Give me hope in this Nuclear War
Myths kept our society together, but what is a society without control? Totalitarianism keeps the world together, gluing each section together to create friction. It creates something that is not worth believing in. The structure of the Earth can only revolve around humans inhabiting it, but what happens when the humans rebel recklessly? When the turmoil that is eradicating from their own fingertips becomes out of control, what occurs then?
Here we are again; we are fading in and out of existence like spherical dilemmas. Which direction will our mental state go - to death that I’ve been desperately relinquishing in for months, or a place where we could live realistically?
Let the nuclear poison fill us with guilt and warning, the intimidating threat that death is expected to bring should be ultimately, ecstatically enjoyed.
But we’re not dead yet. I thought of angels, more specifically, my angels; the ones that I had lost to nuclear explosions. Maybe they would protect me from the turmoil that inundates around me. But we’re not dead yet. That is still to come in our adventure together, yours and mine.
Belonging here is starting to become the norm; wherever I will go after this will be a place of solitude and expansion, or that is what I expect. Where excessive ideas come and go; with hearts and wrists intact – it would all conjoin into an idea that I never believed was necessary, let alone desirable. I’m content here; it’s horrific, torturous and evidently easily understood.
Well, you were right. In the end you always were.
Waiting for the night’s return is something I never want to experience again. Periodically, each morning, when the sun rises far too high, almost like it’s as corrupt as the planet it’s been observing.
How is it that when everyone used to write stories, the sun would always be smiling brightly? If I were the sun I would certainly not be appreciating the beauty – I would be grimacing. I would be relishing in the silence that the deaths brought as the death-count rose. Thinking like this always makes me despise the existence of mankind.
The world had shattered into predictable pieces, just like my mind; it was uncontrollable. The rivers that used to run through Britain had expanded, it had created a flood, an impossible flood; tsunamis started, and then the earthquake.
The United Kingdom was destroyed in thirty-three hours flat.
The United States however, had only suffered from one earthquake; magnitude 7. It wasn’t as horrendous as ones in other countries. After those events, the government decided to take action.
That was three years ago.
Could I possibly be the only one here who thinks this way? This world isn’t eccentric, it isn’t enticing; it is cruel and transparent.
People can lose their own minds this way; they became indescribable, they become nostalgic. Days can pass, and ones own judgement on time differs with every morning and night. This is life now – this is living our existence to its full potential. Your thoughts will start bubbling over one another until the sun will ultimately expand. You won’t think of anything after that. This is what I crave.
Until that day, I continue to wait and observe myself, reflect over the speculation I consume. I am the opposite of amnesia; the way I think and the way I portray the world is like people from the time before – I remember.
One insignificant human cannot be compared to a dilemma, but the struggles that we go through to make a comparison is antagonizing; almost excruciating. It is a treacherous denial of sour breath and a sweet tooth that leads me here.
“Return to work,” the voice droned on. I planted my fedora back on my crown and nodded to her, nearly bowing at her, feeling like I needed to in her presence. She followed me when I walked back to my hole I was digging and she picked up a small shovel and started making the hole deeper like I’d been doing all morning. She was now covered in dirt, in places on her body I once thought were glamorous.
She stood and leaned against her striking shovel, putting her weight on it to keep her steady, sweat dripping down her face. Blazing down on us was the sun and that wasn’t helping much either, especially when they didn’t give us much water.
“Hot isn’t it,” she whispered hesitantly and I almost tripped over my own feet. Dirt splattered onto my face and I brushed it away, instantly turning to her with wide, doe eyes.
It had been months, years almost, since I had heard a woman’s voice. It’s almost like feeding time at the zoo, wasn’t that a phrase that used to be used in the time before all of this? Her voice echoed in my ears the moment she opened her mouth. She raised a perfectly arranged eyebrow at me and took off her hat, letting her light brown long hair fall free, cascading down her sides to her waist.
Women like this should have been on the covers of magazines; or she would have when they existed. She was indescribable. The pronoun “she” seems overused now, doesn’t it? But there is no naming system here; not anymore. Now my identity was 7800, the number I was given when I first started here, a category of the first 7000 that were thrown straight into the deep end of the scheme. I decided then that it was safer if I didn’t know anyone’s name – it meant that I didn’t have to worry about them dying. Because they never lived; they just existed.
Shouldn’t I return the words? Say something to let her know I wasn’t deaf like a lot of people here. I took a step closer and a slow nod movement happened. She smiled back at me, lips perked in persistent urgency to speak. She wasn’t used to not speaking, I thought, shaking my head and returning back to my work. She was driving me into a constant spiral of self-judgement as she continued with her own work, massaging the dirt with her hands.
