To the World, I Died Long Ago, But Today I Say Goodbye (With Audio Version)

i died long ago

Childhood is a cruelty nobody should have to bear in these short lives we live. Mine was worse than most. Things were bad, I mean REALLY bad. I just wanted to hide, to escape. But wherever I went the adults found me and the cruelty continued. When I realized I could not get away I tried to become somebody who just didn’t care. I built a new me, one who could deal with all of the things that I could not. The new me kept me safe. I gave up more and more of myself all of the time just to feel that comfort and security, even if it was a lie. Before long I gave up so much of myself that I began to disappear into the new me. One day I found that I no longer existed. I was just a spider caught in its own cobweb in the corner of the new me’s mind.

I mostly forgot that I existed. But whenever new me, which I will call Hector, got scared or encountered an extreme situation or feeling, I would find myself rising back up to the surface. Hector developed some bad habits as an adult. The methamphetamines he took gave me a glimpse of the outer world that he lived in. I became desperate to look outside again. When Hector would try to clean himself up I would whisper to him from the corner of his own mind, urging him to get high. When he would stay awake for days he became so weak that I was able to take over our body for brief moments. During those times I began to want to come back, to take over and be in full control of us again. But Hector, as always, was stronger. He beat the drugs and in the process pushed me back into my little darkened corner, where I became trapped like a prisoner of the mind. Even worse, he never knew he was doing it, or noticed that I still existed.

In fact, Hector became stronger than ever. After a period of incarceration for the weaknesses I took advantage of, he was back in full control. His new resolve gave him the strength to fight against oppression, a state our memories would not tolerate in his world. He became an activist. In fighting the demons of the world, he became stronger than I could ever hope to break through. And then one day almost a month ago, something changed.

There was another activist, a man named Alex Walsh, who lived not a few hours drive from here. He had been making some bizarre claims online about a conspiracy to discredit and kill him. Nobody took him too seriously, until one day he showed up dead. He had shot himself, and set his house on fire, or at least that is what the authorities and mainstream media said happened. But to Hector, this was more than just coincidence. Alex had been killed by those whom he had warned everybody who would listen, were trying to kill him. Whether Alex was the victim of a conspiracy or a desperate suicide, I will never know. Yet Hector’s certainty triggered a paranoia the likes of which I had never seen him experience. His fears became so profound that for the first time in years, I was able to rise back up out of my corner. Within a few days of his uncontrollable fear, the very thing I had created him to be immune to, he became weak. And that is when I started wrestling away more control.

Hector’s greatest weakness is that he had been created solely to deny fear, not accept or face it. When he found a thing to fear that he thought he could not deny, it wasn’t hard to help push him further in that direction. The more afraid he was, the more control I gained over our body. Soon I was taking it over for long stretches, mostly when he thought he was sleeping. I was not satisfied with having control of our body in that tired state he surrendered it to me in. So one night when he thought he was sleeping, I scored some methamphetamines so that I could feel awake and alert when our body was all mine. As the paranoia over Alex’s death mixed with the meth and lack of sleep, the people closest to Hector suspected our drug usage, though he was unaware it was happening. Even while feeling the effects, he could not admit their influence, because he was certain he had not used them. Once I lost control before I could hide my drugs and he found them in our backpack. I thought that would be the beginning of the end of me, but his paranoia convinced him that the drugs had been planted.

This was the point that he became certain that someone or someones were out to get him. His cautious paranoia became a certainty. The lost time he was experiencing when I took over created situations that he could not explain, and so slowly, he began constructing narratives to accommodate them. I watched these narratives unfold and tried to figure out a way that I could exploit them to gain total control of our body after all of these years.

One day we were standing in a parking lot and I was able to force myself to the surface. I remained there just long enough for the scene to change before he came back. What stood out in his mind were the extra cars in the lot and the increased traffic. He began to fixate on cars and I took advantage of this. From within I pushed him to find connections. When I gained control at home, usually when he thought he was sleeping, I began to fill our mind full of conspiracy theories from the internet. Slowly they began seeping through the thin partition between us and he was compelled to find this information ‘on his own’. I did everything I could to reinforce these theories, in hopes that I could vanquish him and have us all back to myself. When I saw that a local group of Satanists were attempting to hijack a city council meeting for some bizarre social experiment, I seized onto an idea. It didn’t take long before he caught a glimpse of the news, but from within I distorted it and made it seem far more sinister. It did the trick. He was now convinced, thanks to the ideas that I had been planting, that a gang of Satanists were stalking him for some ultimate maligned purpose.

What happened next surprised even me. When he began to publicly reveal his delusions, he was encouraged by others sharing similar paranoid ideologies. His certainty blossomed faster than I could have imagined or hoped. It was no longer necessary for me to feed him the fear from within, as he was now so ingrained in his narrative that he was immune to reason. Those who tried to talk him down became ‘conspirators’ themselves and everything that happened became some kind of verification for his complex web of paranoia.

One night he contacted a pair of fairly well known activist to listen to his tale. He spent hours telling his story through fever pitched anxiety, and they seemed to be listening, maybe even believing him, or so he thought. After his tale one of them tried to convince him to get help dealing with the anxiety and stress this was causing him. From within, I could see the lie. He was trying to trick Hector into discovering his delusions. He was trying to manipulate him through false support into going to those who might be able to vanquish the delusions that would be my victory. I felt Hector pulling away, giving into some doubt, and considering the advice. I screamed from within, “He is one of them! He is trying to get you to give up, to fail, to die!” When that worked, I knew I would soon have control again after all of these years.

I did learn something from that experience, though. I learned that he believed he ‘knew’ how he would die. Hector thought that he would either be killed by a speeding car that made it look like an accident, or that he would be gunned down by police trying to capture him on behalf of the worldwide Satanist organization that was out to get him. I took every chance I could to reinforce these beliefs. The more I pushed them, the weaker he got, and the closer I got to taking over. But pushing his buttons constantly was bleeding into my own mental state, so I tried being more subtle and letting the crazy colleagues he had acquired reaffirm his fears, while he traveled down a rabbit hole of information that did the same.

