His’trys Writ

The fire raged as Nero played

While Rome was burning bright

And yet the man had not betrayed

As they all say, that night

He was not the man you thought

At least, who bards all say

The truth is far from what they’ve taught

No songs were sung that day

Till second world war’s burns had blazed

In Hamburg, and Dresden

No other fire since had razed

None other was akin

Pliny the Eld, Cassius Di

They’ll give you their account

But Tacitus says no, you see

That’s not what he found out

As the flames turned bread to crumb

He wasn’t even home

Nero was in Antium

During the Great Fire of Rome

Remember this; do not forget

When judging others’ sin

His’trys writ in blood and sweat

By only those who win

Unsung Heroes: Our Black Brothers & Sisters

In the midst of another era of racial and socioeconomic tension, America finds itself yet again divided. Its still to be decided as to how things will play out, but if one thing is for certain, its this: things must change. Folks are going to have to start getting along, or these violent riots and protests are going to rip our nation apart.

There is something lingering, however, that I think needs to be addressed. In my discussions with people on all sides of these issues, I’ve noticed that there is a certain degree of doubt as to how much our society and culture has truly benefited from the contributions of black Americans (and other minorities). While most people I speak to don’t come from the standpoint of looking down on minorities, many do seem to neglect certain contributions they have made, whether intentionally or not.

In light of this, I have decided to put together a list of some great people of color who, throughout our history, have impacted us all in a positive way. Some you may not have heard of, and some you may know quite dearly. The point is to illustrate how important we ALL are in our human quest to create a loving, inclusive society. There is no shortage of white characters who have received recognition, we all know that. So hopefully, by highlighting some of the others, the folks who still seem to foster the “white supremacy” opinion will take a harder look at the reality of this world we share. We’re all trying, people. Love each other – it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

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Many people don’t know this, but GWC, a freed slave turned brilliant scientist, was a monumental influence on Vice President Henry Wallace. Wallace, a farmer from Iowa, used GWC’s ideas to enormously boost corn production during World War II, filling increasing needs of our exploding economy.

BASS REEVES

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Bass was the first black US deputy Marshall West of the Mississippi. He basically destroyed outlaws and was an overall bad-ass, for want of a better term. He caught all the bad guys, and even killed 14 people in self defense. Keepin’ all them white folk safe!

BUFFALO SOLDIERS

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The Buffalo Soldiers was a term used for many regiments of black American soldiers who fought in many wars, originating in the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army in 1866. The term came from Native Americans, who thought their hair resembled that of Buffalo hair. They contributed to many great American victories, and served valiantly for their country. The term was used loosely by some to describe all black soldiers, but the history here is important to know. Many of our victories would never have been possible without the brave efforts of what many referred to as the “Negros Cavalry”.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

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Many have probably heard of these fellas, as there is now a big Hollywood movie about them. These guys were the first African American Air Unit in WWII, and went on many selfless missions to fight the good fight. Lot of great sub stories in these guys ranks, too. Check em out!

JOHN ALBERT BURR

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Anyone know a guy who owns a landscaping company? I sure do. Lots. And they can all thank Mr. John Albert Burr for pretty much inventing modern lawn mowing and paving the way for profits! That’s right, you’re looking at the man who invented the rotary lawn mowing blade – U.S. patent #624,749.

PERCY JULIAN

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Percy Julian was one of the most important scientists of the 20th century, making great discoveries in the fields of healthcare, with a focus on synthetic compounds. His work far exceeds my intellectual prowess, but folks should know that many of the compounds we enjoy today in the field of medicine were made possible by him.

ELIJAH MCCOY

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Elijah McCoy was an inventor. A thinker. An innovator. Throughout his life, he made trains more efficient,  improved oil rigs, and even honed steam engines. He was a brilliant man, capable of some of the most efficient thought from an engineering perspective. He even invented a movable ironing board to help make ironing-on-the-go easier. You’re welcome, ladies.

LEWIS LATIMER

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Lewis Latimer was paramount in further perfecting the light bulb. He led efforts installing electric plants in cities such as Philadelphia and Montreal. Without him, the incandescent bulb might not be what it is today. Thanks Lewis!

ROSA PARKS

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Rosa needs no introduction. The only thing I want to say here is that I bet she made the best neighbor EVER. You know, the one who’s always making sure the kids are behaving and aren’t doing anything stupid? Making sure they all got their homework done and came in before dinner time. I imagine that’s how Rosa was. A sweet, nice, lady who stood up (or in this case sat down) for what’s right. We need more of her.