A few seconds passed and she continued to watch me; I hadn’t felt self-conscious in a while and this was making my anxiety pump into a sense of panic. The mere thought of her ‘checking me out’ as they used to call it was going to get me sued. My heart was tensing up and it made me want to respond in ways that were illegal now. Even touch was dangerous in those times; it seemed surreal.
Although our first meeting is only through minimal words and looks to one another, it still makes us relinquish in the comfort of company. The ways in which we would smile at each other warms me, touches me; inspires me in ways that I never knew could happen after the scheme started taking effect.
The suspenseful desire for some kind of escape finds its way inside my airwaves and builds a sanctuary, with picture frames, memories, and submerged hope. I’m hopelessly hopeful for some sort of way to be rid of the home, but it just won’t disappear. No matter how badly I want to repress my feelings about the world around me. That doesn’t matter now, obviously figuratively speaking; I’m lost – mentally - so pathetically lost.
Ultimately, the demeanour of my situation makes my heart slow; the beats start to disorientate, as if they don’t know the route they want to take.
Dignity used to be the only plausible emotion that we were allowed to abstract into what we liked to call feelings. The default setting that we were given had to be simple, exact and not at all discrete.
We had to submit to the life that we’d been forced to endure. To do just that we need to be programmed, we need to adjust to what they would send our way.
Most of the time I feel as if I am phosphorescent; no one is giving me a hint that I am any other way inclined. Every person that meets me has never seen who I truthfully am – nor will they ever.
Gravel, dirt and sand, this is child’s play.
Occasional odd thoughts run through my head whenever they please, especially this recurring one; if anyone happens to bump into God along their path of existence, could you ask him or her if they made this world up just for fun.
However, if you think of these rhetorical questions consistently the days will cease to exist; your clock will stop, and the way you think will slowly decay. We start in the ground, and we end up there, isn’t that romantic? You’re exactly the same as the person next to you; we’re very much alike; I guarantee it. And if we’re different, we won’t be for much longer, I promise you.
Heat starts seeping through every core of my being and I honestly consider going to the medical room to take a rest. Unfortunately that is only for emergencies. This is only back strain and it will pass.
Ding-ding-dong-ding-sing-ding-sing-song the archaic alarm bell signalled; it is the end of our first shift of the day. I couldn’t wait to sleep. SCREW THIS.
I couldn’t wait to die.
Dismissing my dark grey hat off my head, [add detail to why he’s dismissing it]I sink onto the ground and slump down on the gravel, my only friend; it is dear to me and means a lot. Even if it doesn’t mean a lot to you, the very ground you walk on thinks very highly of you; I am certain it smiles more than you do. Sometimes, if you’re talking to an incompetent inanimate object, it soothes your mind. Even though you’re giving it a personality of its own and programming it just like you are programmed yourself; I’m sure it appreciates the irony of the situation just like you will one day.
Call me cynical, call me crazy, call me anything you wish; it won’t change. The way I see it; if it’s alive, you kill. If it’s dead, you celebrate. The more that die, the higher chance I have of surviving. It’s almost as if I’ve slipped into a whole new world where everyone has had their minds wiped. I would laugh, if I am allowed. The cameras make sure you don’t, I’ve seen too many times when they come in and drag the naughty away, leaving the nice behind. As if I am ready for the kind of commitment to the death penalty.
During the time when this new life started, it promptly obliterates any other way of existing. I won’t use the term living, it is too hopeful. No one was given the option to live – we could only exist; breed and continue along the spectrum until there were no more settings that we could render through.
If you turn up the volume and listen closely you can hear the whispers and tales of the loved, the optimistic romantics, and the pessimistic hopefuls from hell itself.
I don’t know what to believe anymore, or in whom; why or how. I need something to believe in, but why would that help? It isn’t going to change anything. Belief doesn’t change anything. All it ever leaves is the world in a mess – it makes people get back up on their feet after they get knocked down from the world’s mistakes, but nothing worth fighting for.
There are a few things you can be thankful for in this life - company; other’s to be exact. The internet is down, as is the phone network. There is no way of contacting people now other than to communicate with them face to face – this causes riots in the streets...Fights upon fights.
Once I heard a rumour, there are so many rumours you see. Originally they wouldn’t interest me, but my brain just keeps begging for more. You see, in the time before there was once this handsome man named Romeo and he courted a beautiful girl named Juliet. They were the sweetest little couple, so I’ve heard. Just like ‘Lady and the Tramp’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Oh they still tell us ghost and fairy tales, don’t you worry. It’s the real-life news they hide from us. The fake stories keeps us persistent and demanding – they prevent us from turning off all hope.
