Chapter 20: Whispers in the Wind

Since the dawn of mankind, humans have always tried to figure out the meaning of the world they were living in. They developed science for the sole purpose of continuing the quest of knowledge, and religions in order to reassure themselves. This strange mixture of changing and unchanging believes made them reach certain answers; what they failed to notice is that their world was older than they imagine. With each thing they learned, they discovered a million other still far from their reach. Some believed that before the universe, only the void and the silence prevailed; then at some point for some unknown reason, light started to appear in that chaos shining through the void. The first lights to appear was thought by many to be the stars; this unlikely mix gave birth to so many things that it is impossible to grasp it all. Time broke through the silence under the shape of the origin’s music; a melody that never stops and brings motion to everything. Chaos was also believed to be one of the first elements of the universe: the element of uncertainty. In this mass of things that humans failed to recognize was their own ability to shape the chaos. Without knowing it, they were able to manipulate another element of the universe: Order. This order was realized through the control that humans had over the chaos of the universe and was far greater than the mere control that they believed to have through their actions. Through the element of order, the world changed several times; it existed under the guidance of the time watch, a whole earth with its own history, slightly close to ours. But then chaos took back it rights and came the time of the world we live in. This world knew many human perturbations as well; it knew magnificent moments such as the global empathy of 1969, but also strange moments like the rise of the order of the Moon. The balance was brought back again under the eclipse around 2215, and the world seemed to be finally at peace, but was it really?

The knowledge of Order end up reaching humans, but those who knew were hidden in the shadows for centuries; it is only during 2229 that one of them finally took action. He was known as Master Sadar Shims; his origins or past whereabouts were unknown to most people. The rare people who had the chance to meet him described him as a quite young man for his reputation; they say that he always wore a long black trench coat, and a green fedora. Under his hat they saw short wicks of white hair which would normally indicate an advance age; however, in the case of Master Sadar, they all swore that he seemed to have the face of a thirty years old at maximum. They also said that he had child’s eyes of a strange golden color, but that his words were the words of a man who lived forever. Some said that he was an immortal just like Simon Dice or Sélas Prime, but no one could really tell for sure.

Panchi Svazada was a brilliant young girl from India; she has always been considered very beautiful by her peers, but failed to give any kind of attention to herself; it was this natural nonchalance that she was irradiating that gave her all her charm. She had long wood brown hair that was getting clearer as it goes. It had the potential to be perfectly straight if she just cared to straighten it, but she never did; the result was a lightly curly mane that was particular to her and her alone. She had a peaceful face, although sparks could be seen in her ebony eyes. Mona was not to long nor too short; her skin was lightly tanned giving the impression to shine like waxed bronze. Mona has always been very keen of science, she was very brilliant in biology and pursued her higher studies in California in the High Institute of Bio-Engineering. By 2229 She was a highly respected Bio-engineer; she wrote a big number of influential articles and have thought in many universities while only being 26.

Panchi met the mysterious Master Sadar during a conference about the potential dangers of mass bovine living tissues for the consumers, she was about to leave when she noticed that the only other person in the conference room left was a shady man with his face hidden under a fedora. Without think twice, she walked towards him.

” Sir! The conference is over!”

The shady man stayed still. Panchi didn’t know what to do with him; after a second, she reached for his hat. She was eager to see how deep this man was sleeping. As she touched the fedora, the hand of the stranger grabbed hers. She let go of a small cry of surprise as she didn’t notice the hand moving towards her.

“You shouldn’t touch other’s belonging when thinking that they are in a deep sleep young girl.”

The voice of the stranger was incredibly calm, like he had seen the whole ordeal coming before it even happened.

“Well I told you that the conference was over. It’s your fault if you weren’t listening.”

The man let go of her hand. As Panchi stepped back, he rose on his feet; he was way taller than Panchi, and for the first time in her life, she felt small and helpless.

“I was listening the whole time. Brilliant presentation by the way.” The man said taking off his fedora and finally showing his face.

All Panchi’s anxiety disappeared as she crossed his golden gaze.

“Who are you?” She asked while still mesmerized by this strange coloration in the stranger’s irises.

‘is he even human?’ She thought while thinking that such eye colors don’t exist. It was clear it wasn’t color contacts, She could recognize those any time. ‘Who the hell is this man?’

“My name is Sadar Shims; I am afraid there isn’t much I can tell about myself; I give my privacy the highest importance. I believe that a scientist such as you would understand my point” The man said.

“A private investor!” Panchi said sure of her guess.

“Quite close, but not exactly that.” The man said with a warm laugh.

Panchi frowned, she felt ridicule. Why was she even feeling ridicule, that never happened to her before.

“I am a sort of researcher as well” The man said. “Not exactly a Bio-engineer, but my specialty extend to that field as well. After all, Chaos and Order alter pretty much everything.”

Panchi started thinking fast; ‘was this man for real? Chaos and Order! who study that?’

“What kind of Chaos and Order are you talking about? Scientific, Economic, Social?”

“Universal” He simply answered.

“What some sort of quantum physic ?” She asked again.

“That and even more!” The man responded.

Sadar Shims stopped looking at the young scientist and looked at a golden watch he took from his trench coat.

“I am afraid I must leave for now, but!”

He reached for another of his pockets and took a small memory drive.

“You’ll find about my field of study if you check those documents. If you are interested in learning more about it, and I’m sure you will.”

He reached again this time for his upper pocket and presented Panchi with a sort of professional card.

“Once you feel ready, just use the card; I’m sure you will know how by then.”

Panchi lost herself in her thinking, by the time she got out of it, she found the card and the drive in her hand, and no sign of the mysterious Sadar Shims.

Two weeks after this bizarre encounter, Panchi resigned all her teaching contracts, and stopped all her Bio-Engineering research to get enrolled in a new PhD in History of religion at UCLA, California.

A sermon was hold at the High Church of the Eclipse in Rome. The church was like a modern Babel tower, all made in steel and violet glass. It was so Big in fact that the mighty Museum that the Vatican has become seemed quite small in comparison. At the center of the church, in the highest level, all the important personalities of the world who were members of the church-and they were almost a thousand-were gathered in a large disk formation.  The glass on top of them was open in the middle and replicating the form of a solar eclipse . in the middle of the disk, on a slightly elevated platform, The priestess of the day was speaking the words of the eclipse.

“Long long ago, when the world was still young, the sun rose upon us, bringing us heat and light. The sun guided our lives and soon became our god. Men Worshiped the Sun and declared it as theirs; they started the age of Foxes! They burned women down and were cruel to them for eons; but women never really bent the knee, they started the secret faith of the moon, and under the shadows of the night, they plotted against the foxes! After a long and tiring struggle, the foxes ended up nearly disappearing as the moon was rising, and with it, the mighty silver falcon. A new age started where the foxes payed for their misdeeds of the past. The world finally reached a balance with the actions of the immortals, and peace finally reigned among us with the eclipse!…”

The sermon went on like this for ours, and no one showed any sign of tiredness, everybody was irradiating peace, tranquility, and especially happiness; true happiness that can’t be faked.

Among the thousand people gathering, A young man was standing at the very limit of the disk, avoiding contact with anybody around him. His name was Mark Ensis. He was the second heir to the Marcellus Ensis, A very known and respected Astrophysicist. Marcellus was 24, and a full time member of the church of  the eclipse, even though he rarely talked to anyone. As the church wasn’t really stipulating any kind of religious outfit for the sermons, Mark was wearing a Black jean, A light blue T-shirt with a white sword shape in the middle, and a black leather jacket. His half long black hair was partially hidden under a dark mustard shade cap. The cap was partially shading his face, but under the shadow he had vivid brown eyes that seemed to see through everything around. His face was a bit long, but sharp, and he had what seemed to be a week old mustache and beard.

Mark wasn’t feeling well that day, he had been out the day before with some friends, and ended up drinking until down; ‘not really the smartest thing I’ve ever done’ He thought, but if it was to be repeated, he would do it gladly again. He excused himself near the end of the sermon, and quietly broke the disk without any one really noticing. A minute later he was throwing up in the church’s bathroom.

“I’ll repeat yesterday night, but totally with less booze” He said to himself out loud between two barfs.

“Wise words my friend” Said a voice from the main area of the large bathroom.

Mark took some toilet paper and wiped all remaining traces of barf from his face; it took him a little while due to the beard. then throwing the pieces in the toilet, he flushed and waited for a moment. When he was sure that the stranger was gone; he finally opened the door of his stall. He passed his head out first to check if the stranger was still there, but he saw no one. He took the time to refresh and took a few mints before leaving the bathroom. As he was walking out, a voice rose behind him.

“Feeling better?”

It was the same voice Mark heard just a moment before. He instantly turned facing it source; it was coming from Sadar Shims. The mysterious Sadar was wearing his trademark black trench coat and green fedora.

“Mr Ensis, Mark Ensis I presume. My name is Sadar Shims.”

Mark stayed silent as his eyes were quickly scanning the stranger. After a little while, he finally spoke.

“Are you here for the sermon Mr Shims?”

“Not really, I know enough about the church of the eclipse, a sermon would only be a repetition of an already acquired knowledge.” The stranger responded calmly.