Unexpectedly, as he became less frantic and more stoically certain, I was better able to take control at will. Fear had gone as far as it was able to take me, until I was able to deliver the final crushing blow. And so I also became more relaxed. I spent the time I had controlling our body leaving puzzle pieces for the final picture, but also trying to enjoy the life I would soon have all to myself once again. As I struggled to find that joy, I came up continuously empty handed. So far had I been removed from the pleasures of life in all of those years of isolation, that I didn’t even know where to find joy, and I was not sure I would recognize it if I did.

There was some comfort in the cartoons I had watched as a child, before I created Hector, as they had been my original escape. But soon even those became empty. At first I had enjoyed the meth I was secretly feeding our body, but in short order that too became a nowhere place. The family that was once mine were now distant strangers. They were his family. The pleasures I had peeked at from the corner of our mind were also his, and they brought me no comfort, no joy, nothing. The closer I got to having my life back, the less I wanted it.

When I thought of all the things that made me want my life back they were his things. They were his experiences and accomplishments and joys. I had mistaken the envy I experienced from the corner of our mind as desire. Yet once I was free to act on my own desires, I found that I had none. I had no meaning and no purpose. I had died long ago. I was a memory that refused to quit. A ghost in Hector’s consciousness.

I began to step back, to relinquish control. I retreated back to that corner in the hopes that I could feed from the experiences of his life again. But it was too late. I had ruined his life. I had pushed him so far away from his own sanity that he was just as broken as I was when I created him in the first place. So here we were, two people in one mind and one body, neither able to appreciate it. The momentum was too great. His paranoid certainty had closed every loop and became an airtight narrative outlining his own eventual demise. And the only thing worse than the outcome I had helped conjure up in his imagination, dying at the hands of the illusory forces he was certain were out to get him, was for both of us to endure these fears for days, weeks, months and years to come.

This life, that I have not even been living for a very long time, is now too much to bear. For either of us. Hector will not end it, he cannot, I made sure of that. It is up to me to free us both from this hell. I will not destroy his delusions before I end it all. They are all he has left. He will die with the courage and dignity that I have never had in life, to fight with all of his might, even though the forces he battles are all make believe. I leave this letter for his family and his friends. I have nobody. I am nobody. May you remember him kindly. May you remember him as he was before his fear gave me the chance to ruin everything. The man you have encountered recently is not the one you have known for all those years. He is a mockery of that man, a ruination built on the foundations of my weaknesses and my lies and my fears.

To the world, I died long ago, but today I say goodbye. If the car that I step in front of doesn’t kill us, then the cops who try to drag us into the loony bin afterwards will. I will be certain of that, that they do their part, not as though its hard to do these days. By the time you find this, it will be too late. Blame me if you will. Hate me. But please, do not blame Hector for what I have recently done, and what I am about to do.

Night of the Care Bears – A Movie Mad Lib In Reverse

night of the care bears

Last March I began a wonderful journey as a contributing author at CopBlock.org. During that time I have gained innumerable knowledge and skills. However, before that, I was primarily a writer of fiction and short stories. From this new experience I became far more focused on writing about events and ideas directly. Recently I have written several articles of the non-fiction variety that sum up the ideas I have explored in this time. Having completed these theses, I now feel free to explore my fiction writing again. While story ideas often come to me, writing them is a whole different beast. Getting back into fiction shape, as it were, entails me to rediscover that voice through writing experiments.

My first foray back into the format of fiction, Idiocracy Assimilated, inspired me to continue experimenting in writing through Dadaism. However, following that up with another similar mashup seemed too easy. Yet I was not too far from that method when I struck across the idea of reverse Mad Libs. Where that form asked solely that you fill-in the blanks, I thought it might be more rewarding to create the blanks (as well as the rules for filling them in) on my own. But starting from scratch would not have made sense, so I decided to take one of my favorite movies of all time and rewrite the plot synopsis through this Dadaistic reverse Mad Lib idea I had.

My first idea was to break the plot synopsis of The Night of the Living Dead (from Wikipedia) down into its basic concepts. I was able to narrow it down to eight basic concepts. I then considered what cultural trope seemed like the opposite of zombies, which I somehow decided was the Care Bears, and reformed the original concepts with ones more aligned with the Care Bear universe. I came up with the eight concepts and the new ones I would replace them with.

Zombies, Monsters, etc.- Care Bears
Dead, Die, Death, etc- Falls in love
Stabbed, Shot, Attacked, etc. -Tickled
Reanimates, Comes back to life- Makes a friend
Eating- Cuddling
Corpse, Body- Imaginary Friend
Shock, Fear- Laughter
Weapons- Feathers

After that I organized all of the proper nouns and replaced them with new ones, which also seemed to more closely fit the rearranged tale I was trying to tell.

Once I had went through and painstakingly replaced words and concepts with my alternatives, and made them grammatically friendly, I still needed to rearrange some syntax and context to make it all fit together. By the time I was finished I had refleshed a stripped skeleton and created a whole new tale.

For those of you looking to learn, improve, expand or teach creative writing, this is an extraordinary experiment. While you are not tasked with providing a plot at the behest of the experiment, as you delve into the content and consistency of the remix you are writing, you find yourself making changes that drastically reconfigure what you started with. In the process of re-editing the tale, not only did I rewrite it, I wrote a brand new one.

So for all of you teachers and writers out there, I hope you can take something away from this that is useful to you. And to everyone else, I hope you can see that the process of writing is an endless task of experimentation and hard work, and not just some escape from the labors of the real world. And to everybody reading this, those trying to escape their own real world labors, I hope you enjoy the story!


 

Night of the Care Bears

Baby Doll and Kid Luscious drive to the Forest of Feelings for an annual visit to their father’s grave. This was done at their loving mother’s request. Kid Luscious teases, “They’re coming to tickle you, Baby Doll,” noticing Baby Doll’s discomfort. She is then tickled by a strange colorful cartoon bear. Kid Luscious tries to rescue his sister, but the Care Bear then tickles him into a gravestone; Kid Luscious strikes his head on the stone and fall’s madly in love. Baby Doll flees by car but crashes into a tree. She escapes on foot, with the Care Bears in pursuit, and later arrives at a farmhouse, where she discovers an imaginary friend. She is confronted by strange silly figures, running out of the house, like the colorful cartoon bear in the graveyard. Dr. Nibbles takes her into the house. Dr. Nibbles tickles the Care Bears from the house and seals the doors and windows as Baby Doll slowly descends into laughter.

