Chapter 2: Part two - The gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 11

Part Two – The Gift

 

The longer they stayed, the weirder they seemed to get.

Maybe it’s just me, and my own fears, but, damn, shit got freaky….

The first ten minutes they were there, something like…74 percent of them got either shot at, stabbed, or a myriad of other horrid things you can think of, off the top of your head, plus a bunch you’d never imagine. I know I’m gonna try like hell, not to imagine, either.

And I didn’t, imagine, for a while…

I went to work, and I worked my ass off. Then I went to the bar, helped rebuild, and held on tight with both hands white-knuckling it, in my mind, the whole time, I swear.

 Then I drank my ass off; what was left of my ass after all the work, that is.

I held on like a brand-new kinda weld or glue; to everything I once knew, even some of the things I’d hoped to learn, suddenly even that tenuous attraction in my mind, was a very important, “other thing to think about” moment I needed.

<glick>

(that was me, choking on the reality of it all, the ultra-shock, in the soul, c’mon you know, you’ve felt it too, once or twice)

BEEP-BEEP-BEE-P, BIP…BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP

CLEAR- - -

<WHOOOMPH!!!>

Hello, can you hear me?

Do you know where you are, and what’s happened to you?

What’s your name? Can you hear me?

Hello?

Nope, this sucks, not gonna do that…hmmm, what was that dream about?

Oh yeah,

So I’m buyin’ this surfboard<I don’t live anywhere near the ocean>

So, I’m buying this surfboard, ….., and, it’s totally sweet lookin’

It’s mostly white, and the edges are, like, a metallic grey, with a blue gradient gradual interface, of course….and he’s tryin’ to rip me off, but I don’t know enough about surfboards to argue effectively…so-

Hi, nice to see you back in the land of the living, I’m just gonna reach over here and push this button, and then the doctor should be in right away, dear.

She had red hair, it was puffed up like in the old 40’s movies, she was about 45 or so, a little plump, but nice figure, her smile was infectious, I’m not kidding, I’m still taking shots….just kidding. Playing with words is what I do, mostly. I think…holy shit, what am I doing here?

A -AAAA-aah, ah!?!

Oh, dear, you must be parched, here, let me get it, ice chips is all you can have until the doctor gives the word otherwise. there you are….take it slow darlin’ you’ll choke if you’re not careful…

Uh, uuuuuugh, uh, ahem, ahem.Wha—what the hell happened to my head?!?

I reached for the soaring spot, right between, but a little above the center of my eyes…

 

She grabbed my hand before it could touch the bandage, and then, she said the scariest shit I will probably ever hear.

Oh, don’t do that dear, it’s still healing, you shouldn’t touch your new implant until the doctor tells you it’s okay.

Oh shit, then I noticed the little diamond shape on her forehead, it was a dark shade of green, what the hell…

And then I remembered…not everything, but enough to scare the shit out of me, you, anyone you know, or anyone, you, or them, have ever even met. The month was over, the day was here, the one they all talked about

THEM

 

It was hazy, like what you’d see starin’ through a cloud of alcohol and wishful thinking cranked up to ten…

According to what I could piece together, from the fragments of my tiny, broken mind, it went something like this:

During the month that they were here, I’d spent approximately three days in Jimmy’s Pub, and for the next 28 days, I was in some kind of limbo of my own devising…no shit involved. None.

It’s all like some kind of stew of thought, I can dip my spoon in, but there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what comes up, in small, spoon-sized servings, there doesn’t to be any kind of chronological order to anything. I’m a pretty good dipper, as it turns out, and a pretty damn good puzzle assembler too, or you wouldn’t even get this much.

Like I said, holes in the sky, oh, and the little purple muppet-looking fuckers, with the big eyes.

K, got it, sorting it now…

I walked straight home from the pub, I didn’t see very many people around,

I did see the holes, the holes in the sky, and I met exactly three of the little purple bastards, on the way back to my apartment.

They weren’t scary, at least not how I’d previously imagined scary as being, they were frightening in ways I was never introduced to, in all the horror movies I’ve ever seen, or books, books too, and I’m a Stephen King fan.

They were cute, fuzzy… and HONEST,’ til the end of the universe and beyond, they fucking re-defined the word honest. As I said, I saw three of them, and as soon as our eyes met, I felt…more naked than I’ve ever felt before. More exposed, it was like they had some weird kinda Xray eyes, they didn’t just look at you, they seemed to be able to see right through you, to the core of who you were, past all the bullshit you just thought you were.

The very first time I talked to one, I was curious, sue me, anyway the first time I talked to one…

I asked,

“You’re not gonna try and kill me are ya?”

 A reasonable question, considering the circumstances, and it said:

“Why the hell would I do that, when you're doing such a good job, all by yourself?”

“do you need a shovel? Or maybe a Pallbearer?”

I shit you not, funny-ass smart mother fuckers.

So, being me, and not to be cowed by anyone, especially not this three-foot-high, Fraggle-looking asshole…I said,

What makes you think you’re so smart?

And he/it said, deadpan

“I don’t think it, bud, I fucking know it, and I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to try and use words that you’re not sure of,

Like, Smart,

for example.”

I gulped and tried to think of a sassy come back; like three times each. Then I knew, without a doubt, that, for once in my entire life, I had no comeback, that would even be on the same level, starting to learn what smart could possibly mean, I shut up.