“So you are not a believer?” Mark Asked.

The stranger started laughing and laughing.

“Something funny about our faith?” Mark asked innocently.

“Not at all; I am truly sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. I do believe in fact, but I do believe much much more than the teaching of the church of the eclipse alone.” The stranger apologetically responded as he stopped his laughter.

“Are you some sort of theologian?” Mark asked, suddenly invaded by a wave of curiosity.

“Some might say so, but my area of expertise is much larger!” The stranger answered.

Sadar took a little memory drive and a card similar to the ones he gave to Panchi, and offered them to Mark.

“You should look up the information on the drive, I am sure you will find them very enlightening! Once you do, you will want to recontact me, you’ll need to use the card for that effect. You will know how by then. Well, I don’t want to seem rude or anything, but I must be on my leave.” Sadar said.

Without adding a word, he quickly vanished before Mark could even notice.

Two weeks later, Mark Ensis stopped going to the church of the eclipse, and started what his father has tried to convince him to do for ages: getting enrolled at the High Institute of Quantum Physics in Geneva.

Panchi Svazada and Mark Ensis were the only disciples Master Sadar Shims ever took; their contact with the master changed their lives in ways they have never imagined…

Falcons and Foxes

Chapter 18:  Falling Sun

 

 

 

 

The sun was falling over the great city of Washington as it had so many times before. It was a warm day of summer, but with uncanny grey clouds that had covered the sky for the entire day. They only stopped filtering the Light of the solar aster when the golden disk was falling down over the horizon letting go of a strange illumination, shades of reds going from dark crimson to light pink, an explosion of warm dimmed light. The red waves of the falling sun felt on the Silver keep, the official palace of the Silver high order of the moon. On the balcony of the highest steel and glass tower; someone was leaning over the edge, lost in the vision of the dying sun. This person was the most important person on earth in that current year 202 of the Silver calendar, equivalent to 2209 A.D. She was no one else than the High Silver queen Frederica IV, the regent of human kind and the highest political authority on the planet. The wind came disturbing her silent sight by toying with her soft silky golden brown hair. It made her royal silver crown move sideways freeing short wicks of hair dyed silver; the official color of the faith and order of the moon. She didn’t really feel the disturbance of the wind as her mind was miles away from such trivial happenings. Her jade green eyes were lost in the diffusion of colors produced by the falling sun. She sighted as she was carrying the faith of the world in her shoulder, and never had this statement been so true; she had to make a very drastic decision; a decision that would change everything, everything she ever cared for, everything she really wanted to keep… She knew that that day was to come, but now that it was there, all the pressure was on her, she needed to take the final decision and go on with Project ‘Prime’. Her face got paler than it already was at this very thought. But she couldn’t let her deception leek, so she quickly managed to get control of her reaction, switching back to a wondering state. She managed to do that, but she couldn’t stop herself from frowning a little bit.

 

“Erica ! what are you still doing here?! The high council is already in the chamber of the moon, stop zoning out!” A voice said from behind her.

 

Frederica turned already knowing who’s voice it was. The person who was talking so openly and so authoritatively to the high silver queen was the High Silver Priestess Arianna, also called silver edge by some behind her back due to her very direct and very intuitive speech. Arianna was the same age as the silver queen; both of them have seen twenty springs. She was very slender, with long golden hair died silver at some extremities falling on her shoulders. Her face was a constant expression of wonder emphasized by her wide blue eyes.  Both of them have grown together when they were chosen for their future tasks as babies. The designation of the silver queen and silver priestess is random, but they are trained for their task for as long as they can remember which make them at the end the best to fill those positions.

 

Frederica tried to hide her disappointment from her friend, but she already knew it would be of no use.

 

“I needed to take some air before the meeting.” She said.

 

“You are against it right? But you know we can’t change that right?”

 

“I don’t care! I will do what I have to do…”

 

“If you say so.”

 

“I am the High Silver Queen of the Sacred order of the Moon Arianna! I can’t put my own selfish wishes before the good of our society. We have come so far since our ancestors, the great sisterhood of old have founded the hidden faith of the moon, and have sworn to  bring men down, and to put an end to their tyranny, to kill the patriarchy, and for once give us women the lead. We flew high above men with our determination, we changed the tides when the order of the moon became the center of all power on the planet. We won.”

 

“But at what cost? Men are dying out, soon enough, they won’t be any left if you don’t do what you have to do.”

 

“Don’t they deserve to disappear? After all they did to us, after thousands and thousands of years of misery!”

 

“Are you hearing yourself?! It is the only thing to do, by doing it, we will give the filthy gender the final blow, a last reminder of what they used to be and what they have become.”

 

Frederica couldn’t hold her tight control anymore, her face frowned in sadness. She whispered:

 

“But Arianna…Could I really do that to him? From all the people…”

 

“You can’t change that Erica… It hurts me as much as you, but we are the will of the people; we are the wings of the silver falcons, and it can’t fly to its right path with out us leading it where it needs to go!”

 

“It’s Sélas we are talking about Arianna. We knew him since we could remember, he has always been there for us, he rightfully serve as the Golden Paladin, our own personal knight Arianna! the person that swore an oath to protect us as long as he would live! would that even matter anymore after we take action?”

 

“Something happened recently? Right Eri? Something that I am not aware of yet.”

 

Frederica blushed, she couldn’t stop the flow of memories invading her mind; a stolen moment, a moment that she shared with the knight that she knew since they were born. A break in the thread of duty and roles, and a second of bliss. She felt like a spark going through her skin when she remembered the contact of their skins, and that kiss, that sole kiss that they had. She felt that that moment had passed like an eternity. So much hold feelings have been released through that lone kiss. She remembered his warmth as well, the fire burning inside of him as well that he always hide away. But she also remembered all the fear and the confusion. She was the Silver Queen and Sélas was her Golden Paladin, that romance could never be, she asked him to stop. She saw the surprise and the deception in his eyes for a second, but it all vanished down the dark eyes of the knight. She remembered him getting on his knee and saying that sole sentence: “For you my queen, I shall do anything.” before he completely switched back to his dutiful self.

 

Arianna looked at her friend, instinctively understanding what was going through her mind. She chose to not say anything for a moment, letting the silver queen in peace.

 

” How can somebody live as he is forever, does anyone really wants to be immortal?” The silver queen said with sorrow in her voice.

 

“That’s the price men have to pay through their last member, Sélas life will surely stop making any sense after a while…”

 

Frederica took a deep breath, before slowly whispering to her friend.

 

“There is no other way Arianna, right?”

 

“I am afraid not”

 

“We will long be dead, both me and you, and he would stay the same, trapped in this life that is not his.  He will be so alone.”

 

“I know…”

 

The sun had completely disappeared dimming the sky in darkness. The dark clouds started to fall apart letting the full disk of the moon illuminating the sky by its silver light. Frederica and Arianna looked at the astral body for a while, then they both started walking towards the room of the moon, without saying a word.

 

After the meeting was hold, the decision was taken. Sélas the golden knight was chosen to be the Last man. The superior number of female birth had led to a potential extinction of the male gender and very few specimens where remaining. Sélas was one of them, and he was to be made immortal through the genetic material of the glitch. A man who first acquired that gift in the 1960s but ended up shattering his mind in an attempt to make the world a better place. the order already found a solution for the preservation of the species through selective cloning, The last man would be the eternal bearer of the downfall of men, the eternally living symbol of the falling sun.

 

The project was to start that same night. Frederica and Arianna visited the installation as it was expected from them. As soon as she entered the room, she saw Sélas waiting their, with a confused look on his face. When he saw her entering, she glimpsed a spark in his eyes, she remembered again, but this time, she took good hold of her emotions and so did Sélas, he rose from his chair and bowed a little putting his hand in front of his heart.

 

“My Queen. It is an honor to have you visiting my humble person.”

 

He turned toward the high Priestess, and bowed again although a little less that time.

 

“Lady Arianna.”

 

“I am only fulfilling my duty. As you are my Golden Paladin, I need you to know that the high order of the moon is thankful for your contribution in the greater scheme.”

 

She felt awful saying that. He kept looking straight in her eyes as he bent his right knee to the ground and said:

 

“For you my queen, I shall do anything.”

 

He then immediately raised, bowed again to both the silver queen and the silver priestess, and turned to the door of the bloc where his life was going to be changed forever. As he opened, the door, he slightly turned crossing the sight of Frederica for a second, then disappeared closing the door behind him.

“The things we do for peace…” Frederica whispered.

 

*

 

Chapter 19: Crimson Moon

The night was falling as it was falling on the faith of men; it was a very strange night indeed, one of those night that feels odd and make you wonder if it is even night. The firmament was filled with light shades of red; a very strange sight caused by a very specific event, the crimson moon. The astral body in its full phase was hanging high in the sky with a deep shade of red, a red so strong that it gave the impression that the moon was covered in blood; a very bizarre sight indeed. The Crimson Moon was carrying the faith of the new order, it was also the trigger Sélas Prime, the last man, needed to realize the consequences of such a development.