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Now, I could go on and on and on and on with this, but this is the point, in case anyone’s missed it. All of these people did things for the greater good, not for one side or the other. They never berated other people, they just uplifted folks. That’s the direction we need to be moving, everyone. Forward. Up. Not backwards, or down.

A good question to ask yourself if you’re considering making a move in this game of life: what direction will this push people in?

Conspiracy

Great writing can change the world. We’ve seen it happen time and time again, from philosophies to constitutions. Knowing this, I try to maintain a constant awareness when it comes to writing. Looking for things that influence me in one way or the other.

I watched a movie today that had an effect. I’m not particularly sure what kind of effect it was, but it was there nonetheless. The movie is called Conspiracy, and tells the tale of the Wannsee Conference. If you’re not a history buff, the Wannsee Conference was the meeting of masterminds behind the German holocaust during WWII. It was the meeting where they decided on their “Final Solution” to the “Jew” problem.

The movie itself was produced by HBO, and the entire plot consists of the 15 member open-table conversation, which is based off of the sole surviving “minutes” document that recorded the meeting. Interested in history or not, I strongly recommend  watching this simply to experience the harsh realities of global elites.

Now, there is a very important message that I would like to convey with this post. The movie, if you have the time to watch, brilliantly illustrates the brutalness and depravity of which the human condition is capable. By simply listening to these actors portray what was a very real event, we begin to understand how far the reaches of human degradation really can go.

This is something I think we all need to call a timeout on. Because think about it: there was a time in our (very recent) history where people actually agreed to KILL OFF AN ENTIRE RACE. It’s easy to look back today and say “well those guys were crazy back then.” But you know what? Back in 1942, they probably said the same thing about people who accepted the Jews. Somehow, some way, these people created a perception and reality where they had convinced the population to turn a blind eye to the extermination of SIX TO ELEVEN MILLION PEOPLE.

6 to 11 Million human beings. Let’s put that in perspective. I live in Nashville, TN. A beautiful, wonderful, friendly town. A town where sometimes I get frustrated because it seems so packed with implants and growth that it makes me want to pull my hair out (the traffic sucks).

Our census puts the entire city’s population at 1.8 million if greater Nashville is included.

That’s a lot of people. And the holocaust ended a number of lives that is equivalent to my ENTIRE city, by threefold. And that’s only if we assume the lowest number. Otherwise were looking at around 6 Nashville’s being helplessly killed.

I want people to understand these things. I want them to realize how important it is to keep the powers that be in check. Because this world, as it exists today, is not a place that we should proud of.

On the Eve: 10

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

Lies.

They plague our souls, causing us to act in ways of which we never believed ourselves capable. Yet we often cling to these falsities; desiring the reality we’ve fabricated over the painful truth that is life. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Perhaps there is some validity to the sentiment. But willful ignorance? There is no greater atrocity.

I have been deceived. All these years, lied to. Ulric, who, as Jordain’s Hand, was only charged with protecting the crown, came to me years ago with that crushing dispatch. News that the love of my life had been unfaithful, and intended to replace me as Queen with the Vice-Regent, Elaine. I believed him.

Last night I was greeted by an emissary who represented my former husband and King. Ulric’s journal, cataloguing his sadistic, manipulative thoughts, was presented to me. I was told Jordain has spent all these years tirelessly searching for anything to clear his name and prove his loyalty to me. After all this time, his efforts finally produced this journal. This, evil, disgusting journal that revealed everything he did was a lie.

Jordain’s actions, in light of this, have illustrated precisely the man I so fiercely loved. The sting of the irony is a dagger in my heart. He never shed his honor. He agreed to let me govern the Western lands. He conceded to my terms those many years ago, rather than waging a war that would cost the lives of thousands. And he did so knowing that my revolt was grounded in deceit. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise, I refused to believe him. I believed Ulric’s fabricated tale of my husband’s infidelity. The enormity of my regret regarding this is inexplicable.

Tomorrow, we shall ride and face Jordain once again. My armies are not aware of the information this emissary has revealed. Tomorrow, all shall be unveiled.

On the eve of what will become a day fabled for ages, my mind is at ease.

There is no provider of solace equal to that of the unabridged truth.

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.

On the Eve: 6

King Jordain

She knows exactly where my heart lies. Buried deep within that sheath of angst, she knows the truth.

She knows I cannot raise my blade to her. This foolhardy campaign is fueled by her insatiable desire for revenge; her misguided malfeasance. Yet reality continues to elude her. The entirety of her army’s morale rests upon the simple assertion that I, King Jordain, committed the treacherous act for which I was accused. Why choose now to invade – does she wish to reunite East with West? Her accusations, ones which she herself believed to be true, were the very catalyst that ripped these lands apart to begin with.

