Triggers: Violence, discrimination, loneliness
Unity – An Ideological Horror Story in Four Parts – for Worlds and Words Short Story Wednesdays
This is a first person short-form socio-political spec-fic short. This first part is about getting to know the neighbours.
Part 3 – Neighbour
I started remembering the alien-dreams when I woke, and sharing them with my neighbours, when we talked the way we usually did, mind to mind. Everyone in the neighbourhood did that, you had to be able to, to live there. Or, rather, if you could do that, you had to live there. Psychic, mutant, telepath. All the big, clumsy words aren’t really important for this story, but those were some of the things that the government called us. I wont tell you what the riot police called us, but a lot of those words aren’t hard to imagine. They would spit those kinds of kinds of words at us, as they tried to punch through our mind shield with their pulse-rifles. Those kinds of words are designed to make the speaker feel different from who they’re speaking to, but you shouldn’t feel that way. The riot police shouldn’t have felt that way, but I think that you are more likely to listen to me than the riot police. You shouldn’t feel different to me, or to my neighbours, and, actually, you can’t really afford to feel different to us. Not after what’s begun. Just remember that a government hardly needs a neighbourhood to be capable of telekinesis before it decides to wrongfully destroy it. There are more precedents for that kind of harsh, careless use of power than there are stars.
But back to the aliens. They’d been here, on earth for far longer than we’d been seeing them. Not everywhere on earth, I mean, just my neighbourhood, they told me. But they’d been here, watching and listening to our small human lives folding and unfolding and tangling amongst themselves. They’d been listening a long time, weighing, measuring. A hive-mind species, like them, takes a long time to make decisions. But eventually, they’d listened enough and were finally ready to be heard. So, they drifted to a nameless neighbourhood in an unassuming country, where the kind of people most likely to be able to hear them had been herded together to live in one place.
It’s cold where I am now. As much as temperature, experienced temperature, means anything out here. Colder and more beautiful than you will ever understand. I shouldn’t say that. It will make you feel different from me, which is counter productive now. But I’m saying it anyway, because its true, and because my story is almost over now. Telling you how cold it is where I am now will make you stay listening a few breaths longer. I want that. I want you to stay. It’s lonely, as well as cold and beautiful where I am now.
So, the aliens made us an offer. Through me, the strongest of the people who knew how to listen, the kind of people who lived in my neighbourhood and kept out the government assualt bots with their minds. They told us that what our government was doing to us was wrong. We laughed at them then, told them that we knew that. Told them that was just how governments are. They waited as politely for us to finish laughing as they had for us to pause from fighting. Then they told us that they could make what was wrong right. We turned away and left them alone then. At least, the other people in my neighbourhood did. I could no more turn away and leave the aliens alone than you can shut off your own dreams. They were in my skin now, the aliens, shimmering under the surface, making my body glow like they did, in the right kind of light.
They filled my skin with their power, and their polite waiting, and then, to me only, after my neighbours had turned away from the aliens and me both, then, in the silence of my mind, they spoke to me. After my neighbours had abandoned the whole business as either a tasteless joke I was playing, or a government plot to hurt them through their hope, after they had abandoned me as another casualty in this war fought with minds, the aliens stayed. To me and me alone the aliens made their offer in full.
Don’t judge my people harshly for turning away from me, because they aren’t so different from your people, from you. If you’d been there, been there as anyone except the girl with the aliens in her skin, you’d probably have turned away too. No one is really so different from each other. So, don’t judge my people harshly. Not that you judging them matters now, none of them are still alive. At least, not in any meaningful sense. They spoke with many voices, in agreement and they spoke against the offer of the aliens. They’re still suffering for it.
Check in next Wednesday for: Part 4 – Unity
(This is the important section because it is called the same thing as the main title)