From the Ashes of A New Moon

Madison curled her toes as brave autonomous flames tested their freedom outside of the fire pit and sent their tendrils rollicking in her direction. She took in the potent smells of the hardwood and dried dung with olfactory aplomb, turning her head to follow a wisp of the smoky perfume. It was a learned aesthetic preference. In the world where her childhood had lived such smells were merely historical footnotes. Now that world was gone and the habits of the world before it had come full circle. A bat swooped down to snatch up a moth that had revealed itself in the fire’s trembling light, and drew her attention upwards. Although she had developed a pleasure in things like the scent of burning excrement, the sky was a book of revelations she could never quite get used to. Ever since the OMG, reality itself had changed, and no place was that more evident than when she gazed upon the two moons above her.

“Your brother should be here soon, Maddy. I am going to fill the kettle and grab an extra cup. Would you like anything while I am beneath?” asked Jayden, the woman’s husband of nearly sixty years.

“Popsi…”

“…ICE COLD,” he cajoled along with her. It was a very old joke between them. It had been even longer than they had been married since anyone had drank an ice cold Popsi. The memory of sugary things always excited an almost primal urge in them, but over the years they had learned to appreciate even that urge. Anything that mutually connected them to the old world was welcomed, as it was the only remaining evidence left that they had not gone absolutely insane.

“B-R-B,” he said, again summoning a past that had become even less than the threadbare memory that preserved it; and shuffled down into the tunnels whistling an extinct melody.


The OMG had blanketed the skies with ash for fourteen years after. During the first six months the skies were almost completely black and the world beneath them either died away or plummeted back down the ladder of human history. When the first noticeable light began making its way through the post-apocalyptic smog, the sun was entirely unvisible as an object. Its rays stretched out into the ash and clouds and the focus of its fiery beams dissipated over the facing hemisphere and beyond. Refraction, or something like that, the last surviving scientists had said. While the moon still was still noticeable as a celestial object, it no longer held all its singular glory as a glowing orb in the sky. Some other trick of light and matter had caused the moons beams to split as they passed through the suffocating atmosphere, which created the perceptual effect of dual moons. The old priests, the scientists, had tried to explain the effect. As years passed, those who had been frightened right out of their old belief systems, as well as the new generations, began to believe that there actually were two moons. In fact it was the birth of this new moon, they believed, that caused the OMG in the first place.

Despite the protest of surviving academics, experts and authorities; the belief in the two moon theory became widespread. And so fourteen years after the entire thing began, as the ashen curtains began to part, two beautiful moons sat defyingly obvious in the gloriously deep, open skies. Absolute faith in the methods, models and myths of the pre-OMG world were abandoned and the oldest human truths began to replace them. Beliefs are not based upon reality, as the world of their childhood had imagined, but precisely the opposite.


“Don’t even try to sneak up on me, Connor. You have the grace of a wooden bull and are likely just to hurt yourself again,” Maddie called out at a slight rumbling in the near-distant darkness.

“Hush it, sis. These are the creaks of an old man, not the squeaks of one who sneaks,” Connor rhymed in his equally charming and infuriating way. Slowly, achingly, he ambled up next to her and took a seat. “Where is Jayden?”

“Fetching refreshments. He will be back shortly,” she answered. “Lovely night. Thanks for coming over.”

The two of them sat in silence waiting for Jayden. The three of them together represented nearly half of the surviving humans from before OMG. So far as they knew, from the small portion of the world they had contact with, at least. That is why they had gathered on this night. To prepare their final report to the council of elders. It would be the last time they would meet and their final edicts would breathe one last breath into a world that they were too old to recognize or shape any further.

Little sparks were pushed by the smoke up to the tops of the trees only to disintegrate into the night sky. Like man, they had been born of a great fire that reached with all of its might for the heavens, only to come floating back down as ash. Someday that ash would mix with the earth to create fuel and a new fire. Such was the cycle of things, growing and collapsing, gasping for new heights in which to set new fires, and then falling yet again. Where the ego of man saw this unending cycle in the terms of successes and failures, the world recognized the process as rebirth and renewal. A chance to begin afresh and become something entirely new. Individual humans measured this as a failure or loss but the great mass of human consciousness renewed itself through these events like the rising and falling of waters in the fountain of eternity.

Jayden returned to the fire with a great rumbling of laughter, “If you two aren’t the most serene geezers the world has ever seen…” he trailed off back into a fit of coughing and laughter.

“Grab me a Popsi while you’re up.” Connor joked. The three of them were a trifecta of anachronism and they reveled in that mutual difference even more as their days grew shorter.

