Friday, 16 September 2022

Thirty

Thirty days. Thirty days is all it takes.

Over the last twenty-nine days, we’ve experienced joy, wonder, excitement, fun and far, far more. We’ve had smile filled adventures, mildly planned for the future, and expressed so much to each other. It’s been wild, silly, filled with laughter and the wonder of two people that really, really do like each other.

On the thirtieth day, I did something wrong. Nothing that bad, nothing to annoy the neighbours, scare the dogs or wake the dead. It was an event, a moment, that could have been overlooked or, even, discussed and worked upon. For every eventuality, there’s options, solutions and forward paths.

Upon that day, your mind started to play the usual games. The devaluation. The worry. The thoughts forming scenarios within your mind. It won’t work, it’s never going to happen, it’s over and now, just now, you’re looking for a way out. It matters not that the same circular scenario has played out again and again in our lives, as we often don’t realise that ‘we’re’ also the one with the issue(s), repeating and playing around within our minds. I know, as I’ve been there and resolved. It is a never-ending journey of realisation and healing. We all have issues and, if we’re aware, we can resolve them.

It escalates within you; it then escalates around you. Growing. Placing roots, despite your other thoughts trying to move the ship away from the storm bashed rocks. This shouldn’t be a shipwreck. You distance yourself, hurting the other person on purpose, asking them to bridge the gap that they, often, don’t even realise exists.  This wouldn’t be a total loss if, maybe, upon a sun filled day, we evaluated and communicated our fears and follies.

Instead, we ruminate, procrastinate, devaluate and cast aside something or someone that offers us such affection, that the angels themselves shake their heads in disbelief. I’ve been here, there, on both sides, so I’m no angel. I understand or, at least, I do once I’m far, far over on the other side. It’s now, as well as forever, too late. You’ve become nasty, the spite filled words affording the other person confusion, as they retreat within themselves.

Upon the thirtieth day, we seemingly forget the previous twenty-nine days. We disavow the moments, the kisses, the sordid promises made within the darkness of emotion, choosing, instead, to escape to the green grass of freedom. Selected solitary confinement, chosen away from the wilds of being cared for. Such an easy decision, for a society filled with vapid options. We then quickly embrace another, to escape the hollow feeling, the odd behavioural nature of a child trapped within. We cast aside the person that loves us, to be with another to fulfil our selfish pain and suffering. The scales, however, never balance upon such an action. What once was, no longer required to fill the never-ending void of empty feelings. The discarded person, perpetually looking for rescue, with no sea faring vessel within view, struggles. The arms of another not being an option, to such a crippled individual. The only option, being learning and development. The leaving party, resolves themselves to simply having fun until the ramifications appear within their emotions. Still, as mentioned, too late for a reprieve, as we have to first become 'better' versions of ourselves.

Eventually, one day within another range of thirty, we look back upon what we could have had. We look back to see what we let go of. It’s too late. It’s done. Despite the twenty-nine days of wealth, prosperity, abundance and gratitude for wishes fulfilled, we allow our insecurities and past traumas to rule our worlds. It is a shame, it is a baseless wish, for people to fix and fulfil themselves before destroying another. We seldom embrace the fixing of oneself, until we ourselves, are abandoned. The abandoner remains to commit the same mistakes, as well as sins, again and again whilst pointing the finger to others. The selfish nature of a trapped child revolving around and around. However, there should be no blame in a game that involves two. Or maybe, even three.

Our egos cannot ‘possibly’ commit a wrong upon another, when that same said ego believes that we are the wronged. We believe that we simply cannot find the correct person to love us, yet, right in front of us, stands a person that would build a veritable castle upon the words of our name. It is the way of the world. It is natural, the nature of things, with the circus performing the same dance again and again. We are all broken and yet, once cast aside, we grasp the eventual opportunity to gather wealth to our knowledge. It is unfortunate, that another has the moment to hold a better version, instead of becoming better for the person we once wished to love. We are unknowing, until we’re forced to know. We are without, until we reach within.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll one day manage to reach the thirty first day and then, we can hold a hand forever or, at least, tell no lies when wishing for something more. Thirty days simply isn’t enough, for someone that has no intentions of actually trying to reach the thirty first day.



(So many people having relationship issues, or splitting, lately!)



Imagination

We live within a world that is less than perfect. We see poverty, misunderstandings, greed, pestilence and more. It’s a shame, a travesty, a concoction of reaching for a position of unfathomable betterment and improvement. We’re often side-tracked by life, by situations, overwhelming our senses and thought processes.

Personally, as a child, I knew that I had an amazing imagination. It kept me company upon many a trip, sitting in a truck, waiting for hours on end or watching the motorway miles vanish before my eyes. I imagined that I could fly, whispering through the clouds at unimaginable speeds. I would run, feel the earth leave my feet and I would flow into the air like the mightiest bird. I dreamed of innocence. The thoughts of a young child.

Now that I’ve grown, again and again, often via forced situations and pain, I’m once again turning to my imagination. For years, I’ve stayed static. The inner voice, be it my heart, soul or mind, remained quiet and I obviously thought that I’d found a place of solace. A reprieve from the previous days, where my mind would castigate my actions again and again. If your inner mind is quiet, you have truly reached a place of safety.

Unfortunately, this often does not last. To be a quiet soul, means that you eventually wish to invite another into that space. The inevitable is just that. My mind is no longer quiet and, my space is, once again, solitary.

Like a child or, a teenager that’s been freed from a prison, I once again wish to use my imagination. Every thought within my mind, or maybe even my heart space, changes my energy, my world and my day-to-day life. If you’re negative, then that energy ‘will’ flow from your body into the world. If you’re happy, it will show upon your lips, eyes and flow. It’s difficult, it’s arduous, to take control of your thoughts. They command you. They can berate you. They can override all the smiles and words you speak upon a given day.

No more. I’m trying. We should try. Change your thoughts. Be polite to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. You’re sensitive or, possibly, blocked due to your life’s arduous tasks. It will be okay. There are no problems, only solutions. There should always be a path, if you allow the path to exist. No, I’m not going crazy, as I believe that life is what you make it and no-one else is responsible for your life, or situations, but yourself (within reason).

Imagine a better world. Imagine that specific person being nice to you. Imagine holding the hand of the person you love, have lost, may never see again and wish them well. Send the positive motives into the void and raise yourself to a preferred space. Every single breath, is energy. Every exhalation, another chance to reduce your stress and over-thinking. To feel, is to become. To imagine, is to dream. We, you, I, us, together, can change the world. Think big, think the small thoughts, smile when everyone is looking and move through a room like you’re glowing.

Even when your pride has been crushed, even if your ego has been shattered, even when your self-esteem has been reduced to a pile of wounded tears, stand up, turn up, glow up and use your imagination to become more. What you think, is what you become. If you believe that a person will do something that makes you mad, then your own actions and thoughts can ensure that it happens. It’s an odd set of situations.

I’m trying to imagine, to use my imagination to create a better world for myself. I’m taking my energy, my thoughts, to form them into something that overrides the negative spaces within my heart. It’s taking time, but each day is a new day and upon every new day, we can bravely smile, accept ourselves and use our imagination to form a new person.  You truly, honestly, are what you think. They often say that you are what you eat, which is often accepted without question, so it’s obvious that your thoughts ‘are’ you.

I’m waking up to a new way of thinking and, if I’m honest, it’s quite a change. No matter what someone takes from you, no matter how you’re treated, no matter where you are, no matter the circumstance or situation, no-one can ever take away your imagination. Use it. Enjoy it. Embrace it and become something new with your given power. I’ll see you there, with a smile.

Am

It’s taken a very, very long time but, finally, I truly hope that I’ve realised what I am. That’s it, that’s the answer right there… ‘I am’.

It seems so simple, so easy, yet there’s a radical shift that has to take place within your mind before you ‘truly’ understand. Actually, let’s remove the word, ‘understand’, to replace it with, ‘believe’. We know what we are, or, so we think.

Over my life, I’ve experienced a couple of odd situations, circumstances, that made me sit back and smile. I won’t dive into them, as they’re for me to cherish and for you to find your own situations and experiences. When I refer to, ‘I am’, I point towards a specific way of thinking.

Have you ever wondered why relationships end, your weight never drops, or you seemingly run into bad luck? Personally, I have a strong mind and, thankfully, I’ve often been upon the path of understanding without realistically appreciating the full ramifications of the situation(s).