 

The effects of Sélas’s transformation weren’t really known to the order; the only thing they were sure of is that the glitch never aged since it was first acquired in 1969. They knew that the glitch had somehow managed to shatter his mind, but they never knew how. At that point, they needed to go on with project prime, they needed a reminder of the age of men, and what men have pushed them through; it was irrelevant if the human artifact was conscious or not, as long as he would be alive and maintained as such for an indefinite amount of time. They thought about using the glitch himself at some point, but his grotesque and frail appearance wasn’t showing the kind of men that really made the life of women miserable through the ages. They ended up deciding that the best would be to choose someone that would be more fitting for the image, but they needed him to be obedient and docile, Somebody that would blindly jump from a cliff if told so by the order. It is for that reason that position of Golden Knight has been created; as a precaution in case the project was to be started, this way, they could have the perfect guinea pig for their little experience.

 

Sélas was no longer the man he used to be; Even if the process of making him the last man didn’t change much in his physic, it changed something very deep within. His mind wasn’t the same after the experience; he didn’t realize it directly, it took him almost a full month to realize what was going on. The way he got to know wasn’t trivial; it affected him very deeply on an emotional level.

 

Sélas took back his position as Golden Knight a week after the experiment; just enough time for the Bio Scientist of the Order to check the success of the experiment. They noticed gladly that the process have changed Sélas DNA, adding bits of information into his genetic code that they knew were responsible for the Glitch’s Immortality. The Bio Scientists have done countless tests before this human test, and they were glad to see that the results were positive. Sélas on the other hand was feeling grim; He has hoped all along for the experiment to fail. He wasn’t a fool, and he knew what his new status would imply. During the week he was given to rest, his thoughts were entirely directed at Frederica, or as he used to call her when they were kids: Eri. He always liked Eri, as long as he could remember, and that faithful day… His mind was a war zone.  He still nourished foolish hopes for him and Eri, after all, he was her Knight! He swore an Oath to serve and protect her, and he thought that maybe, they could be more. After all, didn’t they have a moment of bliss? Why couldn’t they have more of those? But he knew that it was over, the moment he closed the door behind him to become the last man. Even if they were to be together, he could only make her feel bad, staying young forever while she would grow older. He would gladly stay by her side until her last moment, and love her as he did from the first day. But she wouldn’t be happy… She would start to hate herself first, then him… Sélas’s mind was leading him in a way, while his heart was leading him in the opposite direction, leaving him torn in the middle.

 

After his week of rest, Sélas wore once again his shiny gold armor. He looked in the mirror of his room at the Sigil on his chest-plate; a sleeping fox in the middle of a sun. Sélas laughed nervously at the irony of the vision, but he was scared more than anything. He didn’t knew what would happen when his eyes would fall upon Eri’s as he still didn’t find a way out of his conundrum. He sighted cursing destiny that have put him in such a tough spot. Taking a deep breath, He left his quarters to go to the Silver Keep. On his way to the glass tower, he met a fellow knight of the order; Fabian Tarl. Fabian Tarl was working as the Paladin of the high council, and both Knights only had respect for each other. He also met Arianna, the High Priestess of the Moon. For Arianna he always had respect, he knew that she was way smarter than him or Eri, and that she knew exactly what she was doing. He would blindly follow her into a pit, as he would know that she knows where the exit is.

 

Sélas finally got to the encounter he had feared for so long, Eri was at her throne room at the very center of the Silver keep, on the last level of the glass Tower.  She was magnificent in her Silver Dress, and her royal paraphernalia. After a few steps, He faced the Queen and putting his right hand on his heart, he knelt. Showing respect, he kept his eyes on the ground.

 

“I am back at your service my lady, I hope my absence wasn’t too much of a bother.”

 

“You may rise, Golden Knight. It is a delight to see you on my side again; how are you feeling?”

 

The words were warm, but Sélas couldn’t think out anything from them to put an end to his dilemma. He rose as he was asked, and finally crossed the sight of Eri. His heart skipped a beat when the jade of her eyes took the center of his vision. Nothing have changed, or so he assumed.

 

A week passed after this first encounter, a week of during which the Golden Knight couldn’t sleep much. His desire toward the Silver Queen was growing more and more, and he couldn’t think about anything else than kissing her, holding her in his arms, be one with her again… during the last day of the week it, end up happening. The Golden Knight found himself alone with the Silver Queen; she requested from him to keep her company during her evening readings. The Golden Knight felt his stress rising as much as his desire; he remembered the previous kiss and the passion he felt. He loved Eri, and couldn’t do without her, no matter what he could think, and he felt that she might still love him.

 

The Queen cut her finger with a page, letting go of a small cry of pain.

 

“Are you hurt my lady?” He said, moving toward her.

 

“It’s alright, just a little paper cut.” She said, laughing nervously a little.

 

The knight reached for a first aid kit as he approached the queen. He bent on his knees, and took her hand, then getting her finger towards his mouth, he sucked the dropping blood, before putting a small nearly invisible bandage on it.

 

“I know when you’re hurt Eri, don’t act like I don’t.” He said those words without thinking. It was against the protocol, he shouldn’t…

 

“You always do Sélas…” The silver queen responded.

 

Sélas raised his head, crossing the sight of the Silver Queen; then, he felt surprise to see that his face was moving toward hers. When his face got as close as a few centimeters from hers, she started moving hers as well. In a fraction, they initiated the kiss that they have waited for so long. It was like a firework in the Golden Knight’s mind, all those feelings, all those sensations. But as the Knight was exploring the kiss, the silver queen stopped it.

 

“Sélas we shouldn’t…” She said with deep regret in her beautiful eyes.

 

“I…I am so sorry my lady” Started Sélas who felt he did a mistake. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I only couldn’t bear those feelings no more, and I thought that maybe they weren’t one sided. I present you my deepest apologies.”

 

“Don’t apologize Sélas. Your feelings are not completely one sided, but we shouldn’t go on like this at this moment and place. We can’t let anybody know. We will have a moment at some point, maybe the last one of those I’m afraid… But not just now, I will let you know. Now can you please patrol around to make sure no one saw us?”

 

Sélas got back on his feet, and bowed a little.

 

“As you wish my lady.”

 

Two week passed without the Silver Queen giving any notice to Sélas about their alleged last moment. The Golden Knight couldn’t stand it anymore, he was burning with passion for the queen and thought that he would be able to change her mind, to show her that they could still be together, that they would find a way out of this paradox. He waited for her reading time at the end of those two weeks, and made sure no one would disturb. He then walked toward the reading room, but as he was about to get into the corridor, he heard the door of the room opening. Sélas stopped his progression, and stayed silent in the shade. He saw Fabian, the Bronze Knight walking out of the room, and as he got completely out of the door’s frame, he saw a hand still holding his; the hand of the Silver Queen…

 

Sélas turned on his feet, and walked the other way, trying to keep his emotions in check. He felt his mind about to explode, and walked faster, not bothering about the people walking his way anymore. After a moment, He found himself standing in the middle of the royal gardens; the sun was falling, and no one was to be seen around. He stayed there, looking at the sky, until the last rays of the sun vanished, leaving the field for the Crimson Moon. The Knight focused all his attention on the astral body, trying to find something to think, anything. Then it finally started; what the order of the moon didn’t take in consideration: The Gift. In the case of Sélas, the Gift take form of Clarity. His mind stopped turning in circles and for a second, he was completely calm. Then his thought swapped and took place in an orderly matter. Everything finally started to make sense to him; his desires for the Silver queen were selfish and self centered. He understood that she couldn’t go through such a difficult relationship, that it will destroy her. She chose Fabian because he was a more realistic choice, a choice that she would be happy on the long term with. He felt all his emotions calming down, while his mind started to function faster, and better than it ever did. He kept looking at the Crimson Moon, and soon understood something bigger than his own ordeal. The faith of humanity was in danger. He was soon to be the very last man, but if men were to completely disappear, if only one gender stayed; chaos will soon ensue, and the end of humanity might be close. He figured out a plan, and was surprise to see himself taking action to achieve it.

 

Sélas only stopped when he got to the facility he was made immortal in. He cracked the security code with an ease he wasn’t even aware of, and after a few steps, he accessed a room that he had glimpsed during his previous visit to the facility. The door was made of steel and was protected by a password system, it only took him one attempt to open it. As he expected, still no security camera; he knew that the order believed in privacy and trusted locks more than electronic eyes. Inside, He found one glass pod, with a person sleeping in it. He checked the vital signs, and deducted what to do to open the pod. even after the machine was stopped, the person inside was still unconscious. ‘Of course he would’ Sélas thought ‘The glitch shattered his mind in 1969 during the moon landing.’ Sélas put his hand on the Glitch’s forehead, closing his eyes. As he did that, he started seeing what was wrong with the Glitch’s mind, and in a way knew what to do to fix it. When Sélas took his hand off him, the glitch Opened his eyes. He looked at Sélas for a moment before talking.

 

“I didn’t know I slept for that long; 240 years! That is truly a lot. My real name is Simon, not the Glitch, just so you know, and you are the Golden Knight: Sélas prime right? Man did I miss a lot of stuff!”

 

The discourse of Simon was quite bizarre, but weirdly enough, Sélas was understanding it.

 

“We must move, things are going in a very wrong way, and I need your assistance.” The Golden Knight said.