And now, here I sit with the watchful eye above penetrating my soul. On my honor, woman, nothing occurred between the vice-regent and myself those many years ago. This divisive plot was a meticulously crafted story by that scum of a Hand, Ulric. The same Hand who deceived her, my Queen, for all these years. Slicing his throat was the greatest gift our God could ever bestow upon me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

We will hold these lands. God willing, we will reunite.  Jocasta shall at last hear the truth.

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.

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.

A curious thing happened today.

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, Axis by night. Its hard to keep up.  My only knowledge of the outer world is obtained through my inquiries to our occupiers. Today it is the Germans. Tomorrow, for all we know it will be the US 7th again.

There was a man, yesterday, who was unlike any I’ve met from either side. Usually, the American soldiers offer chocolate bars, or perhaps a postcard of famous Hollywood actors or the like to obtain my good graces.

If only they recognized the chaos that their war is causing.

But today was different. This man approached without words, took my hand and looked directly into my eyes. No trinkets to impress. No shiny things to win the shallow affection they’re always after. Without pausing, he told me he was sorry for all of the pain he could tell I was feeling. He said he was sorry that there are people in this world who can cause such atrocity, and that he, at that very moment, was stuck in the same window of helplessness I am. That he felt the pain with me.

I was speechless.

Before I could muster a response, he gently released my hands as he looked somberly to the floor. As if speaking to himself as much as he was me, he explained how sorely it hurts every time he pulls the trigger, knowing a life is being taken. A life that was raised somewhere else. By someone else. Someone who he will never know. As he talked, his eyes eventually returned to mine. The glaze over them created a kind of mirror, and as I gazed within I could not help but notice the blurred reflection of my own, tearing eyes.

He told me his name was Adam.

I hope I see him again.

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. Yet here I lay, cold and cramped in a cot hardly fit for a prisoner.

When I joined the 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 devastating 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. 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 shopkeepers daughter. I could sense her pain, as I imagine she had been watching helplessly as the day’s battle ensued. I held her for a moment as I tried to provide whatever solace I could muster. She tightened her grip as my hands held hers, and I cherished such an embrace. For a short moment, we were two strangers sharing unspoken feelings of hope and compassion.

She told me 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 that unbridled yellow hair, flowing freely in the breeze. That subtle sparkle, gently shimmering like the setting sun’s light reflecting off his golden locks. He came into the shop today and asked for bread. His unit was most hurried, as there seemed to be an important objective 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 tell 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. 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. We share a love 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, making it your first instinct 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 that action carried. 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 confronted 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 among the most terrifying observations imaginable. This isn’t a world that anyone deserves. I feel the heaviest weight on my heart when I see a little girl be saved, only to find her parents dead from the 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. 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 such love 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.

Please: 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 plagued 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.

Aliens


Pop culture. Science fiction. Make believe. Fantasy.

Sure. All of the above are generally how the topic of extraterrestrials are treated in the mainstream. But I’d like to take a moment to consider some things.

It’s no secret that humanity continues to evolve and broaden its perception of reality as time progresses. Long ago, we thought we were the center of the universe. We also thought the world was flat. Every person on the planet believed it. Until someone came along and was nuts enough to prove them wrong.

I think about that a lot. The big picture of our species from the highest of levels and how our historical timeline is basically one expansion of collective consciousness after the other. We keep broadening and broadening our views as technology and culture develops.

So I have to ask myself, what’s the next such step? What’s the next big revelation that humanity has in its future? I think this is it. I think it’s going to be the common acceptance that other intelligences exist to the point where we don’t really even care anymore. It’ll just be common knowledge…like the fact that the world is round. 

Now I know there’s no shortage of skeptics out there, but this is definitely something that I think we can all admit is a possibility. 

Let’s just hope they’re not like us. 

Love & Loss: 10

They’re coming.

We don’t know when, but we know. The Germans are launching a 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.

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.

I love her so much.

Love & Loss: 9

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.

Hate Government? Here’s a Quick Fix

If I end up dead in a ditch somewhere one day, make sure my grave says something along the lines of “Welp…at least he tried.” Because this is assuredly a very unpopular idea to a lot of people. I’m just relying on the fact that I’m currently a nobody in the grand scheme of things. Thank God for that, right?

Anyway, kidding aside.