If you believe that someone will leave you, they will. You will, always, almost certainly, manifest your thoughts into the real world. It is inevitable. If you ‘think’ that someone will never change, you will grasp every ounce of whatever situation resolves your thinking into being. We, us, ourselves, are our worst, best enemies. Being secure in our thinking is paramount. It is absolutely everything.

Know your worth. We tell ourselves a story upon each given day. We’re not good enough, we do not deserve to be happy, we often end up in the same relationships/situations etc. No, sorry, you’re (possibly) wrong. We’re (possibly) wrong. We bring our thoughts to life. There are no problems, only solutions. There is no search, other than to ask for the very map to which we find salvation. “Why does this always happen to me?” Well, it’s because we often ‘make’ it happen. We can destroy such amazing situations, then blame the other person. Sure, no-one is realistically blame free.

Yeah, I know, it all sounds dream filled and magical. Let’s suggest that every thought has an energy to it, a life, a purpose. If you think a thought, you will ‘eventually’ believe that thought. We are a race of individuals that ‘must’ be right at every turn. “I knew that it wouldn’t work!”  Yes, I know, it wouldn’t work as your thoughts made it so. Thoughts within our mind should be expressed, especially when they’re damaging. Person A will see you one way, with person B seeing you a different way. You are still the same person, but our experiences, regrets, loves, losses, failures, scars and reasoning make the difference.  

I won’t lie. It takes a radical shift and, being honest, a change of thinking along with your perception of the world. The world is energy. It will always be energy. Sound is created by energy. A touch requires energy. To break a heart requires energy. To heal a heart, even more.

Your inner dialogue, from your conscious mind, controls your subconscious thoughts. What you think, is what you will be. Your body means nothing, when all is said and done, with your mind ravaging your energy and life. It’s taken a long, long time for me to reach this place and, above all, I’m thankful. Sure, it’s going to take further time, before I grasp my mind to change the ‘old’ stories. I no longer wish to see the world from whatever platform I sat upon. I know, I’m more grounded than I’ve ever been, but there’s still scars to bypass. Wait… no, I’m already far further than the scars, left upon my person. I’ve visualised a new person. I’ve seen the end of the race. It ‘felt’ amazing. It’s here, now, within me. From within, your form is created. Why waste time feeling bad? Believe. Become what you believe by changing your thoughts.  “It’s hopeless!”  Yes, it is, if you keep ‘saying’ it’s hopeless.

Believe. You, just you, are the most complete version of yourself (if you believe). Deny the voice within. Stall the never-ending dialogue that tells you that A is B. It isn’t. Explore. Talk Communicate. Explain. Resolve. It’s easier than we believe. Once you’re complete, become complete again and again. Learn. Achieve. Embrace knowledge and understanding. Do NOT let your conscious mind control your world. It will and can destroy everything. After all…

I am.

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Boat

Simon’s eyes blinked a few times, his hand reaching up to wipe away the water upon his face. He focussed, startled, shocked, not quite understanding how he came to be in such a place. One moment, sun filled skies, solid ground underneath his feet and the next, he’s in a rowing boat in the middle of a stormy sea.

His hands reached out, grabbing hold of the oars, not quite understanding the situation or what he was supposed to do. His head turned to his left, then right, trying to locate some type of sanctuary, a respite, a place of safety. He focused his mind, trying to reach inward to find calm. For a second, he believed, he actually believed, that he’d be okay. The weight of the situation, all at once, pushing against his shoulders and thoughts.

The next second, mighty thundering lightning cracked throughout the sky, sending him slightly backward into the boat. His back, pressed against the cold wooden surface, found a form of stability within the calm. He felt his mind juggle a thousand moments, a million emotions, as he once again tried to find some form of rescue. It was, as he currently knew, unlikely that it would be found.

The denial, the words of solace within him, sent out a thousand messages, a million words, in the hope that some type of angel would remove his solitude. The voices above remained silent, with another thundering event sending flashes through the night’s cold. There were no angels within his scenario, no rescue, only his thoughts, his body and himself.

He cried, the sudden tears rising within him as he lifted his head to peek over the side of the boat. The waves were growing, angry waves, that seemed to be calling him names. He was worthless, his self-esteem falling to the very lowest level of emotional stability, as he succumbed to the demands of his situation. It was a worthless effort, hopeless, no matter how much he tried to move the boat. He defeated himself, without even trying, once again, to move to safety.

His tears joined the boat’s influx of water as, finally, he realised that he had to remove some weight. Even tears held their weight within his mind, which meant that he should cry, instead of leaving within the burden of fear. With both hands, he tried to remove the water. It was, to his mind, more or less hopeless. The weight of the situation, his world, seemed to be filling the boat faster than he could throw aside the growing boat’s content.

He wanted to give up, to escape the boat, to simply let the waves take him to the depths of darkness. He had, more or less, given up. The darkness, the weight, the thoughts, the feelings and worth inside, all combining together to seemingly crush his self-esteem, hope, self-worth and emotional sanctity. He closed his eyes, as his hands continued to throw as much water over the side as possible. He refused to stand still. He refused to simply let the darkness, the thunder, the wild sea of life take him. It would be easy to simply deny the willingness to continue. It would be quicker to just end his suffering.

He gritted his teeth, with tears still falling around him, as he grabbed the oars. He would at least try, he would at least envision dry land, until the very last breath left his soul. He repeated positive words within his mind, over and over again, as he calmed his body. Breathing in, slowly, deeply, as he exhaled with each movement of the boat. Little by little, slowly, surely, with each row, he found a small amount of peace. He didn’t wish to open his eyes, but he did so regardless of his fear.

He wanted to smile, to believe, that there would be an island behind him but, instead, he felt the fear rise within, which was confusing. Hope, to be happy for even a second, filled him with fear. If he felt a smile upon his face, the boat could crack, a wave could take him at any second, or the thundering light could strike him down. He wanted to smile, to laugh, to find the situation, one of madness. He couldn’t, he dared not tempt the anger of the universe. To even think of hope, at this time, could mean disappointment within the very next second.

He shook his head, the rain saturating every inch of him, as he finally dared himself to smile. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t and most certainly shouldn’t let the wild seas take him away. He was on dry land, filled with sunshine, barely seconds before and the next, this place. He knew that life featured roaring seas of turbulence, but what he didn’t expect was how suddenly it appeared. Within a second, the madness had gripped him. Within a moment, he’d lost so much of his very person, to fear, to loss, to having to learn and adapt. It was an experience that he’d never forget, if he survived. 

As his mind, heart and most certainly soul, grasped the thought of effort and persistence, the lightning stopped. He dared not look to the sky, still afraid to tempt the fate of happiness. He continued adapting, learning, understanding his situation and, with each movement, the sky started to clear as the waves calmed.

He still wouldn’t smile, internally, despite the exterior showing just that. The illusion of a smile, hiding so much. He looked behind him, realising that the next few seconds would bring him to safety and then, as the boat touched dry land, he jumped up and threw himself onto the sand filled beach. He’d made it, he’d managed to make it through the turbulence, the sadness, depression and uncertainty. As his hands pushed into the sand, his smile vanished as he realised, that his situation would now require reflection, study, understanding and energy. He would never wish to return to the boat, the place that caused him so much stress, fear, trepidation and sorrow.

He stood, glancing back one last time towards the boat and the sea. He was glad, in a way, as he realised that things would have been far, far worse, without the boat that his mind had placed him in.

Beast

Some would say that beasts mainly hunt at night, keeping to the shadows to devour and hide their true intentions and bloodlust. Others would say that some beasts stand beside you in plain sight, smiling, while plotting your vey downfall. Personally, I feel that monsters and beasts come in all differing shapes and sizes.

There is something out there, that stalks us each and every single day. It’s a slow monster, in a fashion, that constantly and utterly wears a person down to dust. It waits for you, watches you, wondering when you’re about to let your guard down or, even, dare to feel good for but a moment. It seizes every opportunity and only the brave and strong escape its grip.

It’s hidden within all of us. It’s obvious as the night is dark. It’s the hidden beast that prays for a chance at destroying you. Self-confidence, self-esteem, happiness and more are but its playthings. It laughs at our ideals and ignores our pleas of hesitance and suffering. It hunts, hounds, claws at your heart and mind, while leaving scars upon your very soul. It breaks you, slowly, destroying the chance of having a life of normality. It evades and, all at once, can vanish to re-appear the moment that you can breathe.