 

“I know, I also know that you know. And yes! We should definitely move out of here. but I like your idea!” Simon responded.

 

“It is the only possible path, no more falcons or foxes, no more faith of the sun or the moon. The only thing that could work is the Eclipse…”

 

The End

Chapter 19: Crimson Moon

The night was falling as it was falling on the faith of men; it was a very strange night indeed, one of those night that feels odd and make you wonder if it is even night. The firmament was filled with light shades of red; a very strange sight caused by a very specific event, the crimson moon. The astral body in its full phase was hanging high in the sky with a deep shade of red, a red so strong that it gave the impression that the moon was covered in blood; a very bizarre sight indeed. The Crimson Moon was carrying the faith of the new order, it was also the trigger Sélas Prime, the last man, needed to realize the consequences of such a development.

The effects of Sélas’s  transformation weren’t really known to the order; the only thing they were sure of is that the glitch never aged since it was first acquired in 1969. They knew that the glitch had somehow managed to shatter his mind, but they never knew how. At that point, they needed to go on with project prime, they needed a reminder of the age of men, and what men have pushed them through; it was irrelevant if the human artifact was conscious or not, as long as he would be alive and maintained as such for an indefinite amount of time. They thought about using the glitch himself at some point, but his grotesque and frail appearance wasn’t showing the kind of men that really made the life of women miserable through the ages. They ended up deciding that the best would be to choose someone that would be more fitting for the image, but they needed him to be obedient and docile, Somebody that would blindly jump from a cliff if told so by the order. It is for that reason that position of Golden Knight has been created; as a precaution in case the project was to be started, this way, they could have the perfect guinea pig for their little experience.

Sélas was no longer the man he used to be; Even if the process of making him the last man didn’t change much in his physic, it changed something very deep within. His mind wasn’t the same after the experience; he didn’t realize it directly, it took him almost a full month to realize what was going on. The way he got to know wasn’t trivial, it affected him very deeply on an emotional level.

Sélas took back his position as Golden Knight a week after the experiment; just enough time for the Bio Scientist of the Order to check the success of the experiment. They noticed gladly that the process have changed Sélas DNA, adding bits of information into his genetic code that they knew were responsible for the Glitch’s Immortality. The Bio Scientist have done countless tests before this human test, and they were glad to see that the results were positive. Sélas on the other hand was feeling grim; He have hoped all along for the experiment to fail. He wasn’t a fool, and he knew what his new status would imply. During the week he was given to rest, his thoughts were entirely directed at Frederica, or as he used to call her when they were kids: Eri. He always like Eri, as long as he could remember, and that faithful day… His mind was a war zone.  He still nourished foolish hopes for him and Eri, after all, he was her Knight! He swore an Oath to serve and protect her, and he thought that maybe, they could be more. After all, didn’t they have a moment of bliss? Why couldn’t they have more of those? But he knew that it was over, the moment he closed the door behind him to become the last man. Even if they were to be together, he could only make her feel bad, staying young forever while she would grow older. He would gladly stay by her side until her last moment, and love her as he did from the first day. But she wouldn’t be happy… She would start to hate herself first, then him… Sélas’s mind was leading him in a way, while his heart was leading him in the opposite direction, leaving him torn in the middle.

After his week of rest, Sélas wore once again his shiny gold armor. He looked in the mirror of his room at the Sigil on his chest-plate; a sleeping fox in the middle of a sun. Sélas laughed nervously at the irony of the vision, but he was scared more than anything. He didn’t knew what would happen when his eyes would fall upon Eri’s as he still didn’t find a way out of his conundrum. He sighted cursing destiny that have put him in such a tough spot. Taking a deep breath, He left his quarters to go to the Silver Keep. On his way to the glass tower, he met a fellow knight of the order; Fabian Tarl. Fabian Tarl was working as the Paladin of the high council, and both Knights only had respect for each other. He also met Arianna, the High Priestess of the Moon. For Arianna he always had respect, he knew that she was way smarter than him or Eri, and that she knew exactly what she was doing. He would blindly follow her into a pit, as he would know that she knows where the exit is.

Sélas finally got to the encounter he had feared for so long, Eri was at her throne room at the very center of the Silver keep, on the last level of the glass Tower.  She was magnificent in her Silver Dress, and her royal paraphernalia. After a few steps, He faced the Queen and putting his right hand on his heart, he knelt. Showing respect, he kept his eyes on the ground.

“I am back at your service my lady, I hope my absence wasn’t too much of a bother.”

“You may rise, Golden Knight. It is a delight to see you on my side again; how are you feeling?”

The words were warm, but Sélas couldn’t think out anything from them to put an end to his dilemma. He rose as he was asked, and finally crossed the sight of Eri. His heart skipped a beat when the jade of her eyes took the center of his vision. Nothing have changed, or so he assumed.

A week passed after this first encounter, a week of during which the Golden Knight couldn’t sleep much. His desire toward the Silver Queen was growing more and more, and he couldn’t think about anything else than kissing her, holding her in his arms, be one with her again… during the last day of the week it, end up happening. The Golden Knight found himself alone with the Silver Queen; she requested from him to keep her company during her evening readings. The Golden Knight felt his stress rising as much as his desire; he remembered the previous kiss and the passion he felt. He loved Eri, and couldn’t do without her, no matter what he could think, and he felt that she might still love him.

The Queen cut her finger with a page, letting go of a small cry of pain.

“Are you hurt my lady?” He said, moving toward her.

“It’s alright, just a little paper cut.” She said, laughing nervously a little.

The knight reached for a first aid kit as he approached the queen. He bent on his knees, and took her hand, then getting her finger towards his mouth, he sucked the dropping blood, before putting a small nearly invisible bandage on it.

“I know when you’re hurt Eri, don’t act like I don’t.” He said those words without thinking. It was against the protocol, he shouldn’t…

“You always do Sélas…” The silver queen responded.

Sélas raised his head, crossing the sight of the Silver Queen; then, he felt surprise to see that his face was moving toward hers. When his face got as close as a few centimeters from hers, she started moving hers as well. In a fraction, they initiated the kiss that they have waited for so long. It was like a firework in the Golden Knight’s mind, all those feelings, all those sensations. But as the Knight was exploring the kiss, the silver queen stopped it.

“Sélas we shouldn’t…” She said with deep regret in her beautiful eyes.

“I…I am so sorry my lady” Started Sélas who felt he did a mistake. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I only couldn’t bear those feelings no more, and I thought that maybe they weren’t one sided. I present you my deepest apologies.”

“Don’t apologize Sélas. Your feelings are not completely one sided, but we shouldn’t go on like this at this moment and place. We can’t let anybody know. We will have a moment at some point, maybe the last one of those I’m afraid… But not just now, I will let you know. Now can you please patrol around to make sure no one saw us?”

Sélas got back on his feet, and bowed a little.

“As you wish my lady.”

Two week passed without the Silver Queen giving any notice to Sélas about their alleged last moment. The Golden Knight couldn’t stand it anymore, he was burning with passion for the queen and thought that he would be able to change her mind, to show her that they could still be together, that they would find a way out of this paradox. He waited for her reading time at the end of those two weeks, and made sure no one would disturb. He then walked toward the reading room, but as he was about to get into the corridor, he heard the door of the room opening. Sélas stopped his progression, and stayed silent in the shade. He saw Fabian, the Bronze Knight walking out of the room, and as he got completely out of the door’s frame, he saw a hand still holding his; the hand of the Silver Queen…

Sélas turned on his feet, and walked the other way, trying to keep his emotions in check. He felt his mind about to explode, and walked faster, not bothering about the people walking his way anymore. After a moment, He found himself standing in the middle of the royal gardens; the sun was falling, and no one was to be seen around. He stayed there, looking at the sky, until the last rays of the sun vanished, leaving the field for the Crimson Moon. The Knight focused all his attention on the astral body, trying to find something to think, anything. Then it finally started; what the order of the moon didn’t take in consideration: The Gift. In the case of Sélas, the Gift take form of Clarity. His mind stopped turning in circles and for a second, he was completely calm. Then his thought swapped and took place in an orderly matter. Everything finally started to make sense to him; his desires for the Silver queen were selfish and self centered. He understood that she couldn’t go through such a difficult relationship, that it will destroy her. She chose Fabian because he was a more realistic choice, a choice that she would be happy on the long term with. He felt all his emotions calming down, while his mind started to function faster, and better than it ever did. He kept looking at the Crimson Moon, and soon understood something bigger than his own ordeal. The faith of humanity was in danger. He was soon to be the very last man, but if men were to completely disappear, if only one gender stayed; chaos will soon ensue, and the end of humanity might be close. He figured out a plan, and was surprise to see himself taking action to achieve it.