So this evening I was engaged in one of those wonderfully entertaining Facebook conversations we’re all too familiar with and posted a comment that compelled me to write this, because I want to elaborate on the thought. There’s your disclaimer.
The post went something like this: my respected friend Nick posted something slightly leaning towards the Democratic side, to which an assumed Republican commenter replied “hypocrisy is not bound by aisle”. Cue the obligatory heated partisan dialogue. 

So, being my typical unable-to-keep-my-fingers-idle self, I responded with the following, in the midst of their back-and-forth:  

Let’s just be real here. This whole party/red blue system is antiquated and truthfully, super annoying. In fact I would even go as far as to say this entire government/society structure we still use is outdated.

We have the power to communicate with literally everyone now. We don’t really even need these old corrupt fossils telling us all what we are and aren’t allowed to do anymore. 

Hell, you want to decide if pot should be legal? Here’s an idea – make a freaking online poll with that constituency’s area. Popular vote wins. Bam. Next issue.

We have such potential for an entire new society at our fingertips and we’re still stuck in the past. It frustrates the hell out of me.

Emotionally charged? Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that. Overly simplified? Again, probably. I suppose I temporarily let my frustration of this absurd canyon-sized divide in our country get the best of me. What can I say…I’m human. But for a second, let’s think outside the box and actually consider this. 

What is the absolute fundamental, most foundational of purposes for having elected representatives? Why did we invent the concept of politicians? Because for them to exist in the first place, obviously someone, at some point, had the bright idea of creating them (someone who many of us would probably like to throat punch in retrospect, but you get my point). Easy. They were invented to discuss the various issues facing us fellow human beings, to then draft ideas, and ultimately decide the policies which dictate our reality. In the most simple terms, they were created to represent us, where we otherwise would be unable to represent ourselves.

Now, why did we, as a society, decide that this was the most appropriate, fair system? Simple. Because it was unrealistic to expect that the entire populace could participate in such discussions and decisions. We simply did not have the physical means to fit every human being in a room, spend the time talking, and then the resources to take and tally each vote to decide what the rules of humanity are. That would be absurd, obviously. So we decided that hey, why don’t we vote instead on some dude or dudette who most accurately represents the majority opinion/value system, and then ship them of to a place where other such dude/dudettes can meet, chill for awhile, argue a bunch, and then reluctantly agree on the intended laws of how to be a human. A place, incidentally, that somehow magically became closed off to the rest of us, but that’s a whole other monster I could go on about. So I’ll shut up on that for now.

But this is 2017, folks. We literally live in a time dubbed the Information Age.We have this incredible, beautifully profound ability to communicate now. We can inform ourselves and each other. We can discuss. We can debate. Throw digital rocks at each other. Then, ultimately, we can decide. Or at least we could. If we simply allowed ourselves that luxury. Instead, for some bizarre reason which I honestly cannot figure out, we have not granted ourselves that power. Instead we apparently prefer complaining and being miserable over actually doing anything. Ugh. Anyway.

So why the HELL are we still relying on detached, more-often-than-not silver spoon fed, entitled elites to dictate quite literally ALL of our realities? I’m being deadly serious, folks. WHY? Seriously. I read an article back in college (and I’m not joking) about George W one time. The writer reported that Ole Dunya walked into a grocery store as part of some press event thing to get some stuff. After he finished shopping, he literally did not recognize or even have the slightest clue as to what a self check out system was. Because, and I’m paraphrasing, he’s lived a life full of personal shoppers, drivers probably named Bitterman or Winchester, and had never been exposed to a freaking U-Scan before. And yet somehow these types of folks are supposed to know what we actual, real people have to put up with day to day. Now I can’t attest to the validity of that story, but the point remains. 

I mean let’s be honest. We ALL bitch and moan about corruption. We ALL whine when we see laws passed that quite honestly reflect the interests of NO ONE but well-connected, often self-centered, ego-maniacal control freaks who get off on telling us all what we are and are not allowed to do, at least “legally” (law…another human-fabricated concept that I could go on about, but I digress). WHY?!

In summary.

No government. Massive cooperative policy-making. Collective consciousness. They’re completely foreign, and most likely batshit crazy concepts – I get it. Really, I do. And I do not at all blame anyone who is laughing at me as they read this. After all, our species has had leaders and people willing to make the rules for our entire existence. It’s a completely off the wall, absurd idea. I’m aware. But you know what else was an absurd idea at one time? Gravity. Medicine. Electricity. Airplanes. The wheel. The fact that Earth isn’t the center of the universe. That it was FREAKING ROUND. Oh, and I bet the first genius that decided stairs were the easiest way to climb stuff was laughed out of his cave when he first told his buddies as they chatted over the first fire EVER created. I bet his cave-cronies said he was nuts too. Or at least grunted that he was. Yeah, have fun with the saber tooth tigers out there, moron. We’re gonna keep chilling in our cave as we draw pictures of animals on the wall to entertain ourselves. Don’t get stomped on by a mammoth while you build these “stairs” you speak of. Pff.

