It's not often that I sleep deeply enough to dream anymore...
And yet, tonight...be it from a certain rare moment where peace of mind was granted...or from pure exhaustion alone...
I found those subconscious images flashing brightly before my closed eyes. Memories of days past. Of a world that, even in such a short period of time, had become long forgotten.
Not the world I know today.
"How's your temperature today, sport?" It was just a few years ago. Early 2010, to be exact. My father used to keep such a close eye on me. Checking me every morning when I woke up, and every night when I went to bed. Then again at random times during the day. Once the H1N1 pandemic broke and began sweeping across the globe at such an increasingly dangerous rate...our health checks had to become a daily routine. A single sniffle could mean danger to the whole family. Hell, the whole neighborhood if we weren't careful. But my father, he was known for overdoing things a bit. And at times, even my mom had to tell him to stop obsessing so much. Despite his many theories and facts, she was never one to really believe in all of that conspiracy stuff he wrote about online. She always considered it some kind of fictional hocus pocus. Anything to tell a convincing and emotional story on his website. He's a writer...that's what he does. He picks up facts and uses them to tell the story of his choosing. But my father...he knew better. He saw it happening before any of us. And others saw it happening even before him. He hid it deeply in the personalized words of his text, but he was actually trying to warn people. Trying to make them wake up and see what was coming just over the horizon. But, in the end, it didn't do much good. By the time people began to notice what was happening...it was already a decade too late.
My father was always trying to 'train' me by making knowledge a game at home. He even went so far as to home school me so he could, as he put it, 'keep my mind open beyond my brainwashing'. I never knew what that meant until strange things started to happen all around me. Things my friends could never seem to see. Things people could never believe in. But me? I saw them clear as day. I wonder if my father was right. Perhaps he was preparing me...for the dark days I am now a part of.
"I'm OK, Dad! Quit it! I don't have the flu!" I grinned with a roll of my eyes.
"Open up and say ahhhh. Let me see?"
"Ahhhhhhhhh..." I stuck out my tongue and let him shine his flashlight down my throat, looking for spots. But luckily he didn't see anything. He smiled at me and marked off my little chart with another happy face. Maybe he was right. Maybe I was one of the lucky ones who were naturally immune to the virus. And that seemed to make him sooo proud. So many people had died from the initial outbreak. Soooooo many. I didn't realize the severity of what was going on until much later when it hit close to home for pretty much every man, woman, and child on the planet. In fact, by the Spring of 2011, so many people had died from the pandemic that we as a population had become desensitized to it. We became intrigued spectators, watching the numbers rise sharply on the evening news...as though it were some sort of twisted video game, looking for a new 'high score'. No matter how close the deaths came to our doorstep, our minds just grew increasingly defensive about letting the horror of it sink in. The almost psychotic act of blocking out our emotions had become somewhat of a shield from the harsh reality of the death toll. Each one of us trying to erase the guilt behind the knowledge that we were all silently whispering to ourselves...
'Thank God it was him...and not me.'
"Looking good, kid! Strong, healthy, boy!" My father told me, ruffling my hair slightly. "Alright...pop quiz!"
"Awwww....Dad, c'mon..." I whined.
"Hey now! Don't flake out on me. I want you to know this stuff. Hehehe, pop quiz!"
"Alright, fine. Pop quiz." I groaned.
"Executive order #11921...what does that give the government the power to do now?" He asked me.
"Sighhh..." I moaned some more, but was ashamed to say that he had drilled it into me so often that I knew the answer by heart. "It says that the President can declare a state of emergency any time he wants to. With or without consent, and with or without a publicized reason to do so."
"AND....what else?" He asked me.
"AND...Congress cannot review that action or ask questions about it for up to, and beyond, six months. Bush administration, post 9/11."
"Good boy. You're a SPONGE with this stuff, you know that?"
"It's not like it's gonna do me any good." I said.