Sélas only stopped when he got to the facility he was made immortal in. He cracked the security code with an ease he wasn’t even aware of, and after a few steps, he accessed a room that he had glimpsed during his previous visit to the facility. The door was made of steel and was protected by a password system, it only took him one attempt to open it. As he expected, still no security camera; he knew that the order believed in privacy and trusted locks more than electronic eyes. Inside, He found one glass pod, with a person sleeping in it. He checked the vital signs, and deducted what to do to open the pod. even after the machine was stopped, the person inside was still unconscious. ‘Of course he would’ Sélas thought ‘The glitch shattered his mind in 1969 during the moon landing.’ Sélas put his hand on the Glitch’s forehead, closing his eyes. As he did that, he started seeing what was wrong with the Glitch’s mind, and in a way knew what to do to fix it. When Sélas took his hand off him, the glitch Opened his eyes. He looked at Sélas for a moment before talking.

“I didn’t know I slept for that long; 240 years! That is truly a lot. My real name is Simon, not the Glitch, just so you know, and you are the Golden Knight: Sélas prime right? Man did I miss a lot of stuff!”

The discourse of Simon was quite bizarre, but weirdly enough, Sélas was understanding it.

“We must move, things are going in a very wrong way, and I need your assistance.” The Golden Knight said.

“I know, I also know that you know. And yes! We should definitely move out of here. but I like your idea!” Simon responded.

“It is the only possible path, no more falcons or foxes, no more faith of the sun or the moon. The only thing that could work is the Eclipse…”

Chapter 18: Falling Sun

The sun was falling over the great city of Washington as it had so many times before. It was a warm day of summer, but with uncanny grey clouds that had covered the sky for the entire day. They only stopped filtering the Light of the solar aster when the golden disk was falling down over the horizon letting go of a strange illumination, shades of reds going from dark crimson to light pink, an explosion of warm dimmed light. The red waves of the falling sun felt on the Silver keep, the official palace of the Silver high order of the moon. On the balcony of the highest steel and glass tower; someone was leaning over the edge, lost in the vision of the dying sun. This person was the most important person on earth in that current year 202 of the Silver calendar, equivalent to 2209 A.D. She was no one else than the High Silver queen Frederica IV, the regent of human kind and the highest political authority on the planet. The wind came disturbing her silent sight by toying with her soft silky golden brown hair. It made her royal silver crown move sideways freeing short wicks of hair dyed silver; the official color of the faith and order of the moon. She didn’t really feel the disturbance of the wind as her mind was miles away from such trivial happenings. Her jade green eyes were lost in the diffusion of colors produced by the falling sun. She sighted as she was carrying the faith of the world in her shoulder, and never had this statement been so true; she had to make a very drastic decision; a decision that would change everything, everything she ever cared for, everything she really wanted to keep… She knew that that day was to come, but now that it was there, all the pressure was on her, she needed to take the final decision and go on with Project ‘Prime’. Her face got paler than it already was at this very thought. But she couldn’t let her deception leek, so she quickly managed to get control of her reaction, switching back to a wondering state. She managed to do that, but she couldn’t stop herself from frowning a little bit.

“Erica ! what are you still doing here?! The high council is already in the chamber of the moon, stop zoning out!” A voice said from behind her.

Frederica turned already knowing who’s voice it was. The person who was talking so openly and so authoritatively to the high silver queen was the High Silver Priestess Arianna, also called silver edge by some behind her back due to her very direct and very intuitive speech. Arianna was the same age as the silver queen; both of them have seen twenty springs. She was very slender, with long golden hair died silver at some extremities falling on her shoulders. Her face was a constant expression of wonder emphasized by her wide blue eyes.  Both of them have grown together when they were chosen for their future tasks as babies. The designation of the silver queen and silver priestess is random, but they are trained for their task for as long as they can remember which make them at the end the best to fill those positions.

Frederica tried to hide her disappointment from her friend, but she already knew it would be of no use.

“I needed to take some air before the meeting.” She said.

“You are against it right? But you know we can’t change that right?”

“I don’t care! I will do what I have to do…”

“If you say so.”

“I am the High Silver Queen of the Sacred order of the Moon Arianna! I can’t put my own selfish wishes before the good of our society. We have come so far since our ancestors, the great sisterhood of old have founded the hidden faith of the moon, and have sworn to  bring men down, and to put an end to their tyranny, to kill the patriarchy, and for once give us women the lead. We flew high above men with our determination, we changed the tides when the order of the moon became the center of all power on the planet. We won.”

“But at what cost? Men are dying out, soon enough, they won’t be any left if you don’t do what you have to do.”

“Don’t they deserve to disappear? After all they did to us, after thousands and thousands of years of misery!”

“Are you hearing yourself?! It is the only thing to do, by doing it, we will give the filthy gender the final blow, a last reminder of what they used to be and what they have become.”

Frederica couldn’t hold her tight control anymore, her face frowned in sadness. She whispered:

“But Arianna…Could I really do that to him? From all the people…”

“You can’t change that Erica… It hurts me as much as you, but we are the will of the people; we are the wings of the silver falcons, and it can’t fly to its right path with out us leading it where it needs to go!”

“It’s Sélas we are talking about Arianna. We knew him since we could remember, he has always been there for us, he rightfully serve as the Golden Paladin, our own personal knight Arianna! the person that swore an oath to protect us as long as he would live! would that even matter anymore after we take action?”

“Something happened recently? Right Eri? Something that I am not aware of yet.”

Frederica blushed, she couldn’t stop the flow of memories invading her mind; a stolen moment, a moment that she shared with the knight that she knew since they were born. A break in the thread of duty and roles, and a second of bliss. She felt like a spark going through her skin when she remembered the contact of their skins, and that kiss, that sole kiss that they had. She felt that that moment had passed like an eternity. So much hold feelings have been released through that lone kiss. She remembered his warmth as well, the fire burning inside of him as well that he always hide away. But she also remembered all the fear and the confusion. She was the Silver Queen and Sélas was her Golden Paladin, that romance could never be, she asked him to stop. She saw the surprise and the deception in his eyes for a second, but it all vanished down the dark eyes of the knight. She remembered him getting on his knee and saying that sole sentence: “For you my queen, I shall do anything.” before he completely switched back to his dutiful self.

Arianna looked at her friend, instinctively understanding what was going through her mind. She chose to not say anything for a moment, letting the silver queen in peace.

” How can somebody live as he is forever, does anyone really wants to be immortal?” The silver queen said with sorrow in her voice.

“That’s the price men have to pay through their last member, Sélas life will surely stop making any sense after a while…”

Frederica took a deep breath, before slowly whispering to her friend.

“There is no other way Arianna, right?”

“I am afraid not”

“We will long be dead, both me and you, and he would stay the same, trapped in this life that is not his.  He will be so alone.”

“I know…”

The sun had completely disappeared dimming the sky in darkness. The dark clouds started to fall apart letting the full disk of the moon illuminating the sky by its silver light. Frederica and Arianna looked at the astral body for a while, then they both started walking towards the room of the moon, without saying a word.

After the meeting was hold, the decision was taken. Sélas the golden knight was chosen to be the Last man. The superior number of female birth had led to a potential extinction of the male gender and very few specimens where remaining. Sélas was one of them, and he was to be made immortal through the genetic material of the glitch. A man who first acquired that gift in the 1960s but ended up shattering his mind in an attempt to make the world a better place. the order already found a solution for the preservation of the species through selective cloning, The last man would be the eternal bearer of the downfall of men, the eternally living symbol of the falling sun.

The project was to start that same night. Frederica and Arianna visited the installation as it was expected from them. As soon as she entered the room, she saw Sélas waiting their, with a confused look on his face. When he saw her entering, she glimpsed a spark in his eyes, she remembered again, but this time, she took good hold of her emotions and so did Sélas, he rose from his chair and bowed a little putting his hand in front of his heart.

“My Queen. It is an honor to have you visiting my humble person.”

He turned toward the high Priestess, and bowed again although a little less that time.

“Lady Arianna.”

“I am only fulfilling my duty. As you are my Golden Paladin, I need you to know that the high order of the moon is thankful for your contribution in the greater scheme.”

She felt awful saying that. He kept looking straight in her eyes as he bent his right knee to the ground and said:

“For you my queen, I shall do anything.”

He then immediately raised, bowed again to both the silver queen and the silver priestess, and turned to the door of the bloc where his life was going to be changed forever. As he opened, the door, he slightly turned crossing the sight of Frederica for a second, then disappeared closing the door behind him.

“The things we do for peace…” Frederica whispered.

Empathy

Chapter 15: The Gift

Most people tend to think that the world we live in is dull, and lacks true power. We are conditioned to think that we are limited as humans in the things we can achieve. It was not always the case; time is a complicated structure, and in a way, what we see of it is only a fragment of its true potential. Our Earth was not always as it is now; there have been a time when Earth was much different, when people could do wonders and even go through the stream of time itself! But that world is no more. That world died with the return of the silence, and so much have been undone to give earth a chance to keep existing. Our world is the product of that undoing; a desperate attempt to conceal the upcoming doom, and the sealing of the symphony of time avoiding any mingling with the flow of things.

