Seven Days: Part Six of Seven
Posted By: SeverianofUrth
Date: 30 December 2008, 6:31 am
Seven Days: Part Six of Seven
(advance apologies to Russ, about those dashes)
The buildings were left untouched, and the only details that marred the otherwise beautiful scenery of Honolulu were the bones. Bleached-white under the sun and wind, stripped of flesh or cloth, big or small, small-framed children curled around large-framed things charred blackened scarred and broken. That was the future as I imagined it, years removed from my present existence, where the bones still have flesh and skin attached to them, where the remains of those dead can still be identified by face and shape, this one Raymond, this one Luna, Felipe, Jonathan, names all of them with histories behind them.
I noticed that as I narrate this story to you, Ben, I sink into it, also; that my memory blurs with the present, and as I walk the bleached streets, empty streets, I also walk behind Kassad as he makes his way through the halls of the Securidad. Slightly disconcerting, especially in light of the contrast offered by such double-vision, ruins one moment, living buildings the next. Yet I suppose such is the fate of those dead, which should be warning enough for you not to die. Ha--you better laugh, Ben, I just made a joke, and it'll be a long time before you can hear it again. Which I hope you do, because by then, if there indeed is such a thing as heaven, and those wings strapped onto my back like jetpacks should be proof enough to such a place, I'll meet you there. Unless--you haven't been sacrificing pregnant women or children, have you?
Kassad. What an interesting man. New Hawaii was never a large place, and a hundred thousand people, though a large number when crammed into a single ship, tend to dissipate like too few paint-strokes applied to a canvas when that same number is applied to an entire planet. Kassad. Never knew him until the day I saw him, the last day, the sixth day--and on the seventh he rested, if death can be called so, but then, everyone else was dead too, so I suppose it was more like a siesta then anything else.
He looks busy, filled with purpose, the K10 in his pocket a heavy weight in his mind. The suit he wears, slightly wrinkled, barely covering the large bulk of the man. Dark skin, black-framed glasses obscuring large brown eyes. Short hair, reddish, tussled, dirty, slightly greasy from long time spent without washing. He walks, and the crowd parts for him, as did the Red Sea for Moses. Perhaps it is his rank, or his bulk, but I think everyone has a piece of the dreaming within them, and they felt the gentle darkness within him.
Excuse my faulty metaphysics, Ben. But I can't help it, and I have the perfect excuse to be so--I'm dead.
The halls of the Securidad are long winding things, and when empty, feel like hollow throats of something giant, something ancient and dead, as if we were simply tunneling through some dead giant's corpse. A sense of violation, as if we had just desecrated a grave, smashed the headstones and dug up the caskets. The building stands tall, on the surface; yet it reaches up only so far, and goes so far down below. Maybe we sought security in the deep confines of earth. Yet this was no homeworld, this was New Hawaii, what they called Sanctuary.
Remember those fantasy stories, Ben, the ones we read for class? How the hunters traipsed through the forest, found a deer, and as they were starving, the times being Winter, they shot it--but too late, they realized that they were passing through the King's Forest, and soon the story delves into each man's mind as they are hunted down by the wardens, the dogs nipping at their heels, anticipating the arrowhead digging into their backs. We did much the same thing. We came, we saw, and we tried to conquer; yet the world refused to bend under our will. Or rather, we simply were not given enough time to even try.
Now the questions. We knew. Actually, they knew. The Consul, the Trust, the Board--the trifecta of leadership that led us to the guillotine. They knew, knew from the advance scouts, the diggings, the ruins uncovered--they knew, yet they led us to New Hawaii. Yet is it so unforgivable? Our ship was in danger of falling apart, the passengers were splintering into a hundred factions, each staking out territories, water contaminated, supplies running short--all of those things must have factored in somehow to them deciding that yes, we should walk into this trap, for we have survived worse.
To me, that decision is an unforgivable one. Friends dead. Home destroyed.