Everyone wants a story to tell. Everyone feels as if they need a reason to believe and pine for a world outside of this one. If you search for answers for long enough you’ll inevitably give up – the more loss, the more hope. And the more bereavement, the more discouragement you will feel; otherwise we’d all be kissing razors.
Returning my thoughts back to the gravel; it echoes along the underside of my foot, cascading a light shimmer of pain across the dents that other individual rocks had created before its passing. Each grain that passes through my toes is alive, or at least that is how it feels and that is how I enjoy seeing it. Everything is alive, or it exists – it replicates any form of life.
Well, when I get out of here we will find out. But first, I need to find allies. An uprising is something that desperately needs to happen; obstacles will get in the way though, there’s no possibility that there wouldn’t be any other outcome. People will die, people will try, and ultimately, some will succeed in this mission.
The profound idea of submitting yourself to death seems satisfying in the kindest sense. It seems to be the only option, the escape from civilisation. We all think it, dream it, fear it – fear it.
First introductions are odd, and when you’re not allowed to speak – they really are the worst. With my crooked nose, hair jagged across my forehead, my eyebrows at arches, I approach her. There hasn’t been a time yet when the new beauties they put in here were not spectacular. Flawless skin coats her face, her eyes pop out like no others - blue they are. The same colour as my past…lover’s – if you can call her that. Back then it was merely someone to be with to procreate.
I offered her my hand after looking around for anyone; she shook it in return, her skin soft against mine. Living proof that she wasn’t from around these parts, everyone’s hands here were rough. She was probably in hiding. Evidence to support that was from the bright red mark over her cheek – abuse; that was the instant prize for protecting yourself.
I wondered what she was like before. When she was allowed to go out and have drunken nights with her friends; make mistakes, touch up her makeup in the bathroom; make herself look overly perfect for the boys who thought they could change her life in just one night. It was beginning to make me tearful. So, I took a seat on the dirty ground and leaned back into the dirt wall, taking deep breaths and returning the stare she was giving me. This definitely took some time.
* * *
Each night I black out and wake up the next day, feeling dangerous and alert. The new generation of the Earth’s population is doomed to destruction and toxic waste. They shouldn’t have to deal with that much responsibility when they’re barely alive. This is why the world is the way it is now; in protest.
Our first meeting we found simple. Ever since then, small gestures had been expressed. Then smirked facial expressions, body language – all extremely discreet; it gave us a high. We get off on the stuff...Until I found out what is going to happen to all of us.
One evening, I was about to sleep, when I heard a distant chatter, the soldiers were talking; arguing hastily, hungrily about gasmasks and fire. That made me shoot awake; I had always been inquisitive, and that made me different from everyone else.
How did love manage to sneak past my barriers that caused destruction?
But she did. Everything about her, her voice, her smile, her touch, her hair that flowed down her back was a piece of art; every strand accentuates her very being.
By that point all the refugees had lost hope – but not Berlin. That was her name, not 7910. She was my personal hope - for freedom and for eternal happiness. Before it was only something I believed happened in story-tales, not in apocalyptic circumstances where hope was meant to be lost.
She was so much better than the number tattooed on her wrist that we were forced to hold onto, she was her own person; she hadn’t lost herself to this disease that somehow penetrated other’s brains, the broken, bruised and insane would want to overpower her. I needed to teach her that even her broken mind could fly away into the atmosphere. We would find a way, and she was my sanctuary.
These thoughts penetrate my head every day. She trusts me with her life; quite literally. I have a weapon, and she has none – I have a gun, and she has nothing. She trusts me with her very being, mind, soul, life. She trusts me.
“We’re staying together, you promised me,” she whispers, tilting my head down to hers with a brush of the thumb. Idly, I nod, knowing I have to. She wants me to keep her safe, I never like making promises, but to her I have to.
We escape fire; we blur through the underground tunnels, now we just have to keep away from the soldiers. Noticing a dab of coal dust on her cheek, I brush it away with my finger, gazing down longingly into her breath-taking eyes; they were piercing, bright blue and drew me in. They were the first things I ever loved about her. We won’t ever share a kiss, but we don’t need to – we just need to stay here with the moment. We can’t drift away into another alternate world even for a second.
The touch of our hands is enough to keep us holding on, like we’re life support machines for one another. You’ll understand that I hope.
“We’ll stay together,” I vow, almost as if I am foreshadowing it myself to happening without realising. Shit – gunshots overpower my ears so I clutch a hand over one of them, hoping it would decrease the amount of pain that is being inflicted within me. She looks over my face with panic, which starts off the side of me that screams protectiveness.