It’s your own mind, your own failings. The doubt and struggle within. Your mind, that mind of yours, has two aspects. One side of you thinks fast, it saves you, cradles you, ensures that you eat and drink, allows you to walk and far, far more. The other side of you, the beast within, can be pondering, strategic, ever so fast but oh so cunning. It doesn’t mean to hurt you, but it understands that if it were not for pain, the suffering, that we’d never actually change.

It's seemingly never ending, once the trauma starts. You’re worthless, you’re good wasn’t good enough. Your efforts to become a better person have failed, miserably. Everything you are, or might possibly be, is pointless. It’s the demon within, the cold, calculating, horror of words and whispers that ends even the finest person.

We can reach a place, a safe place, where the monsters cannot find us. It’s still there, within you, a part of all of us. The silence, golden. The reprieve, magical. The moment, fleeting. We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced our monster within. It waits for us to fail. It wants for us to feel weak. It’s the unrelenting parent within, almost always bullying the inner-child that’s hardly ever had a chance to stand up and grow.

Despite the horror, despite the whispering words of deluged trauma inducing moments, the beast within is there to be controlled. We command ourselves. We own our own worth. We specify the length of time for which we permit the monster to roam the lands of our mind. For everything, there is a time. If you are beaten, if you are eaten to an inch of your life, descending to the depths of despair and ever so slightly beyond, we can find our courage. We can find our reason. We can hold that monster within a vice like grip and refuse to listen. We are worthwhile. Our worth is not defined by another or, even, our own monster within.

We can stand tall, embracing the fear that we feel within our very blood. Cast the words aside, allow the time required to become stronger, broader, a learned character and flourish through the words of self-deprecation. Replace the words spoken by an animal that’s never faced the fear that you and I have. All it can do is speak, chastise, bemoan, garnish the truth with frivolities and admonish without realising its own part in the fantasy.  It’s there to make you stronger, to find the courage and energy to silence the beast once and for all.

Some would say that beasts mainly hunt at night, keeping to the shadows to devour and hide their true intentions and bloodlust. Others would say that some beasts stand beside you in plain sight, smiling, while plotting your vey downfall. Personally, I feel that whatever is inside you is there for a purpose and if that makes it a monster, then so be it.


Escaped (F2R)

The hermetic seal broke as his eyes forced themselves to focus. Groggy, the sick feeling within his stomach asking for sustenance, he moved his head ever so slightly forward.

“It’s okay, focus on me. I’m going to open the enclosure so let me assist you!”

He watched, head spinning, as the enclosure’s door opened as he found her steadying grasp. With her hand placed against his chest, she held him against the bed that had been his home for two hundred plus years.

“What year is it?” he asked, blinking a few times, as the woman in front of him placed her shoulder against the side of his chest, with her left arm moving to hold his back. With her right hand steadying him, she replied.

“Take a step forward if you feel comfortable to do so! It’s the year two thousand, two hundred and twenty-one!”

His mind, still grasping the images and thoughts slowly appearing into his view, recalled the very last memory before entering the pod. He was sick. Ill. Not exactly terminal, but one of the few that agreed to the trial. He might not have died, but didn’t have anything to lose. His life, back then, was filled with the sick and twisted people around him. Many physically ill, but most mentally suffering. He couldn’t help, with his own demons surrounding him from time to time. He wanted, wished and needed, to escape.

He stepped forward, slowly, tentatively, knowing very well that his legs would need time to regain their strength. He felt weak, forlorn, the chemical slope hitting his body as his stomach continued to ask for real food. She led him to a white chair, which was next to a white table within the white, sterile, chamber.

“Sit, listen to my voice and keep looking at me!”

Daniel watched, as the woman opened a small case, producing something that looked like a gun.

“What’s that?” he asked with a small amount of trepidation.

“This? It’s a medical syringe that will give your body everything it needs!”

He relaxed, a little, as she pressed the gun to his thigh and, after a small stinging pain faded, he immediately felt the feelings within his body change. The lethargic, sickening feeling lifted and he suddenly no longer wished to eat anything and everything. He smiled, nodding, thanking her in his own silent way. She stepped back a few paces, beckoning Daniel to stand. He wiggled his toes, tensing his legs a little, feeling brave after the miraculous shot.

He stood, slowly, finding his balance after being vertically stored for many, many years. He was keen, optimistic, as well as firmly wishing to progress and acclimatise to whatever social system was now in place. He’d read books, explored all of the possibilities, been instructed and finally, after the chance of never waking firmly placed behind him, ready to live the rest of his life.

Stepping forward, finally managing to look at her, he suddenly realised how striking she was. The hairstyle, out of this world. Her clothes, formal, clean and crisp. She wasn’t wearing any make-up, her natural skin complexion and beauty shining through. Her eyes, especially, had a certain glow that he hadn’t seen for many, many years. He laughed to himself, realising that it really had been many, many years.

He walked around the table a few times, tensing, stretching ever so slightly, reminding his body that he could and would actually move. He raised his arms, slowly, into the air, moving them back down to his sides, stretching.

She smiled, watching every single thing that he did. “Okay, if you’re ready, shall I show you what the world has become?”  Daniel nodded, his eagerness apparent as he literally dashed forward towards the door, only to be stopped by the fact that it had no handle. Confused, he looked at her,

“I’m being rude, what’s your name?”

“Oza!”

“Nice name. Bit different. Then again it’s probably not to everyone alive today.”

Oza nodded, as she looked at a panel to the side of the door. “Optical sensors. You’re not yet in the database but you will be”

The door slid open with a whooshing noise that he found very, very funny. “…and I thought that it was only in the movies!”

Oza looked confused.

“Sorry, a 2020 joke!”

She nodded, gesturing for Daniel to leave the room. As they walked along a white corridor, the silence became apparent. There wasn’t a single noise to be heard. Even the floor seemed to dampen sound. Peace, quiet, no hustle and bustle of the way things used to be. As they walked Oza moved her hand to his, holding his hand. Daniel looked to his hand, immediately noticing what had just happened, then up to Oza. He shrugged his shoulders, going with the moment. Things would have changed.

They reached the corridor’s end and, all at once, the look upon his face fell to complete shock. At the exit appeared the city around the both of them. Glistening, a shine filed paradise unlike anything he had ever seen. “This is absolutely amazing!”

Oza smiled, still holding his hand, “It is. In two hundred years we have eradicated violence, educated our differences, oppressed oppression, opened our minds and found a better way. There’s also no such thing as hunger.”

“How did all of that happen?”

“We realised that we’re all different and that greed, money, did not make anyway happy. It started with the mainstream media being eradicated, politicians being removed, and a new order established that had the best interests of the people.”

Daniel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He’d never imagined a paradise from where and when he came from. The established order permeated every single strand of life. It truly would have taken every single person to change the ways of the world.

Oza squeezed his hand, gathering all of his attention.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I am. This might be difficult to accept, but I’m also the most compatible person for you!”

“What are you trying to say… that you and I?”

She blushed slightly, “Yes. We have a scale for sexual orientation. We’re no longer Male or Female. Sexism no longer exists as ‘gender’ no longer plays a part.”

Daniel, looking confused, but open to any new possibilities, moved himself to face her as he held her other hand. “What do you mean?”

Oza stepped forward, closer to Daniel, as she continued, “Within each of us beats a heart that knows no learned trait or designation. We as people, partly formed of animal nature, are attracted to so many aspects of another person, that the gender idiocy no longer needs to exist. I am designated as F8M. I am a Female with hormones and the mental attraction of eight out of ten, for males. You are a M9F. A Male that is firmly attracted to a more ‘female’ form.”

Daniel looked to the side, letting the information sink in, “So, what would a M5M be?”

“Well, at that point the lines are still designated but the number five can mean that the individual neither prefers Men or Women, but possibly both.”

Daniel nodded, realising that in his time, the lines of colour, sex, race, as well as the lines upon a map, were often used to control, manipulate, subjugate and oppress people. If this new way of thinking led to freedom for all, the acceptance that a person simply wasn’t their defined and instigated gender, then he was all for that freedom.