It is wrong to think that our world never knew anything out of the ordinary. Incredible things happen everywhere, in the less expected places and to the less expected people. One of those incredible events happened through the person of Simon Dice, a small and skinny little man born in a poor neighborhood of the suburbs of Los Angeles the 20th July 1950. Simon was not really the type of person that could shine anywhere. His physic has always been scarce, and he always gave the impression that he was about to fall from starvation. He was from Spanish lineage, but the only thing he got from that was a tanned skin and black eyes. As soon as he reached the age of 13, he started loosing his hair and decided to shave what was remaining of his brownish tangled hair. Simon had a respiratory condition that made any big effort a source of great pain and shortness of breath. He was also subject to epilepsy and had very strong convulsions if he forgot to take his pills on time. In a way, Simon was roughly treated by life. Most people avoided him, and the ones that acknowledged him never failed to remember him of how pitiful his condition was, and not in a sympathetic way. He was picked on all the time, and was the default scapegoat and punchbag of everybody. In a weird way, he tolerated harassment way more than disgust or complete ignorance as he felt that in some sort of way he belonged somewhere.

Simon’s life changed forever the 6th may 1968. It started as every Monday, a basic class day in the community college that he recently got enrolled in. For once, he didn’t really got that much made fun of. Something pleasant even happened. Sarah Grey, another freshman that was with him in the American Literature class came to talk to him. She was really pretty, way too pretty for him. For first, she was taller than him. She was blonde with very long hair, and deep blue eyes, the very image of the perfect women in the collective unconsciousness built up by years and years of stereotyping. She was the woman for whom any guy would have fall, and Simon was no exception.

“You are Simon, right? I am Sarah, Sarah Grey. We are both in American Literature with Mr. Hardy! I noticed that you are always on your own, but there is no reason for that! You should hang out with us sometime, we can discuss literature then and many other things; what do you think?”

Simon was chocked, nobody before have ever talked like that to him. More than that, she wanted to see him more, was it possible that they could be friend, or dare he think, even more? He tried to reply:

“I… I would… love to…. But, why me?… And why now…?” He struggled to say.

“Well, life is short, and I tend to think that people can be way more interesting than they let think. So, I’ll see you tomorrow evening, 3.30 pm, let’s meet at the campus store, then we’ll see where to go from there!” She said with a beautiful smile.

Before Simon could say anything, she was already away. For the first time in his life, he had a date! He was ecstatic, it took him a little moment to process this new information. For once, Simon was truly happy.

As he was thinking that everything was great, Simon was pushed back to reality. Simon was on his way back when he passed a bunch of skinheads gathered around a poor Mexican boy and hitting him while swearing racist slogans. Simon walked the other way, and tried to avoid eye contact with them. He thought he passed them without them noticing, but as soon as he walked few steps away, one of them screamed to the others:

“Hey! Another shit head from Mexico! Get him!”

Simon started running, but he knew that he couldn’t hold much longer so he decided to go for the forest, thinking that they will lose his trail pretty quick. Simon was so carried away by running, that he failed to see a whole in the ground cover with leafs and branches. As he walked on it, he felt in a deep cavern. He thought that the fall will never end. Like falling in a dream, everything was so slow, and for a very brief moment, light like he had never saw, then nothing, a total fade to black.

Simon woke up flooded with sweat, and his heart beating like crazy, he quickly reached for his inhaler to regain his breath. He felt a huge headache as he was getting back his calm. The last thing he could remember was him falling in that cavern, and he was suddenly there. He looked at the time, 6.30 pm, those things happened an hour ago. He couldn’t recall how he managed to get back to his dorm room and fall asleep. One thing was still bright in his memory, the vision of light. His roommate entered at that moment, as soon as he entered the room, Simon felt something strange, like an emotion that felt directly from the sky; a sort of deep sorrow accompanied by a huge shame. Simon also heard words. ‘It was not a good idea to do that, I might love him, but I shouldn’t do those things. I will rot in hell for that. My god, why did I fall in love with Brad Garrison? What is wrong with me?’

“Hey dude, how was your day? Mine was amazing; I landed a major babe downtown. An amazing day I tell you.”

“What was that?”

“What was what? I just told you about my amazing day and that’s all you gotta say Simon! I shouldn’t have hoped for more from you, you half witted imp!”

“What’s going on with Brad Garrison?” Simon asked to see if what he heard made any sense.

“Who is that Brad Garrison?”

Simon felt a new emotion, fear and panic. ‘Oh my god, he knows! What should I do? I should just keep on denying any knowledge about brad! Even if he knows anything, who is going to believe Simon, nobody cares about fucking Simon. He is just a worthless piece of shit and everybody knows that, even him.’

“Sorry, I need to take some air.” Simon said without waiting for an answer from his roommate.

Simon was in shock, he didn’t really understood what just happened. It was like his mind was invaded by the feelings and thoughts of his roommate. And how unexpected were those thoughts and feelings; he always saw his roommate as a basic bully, a senseless womanizer. How unexpected and how out of character were those thoughts. Simon didn’t really had anything against such things, he believed that everybody should be free to love whoever they want, but it never occurred to him that under that coat of roughness his roommate could be involved in such a relationship. Simon was still confused if those thoughts were even real, or just his mind going insane. Simon left the room, happy to see that the corridor was empty. He felt good to only hear his internal voice in his mind and his own emotions. Simon thought that he was over that weird happening, but as he was regaining his calm, he felt a similar emotional aggression way stronger this time; it was a mix of contradictory feelings, joy and sorrow, excitement and boredom, envy and hate; so much at once. Simon saw a group of people walking next to him; they were seven; three boys and four girls. As they approached, he started hearing voices.’…What should I do tomorrow…I wish he likes me, I don’t care if he’s engaged…I must throw the gun away as soon as possible…nobody should know about the money…’

Simon felt intense pain as they were approaching, everything was blurring in his mind, the emotions and voices didn’t make any sense anymore. It needed to stop, and it needed to stop quick. Simon pushed himself to ignore the pain, and started running, as he was fleeing from that group, he stumbled upon more people which lead to more blurry mind input. Finally he reached the outside where he managed to find a quite place where nobody would bother him. He took a moment to enjoy the silence in his mind before thinking about all that. He couldn’t deny the obvious anymore, not after all this pain, and all those words and feelings. He was able to feel others’ emotions and in a way read their mind, a sort of literal empathy. But what was the cause of that; he couldn’t really see what would have triggered such ability. It took him a moment to link this new gift with his fall in the cavern, and the light he saw. Maybe that light changed something deep inside him, and made the minds and feelings of others accessible to him.

*

Chapter 16: Diving in the Abyss

It is truly marvelous to witness the change that can occur in a person when something radically changes in their lives. So was the case for Simon Dice as well as being able to feel and hear the emotions and thoughts of others changed his very core. Before that event, Simon was so focused on his own misery that he eventually created a barrier; separating himself from the others. After all, it’s not like the others were eager to have him in his life, the only exception was Sarah Grey, or so did he think for a moment. But once he received the gift, all of this changed completely. The impact of the gift on Simon was complex and evolving; Simon went through six different stages in his relation with the gift.

The first stage started as soon as he received it. It was a strong and unpleasant part of his experience with empathy as he wasn’t able to control the flow of new input he was receiving from the people around him. The first experience of empathy he had was with his roommate as he saw a new facet of him that he would have never guessed. Simon had to leave to an empty space in order to stop the pain of the first links. He was saturated with way too much new information, and as soon as he got back his calm, the first thing that he could think about was that the whole phenomenon was just the product of his mind going insane; however, he ended up linking those happenings to his fall in the cavern, and the visions of light he had.

It took Simon quite a while to adapt to this new ability, but it was all the way worth it. He was able to stop the input to only one at the time, but he was still unable to silence it completely. The first instinct of Simon was to deny the obvious. After denying the very existence of the gift by simply linking it to his mind going crazy, Simon also denied the need for him to have such a gift. The only thing he wanted to do was to get rid of it. He tried as hard as he could, but he could never stop it completely. He tried to research similar cases, but the only leads he had were scams, and people searching for attention or scam opportunities, even the gift that he was trying to get rid of was pointing to that.

Simon entered the second phase of his empathy cycle as a result of a very specific event. He was still not really convinced that his gift was real, but everything became clear to him again when he experienced empathy with Sarah Grey.  A few days after the cavern incident, he run into her at school. Beautiful Sarah Grey with her long blond hair shining like the sun, and her deep blue eyes in which he felt he could drawn. Simon new that the gift will take effect as soon as she would be close, he saw her coming toward him, and try to avoid any eye contact, praying to get away before it starts again. He wanted to keep the image of beauty that he had of this girl, and through his recent experiences with the gift, he noticed that it tended to give him very contradictory insight with what was displayed. He walked a few meters before she distinctly called him:

“Simon! Wait for me!” She screamed from across the corridor.

In a blink of an eye, she was already next to him. The first thing that Simon felt was happiness, but a very light happiness, almost forced. Then came a hint of Shame, she was ashamed to be seen with him! Another feeling was there as well; confidence, confidence that she could do with the shame as soon as she could get to her goal, thinking about that made a new emotion rise; satisfaction. She knew that everything was going her way. As she was looking at him, he felt a peek of disgust reeking. ‘My God Sarah! What are you doing?! Is passing American literature that important for you! What will everybody think seeing me hanging around with this freak? They will think there is something going on between us I guess. Bunch of snakes and bitches! As if I could get that low! No fucking way! Just Smile Sarah, Smile and play nice, and he will totally be your dog.’