Dr. Nibbles and Baby Doll are unaware that the farmhouse has a cellar, housing a hilarious married couple, Jib Jab and Floober, along with their daughter Plonk. They sought refuge after a group of Care Bears tickled their car. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover, who are a teenage couple, arrived after hearing an emergency broadcast about a series of brutal ticklings. Plonk has gotten a crush after being tickled by one of the Care Bears. They venture upstairs when Dr. Nibbles turns on a radio, while Baby Doll calms down from her fit of laughter. Jib Jab demands that everyone hide in the cellar, but Dr. Nibbles deems it a “love shack” and continues upstairs, to barricade the house with Sir Hugsinstuff’s help.

Radio reports explain that a wave of mass tickling is sweeping across the eastern United States. Another emergency broadcast on a television Dr. Nibbles finds reports that the Care Bears are making new friends and are cuddling the loving. Experts, scientists, and the United States military fail to discover the cause of mass tickling, love and friendship, though one scientist suspects radioactive contamination from a space probe. It returned from Venus, and exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere just before the radiation was detected.

Dr. Nibbles plans to obtain a safe space for Plonk when the reports listed local rescue centers offering refuge and safety. Dr. Nibbles and Sir Hugsinstuff refuel Dr. Nibbles’s truck while Jib Jab hurls tickles from an upper window at the Care Bears. Lady Kissallover follows him, giggling about Sir Hugsinstuff’s safety, Sir Hugsinstuff accidentally spills feathers on the truck, at the funky chicken coop, tickling it badly. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover try to drive the truck away from the feathers, but Lady Kissallover is unable to free herself from its door, and the truck tickles them, instantly making them fall in love all over again.

Dr. Nibbles returns to the house, but is stone-walled by Jib Jab. He forces friendliness. Dr. Nibbles tickles him, laughing about his silliness, while the Care Bears cuddle with  Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover. A news report reveals that, only a tickle to the head can make the Care Bears fall in love, aside from teaching them to love themselves. It also reported that posses of tarred men are patrolling the countryside to restore boredom.

The lights go out moments later, and the Care Bears break through the barricades. Jib Jab grabs Dr. Nibbles’s feather and threatens to tickle him, but Dr. Nibbles tickles him first. Jib Jab stumbles into the cellar and collapses next to Plonk and falls instantly in love with her all over again, while Plonk has herself fallen into love with the colorful cartoon bears. The Care Bears try to pull Floober and Baby Doll through the windows, but Floober frees herself. She returns to the refuge of the cellar where Plonk is being extremely friendly and cuddling Jib Jab’s imaginary friend. Floober is laughing her butt off, and Plonk tickles her into love with a feather. Baby Doll is carried away by the Care Bears and group hugged, seeing Kid Luscious among the Care Bears. The Care Bears then overrun the house. Dr. Nibbles seals himself inside the cellar, where Jib Jab and Floober are making too many friends, and he is forced to tickle them.

Dr. Nibbles is awakened by the posse’s laughter outside the next morning. He ventures upstairs. A member of the posse mistakes him for a Care Bear and tickles him on the forehead. The film ends with a photo montage of Dr. Nibbles as he falls in love and becomes a Care Bear.


If I have piqued your interest, but you do not know where to begin, try using the replacement concepts I provided above the story to rewrite other zombie movie plot synopses, which can be found at Wikipedia or IMDB. And whether you use my basic format to experiment, or come up with new ones of your own, please share your creations with me on my Facebook page. If they are undeniably fabulous, I may even re-post them here at Advanced Ape.

That Time of the Month

“And you know what I get sick of, Frank? I get sick of all these god damned excuses. If it were just that you sometimes ate a virgin or shat on the deck, I could forgive you. But these endless excuses wear me down, Frank. ‘Oh, I can’t help it, Linda. It’s my time of the month.‘ Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Frank.”

“But Linda, I’m a fucking werewolf. Once a month supernatural forces compel me, against my will, to transform into a ravenous beast with little in common with my human self. And you knew this when you married me. ‘Oh, I know it won’t be easy, Frank. But nothing could keep me from wanting to spend the rest of my life with you. Plus, I think it’s kinda sexy.’ Remember that, Linda? Remember all that?”

“It was sexy back when you weren’t a fat dumbfuck in real life, and an even fatter, dumber fuck in the supernatural realm. You are a failure, Frank. A fucking loser. Even with supernatural powers you manage to get more weak and powerless every day of your life. Last full moon you never even left the lawn. You rarely even hunt anymore and you eat a tenth of your salary in Alpo every fucking month, Frank. Fucking loser.”

“Don’t hold anything back, Linda. Tell me what you really fucking think. Jesus leper-fuckin’ Christ, bitch. You are really one to talk. Remember introducing herpes into our home after fucking that weatherman, Linda? Remember getting fired for giving those herpes to your boss? Any of that ring a bell?”

“Who would have thought a guy who gets flea dipped half a dozen times a year, as well as regular treatments for heart and ringworms from eating animal shit would have such an issue with a little herpes? A guy who was once caught fucking the neighbors labrador retriever.”

“I was a fucking werewolf when I did that.”

I was a fucking werewolf when I did that.

“But I WAS!”

“Always the same god-damned thing with you, Frank. ‘It’s a full moon. It’s MY time of the month.‘ Wah, wah, waaah, Frank. You fucking loser.”

“I swear to fucking God, Linda, next time the moon changes I am going to finally fucking eat you. Once and for all.”

“I wish you would, Frank. I really wish you fucking would. Wereloser.”

The New Custom

We were doing a routine flyover of vast expanses of empty desert, looking for any stray ghouls that might still be wandering around. The war against the undead had officially ended three years ago, but the bastards still showed up in small pockets here and there. We were part of a U.N. force responsible for these clean up missions. It was a simple task, a pilots dream really, to fly around the world and occasionally debrain a zombie or two. This job promised to be more of the same.

 

Boris was the first to spot the lone straggler from the cockpit. You could tell one by the way they walked, but U.N. policy required that we land and send a couple of soldiers to visually confirm at close range before we opened fire. This ghoul was walking in a circle about 10 yards wide and had probably been doing so for some time before we found it. I located a level area within 50 yards and instructed the boys in back to get ready as I began to put the chopper down.

