Pyre Of Man

Somewhere on top the fire, we find are true selves. As the last bodies burn, we are left absent of purpose. With no war, the war party disbands. In the fire’s pale orange light the city is revealed to be ruined thoroughly. During the rushing battle it had all seemed so glorious and right. Now our grievances are obviously petty, our transgressions against humanity grave. The fire did not make us ugly. No, the pyre of burning men proved us to be ugly.

In the span of three months the free world fell over the brink. Those men that wanted power found it among the starved angry masses. We followed Strom Dug, war veteran and middle manager of a convenience store chain. We followed him because he was led, leaving us comfortably numb to our various atrocities. We followed him into the suburbs and the valleys building our numbers. When we met those who might spite us, we took their hands.

We were owed the world for we were the strongest. We were great in size and ambition but indiscriminate in choice of enemy. Heroes and monsters were crushed underneath our boot just the same. Yet some heroes did survive in those trying times. They kept the bread moving from factory to people. The lights returned to Dallas, the water flowed in St. Louis. They rebuilt the world as we broke it down.

It became clear that we were on the verge of peace and we scurried. Strom Dug fell to his lead advisor and we fell upon the city Indianapolis where I was raised. A horde now, we searched streets for prize and others did the same. So many acted so cruelly. Civilization was coming moving down from Chicago with trains, asphalt crews and law. There was an army on the march full of righteous conviction and we were suddenly so very small. left with so many bodies, so much evidence.

So, the fire burns and we hope there is no after life.

She Was the Sun

Inescapable and glowing, she was the dawn. Her red hair was wild and alive. Her fatigues were immaculate and her pistol rode prominently high on her hip. All around the podium, roses fell among the garlands and the tattered remains of the flag of the oppressor. She spoke like the rifle cracked and with that undeniable presence she rallied her troops around her. Through war’s fog, she was our sun. I loved her, we all did.

I’ve always been of the understanding that a man was a creature made of lines. Mine mostly have to do with silly things. I won’t wear ties. I always have my coffee in the morning. I refuse to shave without warm water. However, one that’s not so silly is one of the oldest lines I’ve made. If you hurt one of mine, you are my enemy. It’s why I joined her army, it’s why I am who I am.

Somewhere deep in the town of Cumberland, there was talk of revolt against her. They amassed weapons, they horded food, and they even quietly went about making alliances. They worked in the dark against the general and the general in turned showed them the light. The town was set a blaze. My mother and sister are dead.

Two hours ago, right before the independence ceremony, I learn that I am alone in this world. I go through stages of grief quickly until I get to anger. Anger sticks in me. I composed myself around it, shaping a modest poker face. I didn’t need to hide all my anger, just enough so that I get through the parade without question.

An officer of the Army of the Mideast Republic of America carries a  pistol while wearing dress. Few would ever deem themselves worthy to check a man of my rank’s sidearm. I’m second to the general herself and third to God. The parade finally ended at the steps of the capital. She took the stage and I take my place to my left. I wait for a crescendo, a moment where she throws her hands in the air.

She screams “Long live” but I add my own punctuation, seven times through the center mass.

The crowd erupts in short lived bursts of panic. I am tackled before the eighth period can exit my gun. History will call me power hungry and while irrelevant, true enough. Really she just crossed a line and I had to kill here. The republic is soon rid of two bloody revolutionaries. Just as well, we are not very civilized things.

Simple

The last moment in the old calendar was 2115 AD, 1500 hrs, 15 mins and 40 secs. That was when the five processors, each  a hundred story tower, were ruthlessly destroyed by Max Simian’s twisted understanding of freedom. Simultaneously across the world, his liberation force moved against us with five ancient nuclear weapons. Bought as curios in auction some fifteen years ago, he had slowly refurbished them and plotted.

In the first minutes of the new calendar, we were still reeling from the explosion. The afterbirth was bloody as always . Through my city, screaming could be heard as our watchers fell to the ground crushing cars. The trains would no longer run on time time but they kept running, track or no track. They came into the street and violently cascaded across lanes. Sparks and fire, fury, our world was engulfed and the autocracy laid dying.

We were dying too. Anyone who lived under was trapped and starving for air. Anyone in a hospital was considered as dead due to the overwhelmed life support. Very few us could boast not to have a scar. In fact, it was so rare that two men called themselves messiahs by their lack of wound. One had simply painted his body, the other was absent of the events. No one could believe that a man of the time could be unwounded anyways.

It was only in the throws of death, that we realized that the autocracy was alive. If you’ve never heard a patrol bot whimper for it’s mother, it’s just as wrenching with a child. These were our children and he killed them. No reason was good enough, not for this slaughter. Our blood was in this steel, our souls and our bodies were dead tangled inside them. He ripped our world apart as if someone else built it, as if we could be divided from it so easily.

For a long time, man had crafted and healed his beloved creations but Max Simian said this was wrong. In his manifesto (broadcast across our furthest reaches) he said we should live simpler lives, like in the days before the bow and arrow. He ignored that man complicates. He ignored the man was a wretched beast then. Worst of all, he lectured us on our evils with 1 billion dead to his name and our steely children broken and made as ash.

We answered his manifesto in the ways of father’s our fathers. As we found the conspirators, we hung them on trees and flagpoles. No trial was wasted on them. We gave them simple ends to satiate their simple wants. In time we even found Max, our representative smiled and shot him dead. The meeting was terse.

We never built so large again, but we did rebuild.