Simon was chocked. He sure had no big hopes for what she thought of him, but judging how she talked to him the last time, he wanted to believe that for once, he had met someone different; someone that saw beyond his grotesque appearance and his very low status among his equals.

“Simon! You are so pale! Is something wrong?” She said showing genuine concern on her face; however, what Simon was receiving was quite different.

Simon felt more disgust, and a beginning of impatience, then a fast pasted wondering before a sort of epiphany. ‘Shit, his pulling a broken thing one with me; Fuck! What should I do? He might be suspecting something. But how could he? Nobody knows about this. I should lead him on for now I guess. Motivate him to get down to business; should be a piece of cake.

“You know I’m worried sick about you!” She said while frowning in a cute and somehow suggestive way.” What about walking a little! Some air will do you good, and I hope my company would as well.” She concluded smiling at him.

“Do you think anything of what you just said?” Simon asked looking her directly in the eyes. “Any word at all?”

He felt fear rising, as well as confusion and anger. ‘How could this fucker doubt my words?! Isn’t he fucking happy I’m even talking to him?! What is wrong with this guy?!”

“What do you mean? Of course I mean all of what I just said.” She said in an innocent voice giving him a ‘I am not guilty’ frowning face.

She got closer to him and held his right hand while looking at him and smiling.

“I am not your enemy, you know? I just want to be your friend.” She said turning her eyes away and blushing a little bit.

He felt a rise in confidence and satisfaction. ‘No way he is not falling for this!’

Simon looked her in the eyes, trying to push himself to believe that what he was thinking was wrong. He kept starring at her for a moment, then in the moment of a heartbeat; he reached for her, and kissed her. For a moment he felt no empathy input, just that moment frozen in time. But before he realized, the moment was over, the empathy stroke back stronger than ever; a strong mixture of feelings and words that he couldn’t really decipher.  He felt a strong force pushing him away. The face of Sarah Grey was no more cute or attractive, it was pure rage. Her pale beautiful face was red and torn in anger. Her pupils were so dilated that the blue of her eyes were only two tiny rings circling two big black discs.

“GET AWAY FROM ME YOU FREAK! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! WHY COULDN’T YOU JUST BE LIKE THE OTHERS AND PLAY THE FUCKING GAME. HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT I WOULD DO ANYTHING WITH YOU, YOU SICK WEIRDO!”

The rent flood on and on, and everything Simon felt and heard raised to the surface making his doubt disappear. He runned away leaving Sarah still screaming.

“RUN AWAY YOU FUCKING COWARD. MAY YOU FUCKING DIE AND ROT YOU UGLY SHIT!”

Simon continued running until he was all by himself. He found himself in a waste land with humongous amounts of garbage of all kind. All he could feel at that moment was anger. Anger towards everything, starting by himself, then the others, then this stupid gift or bloody curse he got. He was angry because now he knew for sure how low everybody thought of him. He knew that he was not really liked, but being confronted to it in such a way was pushing him to his limits. He went on a rampage until it was too dark for him to see anything. Smashing everything he could smash around him. He felt no satisfaction in his destructive action, but kept on doing it until he couldn’t breathe normally anymore. He was torn up and feeling like shit, and he knew that he couldn’t do anything about it. Worst of all, his first kiss was a complete disaster…

It took Simon many weeks to calm down his anger and move to the next stage. After cutting himself from the contact of the others and living in seclusion for a while, he meditated about those entire events. He got to the conclusion that people didn’t like him anyway, but now that he knows what they really think and feel, he could actually help them. He started bargaining with himself, thinking of ways to positively use his gift to bring good to the world, to help others! He could help people be better by helping them reflecting about their thoughts. He decided to test this new vision on people around him, but all he got was negativity back.

“Are you calling me queer? I’ll fucking kill you!” was the response of his roommate.

“Get the fuck away from me you sick fuck! I’ll make your life hell if you ever approach me!” Sarah Grey said when he tried to apologize and explain himself.

He tried to expand his reach to people who didn’t knew him, thinking that they will be more open to his help, but they all took him for some crazy people while he tried to explain to them that he knew what was bothering them and saying he could help. It took many and many failure for Simon to fall into his fourth Stage, a stage of deep depression. In that stage, Simon got back to his solitary seclusion believing more and more that he was the wrong person for such a gift, with such power. He would have helped so many people if only he wasn’t who he was, a sore to the sight, and a walking disaster in the eyes of everyone, a reject doubled by a crazy maniac speaking nonsense about knowing what was mingling in the other’s minds and hearts.

*

Chapter 17: Global Empathy

The life of Simon Dice was quite the joke. He was trapped in the persona of an outcast that was built through years and years of rejection and bullying; he gained the gift of knowing what was going beyond his own mind, and was able to glimpse at the inner sanctuary of the others’ minds. This unlikely mix leaded Simon to the boarders of sanity. The gift by itself was overwhelming, and controlling it was never something Simon could completely achieve. What the gift did to him was to drag him through several stages through which his behavior evolved according to these new parameters. After going through denial, anger and bargaining, Simon entered the fourth stage of Depression.

The transition wasn’t really caused by one specific event, but was rather due to an accumulation of failures in trying to pursue a noble cause. Simon quickly understood that the gift he received was more important than his pathetic life and was going beyond his own pride and self-esteem. He tried to be impermeable to rudeness, insults, and physical pain as well in order to become the voice of reason, to give people an objective perspective on what was going on in their mind. But of course, he was reminded all and every time that he wasn’t fit to judge if people needed to be help or not.

Simon was trying to resist the urge to stop doing what he was doing for quite a while before effectively retiring from the public sphere. The boy was sick and tired by the flow that he continuously received for almost a year, and for a whole month, he locked himself in a remote place in the surroundings of L.A. The first days were the hardest as Simon was continuously tortured by his flow of thought leaving him awake for days and days. He couldn’t just let go of all those events that have transfigured his life. He tried to remember the exact moment everything started to go wrong, but he couldn’t blame the light by the end. He could only blame himself for not being worthy of this incredible gift. One face in particular was haunting his memories, Sarah’s face. He was able to actually put up with everything else after a moment, to even calm those thoughts and the guilt for some time, but her face was always there; in all her beauty. He couldn’t really picture her in details, but the lines of her face weren’t scrambled in his mind, rather radiating in light. He could see the deep blue of her eyes, like an ocean drowning him and sucking him toward the deep black pit in the middle. Simon cried and cried in pain until the tears stopped coming down. He thought about killing himself, to end all this madness, and he tried, but each time he failed miserably. He hated himself more at that moment, he wasn’t even able to control that part of his life, to put an end to it. Everything didn’t make sense…

Simon was devastated, but by the end of the month, patterns started to appear. After linking everything up, he finally reached a conclusion, his fifth stage: Acceptance. Simon accepted the fact that his gift would never work with him. He was an unworthy host for such a power, and decided that he would just ignore the input. To send his attention somewhere else during those emotional aggression.  Simon left his retrenchment and went back to his regular life. He stopped trying to affect anyone, and didn’t give the empathy any second thought, suppressing his involvement with the messages. Weirdly enough, the emotional feedback got better as a result of his new attitude, even though certain people’s thought stayed as bizarre and disturbing as they used to be. Simon stayed the same outcast that he used to be, nothing in the people’s attitude really changed that much; however, he felt so much lighter by not concerning himself about others’ problems. Everything seemed to be back to normal, but life is never that simple.

The 20th July 1969 started as a strange day for Simon. He was still separating his judgement from his empathy, but he noticed a sort of pattern in people’s minds. Everybody was thinking about the moon landing. Apollo XI was orbiting around the moon, and it was scheduled to land on the moon some time during that exact night. And Simon felt that people were actually getting out of there little personal bubbles and feeling more open about the other. Simon started laughing, and he laughed and laughed for so long. What he tried to accomplish with his gift, this openness toward the others, this care, that was exactly what he wanted to make people see, and they were doing that in a small degree, but still. Then he got it, Simon finally got it! He knew exactly what he had to do.

Simon went back to the forest he had fled to from the bullies who have attacked him on that faithful day his life shifted. This time however, he wasn’t afraid or escaping; he knew exactly what he had to do. He followed the trail of his memory and after some searching, he finally found the pit he felt in. As soon as he approached from it, it started to glow. Taking a moment, he focused his thoughts toward what he wished to accomplish, about the way he wanted his gift to change. Taking a deep breath, he jumped into the Light with a last thought: ‘Happy Birthday to me…’

After the intense light, Simon fell in darkness, loosing every link with reality. Minutes later that seemed like centuries, Simon woke up in his college room just like the other time. He felt the difference; he felt this extension in his abilities. He knew that he could actually use the gift to achieve something, but he also knew that doing so would come at a cost. What he intended to do was at the limit of this new ability he received; deciding to use it at full potential could be risky. The worst was that he didn’t know what would happen to him, only that he might never be the same afterward.

Simon glimpsed at the cat shaped clock that his roommate was keeping for some obscure reason; of course, Simon knew that it was a gift from his lover, but he preferred to stay away from that. the time was 7:51 P.M. He remembered that the moon landing was scheduled around that time. He rushed to the old TV him and his roommate had and turned it on. The channel was broadcasting satellite images of the shuttle approaching the moon. Simon couldn’t focus on the commentary that was describing the approach of the shuttle in such a powerful way. He needed to do it, he had no other choice, and that was the perfect moment.