"On the contrary, Noah...there's no such thing as 'throwaway' knowledge. You've gotta stay tapped in at all times." He said. A motto of his since I was five years old.
"I know." I moaned.
"ALWAYS ask the question, Noah. Even if you think you're not gonna like the answer." He said. "I want you to stay sharp. Alright?" I nodded, and he gave me another one for good measure. "Senate bill #1873? You know it?"
"Dad, I'm hungry."
He sat back in his chair, and folded his arms with a smile. "Alright...I'll tell you what. You give me the Senate bill correctly, and I'll take a break and get us BOTH some of the sloppiest chilidogs we can find. How about that?" He smiled.
"You promise??? Cool! Let's go!"
"Ah ahhh....Senate bill #1873...what is it?"
I giggled a bit to myself, and answered, "New Senate bill #1873 allows the US government to vaccinate you with untested vaccines against your will if deemed in the public's best interest."
"And you are...." He paused for a moment as he saved what he was writing on his computer. "....CORRECT! And a promise is a promise. So let's go get us some junk food, huh?"
"Honey?" My mom called out. "Alan's here."
His mood changed slightly. "Um...you know what, sport? Why don't we hold off on those chilidogs for just a few more minutes, huh?" My dad said.
"Awww, but you promised."
"Now you know I'd never break a promise to my 'second in command', right? Just give me ten minutes. Alan and I have to talk about the book. Go tell your mom to get you and Anna some popsicles to tide you over, k?"
An easy bribe for a 13 year old. "Ok! But ten minutes only!" I hurried out of the door just as my dad's best friend came into the room. "Hi, Mr. Harvey!" I said, and rushed to the kitchen to get a popsicle so I could come back and hear what they were talking about.
Mr. Harvey had been helping my dad with his story almost since the beginning. Although, the way they kept notes and stuff, you would have thought that it was waaaaay too much work for what might have been a sentence or two in a fictional story. But in a weird way, it was always so cool to see them work together. They were like spies on TV...with blueprints and newspaper articles and books and downloaded documents. Plus...Mr. Harvey was always so nice to me. It made me feel like he was my friend too.
"What do you have for me today, Alan?" My father asked, looking at his scattered collection of notebooks and newspaper clippings.
"Looks like everything went according to plan as far as the laws were concerned. Looks like they did it. Just like we said they would. And it only took a couple of months. A bit faster than expected. They're really moving forward on this." Mr. Harvey said. He spread our a few newspaper sheets next to his notes. "Same typical pattern, cause and effect...they breezed it right past everybody without so much as a blink. The bill got passed, machines are already on their way. Classic uniform agenda push."
"Wow...just look at it, Alan. Sometimes, I've gotta admit...it's beautiful to see them work so efficiently." My father motioned for me to come closer, but to keep the quickly melting popsicle away from the notebooks and stuff. "You see this Noah? These are the kind of patterns you should always be looking out for. Connect the events. See?" He put the clippings in order to show me. "Here...you see people protesting their rights to privacy while commuting cross country and overseas, right? Well, the government doesn't want that. Not if they're gonna push for a police state. They want to be able to search whoever they want, whenever they want, without any resistance whatsoever. From head to toe. Now look here...terrorist threat on Christmas day. Whole world's watching right?"
"Uh huh..." I said.
"Supposed terrorist gets on the plane with a bomb, action failed. Media gets behind the story. Now everyone wants to know...how did this happen? How did he get on the plane with an explosive device? And what awful terrorist action could be next. You see? Fear is induced into the public....public cries out for the government to help and provide for their safety while traveling. The protesters lighten their stances. the public surrenders a few more civil liberties to calm the fear...and voila. Checkmate." He showed me the most recent clippings. "Full body scans now allowed in all major airports, train stations, and ports...and will go into effect as early as next month. The government got exactly what it wanted by proposing a serious problem and achieving its goal through a seemingly random answer." He said. "Now what big question should you be asking yourself?"