 

“Just a single, boys. Pop its brain and get it in the bio bag before I start sweatin’.” Sitting mobile in a copter under the heat of an Egyptian desert sun was one of the few drawbacks to this gig, but my boys were pros so I figured we’d back in the air in less than ten minutes.

 

Peter and Yogi hit the ground before the pads touched sand and made it all of twenty yards when all hell broke loose. One second it was just a barren desert but in a flash it began to writhe with putrefying flesh as over a hundred ghouls began to burrow out from under the ground with alarming speed and an almost choreographed efficiency.

 

“Oh Fuck!”s went up all around and Boris grabbed the controls, but I quickly disengaged them. From the air we could use larger arsenal to wipe out a large swath of the desert floor, but I couldn’t give up on Peter and Yogi so easily. I told Boris to sit tight and be ready to take off at my command or demise and grabbed my weapon, a fully automated rifle with a 2 hp chainsaw bayonet. As I hopped out the hatch I saw Peter engaging the enemy with his kung fu skills while Yogi the master marksman took precise head shots at ghouls. These two were a hell of a killing team and a joy to watch but I knew if I didn’t do something quick they were as good as dead.

 

I started up the chainsaw and began to cut a path for my comrades when I heard yelling behind me. I turned around and saw that the undead motherfuckwads were closing in on the chopper. “Fuck.” As I turned back again I saw that in the short time a handful of zombies had managed to get a hold of Yogi. Peter immediately yelled “I Love You!” and put a shot in his partner’s forehead, as was our custom when you were as good as gone. Peter spun around and in a flash of movement knocked several enemies to the ground but the effort was wasted. He grinned that stupid grin of his at me and yelled “I Love Me!” and fired a shot right into his own temple blowing dinner right into the enemies ranks.

 

I wasted no more time and turned back to the helicopter. The fucking ghouls were all around it and Boris was firing manically at the hatch trying to keep the stiffs out. “Leapfrog. North. Four hundred yards.” I yelled. My copilot responded right away and with one hand still poppin’skulls the other took the controls and lifted the whirlybird off the ground. There was almost a clearing heading north and I began to run in that direction hoping to meet Boris back on the ground in a few minutes. As the chopter lifted up I noticed it had several of the undead assholes hanging on. I took the minimum amount of shots possible and ran for my life but as I began to put distance between myself and my pursuers, I noticed that the hangers on had landed safely with Boris. He must not have had even the slightest clue, perhaps too rattled by this surprise attack, he didn’t notice the undead climbing into the hatch until what I confirmed upon my arrival was too late.

 

“I Love You!” I yelled. After pulling his and the other corpses from the craft, I managed to get in the air just in time to avoid being swarmed and feasted upon like some kind of carrion among these unliving vultures. Vultures. That’s exactly what these damn monsters are. Ground level bottom feeders feasting upon the carcass of humanities decadence. “This won’t hurt a bit,” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I unleashed a fiery hell storm of unbridled fury on a generous portion of the desert floor and then for sarcastic effect added, “bend over.”


 

This room is cold and I am tired of being locked in here. It was just a small tooth scratch and everyone knows that getting bit doesn’t always mean you become one of those things. I think it’s gotten even colder since that last sentence, and I am beginning to feel dizzy, which I am sure is a reaction to being locked in this damn quarantine cell all night. Just to make sure I walk over to the toilet and bend over to look in the polished metal for signs of the change. In the reflection I see my commanding officer standing outside my cell. When did he get there? I could have sworn I heard him whisper ‘this won’t hurt a bit’ so I turn around to ask…

 

I Love You.”

 

The Guessing Ghoul

the guessing ghoul

“Something is moving,” that was the thought that seemed to arise with his consciousness out of some far away abyss. “Hand.” He let the world roll itself around through the murky nether, taking form and thus meaning. “Hand. Hands. Something’s moving.”

“My hands,” he thought, “are moving.” He knew this because he was watching it, the realization that he was experiencing it had not occurred to him. It was another half an hour before the sun disappeared completely over the horizon, and he was able to gather his thoughts.

As his formless mind began to condense, he asked himself some rather important questions. “What am I?” No answer. “Where am I?” He looked around. “Ancient site? No, not ancient site. A memory, memories; somewhere I used to know? Someplace I used to live? What am I?” He looked around. On the wall to his left was something familiar. “Someone.” He stood up and waltzed clumsily around, grasping at furniture for balance. When he regained his balance he started to carefully inspect the room. He found more someone’s. But they weren’t the someone’s themselves; they were people he knew? Of course, but these weren’t people, they were

“Pictures.” The word, the concept and the memories came back. “Pictures were paper copies of things you love. Of people you love. Something like that. Except not always love, maybe.” Who were the people in these pictures? “Mother, yes, that was his mother. Brother, Barrett.” The other person was more difficult, but once he got the name he realized that it was himself. “Was himself? Brad. What am I?” He looked around and found other pictures that he recognized using names like wife and son and aunts, uncles, cousins and all the others. They were his what? Like him, but not himfamily? Yes, his family. They were his family. “Were? What am I?”

He found a mirror and studied the image in it. A dead man stared back at him. Yellow versus red eyes. Lifeless grey flesh, devoid of any characteristics that mark the living. “I am a dead man staring at myself in the mirror, asking myself questions that are beginning to seem familiar, but what am I?” He closed his eyes, seeking refuge in the remnants of his mind, blocking out outside stimulus. In doing so he lost balance and collapsed unto the floor in a pile of himself. The pile remained for quite some time, trembling, thinking, remembering. “I am something horrible. I am a monster.”

Dark images assailed him. Blood, gore, flesh. “Sweet, succulent, living flesh. And blood, oh the blood, one can’t extrapolate on the carnivorous delights of the flesh without a mention of its own gourmet marinade. What horrible, delicious thoughts.” He grew hungry.

The pile picked itself up and looked back into the mirror. “Am I evil? I am dead, yet I walk. As far as I know I serve no dark purposeexcept. Except for this hunger for the living members of my own species. Former species?” Two words came to mind, zombie and vampire. “If I am a zombie than I am an undead creature who walks the earth feeding on the living.” But he definitely remembered the horror of daylight, somehow that seemed like an important fact. “But if I am a vampire then why do I feed upon the flesh and not just the blood.” His reflection reminded him that vampires don’t cast reflections. “Do they?” And vampires were strong. He did not feel strong. He felt weak. He felt hungry.