7:52. Simon closed his eyes, and started feeling the people around him one by one.

7:53. All those little lights started to link. Apollo XI touched the lunar ground.

7:54. A first wave of feelings started to run in the network on a very slow paste. The door of the shuttle opened.

7:55. Simon started to feel the flow of emotions and thought in a very strong and chaotic way, surrounding his mind in a sea of foreign thoughts. Armstrong wasn’t down the ladder of the shuttle.

7:56. Everyone felt what everyone else felt, a general euphoria where everybody made one; where every human on earth wasn’t alone in her or his mind anymore, but they all shared the general consciousness through this moment of bliss. Armstrong sat foot on the lunar ground saying those words that would stay in history: “It’s a small step for a man and a giant leap for the mankind.”

Ironically enough, Armstrong who was at thousands of miles away from the reach of the global empathy of Simon was the one to best describe his act. but for Simon, this extensive use of his gift to broadcast the general consciousness was his last step. Everybody felt the experience in a positive way, and everybody was touched by it, not even knowing where it came from. Most of them ended up linking it to the euphoria of the moon landing, ignoring the only person that made it possible and lost everything in the process: Simon. Simon felt all the global consciousness in its raw form, 3.6 billion people radiating him with their thoughts and feelings. As a result the mind of Simon literally shattered. He was still alive for some reason, probably as a side effect of his contact with the light, but his mind was in a very deep catatonic stage.

8:07. Two women in long cloaks and hoods entered the college room of Simon. One of them told the other:

“So this is the source of the disturbance. This grotesque male boy; are we really obliged to carry him all the way to the head quarter?”

“He is the key to our victory sister! He is the error that has been foretold; the one will use the tunnel of light to access the Symphony after the world has been reborn. He will be the final element to the rise of the falcons! to the rise of the hidden faith of the moon. Our daughters shall suffer no more the cruelty of men after that point. The sun will fall as certainly as it has risen; and at that time, the holly crescent will prevail!”

The two women didn’t speak anymore. They took a brain damaged Simon, transporting him to some unknown location.

Chapter 17: Global Empathy

The life of Simon Dice was quite the joke. He was trapped in the persona of an outcast that was built through years and years of rejection and bullying; he gained the gift of knowing what was going beyond his own mind, and was able to glimpse at the inner sanctuary of the others’ minds. This unlikely mix leaded Simon to the boarders of sanity. The gift by itself was overwhelming, and controlling it was never something Simon could completely achieve. What the gift did to him was to drag him through several stages through which his behavior evolved according to these new parameters. After going through denial, anger and bargaining, Simon entered the fourth stage of Depression.

The transition wasn’t really caused by one specific event, but was rather due to an accumulation of failures in trying to pursue a noble cause. Simon quickly understood that the gift he received was more important than his pathetic life and was going beyond his own pride and self-esteem. He tried to be impermeable to rudeness, insults, and physical pain as well in order to become the voice of reason, to give people an objective perspective on what was going on in their mind. But of course, he was reminded all and every time that he wasn’t fit to judge if people needed to be help or not.

Simon was trying to resist the urge to stop doing what he was doing for quite a while before effectively retiring from the public sphere. The boy was sick and tired by the flow that he continuously received for almost a year, and for a whole month, he locked himself in a remote place in the surroundings of L.A. The first days were the hardest as Simon was continuously tortured by his flow of thought leaving him awake for days and days. He couldn’t just let go of all those events that have transfigured his life. He tried to remember the exact moment everything started to go wrong, but he couldn’t blame the light by the end. He could only blame himself for not being worthy of this incredible gift. One face in particular was haunting his memories, Sarah’s face. He was able to actually put up with everything else after a moment, to even calm those thoughts and the guilt for some time, but her face was always there; in all her beauty. He couldn’t really picture her in details, but the lines of her face weren’t scrambled in his mind, rather radiating in light. He could see the deep blue of her eyes, like an ocean drowning him and sucking him toward the deep black pit in the middle. Simon cried and cried in pain until the tears stopped coming down. He thought about killing himself, to end all this madness, and he tried, but each time he failed miserably. He hated himself more at that moment, he wasn’t even able to control that part of his life, to put an end to it. Everything didn’t make sense…

Simon was devastated, but by the end of the month, patterns started to appear. After linking everything up, he finally reached a conclusion, his fifth stage: Acceptance. Simon accepted the fact that his gift would never work with him. He was an unworthy host for such a power, and decided that he would just ignore the input. To send his attention somewhere else during those emotional aggression.  Simon left his retrenchment and went back to his regular life. He stopped trying to affect anyone, and didn’t give the empathy any second thought, suppressing his involvement with the messages. Weirdly enough, the emotional feedback got better as a result of his new attitude, even though certain people’s thought stayed as bizarre and disturbing as they used to be. Simon stayed the same outcast that he used to be, nothing in the people’s attitude really changed that much; however, he felt so much lighter by not concerning himself about others’ problems. Everything seemed to be back to normal, but life is never that simple.

The 20th July 1969 started as a strange day for Simon. He was still separating his judgement from his empathy, but he noticed a sort of pattern in people’s minds. Everybody was thinking about the moon landing. Apollo XI was orbiting around the moon, and it was scheduled to land on the moon some time during that exact night. And Simon felt that people were actually getting out of there little personal bubbles and feeling more open about the other. Simon started laughing, and he laughed and laughed for so long. What he tried to accomplish with his gift, this openness toward the others, this care, that was exactly what he wanted to make people see, and they were doing that in a small degree, but still. Then he got it, Simon finally got it! He knew exactly what he had to do.

Simon went back to the forest he had fled to from the bullies who have attacked him on that faithful day his life shifted. This time however, he wasn’t afraid or escaping; he knew exactly what he had to do. He followed the trail of his memory and after some searching, he finally found the pit he felt in. As soon as he approached from it, it started to glow. Taking a moment, he focused his thoughts toward what he wished to accomplish, about the way he wanted his gift to change. Taking a deep breath, he jumped into the Light with a last thought: ‘Happy Birthday to me…’

After the intense light, Simon fell in darkness, loosing every link with reality. Minutes later that seemed like centuries, Simon woke up in his college room just like the other time. He felt the difference, he felt this extension in his abilities. He knew that he could actually use the gift to achieve something, but he also knew that doing so would come at a cost. What he intended to do was at the limit of this new ability he received; deciding to use it at full potential could be risky. The worst was that he didn’t know what would happen to him, only that he might never be the same afterward.

Simon glimpsed at the cat shaped clock that his roommate was keeping for some obscure reason; of course, Simon knew that it was a gift from his lover, but he preferred to stay away from that. the time was 7:51 P.M. He remembered that the moon landing was scheduled around that time. He rushed to the old TV him and his roommate had and turned it on. The channel was broadcasting satellite images of the shuttle approaching the moon. Simon couldn’t focus on the commentary that was describing the approach of the shuttle in such a powerful way. He needed to do it, he had no other choice, and that was the perfect moment.

7:52. Simon closed his eyes, and started feeling the people around him one by one.

7:53. All those little lights started to link. Apollo XI touched the lunar ground.

7:54. A first wave of feelings started to run in the network on a very slow paste. The door of the shuttle opened.

7:55. Simon started to feel the flow of emotions and thought in a very strong and chaotic way, surrounding his mind in a see of foreign thoughts. Armstrong want down the ladder of the shuttle.

7:56. Everyone felt what everyone else felt, a general euphoria where everybody made one. Where every human on earth wasn’t alone in her or his mind anymore, but they all shared this the general consciousness through this moment of bliss. Armstrong sat foot on the lunar ground saying those words that would stay in history: “It’s a small step for a man and a giant leap for the mankind.”

Ironically enough, Armstrong who was at thousands of miles away from the reach of the global empathy of Simon was the one to best describe his act. but for Simon, this extensive use of his gift to broadcast the general consciousness was his last step. Everybody felt the experience in a positive way, and everybody was touched by it, not even knowing where it came from. Most of them ended up linking it to the euphoria of the moon landing, ignoring the only person that made it possible and lost everything in the process: Simon. Simon felt all the global consciousness in its raw form, 3.6 billion people radiating him with their thoughts and feelings. As a result the mind of Simon literally shattered. He was still alive for some reason, probably as a side effect of his contact with the light, but his mind was in a very deep catatonic stage.

8:07. Two women in long cloaks and hoods entered the college room of Simon. One of them told the other:

“So this is the source of the disturbance. This grotesque male boy; are we really obliged to carry him all the way to the head quarter?”

“He is the key to our victory sister! He is the error that has been foretold; the one will use the tunnel of light to access the Symphony after the world has been reborn. He will be the final element to the rise of the falcons! to the rise of the hidden faith of the moon. Our daughters shall suffer no more the cruelty of men after that point. The sun will fall as certainly as it has risen; and at that time, the holly crescent will prevail!”

The two women didn’t speak anymore. They took a brain damaged Simon, transporting him to some unknown location.