"Dad...can we go?"
"In a minute, Noah. Come on, you know this." He pressed.
"Ummm..." I looked at the big scanner thingy and asked, "...How did they build the machine so fast?"
"Great question! Answer? They didn't. These machines were already built, tested, copyrighted, and ready to go before the incident even took place. All they needed to do was create a reason for the bill to be passed to USE it against us, and for us to willingly accept its implementation without batting an eye." He said. "Crisis...equals legislation, Noah. Every time. Always remember that. Anything that the media jumps on and glorifies...has a bill already drawn up to coincide with it. You've always gotta look for the connection. The vaccine was ready before the flu hit, the scanner machines were ready before the airport bomb attempt, the result is always a trump card, ready to be played at the precise moment when the public is ready to accept it. You understand?" I nodded. "And how do you know when the media is lying?"
"Their lips are moving?" I smiled.
Alan had to chuckle himself. "You know, sometimes you go just a bit too far with this stuff. You're gonna turn the kid into a full blown revolutionary if you keep this up."
"In a time of deceit, the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell." My father said proudly. "Now, let's get out of here. I believe my kids wanted to get some chilidogs."
"Mind if I come along. I could use some brain food myself." Alan asked, and my father agreed as I got my coat. "Oh...remind me to talk to you about this possible link that I found to the events that happened on January 13th, 2010. You remember what happened that day, right?"
"Hard to forget." He said.
"I think I found a few more linked agendas spawning from that event and a few more to follow it. Something seriously went all....'screwy' after that. I mean...it's almost like they're gearing up for something BIG to happen soon. I don't know what, but it's gotta be something major to make this much of a ruckus. They're like scattering ants with all the new activity they're getting involved with. I wanna break this down and see if we can figure out what they're up to."
"Sure thing. We'll get into it when we come back. Ok?" My father gave me a kiss on the top of my head, and I saw my 6 year old sister Anna come to the door, all 'weather guarded' in a heavy jacket, scarf, and mittens, as though we were about to go dog sledding in the freakin' Arctic somewhere. Her dimpled smile could brighten a room when she walked in. It was amazing. "Alrighty, then. Let's go...."
Memories. Sweet memories. Retold as favorable dreams without the bitter ending that my waking life remembers so vividly.
So hard to believe that was only two years ago.
Perhaps it was a sound from outside that suddenly changed my little subconscious fantasy into a nightmare. It could have been something as subtle as a curtain blowing with a gentle gust of wind for all I know. But just as quickly as I had been submerged in a much more ordinary dream...I was suddenly taken back....to the last night that I ever saw my father alive.
His final screams...drowned out by the black helicopter that had landed in the middle of our street....as it hurriedly took him off...to be executed without trial. Without conscious. Sometimes I swear...even though I wasn't there to see it...
...I swear he called out my name as the guillotine blade dropped down to silence him forever.
I awoke with a jerk and a loud GASP!
My shoulders ached from sleeping on the concrete floor of the basement, and instantly, the staleness of the cool night air rushed in through my nostrils, reminding me of where I was. It was late night. Possibly after midnight. I could always tell by the silence surrounding me. When waking from such a pleasant sunlit dream...one with popsicles and chilidogs, smiling faces, and family...it was a heartbreaking experience to reconnect myself with the merciless reality of the present day again.
I could faintly hear my mother humming softly in the background as she petted my sister, Anna, softly in her sleep. Smoothing out her long dark brown hair, repeatedly as though it could really make her feel better. Anna has been sick for the past month and a half now. No one can really tell what's wrong with her. Not with our limited resources here. At first we thought she might have caught the super flu. My mother, Anna, and I were exiled from many a squatting camp once they saw that she was sick and labeled her as one of the 'infected'. We were homeless, even among the homeless. Until we found the small suburban town we were in now, just outside of the city. We've been here for about two and a half months now. There are good people here. People from all over, just looking for a place to rest and temporarily block out the agenda forcing us all into such an awful position. From what I've read, this was one of the first neighborhoods to be 'quarantined' by the government. A quiet place...with decent sized, quaint houses...front lawns full of lush green grass, two car garages, and basketball hoops. It was one of those suburbs that was picture perfect for raising a family. But when the quarantines came...and the families were all taken away by the military...it became the desolate phantom shell of a town that we see today. No electricity, little running water. All these beautiful houses were now nothing more than elaborate 'cardboard boxes' for us to hide in.