He spoke into the mirror, “But zombies can’t speak. So what am I?” With this he turned away from the mirror and made his way to the place that smelled like food. The basement.

When he got to the bottom of the stairs he reached up instinctively for the light switch that was located near the ceiling. Still following the odor of human flesh, he made his way into a small room where an old oil furnace had sat unused for forty years. There were bodies strewn out across the floor of the dark room. When he pulled the cord which resulted in the illumination of the room, he was able to recognize the bodies with names like mother, brother, wife and son. He was not immediately alarmed to find the corpses of these people, but it did seem to spoil his appetite almost entirely.

The bodies were all disfigured in the same manner. There were bite marks on the necks, stakes in the hearts and various items plunged into the skull through an eye socket. “Who did this, he thought? Did I do this? I didn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. Not to them. Could I?” He marveled at how proficient his mind was at producing questions while showing a complete inability to provide itself with any answers. “If I didn’t do this, then who did? And why, and how?” It looked as though his loved ones had been attacked by vampires; later been staked in the heart, then had their brains destroyed in case they were zombies and not vampires by ‘you never can be too sure’ sorts of monster hunters. It was all insane and it added to the ambiguity surrounding the biggest question. “What am I?” The hunger seemed to have subsided, so he returned upstairs to look for clues.

Then it occurred to him, that maybe there were other monsters out there. Monsters just like him, perhaps. Maybe they would know what he was? He started for the door, but was frozen in step by a second realization. If there were monsters out there, like him or not, would they be friendly? Would he be safe among them? Was there an unspoken code among the ghouls? Suddenly outside seemed unsafe, at least until he could get things figured out. He returned to the chair to think.

“How long has whatever is going on, been going on? How many nights have I sat here thinking all of these same thoughts? How many nights have I made some progress, only to have let it slip by in another days slumber? Or, perhaps, maybe I figure a little more out each night and make some progress. So maybe this is my first night here. Could I have been traveling in increments from some far away destination where I was caught at the beginning of this nightmare? Had I been rushing back valiantly to my family’s aide only to find them dead? Were they monsters before they were destroyed? Monsters like me?” He went back to the basement to have another look at the gruesome scene. “They don’t look like monsters, not like me.” He felt detached, except that something like relief seemed to wash across him when he told himself that he didn’t do this to them.

He remembered killing. He saw screaming faces, twisted in terror and horror, but meaning nothing but food to him. He couldn’t recall who or where, but there were ugly things like these that he took to be memories cluttering up his mind. Looking at these bodies he did not think of food.     Sitting in the chair again, he asks himself, “What Am I? If I have been here for awhile then I must have left myself some clues.” He got up and looked around the house. There were no notes written to him by him. There were no signs of anything that reminded him of anything except that this was his home. Even more unusual, there was nothing to indicate anything odd had happened in the house. If everything inside the house was normal (except for the corpses in the basement and a very confused ghoul roaming about), then what was going on outside?

He decided to go out and check. He would go out and look around, and if anything didn’t seem right he would come back in. Then he thought, why not just look out the windows? The windows were all well covered with blinds and curtains, effectively making them walls to any lights or views from outside. “Better to just actually go out into the night and get it over with,” he decided. Slowly and deliberately he made his way to the door. Each clumsy step betrayed a fear of what he might find out there. As he reached for the doorknob, he asked himself again, “What Am I?”


 

When police found Brads body, apparently self mutilated in too many disturbing ways, it was lying below a picture sized mirror in the O’Cally family den. Scrawled on the mirror were the words, ‘I Am Insane’, apparently written in the killers (the corpse/suspect/victim) own blood.

Sun Rains On Parade

sun rains on parade

Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

March 22, 2013

What has it been? Almost four months now? I still cannot get used to writing my daily thoughts into these notebooks. Every night before bed I still sit at the same desk where I keep the laptop. Often I open it and stare at it for several minutes. It is cold, lifeless and dead before me. The electromagnetic pulses from the solar storms have likely erased everything that once lived inside of its body. All of those thoughts, memories and ideas just gone. Forever. I imagine it like this; as a deceased life form. Cold and stiff as though riddled with rigor mortis. It is dead, yet I cannot let go. Cannot give it a proper burial. I am filled with an unreasonable hope that when the storms are over things will just go back to the way that they were. Yet the world has already nearly wilted away. Our dependence on technology was so complete that its loss immediately turned the world insane and self-destructive; we can never go back. At least not in my lifetime or the next several, that’s for sure. You sure are no blog, notebook, but at least I still got you.


The Silver Lining
Xerox Publication, post storm
Issue #1 March 2013

Letter from the Editor

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The best estimates of the worlds death toll, as near as anybody can yet guess, is about fifty percent and likely to reach eighty to eighty-five percent before populations begin to stabilize in this new world. While this estimate conjures a dreary picture of the plight of humanity I prefer to see the world as being half full rather than half empty. Before the storms humanity had become arrogant and haughty. Our numbers had increased in significant exponential folds as had our technology, which was no coincidence. Even before the storms we sat close to massive self-destruction through warfare and unsustainable industrial, economic and political policies. The storms have set humans back a hundred if not hundreds of years, but the damage that we were likely to cause had they not happened may have nearly destroyed an entire planet.

In this inaugural issue of The Silver Lining we will look at ways in which we can invest in this event as an opportunity to learn from our past hubris and avarice and rebuild the world as a more long term sustainable environment in which we can have both restraint and progress as determined by a new self-awareness. Now is not the time to mourn the loss of our past, but to come together with new found wisdom and celebrate the future.

