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HARMAGEDDON CITY (Interlude)

by Isaac brown III 9 months ago in humanity

Just Thinking of You

“Fruits that heal any disease, that can increase one’s life expectancy by 100’s of years,” I recall these words as I gaze at the orchid in the distance, the bright reds and yellows of which can still be seen in the darkness. New Jerusalem. The Promised Land. They call this place impossible, a land of miracles, where one’s soul can finally find rest. But as I walk along the cold sand of the beach’s shore, my thoughts begin to wander, traversing the planes of time’s past.

We are 20 again, a year before the bombs dropped and changed everything that we knew. Earlier that day, against your wishes, I met up with some troublemakers who “rewarded” me for my trouble. Unable to reveal to you the truth of my bounty, I try to come up with a story that will satiate your infamously persistent inquisitiveness.

“$20,000! You did it Z! This is going to change our lives forever!” I remember looking at you, trying to conceal the shame of how I found it. I would soon come to realize that the attempt was futile. By then we had become too close. Your features shift as you press the evidence of micro-expressions that telegraph my guilt. “Where did you get this Z?”

I am back on the shore. Sand becomes scant, concealed beneath emerald blades that wet my feet as I approach the forest. Moving deeper into the woods dull greens turn aphotic removing any visuals that previously distracted me from the gift that I have lost in you.

We are 23. I am the leader of the Northern Territory in a city that is all but God-forsaken. You are by my side. The city is a post-apocalyptic New York, where I am fighting for my life. The brawl leaves me barely able to walk. I am helped to my feet by a boy….no, a man, that looks up to me as his hero. His face is one of awe, unified with a crowd that celebrates my victory. I look over to you, the only opinion that matters, only to find a horrified expression.

The forest leaves its parting gift, a patchwork of scars that will heal in a day or two, as I look up at the dojo from the bottom of the hill. I pause for a moment, taking in the vastness of the open field when I notice a shift in the air around me.

There is an unusual dance of the trees around me. A cold that has never been felt on these grounds before wisps through my body, and I am overcome with a fright native to a kid in the darkness of a night terror.

Suddenly, something that can only be described as a shadow made life appears. Completely void of color, save two crimson eyes that stare back at me, I am unclear at how to deal with such a foe.

We are 24, on the outskirts of Harmageddon City. It is the last night that I would ever see you. A woman who we once thought insane is leading us to a portal that promises to take us to a land that will cause us to forget the hell we’ve survived during the past 3 years. As we near our destination hearts begin to pound upon the sound of a voice behind us. Multiple footsteps surround us as something that sounds like it is emitted from lungs lined with glass addresses us.

“Did you really think that your betrayal would go without notice?” We turn to look into the eyes of a creature that can barely be called human. “There is nothing you can do in this city that I am not aware of.”

I am on the ground, wrestling with something that grips me like iron. As much as I try, I am unable to free myself from its grasp. The mud of the ground I’m being pressed into by the aberration begins to cloud my vision. Strength slips like the grip of a loved one on a cliff as dread overcomes my senses. “This can’t be the end!” I think to myself. “I can’t have made it this far, lost everyone I ever cared about, only to die here! It is in that moment, on the edge of an unknown fate that I remember your words. “You have to fight Z. That fear that seeks to overwhelm. Because if you don’t it will take the thing most precious to you; the freedom to be who you were called to be.”

Terror turns into anger that rises as fear dissipates loosening the grip of the shadow. Suddenly, the entity of fear loses its power as it rises, standing over me now. I rise to my feet, and after a moment of confusion, it turns around, and leaves, back into the darkness of the ether it came from.

We are 24, sharing a moment in an alleyway that only the 2 of us knew about. We both shift, trying to find a comfortable spot on the metal of an empty garbage disposal we have made into a place of refuge. "Z," she starts, putting her hand over mine," I don’t like what this place is making you into.” Your words cut through a guard I scarcely knew was there, bringing to the surface a truth I had buried…a truth I was afraid to admit.

“I know…I know Tiva, but, if what Mom Alyce says is true, we can finally be free, like we always dreamed of being. Free of running, free of being afraid all the time” I move closer, as I look into those same fierce yet beautiful eyes now scarred into my heart, “free to see if…maybe…maybe we could have become something more.”

I lean in, but you reject my advance, removing your hand from mine and turning your body slightly away from me. The sharpness of your reaction catches me off guard. There is a moment of silence, and then you bring clarity. “Z, when we first met all those years ago, you were a bright kid with a big heart, it's something that separated you from all the other guys I had ever met. You had the potential to become someone great, if only you had the right people around you. I thought that’s who I could have been for you, that I could be that light. A light to someone who became my closest friend. To someone who I grew to…love.” She turns back to me, with tears in her eyes now. “Just promise me…promise me that we’ll make it through the night.”

The hardness of the dojo’s floor is barely noticeable as this thought resonates through my being. They would be the last words spoken in that place. I get out, walking to the opposite side of the room, then turn, sitting, facing the entrance where the light of the moon can be seen, creating a glow that lights up an otherwise dark location.

I reach into my pocket and pull out the little black book that you gave me. “It helped me get through my father’s death.” You told me. Maybe it can help me get over you.

“Tiva. I don’t know what to say. My life was empty, purposeless before I met you. But you helped me to believe in myself, to see the potential of being something that I never thought I could be. I don’t know how to tell you that after the bombs dropped, after we became engrossed in the street fights, and the burden of leadership in a place so dark…Tiva, I’m sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to be everything you wanted me to be. To be everything that I knew I could be.

Mom Alyce was right, this place is everything we could have dreamed of and more. You would love it here, this place has your spirit. When I look at how the trees blow in the wind, I am reminded of how you would dance, playfully with the children, trying to brighten up the hopelessness of an impossible situation. When I look at the sea, I see the calmness of your heart. And when I look at my little Vanessa, the sister that I never knew I had, I see the potential for her to be something I never would have thought possible, had I not met you.”

I close the book, then look at the small body to my left that rises and falls with each breath. She shivers a bit in the night’s cold so I take off my outer garment and cover her with it. After a kiss on the cheek, I find myself glancing over my shoulder at the moonlight behind me as I make my way back to the entrance.

Looking at the brightness of the night sky, I pull out the book that holds so many memories of you once more. “This will be my last entry into this journal, but before I go, before I leave the thought of you behind, putting to close the chapter that you were in my life, I want to let you know that your efforts did not go to waste. I’m stronger now Tiva, than I’ve ever been in my life. You would be proud of the words that I find leaving my mouth, that leave the children of the village around me speechless. They look at me as a man of great wisdom. I tell them that I got these words from a special woman whose love knew no limits."

"Tiva, I miss you...there are times when it's...it's hard at times Tiva, but I try to find solace in knowing that you are in a better place. Though there are times that I wish I could see you again, I am thankful for the moments we spent together and their part in making me the man that I am today."

I close the book for one last time, looking at its weathered look that contradicts the freshness of the life being illuminated around me with the rising of the sun. “You would have wanted me to move on, and so, it is something that I will make an effort to do, to honor your memory.” This is the best that I can do.

Your forever friend,

Zi’uhnn.

humanity

Isaac brown III

I am a Christian and a lover of sci-fi; a genre that I love for it's ability to present ideals and beliefs in a way that has the ability to breakthrough prejudices of a subject that is all but ignored if presented in any other way.

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Isaac brown III
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