The people in this neighborhood were some of the first to be taken into the FEMA camps by force. While many people started off going willingly, believing in the promise of free health care and looking to avoid the man made viruses released into the general public...the people here were among the first to be rounded up...herded like animals...and dragged off under the threat of violence. Small towns like this one never stood a chance. And by the time the rumors had started and people actually began to BELIEVE that this sort of thing was actually happening right here under their noses, the camps were already fully functional and full to capacity. Thousands upon thousands upon THOUSANDS at each facility. And there were MANY facilities.
Those people...whole families...were never seen again.
Now that we know what happened to them...you would think that an emotional nerve would be severely pinched by the overwhelming terror of it. But no. As I said before...we've been desensitized to the loss of human life on a grand scale since 2011. And now? It hardly affects us at all. We become more numb with every body we see. It's hard to even mourn their loss anymore. It just plain hurts too much.
My best friend, Milo, is staying with us. He's still looking for his parents, hoping to find them again. He keeps up SUCH a brave front when it comes to 'hope'. I don't have the heart to tell him what I really think. His parents have been missing for 8 months now. Left one day to go into the city to see if they could salvage some food. They never returned. Meaning they either abandoned the rest of us, were captured and sent to the camps...or were simply gunned down in the streets. Between the hostile soldiers and the rioting anarchists left to run lawless among the wreckage...it would come as no surprise to hear that they were long dead. But Milo's my best friend. So as long as HE keeps hope....I'll keep the secret that his hope is wasted.
Milo says that in the camps, they have large black FEMA coffins that can fit up to five bodies or more in each one of them easily. More...if you count the children. Made of plastic and designed to stack up, one on top of the other like building blocks. The media kept things quiet for as long as they possibly could, but when video footage was uncovered of the military burning bodies by the thousands...the propaganda machine began to run their cover story. Saying that the super flu had run amuck, and it was spreading like wildfire in many of the FEMA camp locations around the country, due to new, unvaccinated, arrivals carrying the virus with them. There were even some stories about bioterrorism, blaming people like us 'free rangers' for sabotaging their efforts by releasing the plague into the camps ourselves on purpose. But I knew that wasn't true. My father taught me how to look for the untruths in their broadcasts...and it's an amazing experience...having them tell outright lies about you to everyone watching. How their false word becomes truth, simply because they SAY it should be. We've been called anarchists, and terrorists, rioters, criminals, traitors, and thieves. But at the heart of it all...I KNOW those bodies weren't all being burned because they were infected. They weren't sick. Those people were being exterminated by the train load. Thousands of them a day. Gassed in large numbers as they fought to survive. I hear you can see bloody claw marks on the insides of the train walls. I don't know how true that is though. Chances are...if you saw the inside of the trains...you didn't live to tell about it.
We've gotten used to the smell though. The burning bodies are far far away from here. And sometimes...when the wind is just right...ashes fall down upon our little community like snow.
I got up from the floor and stretched, cracking my back slightly as I tried to fix my messy brown hair. My mother looked up instantly. "Where are you going?"
"Nowhere far, mom. I'm just gonna get some air outside. That's all." I told her. She looked concerned, but couldn't bare to leave Anna's side. Today was a bad day for her. It sounded like it hurt my baby sister to breathe. It made it hard for her to sleep. Now age 9, that once bright smile and those rosy dimpled cheeks have been replaced by an emaciated ghost of a child, with dark circles under her eyes, and large dents in the sides of her face, sucked inward. Only 9 years old...I wish I could make the sickness go away...but I can't. Nobody can. I just hope she can fight it off on her own. We've both gotten so thin. Sometimes...my skin feels different. I get light headed...like now. Fresh air is the only thing that seems to help. And even then, it's only for the moment.