This magazine will be distributed monthly and we hope…


Reverend Douglas Edwards
excerpt from speech given on
March 29, 2013

“Children of God, I ask you…no, beg you; do not fall prey to those preaching fear and stamping it with biblical approval. This is not the rapture nor is it punishment from God for our sins. This is a natural consequence of our pride and greed having blinded us to our weak spots. The Lord was kind to have given us such a beautiful planet to inhabit in our mortal coils, and yet he was wise enough to make it so complex that we would face adversity in order to grow as mortal and spiritual beings. We failed to show self restraint and planning. This is not the result Gods anger with us, it is merely another test of our will and faith. It is a chance to come to know ourselves stripped of the false trappings of technology and thus to come to know Him. This is not the battle he revealed to John in Revelations. It is closer to the tragedy of Job. I beg of you, do not let the New World Church corrupt your hearts against your fellow man. Seek His message and he shall reveal to you…
“Stop! What are you doing? Get away…get away from…HELLLP…AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”


Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

April 20, 2013

This is the first 4/20 I have not celebrated in 17 years. It will be at least a few weeks before I can plant my sprouts outdoors as there is insufficient light for growing inside. Yet that first crop is going to be worth more than gold. Just because the world kinda ended doesn’t mean that people stopped wanting to get fucked up. The price of the wine I made has steadily decreased as more survivors have begun there own fermentation processes. I suppose I could just get drunk, instead, but alcohol stopped being my friend long before the storms and I have no reason to believe it would do me any good now. There has been talk that you can still buy pot from some of the shadier individuals still among us, but the price is too high to consider it. Man, I can’t even enjoy a good pun today.


New World Church Manifesto
April 2013

The time is upon us. The Lord has called up what few He sought fit to take and smited most of the unbelievers. We can only hope that in His mercy He has given us a second chance to hear His word and spread it so that we living may yet know salvation at His firm hands. Do not be fooled by false prophets and secular powers that have arisen from the ashes of our former sins. We must unite as an Army of God to finish His business by crushing His adversaries still among us so that we may bring His word back as the light of the Earth rather than the poisonous sun Satan has foiled the Lords creation with. It would be better to die in this Holy War and earn a place at his side in eternity than to ignore His warning and and turn away from His commandment.

Most Honored Brother James Hansen has received His word directly and has been given instructions to lead this righteous pogrom. He has foreseen absolute victory as well he has prophesied many souls heading for damnation who refuse his message. His final warning is that you either stand with the New World Church or you stand not only against it, but against God Himself. Do not hesitate, join us today or death and eternal damnation shall be yours.


The Silver Lining
Issue #2 April 2013

The New World Order

It has not taken long for the old rulers of dead kingdoms to band together to try to force the remaining population of the planet under a single ruling class. The only difference between the group calling itself United World and the one calling itself the New World Church is that one uses the myths of social sciences in order to gain power and wealth while the other uses the myths of Old Testament hatred. The results are guaranteed to be the same. However, this is nothing new. This is the same status quo malarkey we had before the storm and is likely to pop up endlessly until we grow wise enough to reject systems that bind us while creating dangers we could not have imagined without them.

What is clear to us here at The Silver Lining is the need to reject these and any other centralized orders. Such was the folly of the past. These systems inevitably work only to perpetuate themselves through mindless growth. In doing so they allowed us to create a world in which we did not work together as individuals to prepare for catastrophic events. Because our attention was turned from the crippling effects of compulsive technological systems and their degradation on our communities we were wholly unprepared for what happened to us.

We are not Neo-Luddites. We do not oppose the eventual reconstruction of human technologies. What we do oppose is the kind of dependence on them that made them so catastrophic for us. Centralized governments rely on these technologies to be absolute to use them as levers of force. Statism and technology are fundamentally incompatible in the sense that both systems are inherently susceptible to compulsion when left to their own and especially when paired together.

The United World promises to bring us stability and peace by instituting the very order that resulted in the eventual disorder. A sun storm is a natural chaotic event not to be ordered against but to understand and prepare for. We cannot battle chaos with order, for in the attempt we create disorder far more harmful than the chaos inherent in nature. It is imperative that we reject all centralized forms of order. To allow them would set the conditions for a storm none of us may survive.


Suicide note of Benjamin Garrison
May 23, 2013

I cannot understand the world anymore. I had dedicated all of my life to reason and science. I used this knowledge to create technologies to make the world a less hostile place to its inhabitants. In technology I found purpose and meaning and was invigorated by the challenges it set forth. Through its creation I found success and a sense of accomplishment. Now that it has been taken from us so easily by a simple natural event I find myself uninterested in life. If I did not believe in a God before, I sure as hell do not now. What kind of God would inflict such cruelty on its own creation? Would take so much all at once? Now that Jeanie has taken the kids to the New World Church to be warriors for God or whatever, I do not even have a family to comfort me. This world is like a corpse now and from what I can tell, those left upon it are acting only as bacteria to aid in its decomposition. So I shall become as has the world and die with only a silenced yelp to memorialize myself. Goodbye.


United World Pamphlet (cover)
May 2012

A world divided against itself cannot stand. The consequences of a species divided by local interests led us to the inability to prepare as one for any eventuality. In the chaos that has followed we have seen this folly and know we cannot afford to repeat it. United World seeks to bring together the former nations of the world under a single organization powerful enough to set us back on track and protect us from any further unforeseen consequences of life on Earth. Give your pledge to United World today and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Joining is easy and as a show of our appreciation we will provide rations to all volunteers for citizenship to ease troubles in these worried times. Join today! See inside for more details.


Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

July 4, 2013

The United World people will not leave me alone. They have all but demanded that I turn over my home and its operations to them. Meanwhile the New World Church came by again today and told me that if I joined their cause I could be exempt from battle for only a small tithing of a third of what this secured farm produces and in return they would protect me from United World. It is as if there are honey badgers and cobras trying to poison me so that they can fight each other to the death over my remains. I cannot stand either of them and I would far rather die defending myself against them than living as their slaves. If things go they way they have been I will probably have to do that very soon.


The Silver Lining
Issue #4 July 2013

Back on Track?

With all of the assurance by scientists that the solar storms seem to be slowing down everyone seems to be talking about things going back to normal. So what does normal mean? Will we revive technology only for the ruling elite and religious fanatics to use it as a weapon for dominance? That was certainly normal before the storms. Will we congest the planet with so much technology that it threatens to smother the life out of it? That was also normal before the storms. Will we use it to generate enough wealth to secure the lives and liberties of all human beings and yet let this wealth be hoarded by only a small percent of the population? Again, normal before.

We do not need to restore normality. Normality was a bigger threat than the storms. Before we march ahead back to technology and unchecked ‘progress’ we need to foster a world where we can co-exist with technology rather than become reliant on it and have it be used against us by the select few who hail its usage as they use it against us.