The three of them sat around sipping a tea made with herbs, roots and bark. It was no Popsi, but it was still a special treat in this world of diminished resources and practical rationing. They caught up on personal and family news and gossip and occasionally drifted off into bouts of silent fellowship. The spring sky was full of insects and the flying mammals who ate them. While most species of birds had not survived OMG, and those that had crept cautiously through the shadows of the food chain, bats had fared quite well in the new landscape. Their whirling dives and aeronautic playfulness were endlessly fascinating. As they wove dizzying paths around one another they flew through the dual beams of the twin moons, like some fantasy story from the old world, or a science fiction Halloween decoration.

“Yesterday Viv got back from Melvinville. She says the journey took them only two days. When we first came here it took a full four days of steady travel. As the years have gone by that number has halved. I don’t see any other explanation. The world is shrinking.” Maddy stated her opinion confidently and waited for an argument to counter her suspicion, but none came. The two old men made barely perceptible nods of agreement.

“What the council wants cannot be done. It is a fools errand. When even the world shrinks to fit the beliefs of those living in it, no edict from old farts like us is gonna mean anything to anyone,” Jayden lamented quizzically.

“You are right, you are both right. We are all too wrong to be right anymore. We are obsolete. Museum pieces. The younger people have humored us long enough.” chimed Connor.

“So we won’t go?” asked Maddy.

Her toes curled again at another escape of flames in her direction. She drank in its warmth and smells. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t. The acrid aroma of the fires fuel sent her spinning back into herself. The night was music. The bass sounds of frogs and the groaning of dying and growing trees mixed with the high pitch sounds of insects filled the nights natural auditorium. In the harmonic center a cacophony of other living instruments filled the aural spaces. The music was alive under the twin conductors of Earths two moons.


Carson sat alone at the great table that once seated many of the greatest survivors of OMG. The five remaining seats around him stood empty. The final meeting was a bust. He didn’t blame them. He wouldn’t of come either, if he didn’t live here. For some unknown reason he pulled his tired old body up onto the great wooden table and lay on his back. Looking up into the clear blue sky he relaxed for the first time in over sixty years. It felt good. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t.

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.

 

Spontaneous Teleportation

spontaneous teleportation

They are calling it ‘spontaneous teleportation’. One moment you are sitting on a couch watching them talk about it on the news and the next moment you are three feet to your left melded into the wall. If you are lucky it will have disrupted a major organ and you will die instantly. If you are not so lucky it will just be your hips and pelvis and a leg as they try to separate you amidst the terrifying howling you emit while enduring the most awful pain ever known to man. Then, most likely, you will still die. If you ask me, they could have picked a more suitable name.

Nobody knows what the cause is. Or how to prevent it. It is completely random, or so it seems. The politicians say that they have ordered all of the top scientists to investigate but I bet at least half of them are still developing boner pills and exotic weapons of mass destruction. That is, the scientists, not the politicians. The politicians couldn’t develop a cold in an arctic daycare. I have just a bit more trust and enthusiasm for the scientists. I didn’t like the old gods and I sure as hell do not like the new ones.

I went to see my friend Jeff yesterday. He was standing in his backyard on stilts. I began to immediately laugh but he got upset and told me that I was the fool. I tossed him a beer and the poor sucker just about fell trying to catch it. I must admit he is getting pretty good at using those stilts. He says that he is hoping they become so second nature that he will be able to sleep on them shortly. I ask him what would happen if he were suddenly teleported three feet straight down. He says that it is unlikely but that he thinks this is his best chance. At least he is not a hanger, he tells me.

In order to avoid death by spontaneous teleportation many people have taken to spending most of their time hanging in harnesses. Since the furthest anyone has been relocated by this mysterious force is about five feet from where they started it is easy enough to find a large room or a tree that can put you five feet away from any other solid object. Except the harness itself. Only one person so far has managed to teleport a few inches directly into their harness. I asked Jeff if that was irony but he said the harnesses are usually made from nylon. Either he cannot hear me very well up there or all of this has not ruined his appalling sense of humor.

The religious folk have split into two camps. Some are calling this Gods retribution for the sins of man and the other half are blaming the scientists. Outside of the Hadron Collider facility on the news it looks like one of those old Frankenstein movies where an angry mob with weapons and torches has gathered. The scientists working there were the first people to speculate that their research had caused the phenomena. They shut down their massive gadget but it seems the angry villagers will not be pleased until there is blood. Then right there in front of the news camera one of the mob teleports right into another one. They are a nasty mangled mess of mixed flesh like something out of a Bill Plympton cartoon. I start to laugh but then I remember these are real people with people who love them and that what I have witnessed is tragedy. Then the mob react by accelerating their hatred tenfold and I decide it was probably okay to laugh.

My ex-girlfriend calls me to tell me that she teleported three feet up and to the right into empty space yesterday and was just fine after. I am not sure whether to believe her or to chalk this up to her constant need for attention. I tell her it is a shame she wasn’t teleported onto a running treadmill and she hangs up on me. If she was telling the truth her story would not be unique. Most of the spontaneous teleportations have been harmless relocation’s into empty space. The people who have experienced them were very vocal at first and some of them got paid quite handsomely to talk about it on television. However, once the word got around that the scientists investigating this were collecting these people to ‘examine’ them, most of them have kept shut about it.