But for real. Why in the flat Earth hasn’t this at least been a topic of debate? If nothing else, it might lead to someone else coming up with a better idea. Because let’s be honest…like a billion percent of the people I talk to feel completely abandoned, neglected, or otherwise outright exploited by the status quo. And don’t get me wrong – not all politicians are corrupt. I’m sure plenty of them are genuine, good people who truly want what’s best for us. Maybe even most. Who knows.

But something’s gotta give. The tension and frustration are simply reaching a tipping point, and honestly I’m utterly horrified of what could result. We’ve got to do something differently. 

Either that, or I’m applying to cryogenically freeze myself and be thawed out when this world gets it shit together.

What do you care about? How to literally change everything.

I don’t know why what I’m about to tell you is the case. I can’t explain the strange, even eerie, shifts in my frame of mind that I’ve experienced recently. What I do know, however, is that what I’m about to type is 100% legitimate, real and deadly serious. This is not something I am making up.

I’ve put more thought into what life is all about than ever, as of late. I’ve questioned what my purpose is, and why I’m even here to begin with. Now, for some inexplicable reason, I think I know the answer to that most meaningful, profound question.

That answer is to change the world.

Now understandably, I assume your first reaction to that statement is the thought that this guy’s ego is out of hand, or perhaps that I need to get over myself. And a month ago, I would even agree. But something in my mind has changed. This isn’t even about me. Not at all. On the contrary, it’s about you. 

You see, I no longer care what people’s perception of me is anymore. Because I know, internally, that my only purpose is to make the world one that rewards good, and kindness. Before my Mom died, I admit that I don’t think I was a good person. I was selfish. But now, I know better. My priorities have changed, and I can now consider myself good. And that assured self-awareness completely shields me from having to concern myself with others’ opinion of me. I know who I am. And ultimately, that’s really all that matters. Because caring about people caring about what people think of you are two very different things. 

Anyway, back to changing the world. I doubt anyone would disagree that we live in very corrupt, evil times. So many of the people at the top of society are manipulative, ego-driven monsters that will literally do anything to fuel their status and power. And the ironic part of this is that we have allowed these people to dominate because in all honesty, they’re basically smarter and played their pieces with ingenuous precision.

Now here’s the part that I’m going to try really, really hard to articulate in a way that people understand, because its an extremely deep rooted thought.

We literally have to change our entire value systems if the world is ever going to change. 

Now what do I mean by that? I mean that all of those corrupt people, all of those incredibly smart psychopaths who lack remorse and empathy, have risen to the top because they are playing the game we have created. We have created a society in which money, materials, and otherwise needless luxuries is the key to being perceived as successful. Think about that. The reason people manipulate and deceive is to climb above the rest and appeal to their ego. These people will always exist. They will never go away.

So we have to change the rules. We have to act, behave, and truly believe that real self-worth and happiness is ones ability to be compassionate. To be good. That has to become the currency for how big ones ego can be. After all, these people only desire to be better than others. So if being better means you donated more to charity, or helped the most people, or acted most ethically, then these people will do those things simply because the more they do, the more respected and powerful they will become. After all, why do oil companies, or big pharma, or corporate industries, or anyone for that matter do the things they do? They do it for money. If they couldn’t get rich by doing those things, they wouldn’t do them. They do it because they know people value money, and those with the most money are viewed at as the best. Thus, they do whatever it takes to obtain more of it.

Simply put, we have to control and direct the actions of these people into something that betters the world. Which, funny as it may be since these people think they’re smarter than everyone, is basically outsmarting them and getting them to do what we want – not vice versa like it currently stands today. 

We have to change things, folks. We have to change ourselves, and stop judging people by money, or possessions, or power. We have to all start valuing benevolence, so if you’re truly better than someone, all it means is that you’re a better person and less selfish than they are. Once we change our ways of thinking, it’ll be a fight to who’s the kindest…not the richest.

I really, really hope people get my point here. Because there is nothing in this universe I care more about than making the world a better place, and I will do absolutely whatever it takes to do that. And I think most will understand what I said. I just hope it sparks action. Because the change we all want has to begin with us.

Love & Loss: 3

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. 

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 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 unpure. 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.