I walked slowly up the basement steps, and went into the living room where a few other families were all sleeping in different areas of the room. This was one of the cooler apartments on the block, based on the fact that the front windows don't face the rising sun in the mornings. So a lot of people choose to sleep here. And in the basement where I sleep, it's even cooler.
I opened the front door and went outside to look around. The whole world looked so dark. So very dark. I can remember when the Chicago city skyline was like a magic circus of illumination, lighting up the darkness with pride and brilliance. Now...most of it has been reduced to rubble. Looking more like a forgotten war zone than a major metropolitan city. I don't know who did more damage, the rioting citizens of 2011, or the military forces sent to diffuse the situation. Somehow...the city itself got caught in the crossfire, and paid the ultimate price for it. There's hardly anything of value left standing. It really was, at least for me, the first sign that things were coming to an end.
Heh...the 'end'...I remember thinking of that concept as a fable. A 'boogie man' story to tell your kids before bedtime. Funny thing is...now that it really is happening all around us, and billions of people worldwide are dead...I have to admit that I'm somewhat disappointed.
The end of the world...was not the divine event that I expected it to be.
After all those years of our most creative and fantastic worse case scenarios...all of our cinematic climaxes to a once great and powerful civilization...the end wasn't much of an actual 'production' at all. It slithered up on us, like a dark serpent in high grass. Biting us before we even knew it was there. The realization came too late.
Anti-climatic, don't you think?
After all of the grand terrorist schemes, 9/11 threats, rogue killer comet theories, Y2K, 2012 planetary alignments, Biblical Judgment Day prophecies, Nuclear Holocausts, fears, wishes, plans, and predictions...
...The end of our world as we knew it was so 'un-spectacular' in comparison that it almost seemed as though we were cheated out of our grand finale.
There were no giant volcanoes. No blazing fireballs from the sky. No invasions from interplanetary extraterrestrial hordes. No toppling towers of Babylon, no mile high tidal waves moving at the speed of sound, no blasphemous Satanic warriors rising from the grave...coming out of the depths of darkness to claim our souls for their own.
No....our world went out...as the great writer, T.S. Elliot, once said...'with a whimper'.
The sound of a sickened child, coughing...helpless...and taking that last gasp for air before quietly expiring...all alone...and being transported into the great mystery.
Or perhaps bound and chained...taken to one of the many camps that surround us, bravely meeting their fate. As though their courage had any real value or meaning in the end. It didn't. We're just 'meat' to them. Roaches. Bottom feeders. Statistics that were constantly fucking up their perfect 'equation' for what is right and sane.
The end game is near. We can all taste it, even though we're afraid to admit it. Sometimes I wish I could submit to it. That feeling of helplessness in a world gone completely mad. But I can't. Not when Jordan's here. Something about him gives me a much needed dose of sunshine when there's none to be had anywhere else in this dismal place. Jordan Chadwick...the most beautiful boy that these tired eyes had ever seen. As long as he's here with me...the rest of the world can STAY fucked up. Forever, if that's what is meant to be. I can live out the rest of my days in my heart. Where the grass is always bright and green, the air is always crisp and sweet, and even the deadliest of man-made viruses can be cured with the blessing of Jordan's life giving kiss. I think he's the only angel the world has left these days, with the exception of my baby sister. And he's become the sole reason for me finding the strength to admit that I want to wake up to another night of suffering with the others.
He completes the incomplete. That is his gift. Even if he doesn't know it.
Even if he doesn't, yet, know what he means to me.
My name is Noah...I'm 16 years old...and this is the world I live in.
God help us all.....