We suggest that rather than getting back on track or restoring normality that we build new tracks and create abnormality. Nature is a chaotic system. The more we allow for chaos in our own human systems the more flexible it will be towards nature. Normality is rigid and does not allow for the unknown. It lives off of fear and force and limits us in our lives and evolution. Abnormality is limitless. Because it has no limits it is able to anticipate and respond to chaos rather than expend itself in Sisyphean efforts to counter it.

When you hear somebody give praise to getting back on track, remind them that this ultimately means getting back up to the old tricks. The same ones made it nearly impossible for humans to survive a natural event that we already knew was coming but refused to acknowledge because it didn’t fit on our tracks.


A Love Letter
August 10, 2013

Dear Jenna,

Before the storm I was so alone. I hid from the world in the pale light of a monitor. I never knew risk or sacrifice. I never knew love. Ever since you found me cowering in that basement when your raiding party broke into my parents house I knew I loved you. Even at first when you you claimed me as a slave I could tell by the way that you looked at me that you were my soul mate. I was obedient because I knew in time that you would know it, too, and in time you did. I do not care that the child growing in your womb is not, could not be, mine. Ours. It will be ours. We will raise it together and together the three of us will roam this changed world taking what we need to survive and answering to none but ourselves. My life was nothing before the change. My life was not even a life before I met you, it was slavery to my fear and self-doubt. Through your love I am no longer afraid and no longer in doubt of anything. As far as I am concerned the rules were all erased when the sun rained on that parade. Yet even if some insist they still exist I am happy to be your partner in crime against them. Our love is stronger than any rules and I would rather die next to you tomorrow raiding wealthy survivalists than live a day without you as one of them. Forever or until whenever…

Love,
Sabitha


Blog Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

August 22, 2013

Today the United World made its first formal threat against me. It insisted that it had the authority to search my property for ‘illegal drugs’. There were five men. They tried to be civil at first but soon fell into the drunken power stupor of those used to getting their way and became threatening. All five are dead now just outside the gates. I didn’t think they warranted a proper burial as they seem to have lost their humanity long ago. Also, I thought it might serve as a warning to others that come. And they will. I probably will not live much longer. That is a shame. I have come to enjoy this new world quite immensely. Especially since I harvested my ‘illegal drugs’ a few weeks back. I have already left instructions with the others from The Silver Lining how to carry on after I die. Now all that is left to do is sit back and relax and wait to fuck some shit up when they won’t let me do that any longer. Oh yeah, was able to turn the computer on today but all I could do was play solitaire on it. Lost. Doesn’t seem so fun now that life itself has become an extraordinarily solitary affair. Try again, world. Try again.

Night of the Assholes: Part 2

 

“Hey, Brice, ya cock-pocket! We gotta get the fuck out of here. Can’t you hear the assholes coming? How are you still alive, dude?” This guy was something else. Here we were about to be attacked by those fucking monster things and all he wanted to do was listen to me tell him stories about my musical history. I guess it is awfully interesting.

 

“What about all these motherfuckin’ zombies, though?”

 

“That was the grindcore flat-earther polka band I had in high school, BUT WE HAVE GOT TO GO- NOW!” I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him from his swooning stupor. “Don’t you know what those things will do to you if they catch you?”

 

I wondered that maybe he did not, except for what I had told him. If he were lucky enough he may have not had many confrontations with the assholes in which he saw them victorious against one of us, fuckin’ ass-ugly shit humans that they were. If you could call them human anymore. Whatever had been released on the world had killed most of it, changed parts of it and for some reasons left a few completely intact. Although some of us were immune to whatever changed the assholes into assholes, we were extremely-fucking-mune to whatever they were now injecting us with to make us one of them; or kill us. I don’t suppose they cared much which.

 

The assholes used to be regular humans before SHTF. It must have been some secret experimental weapon that got loose or something fucked up like that, but in no time most surviving humans had completely changed. They were primal but highly intelligent. Pack animals with no social skills. They never spoke to us or one another as far as I knew. Yet they seemed to hate us intensely enough to want to kill us or make us one of them. This now-dead science douchebag I once met thinks that they have evolved into some ‘final physical-stage of human consciousness’, but he was also eating a lot of weird shit he picked in the woods so I could never tell if he was smart or all fucked up. But is there really a difference?

 

Back when I was the chief lyricists for Anal Surrender we were writing a concept album about how miserable it would be to have super-intelligence. It all centered around this man named Fucky Bowler who one day ate a mutant pineapple that gave him super-intelligence and made his junk shrivel up and die. He can no longer communicate with the world around him because he is so far ahead of them and eventually he cannot take the horror of the human species, so he creates a weapon to destroy the entire planet so that it doesn’t infect the universe. The scientists and this business with the assholes reminds me a bit of that. If I remember correctly we were going to call that album Super Intelligent Christ Killer

 

I got Brice to his bike and he snapped out of it. Despite the fact that Brice is a fucking moron, he is brilliant with bicycles and other mechanical things. He used to be a bicycle messenger and male stripper but now he is like the motherfucking MacGyver of the Apocalypse. Keeping Brice alive is almost as important as keeping myself alive or at least equivalent to it. When the world gets back to normal, he says, we should start a Juggalo jug-band. He wants to call it The Incest Clown Posse. Its not a bad idea. He is not without merits outside of his tinkering but he doesn’t have enough common sense to fuck his way out of a paper condom.

 

Another funny thing about the assholes is that they do not use weapons of any sort except those hypodermics they carried with them. That was one of the ways in which they were primal. Like pack animals they hunted by pooling their physical resources and strength to subdue their prey. Since weapons are now almost impossible to find you have to rely on hand-to-hand combat for defense. Something else Brice brought to the table is the ability to be able to fight from and with a bicycle. He is like the love-child of Jackie Chan and Lance Armstrong without all of the cocaine and steroids. As much as he is good for, you might wonder why I insult him so much, but if you knew him it would make sense. It’s like having your own retarded leprechaun around. A retarded leprechaun that can do a bunny-hop/spin kick that makes you want to cry and cum at the same time.