Oza leaned forward, kissing Daniel, as his entire body responded to her touch. He pressed his lips to hers, his appreciation being expressed within the moment. He couldn’t believe that this was happening, a new way of thinking, an end to hunger, as well as whatever was about to happen.

Oza looked into his eyes, as the kiss ended.

“You should see what your aura can do, as well as what your mind is capable of. We’ve been free from oppression for a very, very long time and the moment we freed ourselves, humanity has accomplished, flourished and progressed further than you could ever imagine!”

Daniel looked out into the city, once again, taking in the splendour and reverence of such a sight. He had, thankfully and finally, escaped.



(Originally written 01.06.2020) Not proof read.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Tree (Special!)

Mother stirred the contents within the large, strangely shaped, cauldron of random items. They’d not had a reasonable meal for a few weeks, with the scraps seemingly running thin. The air, outside, was becoming far too treacherous for older lungs to handle.

She smiled, her mind drifting away as it often did, recalling the day she’d arrived to this sanctuary. Lost, mentally vacant, only to find the care and consideration of others that become her whole world. She’d initially been given the task of looking after the youngsters, for a few hours a day, while the parents foraged for whatever they could find. It was a simple task, an easy task, yet it afforded her the chance to find a new life meaning. The children asked her question after question but, to her heart, she felt wanted and useful. She missed the pods, her previous life, which eventually started to drift away. A speck of thought within her memories.

Young smiles, tender voices, with her given name being that of ‘Mother’. Moment by moment, her inner monologue become real words, actual expressions filled with such care and warmth, that she’d even impressed herself. At the age of seventy-two, being called, ‘Mother’, made her heart skip and her energy return. She, once again, had a place to call her home. It wasn’t much, but when you had nothing, the smallest of treasures could mean everything. A heart, priceless, a kiss, timeless.

She adored them, all of them, especially as she’d watched all of the newcomers form bonds with ease. The lovers, the huggers, the dreamers and the nightmare screamers, all finding calm under the tree that seemed to reassure each of them. A new world. A different world and place to call their own. Such a simple thing, a singular tree, but so important to the many that had never actually seen a real, authentic tree before. She’d initially found it quite odd, even fascinating, watching people hug the tree and endlessly feel it’s tough bark against their skin. She found their actions to be that of children with brand new toys.

Brie was her favourite, the bright eyed, tender loving, soft hearted romantic that hadn’t yet experienced the loss and heartbreak associated with many, many moments of life. She was always upbeat, caring, while also having a special place for Mother within her thoughts. They’d bonded immediately, despite Mother’s craggy old face. Brie had stated that Mother’s lines were the art of years of struggle, the chaos and life lessons of time. Mother, instead, would call it the lack of moisturiser and too much sun. Either would do, as either suggestion was close to the truth.

Then, one day, Seb arrived. Mother knew that there was something different about the man. Hardened, troubled, traumatised by what he’d either seen, or done. Battle scared, his body covered with marks and memories Upon his arrival, the man had stood in front of the tree for over thirty minutes. His eyes had never seen such a wonderous spectacle. He’d said that he’d never seen such a sight, a living, breathing, creation of nature that had mostly been long forgotten. Trees were more or less extinct when he was born, with Mother remembering a fair few that were held in long destroyed parks.

Mother recalled, that after those thirty minutes of standing with an amazed gaze, he was then softened by another view. Brie. He’d watched her appear from behind the tree, slowly, casually, drifting as she did. His eyes found her, distracted for a second as he looked back to the tree, before returning his view. His mouth had fallen open in amazement and, just as Mother had noticed, a few other people had started laughing at they witnessed his obvious attraction. It was, as she later realised, a dual love at first sight.

Mother continued stirring the pot, sighing, finding her drifting thoughts comforting. She’d foraged for herself a few times, finding a few items and, as today was a special day, simply wished to provide all of them a beautiful, warming, tasty meal. After all, this was what a Mother should do, would do, for the people that she loved more than anything else in life. She glanced to her right, taking in the view of the glorious tree overhanging the area, surrounded by the building’s concrete. They’d found a home. A home with a very special life, afforded by a simple, timeless, tree.

She closed her eyes, the weight of her actions returning to haunt, her. She held onto the makeshift spoon, realising exactly what she’d done. It was, at this moment in time, far, far too late to un-do what she’d set in motion. She loved them, each of them, as they’d given her genuine emotion and care without asking for anything in return. They’d afforded her a place to call her own, a space within life to create something beautiful. Mother, instead, chose to return to her old life. She’d chosen to live her remaining days with comfort, warmth and a fresh set of clothing each and every single day.  She opened her eyes, glancing at the tree, admitting to herself that mistakes, once made, were for life.

What was done, was truly just that.


----


Daniel held the grip, steady, assured, keeping himself calm and rested. The process, each time, exactly the same. His eyes, closed, listening to the sounds around him. He could hear the rattling of the various metallic items, the laughter from the squad in front of him, as well the wheel bearing that would shortly need replacing. He’d been here on many, many occasions and this would, hopefully, run like that clockwork operation that he aspired to.

He was methodical, studied, an authentic military man through and through. He continued to listen, the roaring laughter nearly making his own lips form a brief smile. They were a good bunch of crazy idiots, even if he could liken them to uniformed thugs, psychos or dreamers. He knew that none of their dreams would come true, but at least upon their final day, they’d have tasted enough adrenaline to last their lifetimes.

His fingers moved across the new ‘NMP’ badge emblazed onto his uniform. Their new ideals and instructions being exactly the same as before, but with a supposed new enthused vigour that equated to jack all. Same job, different day. The ‘New Militarised Police’, doing what they do, the same as always. He snapped away from his thoughts, as his arm band vibrated ever so slightly, set to medium vibe, which immediately resulted with his entire demeanour changing. This was it, time to do what they did best and, no matter what happened, to certainly return home alive. He’d lost a few over the years. Good people. Young, eager, mostly stupid, but full of ‘in your face’ ego.

He let go of the hand grip, as the Combi-vehicle came to a stop. Each of the group, in front of Daniel, ceased whatever they were doing and looked towards him. They knew when to listen, when to stop, when to shut the hell up and when to do what they were told. This was regimental discipline and, unlike the rest of the world’s fairy-based politics, he demanded nothing less.

He glanced at each one of them in turn, showing them the respect that they deserved, despite wanting to slap a few around the head. Each of them had earned their place beside him. He wanted each of them to be his equal, despite their skill set, as they all brought something different to the team. As he selected a G36c from the rack, with a rotex three silencer, he started to run through the standard drill.

“Listen up. This is a basic seize and demo operation. Nothing special. Watch your six, cover your second and most of all, raise those eyes!”

The six of them nodded, knowing exactly what, where and how to take care of business. Daniel waited a few seconds, loading his belt with spare mags, expecting some type of banter to start but, uncharacteristically, none of them muttered a word. Raising an eyebrow, he knew that they had to have a little fun before they stepped from the Combi.

Daniel started the conversation the only way he knew how… insults, “Hey, unlike Henderson, try not to get your balls shot to shit.  Even you ladies!”

Cassie laughed, “Heck, I’d better be extra careful as my balls are bigger than all of em’!”

Debs nudged Cassie, “Definitely bigger dicks!”

Henderson, jokingly kicked the side of a bench, “You haven’t seen mine ladies, it’s glorious!”

“Ha, I’ve seen it. It broke the zoom on my pod!”

“Fluck you both!” replied Henderson, grabbing his crotch and moving around the contents.

Daniel wouldn’t change any of this, or any one of them. It took time to create a team. A reliable, dependable, construct formed of many individual parts. Just like the human body, all living, vital, doing what they did. He didn’t want the absolute best performers, the brown-nosed trainees that wanted to reach the sky, as they would soon find their limit. He wanted people that could trust each other. When the shit hit the fan, you needed someone that would stand with you, take a bullet, crawl until they could no longer move, dragging your sorry backside out of the fire. The world was full of cowards, which meant that you had to have the willing and able by your side.

This was what he had, a team, a triangle that could topple, fall, but get right back up and break you in two. If anything, even though he might never admit it, he was proud of them. Even Henderson, who seemed to constantly be fighting or trying to bed anything that moved. Debs and Cassie were magnificent. They could never be compared to men, which he’d never do, as they equalled and excelled at each opportunity. The other three, Rich, Dave and Roberts, were the heavy hitters, with the brawn resting between their skulls, often misunderstood. Each capable, each brutal, with all three consuming more protein than Amrazon sold in a month.

