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This Too Shall Pass

by Alexander Bachman 11 months ago in Short Story · updated 10 months ago
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A journey through the forever night.

When I was a younger person I had freedom, but I did not see it. I had time for leisure and pursuits of passion, but I did not know it nor feel it. When I reflect more on the past, I wish I had lived more back then. The old adage, ‘this too shall pass,’ was something I knew of, but thought nothing more of for the time I was in. I was full of hubris and arrogance to think that those things were infinite, that we’d never run out of those three core tenets which we need to live a fulfilling life, let alone for society as a whole. I didn’t live then, I didn’t live..

It was so disposable to all of us, how could we have time to think? We were too caught up in the little things to not see the bigger picture of events that were at hand. And, that was my problem then because now I have too much time to think … to think … to think.

There’s nothing but time for me to think about how there’s no way out of this current situation. How can I not have time to think about how lost we are? I look everywhere and it reminds me of how good we had it. It’s as if it is a hunger pang that never dissipates. I hunger for the way things once were. We are now in the umbra stage. The deepest darkest moments where no matter where you go, light and hope is eclipsed by the shadows of your own folly.

I realized that it was too late when I woke up one morning to the Sun, just to see that it did not rise for me. That was the day when I think we all realized we were plunged into an endless, forever night. Only if we had appreciated what we had. We could’ve stopped it during the penumbra stage – when there was still hope and light. Everyone wanted to change the world, and maybe that was the problem. Everyone wanted to change the world, yet no one looked in to change themselves first … that’s where we should’ve started.

We welcomed with applause the change because we were in a dire situation with the state of the world. I know why we championed these solutions. We needed a panacea, but clearly we got more than what we had bargained for. We really thought we had found the key that was the right size for all to finally open this heart shaped locket. In reality, it was nothing more than Pandora’s box. The change started off incrementally, just like how it was when you’ve looked at dictatorships of old.

I used to wonder how we could allow such injustice to occur. If everyone could have only stood together in unity, these atrocities wouldn't have occured. Now I see how we ended up in that situation. We silenced the strong ones who were willing to stand up against the regime. Just like the past governments did. We had those who fought for the rights of all, but I thought it was just for a blind minority. Now I see they were fighting for the people.

I’ve learned there is more than one way to kill liberty. And, everyone was running around with torches ready, waiting to burn it. I’ve become disillusioned with the current system, which I suppose is why I’m writing here to work through the feelings they tell us not to feel. To reflect on how we got here and what we did wrong so I can maybe see where we’re going. I know this will get me killed if it gets found. Most likely it will bring harm onto the ones I love. I’m just sick of knowing what’s right and wrong and being told wrong is right and right is wrong.

They tell us to undergo the Ludovico Technique if we have dissenting thoughts that go against the party lines. I wonder if the masses are even aware of the origins of this? It makes you wonder if it’s intentional or cruel circumstances of fate. It’s ironic because that technique also shares the name of a similar tool for control that was used in an interesting dystopian book. Obviously it’s banned now, and most people don’t know it ever existed.

We’re forbidden from discussing that book along with several others. They were all burned. It’s weird and eerie how I used to read about dystopian books when we could afford the opportunity to. And, now I have no need to reminisce on them because, well, my life is basically a dystopian book. I am told that work is pleasure, pain is strength, fear is the enemy and how this system is better than the last 12 other ones that have been tried throughout history. That this was the one that was finally right. The one to end all suffering and free us from our shackles.

Yet, I only see the rich get richer. How can you get richer when you own everything? They do somehow. They own the land, the food, the air and even sadly us. We brought this on ourselves. We bought it, hook line and sinker and we cannot return it. People hear whispers of war again, but the Party has kept it quiet and executes anyone who dares to spread it. They tell us not to look at the sky because it is dangerous for our health. But, today, I was able to sneak away as I’ve been studying the patterns of those soulless, watchful eyes.

I think my act is good enough to not draw suspicion. I was able to catch a glimpse of the sky. To my knowledge I was able to without anyone seeing me. It scared me. In the sky I saw these flying vehicles, I don’t know what they are, but they were big like stealth bombers – yet brazen enough to tell the world what they were, and that they were here to make a statement if it’s the last thing they’d do. The sound they made was like a cruel crack of a whip that made you stand up straight.

I see why people are talking about war. I’ve been hearing that sound for weeks but never dared to look up to see. They tell us that it’s the sound of liberation, and that it’s too glorious to see lest we die from its glory. That’s why we also shouldn’t look at the sky when we hear it. I’m scared. Are those bombers for us? Are they for someone else? I don’t know. What is there left for us to do?

If I act, I bring an ill fate to my family. If we collectively don’t, then we might be invaded and die anyway. Or maybe they’re trying to liberate us? Or, more sinisterly, a last ditch effort to exterminate us all because the regime is crumbling from within, so they’d rather take us down with them.

I just don’t know. I’m tired of not knowing. I’m tired of being told what to think. I’ve been doing little things to subtly resist by trying to reclaim the time to think, to think for myself again. I have to act like I believe their gospel. But it’s hard to continue. To look where they tell me not to look. To see what I see, not what they tell me to see. To slowly regain the right to discern for myself what’s good for me. I must keep up the act and, if I get too sloppy, they’ll see. Writing is already forbidden because as they say, “Writing is a form of expression, and expression is bad because you think, and if you think, you hurt yourself and those around you!”

Maybe they’re right, because as I write this, I’m trying to feel better, yet all I feel is more pain. But, it is my pain, and they can’t take that from me. It’s not happiness, it’s not the best emotion, but dammit, it’s mine! Maybe tomorrow I will go and try to find other like minded individuals. It’s risky because I don’t know who’s with me or who’s against me, but it’s a risk I need to take. I know what I saw.

Something big is brewing, and I fear that if I don’t act now it’ll be too late to react when whatever happens, happens. They know where they’re taking us and we’re watching the world pass us by. They give us promises, promises that we are as safe as houses – but only just as long as we remember who's wearing the trousers. This is a ride I no longer want to be on, not anymore.

Maybe we can flee, maybe we can fight, maybe we can get all of us together to finally stand up and say, “No,” for once. Maybe we can finally say, “No,” to a law we never voted for or killing people a world away. At this point I think I am ready to risk it all. Maybe we never needed a key for the heart shaped locket, maybe all we had to do was wear the necklace and take it at face value rather than diving deeper for what we wanted.

I am tired of acting, at this point I am willing to surrender my body, but no longer can I surrender my mind! I want to scream to the world to break this endless night, that today is the day we decide it will be them, and not us! I don’t know if I’ll be successful, but what else do I have to lose? Hopefully the adage of, ‘this too shall pass,’ rings true for tomorrow.

Short Story

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Alexander Bachman

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