First let me say that I am not a scientist. That should have been my first clue to leave things alone. What do you call somebody with an inordinate amount of curiosity but no skill set to engage it through? I am one of those. Mostly, though, I was just bored and lonely. I met a girl on the internet I really wanted to meet in person. I also had friends all over the country I would have liked to spend more time with. When I started having the dreams I disregarded them as just dreams. Before long they seemed to be more than just recurring dreams. They were persistent. I could not close my eyes without them immediately starting. Eventually I began to write down the bits that I could remember and little by little I had created myself a set of instructions.

It took me almost a year to build the contraption. I had to learn all kinds of skills I had not possessed before. I was about as adept with a soldering iron in the beginning as Stephen Hawking is with Jeff’s stilts. Little by little it came together, though. You would probably think that it would look like a phone booth designed by HR Geiger, but it was closer to a large bathroom scale attached to a much larger cube by tubes of wires. I did, however, take some time to paint racing flames on it before I was finished. Just because I am crazy enough to spend a year building a device I foresaw in my dreams doesn’t mean I have no sense of humor or style.

The hardest part about teleporting is calculating a set of coordinates much more difficult than compass readings. The movement of the earth as it rotates and spins around the sun means that everything is constantly in motion and must be accounted for. Remember how I said that I was not a scientist? Well I am even less of a mathematician and my first inclination was that it was my poor math that caused this whole debacle.

When I was certain that I had finished my teleportation device beyond all doubts, I decided to test it out. Knowing the number of ways it could go wrong I decided to first try teleporting a mouse I caught while it had been nibbling on one of the wire tubes. (Would the mouse have thought this was irony? I don’t know but I know he wouldn’t have had a dumb ass reply like Jeff.) I was going to teleport the mouse three feet to its left into a small empty aquarium. If he survived I would name him Goldblum and feed him only the finest American cheese. He did not, in fact survive. Instead a moment after flipping the activation switch the mouse reappeared with just his head sticking out of the bottom of the aquarium. I could see part of his body in the small gap below and the rest must have melded into the concrete floor. I immediately realized that I had not succeeded and that all of my life I had underestimated the vocal capacity of mice.

I shut the machine off and sat groaning with my head in my hands. Fucking math. I was so frustrated that I decided to give up for the day and headed over to Jeff’s with a six pack. We sat drinking all afternoon but decided that we needed to pick up the pace. Jeff and I had created a drinking game that could be played with the news so we tuned into the ten o’clock and put our drinking faces on. That is when we first heard of the phenomena. Already about a hundred cases worldwide had been reported since earlier today. You know how sometimes you just know you set off a global catastrophe that may have doomed your species to extinction? That’s exactly how I felt right then.

Pretending to be too drunk to drink anymore I excused myself with a few words and a belch/fart combo that left Jeff laughing so hard he vomited, although he would later claim it was the smell. As soon as I got home I began trying to sober up by eating a large meal and chasing coffee after coffee with glasses of water. I began to go over my math but I could find nothing wrong in it whatsoever, so I looked at the plans. That is when I noticed what I should have before my earlier mousecapades. The teleportation device was specifically programmed to transfer the information contained in human genetics. Because all mammals had nearly the same basic genetic code the mouse was able to be teleported, but not to the specifications. And besides that, something else had definitely gone wrong. I began to disassemble the device. What took me a full year to build took me only that one night to completely destroy. No two pieces were still connected and most of those had been smashed or thrashed into many smaller pieces themselves.

The next morning I turned on the news. The phenomena was still occurring and every government in the world had declared an emergency. Shit had connected hard with the proverbial fan. Rather than worrying about being teleported into a mailbox or my toilet I became extremely paranoid that I would get caught. I burned the plans and removed all evidence from my house carefully so as not to arouse suspicion. The one thing I had going for me was that I had not mentioned to anybody what I had been doing for the past year, less they thought I was crazy. Or crazier than usual. I sure as fuck was not going to say anything now.

I went inside to get Jeff and I another beer. Just to fuck with him I threw his three feet to his left so he wouldn’t be able to catch it because I can be kind of a dick when I am awake. At that very same moment Jeff reappeared three feet to his left and then fell to the ground with a thud and a can of Hamms embedded halfway in his skull. He must have died instantly. One time when we were drinking along with the news we saw a story about a man who had been cleaning up after hours at a brewery when a large vat burst open and the force of the fermenting liquid crushed him against a wall, killing him instantly. After downing the rest of our beers we both agreed that when it was our time to go we hoped our deaths would be beer-related.

Well, Jeff, do I chalk your death up to irony? Or would you have insisted that the can was, in fact, aluminum?