The cabin turned red, the silence descending, as their tactical G77 helmets descended around their heads. Within seconds a full display appeared in front of each squad member’s eyes. The display provided a complete auditory, oral, olfactory, as well as complete field of view of their intended area. Hardly state of the art military grade tech, but they had what they had, and they made it work. Daniel tapped against the small chest plate which, after a second, expanded around his chest and back. This was quite new to the squad, a polymer that absorbed shocks and brunt trauma, depending on their stance and awareness of attack.

The door slid open, the air within the Combi replaced with a putrid smell and taste of re-treated, recycled air. No matter how many times they faced this situation, they simply did not acclimatise to the air. Daniel, being the oldest, could recall a day when the air was something different, a time long gone and mostly forgotten. He was a child when the big change took place. The catastrophic, disastrous moment, when the very air they could breath, became a foot note within the history books. Times changed. Trash was still trash, orders were orders and the innocent, were no longer considered to even exist. This, all of this, was about a small, simple tree.

When he’d first read the directive, he asked himself if the orders were authentic. He questioned them, which is something that, in all his years, he’d never done before. His remarks, however, were expected and met with the simple answer of, ‘Air is money’. Humanity had to work for clean, premium, fresh air. He could not question his orders, he would not stand aside from them, which meant that he would have to do what any loyal soldier would do.


----


Brie, sat next to one of the large exposed roots, her space away from her habitat, snuggled into the warm blanket that sat above the beautiful earth. She loved this place, her special little spot, where she could nearly hide but, at the same time, see the comings and goings of all the people around her. She loved them all, this small group of hers, the rag tag ensemble of nothings. She didn’t like the term, ‘nothings’, but that’s what the media called them before they’d escaped their previous lives.

She touched the side of her neck, reminding herself, remembering, the time when freedom meant everything to them. The outcasts, barely able to pay for their air, despite being surrounded by all of the technical marvels and advancements the modern day could provide. The screens, the Pods, the Combis, all costing next to nothing, while the air they breathed, costing more than life could consume. She knew, even from an early age, that she was trapped. They, were all trapped, until they broke free from their imposed slavery.

She closed her eyes, remembering the violence when the ‘nothings’ were forced out of their homes, no longer affording the rising tax upon their very living lungs. She felt the tears rise within her, as she embraced and recalled the anguish and abandonment. That was then, and this very moment that she found herself within, was more than beautiful. She’d found a paradise. A tranquillity through such simplicity that the very ideal, to her previous self, would seem alien or even a wild fantastical dream.

She smiled, knowing that she was no longer a slave to the conglomerate overlords. With her breathing pod removed, she was completely and utterly free. She used to feel ashamed, worthless, her own self-worth reduced to the fact that she could not afford the basic fee for even a podison of air.  She’d worked hard, every single day and all of the hours presented, with the life-giving air being shared between six of them. It wasn’t enough, as two of her family members had died from oxygen deprivation poisoning.

She pushed aside the thoughts, knowing that they’d return, despite the utopia surrounding her. Scars. Broken love. Abandoned moments. No matter the escape, the memories remained, haunting, taunting, reminding her that some trauma, even when the moment had faded, would always remain within. She looked at the clump of daisies in front of her, smiling, as she picked a few to make a necklace. She adored the serenity of this place, as well as the peace of these moments.

As she knitted the daisies together, glancing to her side, she noticed movement, “I can see you!” she whispered, with her smile growing bigger, expressed with her playful tone and words. Seb bounced from around the large tree root, falling to his knees to rest against upon his legs. He leant forward, his flirtatious nature in full view.

“Hello beautiful you, how is this day treating you?” he asked, with his blue eyes beaming as they usually did. The glow from the sunlight above, through the various windows, always seemed to provide that shimmering look to his face. She adored him, even loved him, despite not yet admitting her feelings. He was a rogue, that scoundrel, the flirty naughty person that her Mother had warned her about many, many years previous. She didn’t care, especially when he said, did what he did and held her close. Whenever he was near, she felt his warmth, with his little side smirks and taunts teasing her. He was, if she were honest, the man that she’d waited for her entire life.

“My day has suddenly darkened!” she replied, sticking out her bottom lip.

“Oh no, why would that be?” he quizzed, with a solemn look upon his face, as he moved his bottom lip forward to match hers.

“I was about to finish this beautifully crafted daisy necklace, and then someone stopped me!”

“How can I make it up to you?” he said, his smile beaming and eyes softening as his head leaned to the side a little.

“Well, I think…” Before she could finish, he moved forward and kissed her. A small kiss, gentle, reminding her of why she missed him so much. As was often the case, that small kiss turned into a full embrace that would shame most people. He was intense, at the right time, understanding when needed, as well as a great big pain in her backside when he was being his ever-childish self. This place, this man, all seemed to be the gift that life could and should give to every single one of them.

She adored the innocence, the calm state of mind that the tree surrounding them afforded, as the kiss slowed to a more emotionally connective, embracing tempo. As they snuggled into the blanket, looking up to the mighty behemoth of a tree, they both felt the connection to something larger than the both of them. The very earth, the very aura surrounding them, breathing life without the toxic, evasive, disgusting air tax that had been thrust upon every single living human being upon the planet.

To breath air, to breath real uncycled air, to the both of them, all of them, was the finest natural luxury that life could afford. They felt blessed, free, spiritually and emotionally lightened, with the simplest, most transient moment, never being taken for granted. This was home. The very magic of life giving them nothing but peace. This place, apparently, was once called a shopping mall. A location that many people would visit to buy things and to chat. She liked the idea, since local gatherings were now outlawed in the shining cities that they’d all be castigated from.

She looked at him, as his soppy, silly eyes, reaching into her create to make butterflies within her stomach. He ran his fingers along her arm, taking her hand in his, smiling with that calm smile he’d perfected. It was time. It was the time. She’d waited so long, over the past few months, with that time waiting for neither of them. To be pod locked was one thing, but to actually decide who you loved, was another freedom that she intended to brandish with all of her strength. She’d rehearsed the three words many, many times, despite her fear crushing her motivation to dust. She could do this, she would do this, under the great tree of life.

She smiled, knowing, trusting, that the silly fool in front of her would hold her forever. She knew that he was a good man, with hidden suffering and darkness just behind those tender eyes, but that was okay as she was the exact same. The shielded heart, the wondering imagination, the yearning to be held as if the world was about to end and, more. She wanted more. All of him. Every single part of him. She wanted to literally wrap herself around him and never let go. Despite the fear, ignoring the suffering and vile nature of the world, she believed and never wished to do otherwise.

She smiled again, as he looked at her with an almost uncanny awareness of what was being rehearsed within her mind,

“Seb, I…”

Before her words could escape, Mother appeared in the middle of the chamber, proclaiming with her sternest voice, for all of them to listen. Brie had only heard her speak this way on two other occasions and neither were pleasant. Whatever was happening was serious, a moment that they might never forget. Everyone stopped what they were doing, whatever they were carving or creating, turning to face Mother.

Mother braced herself, rallied the energy to tell them of what was to come. She knew that she’d given each of them away, thrown aside their love, to return to her previous life. She wouldn’t tell them of her actions as, instead, she simply wished for them to continue with their freedom in whatever way they could find. “They’re coming. Leave everything behind. This place and this tree are lost to us. I’m sorry. I’m so very, very sorry.”

Brie’s heart fell from her chest. This place, these moments, were her life. Her mind failed to grasp the information, as the others rapidly dashed backwards and forwards. She watched Mother walk across the room to stand in front of them. She nodded to Seb, his facial expression immediately changing. He knew what he had to do and, above all, what this moment meant. Brie held his arm as he started to stand, “Where are you going, we should leave?!”

Seb knelt beside her, kissing her forehead, “I’m afraid that I have to say goodbye!”

“I don’t understand,” proclaimed Brie, with utter confusion and pain within her voice, “we’re supposed to be together?”

Seb glanced at Mother, who immediately understood the situation and what to do. Seb stood, stepping away from Brie, as Mother wrapped her arms around her. “I don’t understand?” asked Brie, with pain and fear within her words.