The desire to protect her rises and I sneak my fingers in-between hers, entwining our hands into a grip that bullets could never destroy. I find myself running and pulling her along in the direction I wish to go. I know this compound better than she does. We dash through a cut in the fence that I had heard rumours about and I find myself silently pleading that the rumours are not fake. I do not pray, God lets me down too many times. This forest is like nothing I have seen before, the trees have lost all the leaves, and what bark is left has shrivelled up into black holes of solitude.
“W-where are we going n-now?” she asks frantically, her voice pitching higher. I am used to the frequency though. She is terrified – it is understandable. If I let my own feelings show I will surely fall apart, and then it will never stop and I will be nothing more than a corpse with moving limbs.
Searching around the trees that looked like skeletons I swallow thickly.
“This way!” I shout even though she is by my side. It is then I realise that my eardrums are still shaking from the impact of the bullets.
Excruciating panic overwhelms me and it is then that my heart-rate increases, implanting a migraine into my head strongly. I hadn’t suffered with a panic attack in years; I hadn’t ever felt the urge go into a panic-struck mode. No events in my life had ever been this demanding, they had always been so mediocre.
Berlin looks me over, pressing a hand to my collarbones, as if she is trying to feel my heartbeat. All I want is to curl up in the filthy sand and keep her safe. How else could I keep her safe? All I want is for her to live her life to its full potential, and if that doesn’t include me then that would be okay too.
“What’s wrong?” She demands, looking me over, instead of answering, I grab her hand desperately and drag her a few metres to the right and behind a tree. It feels as if your life literally does flash before your eyes when you acquire a ‘near-death experience’. However mine doesn’t come in the form like when a van with bright headlights flashes at you on the highway – it was more like when you’re about to sleep, you drift away into a dream-like state.
“There’s no escape, Berlin,” I whisper, brushing a strand of her hair away from her face, just wanting to absorb her again.
“What do you mean? Of course there is, there is always a way out, how many times have you told me that?” She sighs, looking angry with me already, but I know she isn’t angry, she is just scared, and death does that to some people – fear overrides the truth.
“You can’t honestly think we’re going to survive this?” I find myself muttering, looking away from her eyes, feeling like she was hanging me up on the bull’s eye, readying to fire – and God will it hurt.
“Of course we are, don’t just give up!” she near cries out and brushes a thumb over my cheekbone before leaning towards me and pressing her delicate lips to mine, only once, briefly, pulling tugging on my hand, muttering a “Come on!” Is she excited about this? To escape once and for all is something I am always desperate to do, but now that it is almost the time, I am terrified. The challenges we will face will be endless.
Berlin drags me over to an abandoned building that we find when we eventually stop running, finding the city again. The cracks beneath my feet look as if they were replicating the Earth’s tectonic plates, like the way the countries used to be laid out. Buildings were still built as high as the Empire State building by the looks of things; the ultimate underlying issue was that no one would be using them.
We hear murmurs from the soldiers yet again and find cover behind a shanty building. This is the end, right? This is when we will give up, everyone else will eventually. We just have to give into the experiment that we were put onto this Earth to pursue, and return back to wherever we came from when we were raised from the soil; I find it comforting.
“We’ll be together; always,” I vow, cupping her face again, throwing my credulous gun off my shoulder, creating more cracks in the concrete.
She stops looking around sceptically when I touch her; the situation just lays there before us in freeze-frame.
“Always,” she mutters back and kisses me again, this time I return the gesture, brushing a hand over her hair.
Beneath my feet, and around my ankles, I see a mist of some kind. Little did I know that whenever I took a breath in my throat would clog up with more smog, creating a lock in my neck, trapping oxygen. I am so doomed. Berlin runs a hand over my hair and when my legs collapse beneath me she moves closer. I just find myself looking into her luscious eyes that I crave so hard to look into forever.
She looks perfectly safe, her breathing was normal, her eyes hadn’t even started to close at all; whereas everything I felt was making me want it to erupt more, just to end it. She leans down to my ear and kisses my jaw, shaking her head; the deer-brown strands of her hair stroking my neck.
“I’m I-immune,” she almost sobs, a crack in her voice brewing. Berlin crouches over and grabs my gun, securing it in her arms, “D...David, we’ll be together,” she squeaks out, clutching onto my shirt now, tears wetting the material.
“Always,” she whispers; just like she had always promised me. Before my eyes shut I see the usual smile I had first seen plaster on her. I would continue her flawless description for you but I am destructively dying, decaying. This is also the devastating part of the story, the part I wish for you to forget. The parts I want you to remember are those when I am my strongest – not this dooming end, I thank you for that, for finishing until the end, not many of us make it.
Nevertheless; I had lost my connection to the nuclear war. My love and my Lover strive onward.