The boy enters the forest uncertain of the fate of his brother.
The forest gives an eerie sense of calm, with the bristling trees in the wind. The tall, slender and faceless men not too far behind with their familiar chant,“come with us love,we will give you a world better than your best dreams, better than your heaven”.
But the boy will not be fooled, for he knows that the poor souls who accept the faceless men’s offer are taken away in black vans. Never to be seen again and those who resist! Well, the faceless men use other means to get their cooperation.
He hears a dog barking, he looks back and sees a pack of dogs running towards him, they have picked up his scent! he runs like a stabbed rat. He hides under a log with the decaying and putrifying corpse of a person.
The smell of the corpse covers his scent and the dogs went back to their masters, the faceless men.
Dear reader! you may be repulsed by this but the boy has no other option, he lives in a dying world….where he desperately clings onto his humanity.
After a while, when the anxiety ceased and he feels safer. He ventures back. He walks on and comes across the rusting remains of cars, overgrown with weeds, tree branches going through the broken windows and the body of the cars falling apart from rust.
“Odd to find cars this far out in the forest”, he says, then he remembers this used to be an old parking lot years before he was born, he wonders why the car owners just left them to rot and decay, just like the rest of humanity.
He hears the whistling of drone engines, he hides under a rusted metal door as the drone nears, it can hear his racing heartbeat, from a loud speaker it says, “Do not be scared,we are only here to help, we are here to save mankind.”
The boy pulls out a gun from his bag and shoots the drone in its camera, disorienting it for a while. He runs as fast as he can. He manages to put some distance between. He sees this old wooden house in the darkness of the forest and he goes in to hide from the drone.
Then he pulls out a flashlight and looks around. The house has mostly been taken by nature, the floor boards creek and crack with his footsteps. In what remains of the living room, he comes across this old audio player.
He plays it. The audio is all distorted because of the elements its been subject to since years. The sounds he hear are distorted screams and violin music crackling over the old dusty speakers.
He oddly enjoys this, well he’s not really heard much music in his life. After all, he’s always been struggling to survive.The drone picks up on the sound of the music. The boy thinks to himself that it was a terrible idea to play the music.
Meanwhile, the engine of the drone fills the silence and peace of the forest. As soon as it nears the house, the boy hides beside the broken window frame.
The light of the drone peers in like its hunting its prey. It knows he’s in the house, it turns around to go to the other side of the house.The boy accidentally steps on this floor board and it cracks, getting the attention of the drone.
It turns and slowly approaches the place where the boy is hiding, the boy’s heart races in fear, he panics and runs. The drone misses the shot. It’s bullets tear through the old building with the sound of the audio tape playing in the background. He runs upstairs as the stairs break behind him.
He thinks he’s safe upstairs ,but then the drone tears through the rotting walls. For a moment, it gets stuck, trapping the boys legs too, its guns can’t aim at him.
The drone struggles like a wounded and cornered animal. The boy’s gun is out of reach, he bashes the drone using the floorboard with all the strength he has.
Alas! the rotten floor board breaks of course but he manages to wriggle a bit and get hold of his gun. For a second he stares at the drones camera, it is looking back with its blue glow. He shoots it in its fuel tank and it explodes forcefully, throwing the boy yards away from the remains of the house.
The boy wakes up astonished at how he managed to survive that with nothing more than a few cuts but little time to think. He has to move because the faceless men would come to see the cause of the explosion.
As he ventures farther and farther into the forest, he does not hear the sound of crickets, or owls anymore rather he hears great thumping and deep groaning of the machinery.
Now he sees lights in the distance, they are the great mechanical monstrosities operated by the faceless men. He hides behind a rock to see them lumber by, with their massive and heavy legs shaking the ground.
He hears the roar of jets flying over. They are guarding this convoy of vans. The faceless men are rounding up thousands of people. Some crying, some lacked any signs of emotions, some willingly getting into the van and some are forced in.
He is too afraid of getting caught. Too afraid to get any closer. He follows the direction the road leads to, but staying under the cover of the forest. The sun starts rising and he can see the silhouette of sky scrappers in the distance.
“Its the old city!!”, he says and starts walking towards it. As he gets close he sees the tall buildings are falling apart. The windows broken and their concrete crumbling like dust.
The roads are cracked and little weeds growing in the cracks. He sees old billboards, with images of a once vibrant culture now but a shell of its former glory.
He thinks to himself about why can’t he remember his past? But he is too tired to wonder about that even. He sits under an overpass to rest for he is exhausted. Instantly, he falls asleep.
He is dreaming! He sees a blinding flash, whole city destroyed within the blink of an eye, the silhouette of buildings being ripped with this big mushroom cloud in the background as this wall of fire races towards him. Again, he hears this voice of an old man saying,
“Some cried, some laughed, most stayed silent. I have become death, the destroyer of the worlds.”
Then he’s sitting in a sterile white room with nothing around him. Suddenly, this calm voice over the speaker says,
“Please recite your baseline”
The boy replies,“In blood black nothingness began to spin. A system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem and dreadfully distinct against the dark.. a tall white fountain plane”
The calm voice says, “Good. lets begin! How does it feel like to be part of the system?”
The boy replies,“System”
The calm voice says, “Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system?”
The boy replies,“System”
The calm voice then says,“Do you get pleasure being part of the system?”
The boy replies,“System”
This time in a slightly more serious manner, the voice says,“Have they created you to be part of the system?”
The boy with a slight pause replies,“system”
The voice says,“Good, we’re going to go on. Cells, they were all put together at a time, cells, millions and billions of them, cells”
The voice with a slightly more serious tone says,“Do they keep you in a cell?”
He says,“cell “
The voice in a much louder and threatening tone says,“What it is like to hold the hand of someone you love? interlinked, do they teach you how to feel finger to finger, interlinked?”
The voice says,“Do you long to have your heart interlinked?”
He says with a much longer pause,“Interlinked”,
The voice in an almost angry tone says, “How does it feel like to hold the hand of someone you love?”
“interlinked”, he replies “interlinked”,
The voice says, “Dreadfully distinct why don’t you say that three times?”
The boy in a nervous voice says, “Dreadfully distinct, dreadfully distinct, dreadfully distinct”
The now angry voice says,“Why did you say that three times!? Within ones stem dark, against the dark, against a tall white fountain plain”
The boy says, “within one’s stem, dark, against the dark, against the tall white fountain plain”.
Then he hears static over the radio and this Triangular machine, a computer enters the room and stares at the boy with its single all seeing lifeless eye,
It asks,“What is your purpose?”
He says,“To make a better mankind”.
The voice says, “Good”.
Then the boy sees many people wearing the same masks as the faceless men. He looks down at a puddle and he sees that he is wearing a mask too.
He stumbles backwards and falls. Then he is running towards the forest with the faceless men running after him. He trips and falls and the faceless men hold him down while they try to sedate him, he kicks at the mask of one of them breaking it, and behind it he sees the face of his brother.
He wakes up at the edge of the forest. He enters it uncertain of the fate which beholds his brother.
(The writer wrote this piece around two years back when he was only 15 years old)
Also Read:The Perfect Amount of Awful