Mother smiled, running her hand through Brie’s hair, “My child. There are moments of great beauty within this world. There are people of grace that can shine through such suffering. That would be you, my Dear. Then, there are people that are born to protect and fight. Seb is such a person.”

Brie, partially understanding Grand Mother’s words, felt the tears appear upon her eyes. She watched as Seb walked across the chamber, as he turned to smile, his sad eyes eventually falling from hers and then, she whispered the words, “I love you”, under her breath. Mother grabbed Brie’s hand, more or less lifting her from the ground. They both ran around the tree, rushing towards the small gap made within the chamber walls. Their exit. Their escape. Their tunnel to whatever would greet them next.

 

Seb tried to push away the emotional weight surrounding him. He’d found innocence, despite his many sins upon the world. He’d found a place of freedom, a luxury seldom afforded to a person of his worth. He’d been crushed many, many times, only to find a saviour within the soft, tender smile of another. He cursed himself. He knew that he was an idiot to think that the world would offer him a happy ever after. She was, to him, the most beautiful creature. He’d presented himself to her with such childlike glee, which surprised him, as he would hardly ever call himself soft. She’d found something, within him, unlocking a gentle heart from within a simple giant.

He shook his head, realising that the moment was now gone. He would do what he was trained to do. Protect. This was his life before, this would have been his life after and right now, it was the best he could do for her. He knew that they’d send a squad, lightly armed, so there was a chance of surviving. He also pushed those thoughts away from his thinking. ‘Fight to die’, was the way he was taught. He had everything to live for but, in order to save what he loved, he knew that he had to give everything he could, even his life, to protect them. No remorse, no emotion, just cold hard brute tactical violence.

He entered the long code, then opened the large locker in front of him. Within sat a case, with the designation X12e scribed across the top. He actually thought that he’d never see it again. He punched the locker, again cursing the events that were about to unfold. The world was not fair, the world didn’t care about his feelings or emotion, as they were all equally, disgustingly, equal when it came to the mercy of fate.

Removing his clothes, he stepped into the fibre woven nano-pod suit. He’d fight, he’d take the punches and the knocks, but the ballistics would be ricocheted away by the multi-vector triangulated force shields. This suit, upon detecting incoming high velocity weapon fire, would create a vectored square upon multiple locations around his body. He was, in effect, impervious to most weapon fire.

He’d always loved how the suit looked. Completely black, with protrusions every five inches, to create the orange vectors. He didn’t enjoy violence but knew what had to be done. With the suit fitted, he walked from the small room, back to the main chamber. Silence greeted him. The glow, from the surrounding lamps, as well as various skylights, highlighted the tree’s beauty. He admired the very aura of the tree, making it seem almost translucence in nature. He felt his neck itch, a little, reminding him of the day when he had his own air-pod removed. It had always felt wrong, despite being with him since birth while, this place, had only ever felt completely perfect. Fresh, free, beautiful air. He stood by the tree, placing a hand upon the stern bark. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply, slowly, understanding that this might be the last time that he’d have a chance to do such a thing. This was a dream, within a life filled with taxed slavery and idiotically tempestuous marketing entities.

He smiled, remembering the days when he believed the taxation to be a sensible option, that the very air they breathed, albeit manufactured due to the world’s greed and consumption, should be taxed and regulated like every other facet of their very lives. Nothing, absolutely nothing, upon this world, was free. Not even the air. As he’d just found, even love had a price to pay.

Thankfully, eventually, on one stupid long-lost day, he’d seen his idiotically blinded nature revealed to him through the eyes and smile of another. The world was what it was. His ideals were what they were. But then, just then from within the blink of an eye, everything changed.

He engaged the suit’s HUD, enacting the start-up sequence, as his very aura energy became the suit’s power source. He had thirty minutes before his energy could no longer sustain the suit’s requirements and to him, that was more than enough time for all of the others to escape. Now or never. Today was the day. He glanced towards the small opening, wishing that he could follow them, be with her, but instead, all he could do, was recall hearing the words under her breath as he walked away, saying, ‘I love you’.


----


Seb stood perfectly still, legs slightly apart, arms crossed, waiting for the inevitable. Things might work out for the best, the resulting calm being afforded to common sense, but he knew that the likelihood of that happening would be slim to none. He listened, the only noise being the echo of silence. He loved this place, adored every single inch, wishing that time had provided him a different outcome. Even, a new ending to the chosen path of guided life.

Over his existence, he’d accomplished more than he’d ever dreamed of, despite the violence being something that he’d often been proud of and even enjoyed. The next second, not so much. He’d hurt people, ended them, taken the very life of another with his bare hands. He knew, more than most, that if it came down to him or them, it would always be the other person. If someone tried to take your life away, then take their life instead. The simple math of life, that equation that seldom appeared within a normal moment.

He felt sorrow rise within him, the remorse, only to remove the feelings, to return to the last few months. This place was a spectre of beauty. Haunting, the splendour pouring through the very roots of something as simple as a tree. He’d never have thought, not even for a second, that he’d find the person he’d found in such a place as this. The world worked in many, many mysterious ways, but at the same time, the cold and indiscriminate ways of nature chilled him to his very bones. Life blossomed from whatever corner it could find yet, extinguish the very same life within moments. He was the same. He’d found someone that he wished to create life with, a life, but in the very next breath, he gave all of it away to simply, easily, stand in the near dark.

He knew that his life would always be given for another, the others, as his training demanded nothing less. That sacrifice, the blood, all of the pain for a moment’s glory and triumph. He’d laugh, cry, scream or even smash his fist against a wall if, for a second, he could actually feel something. Anything. He’d felt his very blood rush, when faced with the warmth of Brie’s beautiful words, actions, deeds and smile. If he could un-do whatever made him the way he was, he would. He’d often question his motives, despite being self-sacrificing and honourable, as the human race was statistically the most selfish disease to spread across the planet and universe.

He cleared his mind, holding onto the image of her face, wishing, wanting, desperately needing to simply turn and run to her. It was too late. It was done. Committed. Sacrificed. The path ahead clear, as clear as the air surrounding him. They wanted the tree, which meant that they’d have to go through him. Either way, he knew the outcome and his last few moments would ensure that Brie would make it away from this place.

 

Daniel stepped from the Combi, tasting the acidic air, bitter, the tang bringing a grimacing look to his face. He hated coming out here, no matter the reason. The others did what they usually did, the clockwork procession enacting with near grace filled movements. He looked at the building in front of him, which was once a place of gathering. He remembered such places from when he was a small child. He searched for the description, recalling his mother’s long-lost voice, as the words ‘shopping mall’ appeared within his thoughts. Places such as these vanished during the big quakes. A time of great struggle for Humanity, where the very planet itself wished to throw them all from the very surface.

Daniel crouched, opening a black case. Within sat a small drone, its controller, as well as a heads-up display. He removed the contents, closing the case, as he placed the drone onto the ground. Henderson slipped on the HUD, taking the controller as the drone flew into the air. A few seconds escaped, as Rich complained about how the air tasted funny. None of them appreciated being here, but they had their given task and until completed, none of them would be returning.

Henderson, pressing the various buttons, quickly and easily ascertained the required information. He pressed the homing button, removed the HUD and nodded to Daniel, “One non-mover inside, next to the target!”

They had a go. Daniel knew that whoever was inside, would be covering the escape of the others which, to him, wasn’t even remotely what they had to focus upon. It was the tree. Just the tree. Daniel nodded to Henderson, who quickly gestured to the others to move forward. They quickly covered the ground between the Mall and the Combi, as they stopped at the Mall’s entrance. Cassie rolled a small round pod towards the doors, checking the area for any possible traps. Ten seconds expired, as Cassie nodded that the area seemed to be clear.

Slowly, like a well-oiled machine, they worked their way into the complex. By the numbers, with ease, as well as all corners covered. They could advance a little faster than suggested, due to there only being one person inside.

 

Seb heard them, the inevitable coming for him, taunting him. His adrenaline started to rise. His nerve endings firing, ready, expecting nothing less than violence. It always went the same way, no matter the words, actions or descriptive punches. He wished that the world worked in different ways, a more eloquent understanding, but that wasn’t the case Heck, if everyone would engage their heart, at least, things would, could and should actually change. He shook his head slightly, not believing his very thoughts. He could see them and, they could now see him.

