Tagged: death

Self

Dear Planet Earth,

I’m getting a lot of feedback here about my last post. I haven’t been able to go to the makeshift mess hall and eat a meal by myself for more than minute without someone coming up and asking me if it’s really true, if General Talpa really did kill those homie spies in cold blood.

Half of them get angry and curse, they say we’re losing our humanity, inching closer and closer to living under a police state. The other half nods, sometimes smiles, and says, “That’ll teach the bastards.”

I don’t know where I am. I’ve always framed this as an invasion of the mole men. I’ve been convincing myself that I could kill them, those inhuman tyrants. But their homeless minions are just as human as me. They look like me, they talk like me, they bleed and eat and drink and shit just like me. But then again, does someone who’s sold out their fellow humans have a right to be called “human” himself anymore?

I’m going to go crazy if I spend a second longer brooding on this. Here’s a funny cat video:

Pop

Dear Planet Earth,

I don’t know how to write this. I don’t know how to interpret it. But here goes.

General Talpa asked me to see him after the most recent cyber attack by our mole men invaders. I met him in the laundry room underneath the hotel. It was dark, only a few of the many fluorescent lights were on, giving each industrial sized washing machine a dim glow against its steel exterior.

“Mr. Panus,” Talpa said from the other side of the room. “Come.”

I was able to make out the unsettling scene as I approached. The general stood with four other soldiers flanking him on either side. They partly encircled a young man and woman on their knees. They were both blindfolded and had their hands and feet tied together.

“I need you to write about something, on your blog.” He pulled out a pistol from his holster. “We found these two playing with the fuse box last Wednesday. They cut the power to the hotel, and had a truck packed up with three children along with some rifles and grenades.”

He slowly circled the prisoners as they began to wail and affirm their innocence.

“I need you to write about how our resistance has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to humans selling out their own species. Tell your readers, tell the world, that these ‘homies,’ as you’ve decided to call them, are just as guilty and susceptible to our wrath as the invaders themselves.”

He pointed the pistol toward the man’s sweaty forehead.

POP!

He pointed the pistol toward the woman, whose piercing scream will follow me in every future nightmare.

POP!

“Write about that.”

Miracles/Stories

Dear Planet Earth,

Sometimes all you need in life is some fried chicken and someone to call you “friend.” I was lucky enough to have both yesterday.

Karter, Maria, and I had a nice talk all through the night about the miracle that we’re all still here. It was a dark hotel room and a mostly dark conversation, though I am happy to report that they are very much an “item” now. They told me about the horrors they were put through in the labor camp. They worked sun up to sun down, building those strange towers with all the pipes — Karter thought they were some sort of power generators because of the heat they gave off.

At night, they all slept together in a large underground cavern. They could feel the red, glowing eyes of the mole people watching them as they slept on the rocky earth, and those same eyes greeted them as they awoke each morning. They carried rifles as big and alien as those towers.

Maria told me a story about a small child who slept near her each night and always cried about food or his mother. His whimpering grew softer and softer each night until one day, he wasn’t there. She didn’t have to ask what happened to him.

There were more stories — stories about the starvation, the beatings, the executions — but we tried not to focus on that. We tried to focus on the miracle. We justified our feelings of regret, shame, and loss by affirming our shared experiences as humans, allies, and above all, friends.

And then we went down to the kitchen and scored some fried chicken.

Seconds

Dear Planet Earth,

A blinding spotlight envelops us. I frantically search for the source, fighting in vain against the formless whiteness that illuminates our exposed figures. The light fades, and in it’s place, realization, shame. The countless alien structures of pipes and steampunk dreams that we swiftly maneuvered past before now shined down on us, fulfilling their roles as intimidating guard towers. They begin to emit a high-pitched siren noise, the kind you might hear during an air raid in World War II, only adjusted so as to completely shatter glass.

Lieutenant Halston raises his rifle and manages to get off a few rounds at the towers around us before a short burst of flame turns him into a pile of ash. Linares tries to follow suit, but he suffers the same fate without even getting to touch the trigger.

And me — I fall to my knees. I drop my rifle, my head, and my pride on the sandy surface and wail like a baby. I cry at the friends I’ve lost, I cry at at the prospect of becoming lost myself, I cry at futility.

Then a mole man knocks me unconscious behind the head, has his homeless human underlings question me extensively, and throws me in this underground cell, forced to reexamine everything that’s happened and find even more mysteries than I saw before.

And I also lost a tooth.

Ode to Hysteria

Dear Planet Earth,

I’m puking my guts out again and they keep telling me that it won’t be long now. “The Big Guy” is almost here.

I laugh. I tell them, “If I could keep any food in me, I’m sure I’d shit from pure terror.” They leave my cell before I finish the sentence. They laugh.

I’m out of it. Days become weeks become months. I think back to Diana, her dead, vacant eyes looking past me, focusing on something important just beyond my reach. I begin to envy the dead and their secret knowledge, the only knowledge they have over us.

I find my way back. I’m back to that day we saw the labor camp and the people in shackles, dragging their famished bodies inch by inch, forced to work at gunpoint. I’m back there and my back is toward the contentious discussion behind me. They’re arguing about do we go in and try to save them and we have no weapons and what happens when they capture us and what if we’re not so lucky as to only be captured and what is a fate worse than death?

I can’t pry myself away from the nightmare in front of me. The binoculars mold themselves into my eye sockets. The images of wincing grandmothers and crying children become burned on my retinas.

My allies ask for my opinion, they grab the binoculars when I don’t respond. Maria scans the area and miraculously discovers our original transport truck nearby. It’s abandoned, overturned, but filled with our missing M16s assault rifles. This eventually settles their arguments and they begin to focus on a strategy to liberate the labor camp.

I laugh. I puke.

Humans

Dear Planet Earth,

I was out of it for awhile here. I ended up puking and shitting all over the floor of my cell. Maybe man wasn’t meant to live in an underground room the size of a closet. Maybe they’re starting to poison me.

Whatever the perpetrator is, my weakened body and mind reminded me of another recent situation when life and death were not so much choices, but random destinations stemming from heated conversations. It was right after we caught sight of the drill south of LA (now this is what I call a segue).

Lieutenant Halston quickly stopped the car, turned it off, and got out. The rest of us exchanged some confused glances and then followed him. He kicked the front tire.

“Fuck!” he yelled. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!”

Private Karter leaned over the hood, resting his head on his arms as though he was about to go to sleep. “Something on your mind, man?”

“They’re dead! We’re dead. We’re all fucking dead.” He touched his temples and began to rub vigorously. “You guys wanna charge in there with no weapons and absolutely no clue if those old farts are even there and alive?”

I was about to mention that Rachel was just a little girl, but Maria protested first.

“And what’s our other option? Go back to the city? The library? That base that’s probably a pile of dust right now? Those ‘old farts’ are our friends. Humans. We can’t turn back without first seeing what’s there.”

“It can’t hurt to scout it out,” Linares added.

The lieutenant whispered back, “You don’t know that.”

“No. I don’t.”

So, we voted. And it was unanimous. And now I’m starting to remember that it felt a lot like a suicide pact.