justifiably earned.

I have outsmarted them, and it is a grand feeling. Tomorrow cannot come too soon.

Chapter 28

Well I’ll be damned, he did it!

Now I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff that transpired to prove to the higher ups that this guy wasn’t fit to be filed Left, but I suppose the beauty of partial journal entries is that you don’t have to read through all that junk to get to the good stuff. Point is, he did it! Good for him. He manipulated his way out of that horrible life and launched himself into life that he dreamed of.

Or did he?

Blast it. I need to dig through more of this junk. You ancients really should have worked  harder on your record-keeping.

Chapter 29

My God, what do I do?

Mikal has returned!! My wedding ceremony with Donovan has already been completed and consecrated. How is this possible? All those things they told me about Mikal were untrue? He was pure this whole time?  I knew it! But Donovan…I know he loves me. He is such a gentle, respected man. But surely he understands the matter. What am I to do? There is no route available to me which does not end in heartbreak!

I shall consider this heavily. Much is at stake; I do not intend for my own desires to hurt others.

Chapter 30

Hmm.

Seems our girl is in a bit of a pickle, wouldn’t you say? This is tough. What would you do? Mikal, the guy she’s spent pretty much her whole childhood life with, dealt with Hell and deceived his way out the bad hand that society had dealt him. Seemed to me he loved her quite a bit, from what I’ve read at least. 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 life.

So which is it? Do we go Right or do we go Left? Do we attempt to break the system and rekindle a fiery love or do we simply let the cards fall as they will?

I suppose the ramifications must be considered first. You see, this society that these people created was intended to work seamlessly.These kinds of scenarios should have been ironed out, during the original Filing. A mistake has never been made. And yet now, on the dawn of the very first hiccup this Utopia has ever gurgled, we must consider the most profound decision one can make: who’s heart shall I tear apart?

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

Good & Evil: Chapter 27

I’ve done it.

I’ve been called the Office of the Overseers.They intend to evaluate me for the first Refiling ever. This is my chance. This is my opportunity to return to Estellla. The others have told me how misguided it was to conform to their system, to show appreciation for the hardened conditions we are put under. But I have resisted. I have maintained my strength. My Love. The desire to share my life with that of Estella.I have made history. And I’ve done it for the heart of my one true love. I knew I was capable. I knew it. I just had to persevere. I had to be patient. Now, all my work and sacrifice has paid off. I have controlled my inner thoughts to fool the technology of the Overseers. Now I can take my place on the Right, which has been justifiably earned.

I have outsmarted them, and it is a grand feeling. Tomorrow cannot come too soon.

Good & Evil: Chapter 24

Oh boy.

Seems like Mikal is getting hotter. Sounds to me like he’s playing the game the right way. Even in the midst of all the labor, the hovels, the dregs of society that he’s forced to associate with…it sounds like our boy is maintaining a pretty convincing image out there. Exactly what he needs to convince the Overseers to give him a second look. 

Does that make him fake? Does that make him a sell out? I would say no. I mean who actually wants to manufacture gadgets and serve salads all day to people who think they’re better than they are? I most definitely don’t blame the guy for scheming his way out. 

And yet, there are those who would say Mikal is a bad person for doing so. That he’s bad for taking advantage of those not willing to modify their image in the aim of bettering his own position. So, my friend (surely I can call you that by now, right?), what do you think? Is it immoral to desire a better position in life, if it’s at the expense of another? If, of course, that person would do the same to you, given they have the capacity. Is it bad to exploit opportunities when others overlook them?

Personally, I believe there is one constant in this torrential equation of morality: that of Estella. She is the only relevant variable amidst all of this, in Mikal’s eyes. Call it Good or call it Evil, but one things for damn sure. 

The kid is passionate. 

Good & Evil: 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. I recall the time he brought me there for an actual picnic…where we could eat outside without worry of the Overseers finding us. 
He set it all up, the crazy boy. We snuck out after curfew and he had everything all planned out. There was even a stocked basket waiting for us when we got to our spot. 

And yet I’m now told that Mikal was fostering sadistic thoughts toward me the whole time, and that’s why he was Filed left. They tell me he doesn’t truly care for me, that he merely pretends so he can have me. It just cannot be! He always respected me. 

Father is pressuring me to obtain a husband. He clearly favors Donovan. I shan’t argue, but I wish so, so deeply that my Mikal would be the one I wed. 

I miss him so much.

Good & Evil: Chapter 11

A curious thing happened today.

I was visited by a Younger who had just completed his Filing. He has graduated from his childish status and was Filed Left to become a Contributor. I recall him approaching me this morning, slowly opening the door to my office as he peered inside with a strange glint in his eye. It was most odd. But he excitedly sat down and actually thanked me for my duties of being 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 a time before when a child who was filed Left showed such gratitude. Without fail, my experience with those who are Left has been one of contempt. After all, the process is designed precisely for that very reason. They are bad people, therefore their response when being Filed Left is that of contempt and resentment. Those who instead appreciate our process, and are good, would see their Filing as a lesson, and would respond positively – which is precisely why they are Filed Right to begin with. Isn’t it clear that one’s internal thought process and response to adversity defines one’s true moral value?

The Bad deserve to be Contributors. This is known. They should produce consumables and services for the Good, until it is they who grow to be Good. But it is for this that I am at an impasse. This newly Filed Contributor has shown the trait of one that is good. Has our process failed? Have we condemned someone who is Good? He is the only positive thinker in a group that has never failed to foster anger, remorse, and contempt.

What can I do with this Mikal?