Seb pushed aside his emotions, engaging the logic within. He preferred this avenue, with violent anger being the secondary option. He had to try. “We don’t have to do this! You could just leave and say that you burned everything to the ground. Please, I do not wish to do this!”

Daniel heard the words, immediately appreciating the token gesture for what it was. He also heard the person’s authenticity but, regardless of the expression, he couldn’t change the outcome. Stepping into a small amount of sky light, he addressed the person in front of him.

“By the power presented within Article 247b, within the charter of the ‘New USoA’, please desist your action and stand aside!”

Seb, reaching behind him, lowered his head, sighing, expecting nothing less. He muttered a few words under his breath, understanding, realising, that his ideals would, one day, get him killed. “I tried,” he said, the disappointment obvious from the tone of his voice, “but you people never, ever listen.” His hand, now placed within the Orb holder, flexed a little. It wasn’t a brutal weapon, meant more for crowd control, but his vow to protect this place meant that he couldn’t viciously hurt another. He could have chosen many options, with this was the most suitable to get his point across.

Seb, from the corner of his eye, noticed one of them moving, trying to flank him. He quickly, fluidly, raised his right arm and, as his fingers let go of the orb, pushed forward. The orb, the ball, flew forward with incredible speed, smashing straight into the side of Rich’s protective head armour. Daniel’s eyes followed Rich, as he flew across the mall, his head banging into a metal shutter, as the ball returned to Seb. The game set, the match about to begin, he knew that all hell was about to let loose upon his world.

 

Daniel watched as Rich flew across the mall. He’d not seen a weapon, like the one in front of him, for a very, very long time. It would, in most cases, be considered ancient. It was used within baseball games, albeit a softer orb, but hardly a lethal weapon. He closed his mouth after his initial confusion hit, quickly acclimatising to the odd circumstance in front of him. The tree, just behind the combative, was all he was here for. He glanced across to Henderson who, at that moment, was looking at Daniel with his face armour open, silently stating ‘wtf’ with his lips. Daniel engaged his pod com and, within seconds, expressed his desire to see the person ahead ground into the very mall’s surface. Cassie and Debs, reversed their direction and headed off behind Daniel, Henderson, Dave and Roberts.

Daniel nodded at Roberts who, immediately, ran towards the combative. Non-lethal force, as each civilian based operation dictated, at first, being his current option. He reached the individual, Seb, firing his hand stunner. The bolts, just as they seemingly hit Seb, were met with two orange, glowing, flat energy shields. As the bolts fell to the floor, Roberts bridged the gap and threw a punch. Seb pushed aside Roberts’ arm and, within a second, raised his foot to place it against Roberts’ upper leg, raising Seb into the air slightly. Roberts didn’t even have time to comprehend what happened as Seb placed his left hand onto his head and, with the weight of Seb’s suit, pushed Roberts’ head into the ground as his legs flew into the air.

Roberts’ facial armour took the brunt of the damage, which didn’t stop him from being knocked out cold. Seb ran sideways, firing the ball straight towards Dave’s mid-section. Dave moved but, as the ball struck his side, it still sent him spinning. He flew backwards, a few ribs breaking and a leg shattering, as he smashed into a cement wall.

Daniel couldn’t believe what was happening, his unit being taken down with ease. “Live fire engaged!” he barked, as he felt a small amount of anger reach into his soul. Henderson, crouched on one knee, flipped the safety, targeted, then fired. The bullets hit the target, as his satisfaction rose from within his armoured enclosed headpiece. The feeling within Henderson fell flat, as the flashes of orange, deflected each of his rounds into the surrounding structure. The combative had a shield.

Henderson looked across, again, to Daniel, shrugging his shoulders. “He’s using an x12p suite. Fuckers bullet proof!” retorted Daniel. The both of them, silent, thought of their options until, after a few seconds, Daniel recalled such a suit being used many years previous, “Henderson, get to the Combi. Bring back magazine 443. Lock and key!” Nodding, Henderson hightailed away from Daniel, not quite knowing what the heck ‘lock and key’ meant. Either way, he’d get the job done.

Seb exhaled, breathing in slowly, trying to lower his heart rate. It had been a while since he’d had this much cardio and it showed. He watched as Henderson approached him, slowly, weapon stowed behind his back. He knew that whoever they were, they were out of options. Although the x12p was one of the long-forgotten weapons of the near past, it still held itself together when based with conventional weaponry. He stood his ground, as he stood in front of the tree.

Seb felt his compassion, his emotion, rise within him. “Your men will live. I did try to warn you! Please, let this go. It’s one tree!”

Daniel sized the man standing in front of him. Medium bulk, athletic, probably ex-military, “You know that we cannot do that,” he replied, “you know that orders are orders!”

“Oh, I know they are, but it’s not that we’re hurting anyone here!”

“If it’s only one tree, then why don’t you be the one to walk away?”

Seb laughed, as he kicked aside a stone with his foot, “You see a tree? I see freedom. I see a resource that has been destroyed, burnt, desecrated, controlled and then sold. I see something free, that has been used to control us!”

Daniel had heard all of this before, a few times, when the big change arrived. The marketing companies, the big businesses that remained, made the very air into a commodity overnight. He appreciated the argument, even understood and agreed, but there were people that made decisions and then, there were the many that simply did as they were told. He needed to buy time, a few more minutes at least.

“and?” replied Daniel, the reply obviously showing a disregard for Seb’s words.

“And?” Seb grimaced with disgust, “Since the very day you were born your parents have paid to feed you, cloth you and move you through life. You then pay taxes for the rest of your adult years. Then, THEN, the very air is taxed! Air is free.”

Daneil felt the anger and rage finally rise within him. He simply wanted the pain to end, the fighting, the wounds, the memories of failure and violence to fade. He took one step forward, with anger in his voice.

“FREE!”

Daniel nodded, appreciating the point of view, still stalling for time, “and what would you suggest we do?”

 

Outside, Henderson reached the Combi, practically jumping through the widening door, not allowing a single second to escape his given task. He rushed to the front of the vehicle, reaching the ammo section. “Lock and key?” he said, over and over again. Cursing, a few select words in between. His eyes scanned up, then down, each column of drawers. Finally, to the right, he caught sight of a drawer with a Lock and key on the front. “Sweet Baby Jesus!” he exclaimed, as he opened the drawer to locate mag443. He pushed aside a few items and then, right there, sat 443. He smiled, kissed the air, turned and ran from the Combi.

 

Seb continued his tirade, “Water, food, clothes, shelter, warmth and then air. What next? Each of us fined and scolded if we cannot pay for our very emotions?  Please, leave the tree and go!”

Henderson noticed the two red flashes to the side of his HUD, the signal that Henderson was ready to take the shot. In another world, another time, he would consider leaving the tree behind. If he was a better person, a person that cared for such things outside of the constrained outlined world he lived within. If he wasn’t on mission, he would smile at the thought. This tree, this place, was the very last rogue location. All the other trees, contained within mass manufacturing plants. The air, fed to those that could pay the price for such a luxury.  This was the world to which they all agreed with. To do nothing, was to agree.

Daniel stepped back a few paces, his face armour rising to cover his mouth, as he engaged the internal com, “Cassie, Debs? You in position?” Two red lights flashed. “Okay, Henderson, fire upon my command. Cassie, Debs, fire the moment I fire!” Daniel raised his hand, pressing the small button to the back of his head armour. His eyes flicked to the side, allowing his head armour to retreat.

“Look, I agree with you. There is no reason for us to tear down this tree, to hurt the people that are free, but that’s not the way the world works. You will be silenced, even if you have no voice. That’s what we’re here to do!”

Seb, out of options, raised his right hand and watched as the orb started to spin, “Then you leave me with little choice…”

“Now!” shouted Daniel, as Cassie and Debs stepped from the shadows, weapons unleashing their content at full auto. Seb’s orange shield flashed to life, two patches appearing upon his back, to his left and right side. Henderson, raising his weapon as his head armour returned to cover his face, also firing at full auto. Another shield appeared, ricocheting the bullets away from Seb. Daniel stepped to the side, lowering to a knee, “Henderson!”

Henderson breathed, relaxed, taking another micro-second to locate the perfect target. Mid body, the chest area, just next to Seb’s heart. He lightly pressed the trigger and, with an almost slow-motion effect, his HUD slowed his view of events. He watched as the slug flew forward, a bullet slightly longer than anything he’d seen. As it moved, the bullet split into five separate slices.

