by Karri Lybeck.
These were the times of seeping tears. Commodities scarce, teeth grinding in a cold night with the gray snow beating on collars made of rugs, threaded, worn and weary. Eyes so gloomy, grim was the touch between you and I distant.
These were the times demanding. Days were long, destitute of light, no clarity of mind, no time to breathe nor smoke to enjoy, but the pressuring darkness billowing down from the towers of might. Nights were intense, nights of living as if no tomorrow, no pain, no time to see nor think, but trying to feel, to create something tangible, for even one fleeting moment in the moist sewers under the sky cloud city. For this was a place with no name, no value to be granted a place in the maps.
These were the times and the destiny of youth hopeful, lost and forgotten. The needs of men, women, children born to work, rejected with no hesitation.
Crumbs trickling down,
falling from the sky,
too few to have a rhythm.
Era of lost memories, of experiences hard and stiff fingers, bitten by rock and bytes, crafted by the people, of a mass weaving a circle never ending. Through ages the memories hardened, became a manner of looking past confronting eyes, talking without meaning, hugs not touching, embraces cold and routine.
With all hope lost already, a child was born, made in those hard times through an embrace quick and sudden, between one shift and another. Child born as man, as children there were none anymore, for the caves demanded all the time more crafting. Hands too small could never be, all used for the mining of the dark bytes, coin parts made with the steely machines created by
angels with immense riches,
those invisible witches,
living on green pastures in the sky.
That child was created, by the marks treaded in the dirty streets of working men and women, of memories and experiences hardened with tears and sweat. Grew from the earth pitiful, muddy and corrupted, wet from tears. That child was like no other, for he gathered all the memories from those tears, without understanding or elaboration. He was the living walking proof of injustice brought upon the innocent.
As that child grew, his understanding grew as well. He learned listening, matured working. For the power that is created by unmet needs, unanswered questions, false promises, it is a strong power, even if leashed it remained still. He was the raw fruit of that power and he was to liberate them, to bring down the systems of gold and glass, with blood and bone.
Why was it to be? He was just an ordinary particle, swimming in that ocean of filth and stone. His parents or guides did not, they could not foresee it, but they, as anyone who encountered him, felt it.
A glimmer so fine,
row and line,
order among chaos.
They saw it early in his toils, his sight and clarity of thought. There were things no one had taught him, yet he knew them. He knew how to listen and hear, a skill a few had. What no other had, was the heart he had for his fellows’ burdens, their sorrow. He filled his heart with
the sound of grinding teeth,
smoke pouring beneath,
crumbles from the sky
and injustice wry.
He heard his fellows, their stories, sorrows. They all shared with him, he was a son of them all, and they felt at ease when they spoke to him. For he knew to listen with care, connect with sincerity. And thus his heart filled with tears, until too much to bear, his veins filled with anger, fury, moderate but fearsome. He felt that all had to be repaid to them, in full. And he would be the one to lead the collection. In due time. But now, he knew, he was to make them stronger.
The streets of the city were dirty with condensed weariness as always. Sun was rising from behind the towers, slowly and weak as if unwilling to shed light on the beaten ground that had to give space to this city. The light was yellowish brown reflected on the muddy pools on the streets, as the brown powderclouds distorted the light and refused to let through much. Streets were almost empty, only few supershifters were crawling back to their holes in torn buildings, tired and down. The first street vendors were opening their mobile wooden stalls, ready to sell the rodents and bats seasoned with clearwater, which took out the taste, but also the poisons.
Anrea stood in front of the window, which was nothing but a hazy plastic covering the hole in the wall. She yawned and stretched, looked at the sun, no need to squint, and then down on the streets. She was on the 10th floor, this was a rare building that still stood so high. No large buildings remained after all the commotions of times gone. She could see far away where the city continued, similar streets and broken buildings covering the ground miles and miles. Anrea tasted the ForceCoffee, named aptly for you had to force yourself to drink it. It tasted as everything, weak and stale, but non-lethal.
She thought and tried to imagine how it had been before. Almost nothing remained of the earlier days. How could anything remain after all the gases had been pumped from beneath the ground and burned, peat fed to the furnaces, oils spread on sky and the sea so massively the oceans split and burst and spewed black plastic flakes into their veins, after the atoms had been split enough to make everyone shine and tick, after all that power had been used to harvest data and make them wise. They became so wise that there was nothing to learn from each other. They knew they were the most educated, they were everywhere and they had spread their democracy so far and wide that everyone choked from it. Then the end started, with one war after another. So many victories. Each win made them more resolute of The Truth, and each loss narrowed their minds. Until there was nothing more to win, nothing to lose, nothing to burn or grow. Only then the killing stopped, for there was nothing to kill with.
So had the world turned and people had adapted, it was inevitable. During the wars they still believed in each other, but after the final bombings that was gone too. But the data remained. So long had the power of bytes born down and finally cracked the spine of society of what still stood. Not many remembered the old times for they weren’t important. But she and some others knew that it hadn’t always been so. The pictures of old still seeped through the cracks of concrete, the songs and notes unearthed if you dug hard and long enough through the bones and dried pieces of skin of all the generations buried underneath. They were still there, visions of solidarity and tough battle, laying low deep underground, as they still were, for they were a contraband most dangerous and only few would trade on them. They were treasures for Anrea, but pieces of currency for the low-traders of the underground and the price was high, so Anrea had only managed to see a few pieces of that long forgotten history. A damaged picture, barely visible was a large crowd convening with flags and posters on a town square surrounded by the high towers of might. And another of a woman not so damaged, dressed as someone with great power, but with hands intertwined with fellow people, a mysterious stance and a look on her face speaking of defiance and threat, but with eyes filled with joy, hope and grace.
Anrea had those pictures for a short time only, before they were confiscated from her, or stolen who knows,
the locks are strong
but frames are weak
as we have always been.
Anrea’s work was about to begin in one of the Mines which she could see from her vantage point. The Mines were huge boxes, metal buildings, inside them everyone worked, around them they lived and died. The Mines had arrays of antennas on the roofs, through which the bytes would be sent forth, to create the profits needed to keep the world running for profits which no one saw.
Descending from her apartment she saw a few neighbors in their morning toils on the hallways and arena down below. One day more, she thought as she stepped on to the street and gazed towards the Mines where she was to go each morning.
Perhaps this was the day she was to break the code of the stone and find a diamond byte. That would ascend her, it would make her a star, she would shine and grow wings, rise to the skies where the angels lived. She would walk among them, bless the people below and be all powerful. But now she had to show her strength. Strike down the data so that the angels could live and us too.
She knew deep down this was the way to think and live, but for her, an error remained. She sensed it, but it escaped her mind often. As no one else had seemed to notice it, she thought it must be the poisons, so she hid the error in her mind even deeper. No one could know that she saw an imperfection. That might lead to a punishment. Hush hush now Anrea
do not disturb.
She walked, hastened her step to leave the error behind, but it followed in her shadow, it drove her. It was there, the line of thought that troubled her so. Angels prevail, they bless us with life. So were they all taught, and oh how they loved that teaching. That made them part angels, the workers a part of something so fascinating that could have built all that structure. But still, worrying. “For if I am part angel, if I am blessed, why do we suffer so?”
Anrea evil heathen,
with rebel treason.
You shall feel agony.
The error made her angry. She would find the Real Truth, seek allies, reveal it all and then… Then they would together make the angels pay for their sins.