Kassad walked through every one of the checkpoints without a glance; the men manning them let him through, some of them fearfully, others without a care, just another higher-up passing through. Detachment. Is this what Kassad felt, that day? The most supreme detachment, removed from all other human beings, assuming the mantle of God, or Judge--casting down his verdict, damning all others. Perhaps, as he walked, in his mind the full plan of what lay ahead already made, he savored over his decisions--or agonized, which I hope he did.
I know I should describe to you just what he did, yet I can't help but muse on just what he did. I think that his individual acts, especially before what would come later on, lack significance when compared to the overall whole. Kassad was the perfect murderer, in that he completely lacked premeditation, and his actions before the act was absent of any foreshadowing. He simply killed.
The Consul's chambers, located on the third-floor, was but a sham. His work-place was located four floors down, and he traveled between the two via an advanced transportation mechanism called stairs. Kassad walked out onto the stairway, and leaned against an wall, between that flight of stairs, his hand slowly tightening around the K10. He had called the Consul up before, asking for a meeting about something named 'Setebos.' I'll be right there, the Consul had said.
When the Consul met him on the staircase, they talked of various things, then when the Consul turned his back and led the way up, Kassad snaked an arm over his throat and punched the K10 into the small of his back. A muffled shot, and blood started leaking, the Consul tried to cry, Kassad's arm provided the gag. Slowly, the Consul's body began to sag, and eventually went limp, ceasing the frantic flapping. And there the killer moved the body against a corner, hiding the wound, closing the Consul's eyes, perfectly at peace save for the blood pooling around his pants, like urine, save its deadliness.
That was the first of the killings.
Systematically, Kassad eliminated the Consul, the first, then the members of the Trust, the three, and the Board, also of the three. He killed by himself two people--one a Trust member named Diane Takeshi, another a man named Kovacs Morgan--and for the rest, bombings, snipers, poison and a knife in the dark. I wonder if his operatives knew the full scope of his actions. Probably not. You don't question the motives behind the assignations, as that leads eventually into doubt about the morality of the assignations. Which in turn leads to religion, alcoholism, and death, in that order.
Now Honolulu was in chaos. Though most parts of the city lay untouched, the bombings unleashed plumes of smoke and dust that could be seen from miles away. The earth did not shake, but the ripples of the attacks could be felt. The sparsely populated city, the human beings, all swarmed out to look upon the destruction with apprehension.
I told you before of the detachment that Kassad may have felt, but never about the detachment that I feel. I can summon up the appropriate feelings now and then, yet, I can't help but feel distant from it all. 'All' defining the dead, the ruins, the doom; perhaps it is because I am currently in a state called 'death,' and know that it isn't all too bad, just a fading away with wings and remorse in tow.
Death sucks, Ben. Here's to you dodging that little bitch.
I'm sorry to disrupt the narrative with my preoccupation about my own death. Death, death, more death, such a grand word, really. You: you know you're dead, 'you' defining me.
You are telling a story to your faraway brother, in hopes that story will save his life and of many others. But you don't know if he can hear you. You don't know if you are just talking to yourself.
You don't know if this is heaven, or hell.
You stumble into other peoples' memories. You trip into visions of gore, feel every cut, every burn, every wound. You feel the fear and the pain of all that has passed, all the ruin and destruction that has been scarred upon this land.
Yet you do not care, because--even though you are not sure about the nature of this existence--death, as you feel it, know it, isn't all too bad.
You are detached. You are removed from that world.
I am not of your world.
One more day to go, Ben. One more night. Then it will be time to say farewell. I know you are not there. That farewell is for myself. Me, and myself, before I sleep, or die, whatever may come, I, not of this world--goodbye.
Some cameras left intact tell a strange tale. A picture is worth a thousand words; a film is worth only ten. Somewhere in between, the tale is told.
That tale is a short one. Fire in the sky. Fire on the ground. Burning stone, burning meat; no sound but that of fire crackling, feeding on air and wood, on bones. It eats. It grows. It spreads. The fires, now coalesce into one. Then it dies. Ashes remain.
That tale ends; silence makes for poor stories. Silent, the city sleeps, watched over by eyes that tell no tales, that hear no commands. Recording each hour, each day. Lacking purpose.
And in the heart of the planet, a man named Kassad died at last. He lacked a smile to go with the wine.