Seb stepped back, just a step, as something hit his chest. He looked down to see the orange glow, protecting him. His eyes focused through the shadows, finding a sliver of light. He could see the four small objects drilling into the shield, with a fifth object at the centre. He opened his mouth, knowing exactly what was about to happen. His suit, able to deflect multiple bullet impacts, could have small, weakened areas depending on the current situation. The bullets, hitting his rear, from both sides, as well as the bullets from his front, would weaken the distributed power.

Henderson re-located his sight, firing another two times, realising what he was firing. The bullet slices hit Seb, another two orange squares appearing. A second expired as he, with his last breath, watched the first bullet’s middle slice move past the orange energy shield. He felt the bullet enter his chest, his sternum cracking, the very breath being removed from both lungs. He heard the small explosion, before he felt the pain. Blood appeared from his mouth, as he fell backwards. He’d breath, if he still had a trachea to do so.

Daniel raised his arm, as the others stopped firing. It was done. Over with. He turned, walking away from Seb, his very presence no longer even being a factor within his life. Seb, to Daniel, was a minor inconvenience in order to get to his chosen goal. The tee. Henderson walked up to Seb, looking into his eyes, nodding ever so slightly with a modicum of respect for what Seb had tried to do.

Seb felt the pain leave his body, life no longer allowing his consciousness to remain. His mind flashed, his thoughts screaming, as he focused upon the overhanging branches. The purity, the beauty of being able to live as he’d lived, for the shortest of times, filling his last thoughts with peace. He’d smile, if he even remembered how to do so. His thoughts started to fade, as her face appeared just in front of his eyes. He heard the words, he felt the emotion, the moment of ‘I love you’ warming whatever was left of his being. The light faded, the moment done, as he left the living and escaped the world.

Daniel looked at the tree, as Henderson, Cassie and Debs joined him. He glanced to the left, accessing a secondary menu, checking upon Rich, Dave and Roberts. All green, despite their injuries and current state. He looked down as the menu vanished, once again filling his view with the tree. He pressed the armour button, flicking his eyes, as his head armour opened. He breathed in, a full, longing, healthy breath. They all stood still, admiring such a creation, the natural nature of such a spectacle that they’d only seen as children, or from a text pod. It was, to each of them, beauty beyond their understanding. A symbol of freedom.

Daniel turned and walked away, turning his back, from the very last known tree. The very singular remaining symbol of freedom.

“Burn it down!”


Originally written 06.04.2020. Mostly proof read. :)

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Harmony (F2R)

The gangway touched the planet’s surface, the gentle, mild thud bringing such a realisation to each of their minds. A new planet, unexplored, not yet tainted by outsiders. They knew the rules, with the usual checks being implemented, as first contact was always a relatively precarious adventure. In this case, as far as they knew, the habitational animals were all lower forms of life.

Selena couldn’t stand that form of thinking as, to her mind, all forms of life existed upon the same level of creation. Free will, free form, able to whatever their function defined for them. Simon, on the other hand, standing in front of her with his hand resting upon his side firearm, saw everything as a possible threat. Nigel, stood next to Simon, was the usual pessimistic man-child that disliked, corrupted, ridiculed and malformed whenever he could. A motley crew of three.

They all moved forward, one standard foot in front of the other, cautious as usual. She’d heard the stories, especially what happened on Rigel 3 all those years previous. A guy nicknamed ‘Shark’ had stood on the tail of a Primerium land zipper and regretted it. They found pieces of his body over a two-mile radius. Caution was, in her mind, key.

She felt her feet finally press against the planet’s surface. Immediately, from within her, she felt a certain calm, an elegant furrow of pleasing emotion making her heart seemingly glow. She’d never felt such stillness before, her interest instantly peaking, as she removed a scanner from her side satchel. The gentle buzz of animals, all around them, seemed to add to the relaxation within.

The other two, walking forward a few metres, started to annoy each other. Their words faded away into the distance as she concentrated upon the readings produced by the scanner. Graphs and stats appeared in front of her eyes, her mind consciously attempting to understand the feelings rising within her. She glanced to her side, as a small flying creature, the size of a butterfly, made its way to a colourful flower. She watched as the creature collected, what she presumed, was pollen. The process of life, right in front of her eyes. Then, from behind her, she felt a slight nudge.

Turning, she stiffened slightly, as an animal the size and shape of a medium sized dog, looked up at her. She knelt, knowing full well that the situation could escalate at any second, but within her she felt safe, secure, relaxed at the unfolding events. She slowly raised her hand, with outstretched, flat fingers. Gently, she placed her hand under the creature’s chin and then, with a smile, gently rubbed with her fingers. The animals face softened even more, as its eyelids closed ever so slightly, as a hind leg moved to scratch its side.

She laughed a little, realising that some things never changed. Dogs, cats, whatever this was in front of her, all beautiful and endearing to a heart such as hers. From behind, she heard a familiar sound and, as she moved her upper body around to stop the event, she realised that it was far too late. Simon, weapon pointed at the animal, fired. She heard a whimper; the animals body falling to its side and then silence. She turned back to the creature, her sorrow, anguish and emotional distress apparent upon her face. The innocence, gone. The moment, senseless.

She placed a hand upon the creature’s face, her emotions expressing the regret of the event, as the life escaped its body. She pulled her hand back quickly, as she witnessed some sort of essence, spirit, or maybe even a soul, move from the creature’s body. She’d never seen anything like this before, as she regained her mind of science. She lifted the scanner, pressed a selection of buttons and, as suspected, the realisation of this place hit her mind.

A second escaped as her thoughts bellowed through her mind and at that moment, she realised something. The gentle hum, the creatures around them, had stopped. Silence. Bleak, unadulterated silence. The calm within her suddenly sensed the complete change in emotional vibration, her eyes looking for any sign of movement.

“Get back to the ship!” she exclaimed to Nigel and Simon. Without question, also sensing the change, they immediately did as requested. Their aggression had to be removed, as their very energy was not suitable for such a place.

From all around her, animal appeared, hundreds upon hundreds of animals of all shapes and sizes. She rested upon her folded legs, realising that the situation in front and all around her was unavoidable. Her scanner beeped and, as she glanced down, the realisation struck her. Her imagination, her bewilderment, all joined together as her thoughts gathered and understood the planet’s frequency. Five hundred and twenty-eight hertz. The frequency of love. The equilibrium of peace and harmony, the very planet’s energy resting and creating the feeling of love and connection. A pure emotion, not tainted by human selfishness or any other trait. Everything upon the planet was emotionally aligned.

She engaged her own emotions, realising that events could escalate. Her sorrow, the regret for what had just happened, her love for all creatures, rose within her. Her chest glowed with emotional clarity, with her soul glowing with radiant vibrance and colour. She placed her hand onto the deceased animals face, expressing the loss within her, the sadness echoing her thoughts into the world. Her vibration, her very frequency, matched their own.

As a moment passed, a selection of animals leant against her, connecting with her essence, as two other creatures carried away the lifeless vessel in front of Selena. The moment, gentle. The loss, all but real. She felt them, experienced the flow of energy, embracing her very essence and purpose. She felt a part of herself drift, the connectivity arriving to her energy points, as her mind quickly snapped her back to reality.

The savage nature of man, the brutal fear of anything other than what they knew, resounded within her. This place was a pure bastion, beautiful, peaceful and, most of all, out of bounds for her kind. Despite the resources the planet would provide, she had no intention of allowing such a place to be desecrated. She tapped the screen of her scanner, as the animals slowly disbanded, the gentle hum returning to normal. She scrolled through the options until, finally, tapping the word ‘quarantined’.

She would not, never, ever, allow this place of beauty to be destroyed due to the whims of man, machine and greed. She realised that her judgement, of course, was compromised, but such beauty, peace and calm had to have a place and if it was to be this one planet, she would accept that conclusion. She closed her eyes, as she stretched out her arms, once again, feeling the peace and love all around her. The unity, energy and calm, to which she’d never, ever, experienced before.

This place, this planet, deserved a suitable name and as her mind flowed with the beauty of such a love, a single word reached her lips and, as she opened her eyes, heart, soul and mind, one word appeared. This word, the expression of feeling, was harmony.