 

This is the very move he uses to subdue three of the assholes while I give a wheelie/uppercut to a particularly fiendish looking one myself, because, I am picking this shit up fast. That is more out of necessity than out of Brice’s pedagoguery, though. The two of us manage to clear ourselves a path with unhindered ass kicking and get the fuck out of there. It will be night soon and they will disappear until dawn and we can collect some supplies, sleep and then as Brice likes to call it, ‘Go pedalin’ for bitches’. This is his term for our nomadic lifestyle. It is his greatest wish to locate and inseminate as many women as possible before he ‘goes to the Great Flat Tire in the sky. We haven’t seen a woman since I met him a month ago and neither of us for awhile before that. I hope we do, and soon, though. The other day he told me I had a ‘pretty decent pooper for a dude’. I vowed never to experiment with homosexuality again since I played drums for that homo jock rock band, Sports Fabs.

 

As soon as the sun begins to set we stop to take a pantsless shit and refill our colons with some canned herring and stale Doritos we just nabbed. As is our custom, we excuse ourselves after dinner for some privacy and masturbation. We have three porno mags between us that we cycle regularly even though we both have our favorite. I like Big Black Cocks In Albino Whores (There are more of the latter than you would ever have imagined.) while he prefers Cum Filled Cousins (The incest thing is always coming up with him and I wonder if he had a sister but am afraid to ask.). After this we discuss our plans then retire to get a little sleep before the sun comes up..

 

Just before dawn we wake up and begin riding towards the next town. It is a county seat so we are hoping it will be big enough to have some good structures to practice our bike parkour while we snoop around for anything useful or interesting. The only thing to do now is to stay alive although I still cannot logically ascertain how my continued survival is of any benefit to myself or others but living is a hard habit to break.

 

To occupy myself I have been writing a movie in my head. I am tentatively calling it Whore and Peace. It is a modern remake of the Greek drama, Lysistrata, about a woman who convinces the other women of her nation to withhold sex until the men agree to stop fighting. Only in my version, instead of withholding sex the women go fucking bonobo on the men, pooning them so often that they are unable to wage their silly wars any longer. My version has more scrogging so it will obviously be better. Also it will have Crispin Glover if he is still alive and I can find him. I believe.

 

I am shaken by my revery when Brice emits a squeal. Heading right towards us are two women on bicycles followed by a fuckhoard of assholes. The women approach quickly and we turn ourselves around to follow them. As they pass I notice that one of the women looks just like the upright bassist from the horror/snuff country band, Shank Williams, that I was in for a minute back when the world did not suck rear windpipe. I had the hugest crush on her but the girl on the bike is even more beautiful and even though I notice that she has shit herself I still have a massive boner. I tuck it under my waistline and pedal like hot fuck to catch up and Brice has no reservations about doing the same.

She is a skilled bicyclist and it takes me several minutes to catch up to her. When I do I have been preparing the perfect line I will use in just this situation but before I can belt it out I notice that she has a pink triangle tattooed just above her lovely bouncing left breast. Ahead of me Brice is talking to the other woman when she suddenly throws a leg out and sends him bouncing down the road bikeless, arms and legs akimbo. I think he just figured out what I did. It is the end of the world as we know it. For all I know Brice and I are the only men left on the planet, yet even if that were the case, these women would still not fuck us.

 

Luck!

 

Night of the Assholes: Part 1

 

It doesn’t really matter what the nature of the apocalypse is, it always means two things; death and assholes. While death gorged itself on the menu of seven billion human beings and countless other species, the number of assholes had still increased proportionately amongst the living. People like me. Lucky enough to live and too stupid to die already. If I were to count myself lucky to still be alive, that would be about the only lucky thing I had going.

 

Before all of this happened I was unemployed and about to be evicted. I was perpetually broke and unable to properly prepare myself for any doomsday scenario. I had a closet with about two weeks worth of canned food and my bicycle. Even though I suspected that humanity was due for a reset at any time and even hoped for it, I was not actually prepared when it came. Neither was anyone else really and some of the worst and first to go were those who were certain that their knowledge and preparations would guarantee their survival. When the world comes crashing down too much readiness can lead to inflexibility. Expectations and rigidity can be an obstacle even luck cannot overcome.

 

The sound of my chain snapping was more jarring than the loudest thing I had ever heard in my life. Every acoustic vibration emitted from that small piece of metal separating under pressure went straight to my ears and sent my internal ‘OH FUCK’ alarm into berzerker mode. I had not heard anything comparably awful since I used to play in a furry noise metal band called S.I.S.S.Y. (Squirrels In Satan’s Service Yternally). I had a hikers bag full of wood, water and other necessary supplies. Not much but enough to get to the next place, whatever and wherever that was. I had to make a quick decision. There were assholes in hot pursuit and I couldn’t afford to take the time to make rational decisions so I grabbed the bike and ran like hot fuck.

 

I was constantly running for my life with a bicycle in tow against all common sense, yet when I managed to return it to a state of repair it had saved my ass numerous times. It was my greatest blessing and my greatest curse. Riding a bicycle was one of the few practical things I had been fairly skillful at before the end times, yet I could probably have done a lot more by the way of learning to fix the fucking things. My friend Zeke was a kickass bicycle mechanic so he always hooked me up with parts at cost and free labor. We used to be in a gnostic christian hate punk band called God Hates Swedes together before I left to join Mandatory Abortion and he went on to Rape Brag. Zeke tried to teach my ragged ass as much as possible but there were a few subjects we hadn’t yet gotten to. Chains was near the apex of that list.

 

The assholes chasing me were not the most well preserved examples of their former humanity and after shitting myself only once I managed to lose them altogether. I found myself soiling myself pretty often these days. When you pit a steady diet of canned beans and other colonically adventurous victuals against a fuckload of running for your life you are bound to have to evacuate yourself in mid escape every now and then. It is a part of surviving in this world yet when I sit somewhere between sleep and constant aural vigilance I often wonder if a world in which I have to shit myself while running in order to survive is a world I really want to go on living in. The answer appears to be yes, no matter how much I answer the question in the negative asked aloud.

 

One thing about bikes is that you can find them just about anywhere now. One in three of any garage not sealed off by other survivors still has a bicycle even if it is itself un-ride-able. The problem is that even the bikes that are still able to be ridden often turn out to be of low quality and constructed of parts not meant to fit any sort of decent bike. Only about one in any one hundred garages had the kind of bikes I was looking for and only about one in five of them might have the chain that I needed specifically. If I could not find that chain I would have to try to replace the entire gear set from a bike the same size. It would usually have proved much faster to just take another bike but I had grown accustomed to this one. It was like my only friend now and so I always did what I had to do to fix it.