For about two weeks, then I felt uppity again, so…

I’d thought about it this time, at least I thought I’d thought.

Now, if they could travel all that way, (space is big bud, look it up) they must have some pretty, incredible tech. Also, if they were smart enough, to piece together some realistic idea of who and what we are, from our transmissions, they must be some kinda big-headed smart. Think aliens on Star Trek, with the pulsing veins on the side of their huge noggins…then…what the hell do they need from us?

So I asked them, nicely this time,

“You don’t need anything from us, why are you here?”

And He/it said:

“Some small cursory glimpse at redemption I suppose…

Think of it like…community service, a penalty for past transgressions…

If we can somehow help you and your people, it helps us learn how to be better beings…

it’s like air, or water, or fertilizer (if we’re lucky), would be to a plant…

to our collective hearts, it makes us grow…

it reminds us that we are not done learning yet, it makes us not get too caught up in ourselves and begin to think we are…done.

If we can steer you away from the cliff you are inevitably heading towards, you will survive, and the you, that makes it that far, will be able to help us see, what we’ve grown blind to…

If we’re right, and we usually are, your kind will be great, if this works, and I am certain that it will, you will be greater than us one day…

We are attempting to teach our teachers so that they will be able to teach us better.”

<glick>

That’s the sound of my brain temporarily overloading, in case you were wondering…

But it was the third message that really tweaks my nard. The third public announcement that is.

Exactly three days before they left, plenty of warning I suppose, at least that’s what they thought…

People of the earth (yeah, I know, right?)

We have gathered enough information now, to enable us to assist you in the manner, which we believe will help you most…

For the next twenty of your years, everyone over the age of consent, by your own reckoning, will be implanted with a soul crystal…it will appear, plainly, on your forehead, and it will, as decided through an amalgamation of your beliefs, decide your standing in society.

It will give all that see it, a running total, of your soul’s worth, to your race. We have left a small booklet, to explain further.

Thank you for your cooperation during this momentous meeting, and we shall return at the end of your internment, to monitor your progress, and decide what further steps might be needed.

 

<glick> (now you know what I mean, right?)

 

I spent the next three days at Jimmy’s, hiding under a table with a football helmet on. And of course, a knife, and alternatively and sometimes simultaneously, a bottle. firmly gripped in hand. Dude, I don’t know why, it just felt better somehow…

Sometime before the deadline came, I finally managed to sleep, and I dreamt of a dude, trying to sell me a surfboard…

CLEAR- - -

<WHOOOMPH!!!>

That’s the sound of my life starting over, in case you were wondering…

 

I didn’t quite believe it, for about five seconds, and then the doctor walked in, looking like some kind of new-age East Indian, his crystal was more of a light brown…

I started to freak out, and then the nurse like she knew exactly what I needed, placed a hand mirror on the tray over my bed and glanced furtively at the sore spot on my forehead. While I picked up the mirror, with more than a little trepidation, she filled me in on, how some people have adverse effects from their new implants, no shit sherlock.

Mine was a light green, with a tinge of yellow around the edges.

They let me go after the shrink talked to me for a while. I guess when they found me in the bar, I’d knocked the helmet off in my sleep, but was still hanging on to the knife. They thought I was either trying to cut the damn thing out of my forehead before I passed out, or I was trying to end it before I saw what my crystal had to say about me, a lot of people did, from what I hear.

I’d like to say that the next five years went by in a blur, but they fucking didn’t.

I don’t wanna go through the whole fucking thing, screw that, we’ve been there, we know, but I have to, at least hit the highlights, otherwise, this story makes no sense.

The booklet was about 80 pages long, they tested the material it was printed on, and couldn’t even cut off a sample, with anything we have, diamonds, lasers, whatever. From what I hear, they were evenly distributed throughout the entire world, keeping population distribution in mind. I think I’ve still got one in my garage somewhere…

It was designed to be like a user manual for our new implants, voice-activated, and there was a voice, as you read, which was weird, and it told us all the relevant info, in an irritating, cheerful tone, Imagine it, like someone at the Apple genius store telling you about the new features of your new iPhone. I hated it but held onto it for about two months, so I could memorize the color-coding system, and all the little extras they built-in. Everybody knows about flashing red means lie, but did you know flashing yellow-green means the current topic will trigger someone in the room?

It wasn’t meant for naysayers or the weak of heart. It was full-on, in your-fucken-face indomitable.

Rules made, by people who knew what the hell they were doin’. Part of me hates them, and I don’t normally hate anybody, but they rubbed me wrong, part of me felt it had to differ…so I let that part ride shotgun, at least at first.

 

It seemed like about 80 pages long, but longer somehow… those 80 pages were filled to the brim, with new viewpoints of the souls residing within. New flashes, new color updates, trending signals.

 

The signals, the flashes, the colors, were/are real. It took about two months to figure it out, but about fifteen seconds to know it was the absolute-fuckin-truth. Pure and undefined up until that moment. Different people took different amounts of time. A little trivia for ya:  from what I heard, the record is fifteen hours, and that guy locked himself out of his car in winter, after hours. He tried to sleep under a tree for a while, but eventually wound up at a bus station ten miles away. His first words to the EMTs that finally arrived, were, “From the flashes, your crystals are giving off, I guess I’m in trouble, huh?”

 

The novelty of it wore off pretty damn quick. Then shit got real.

More real than it had ever… been…before.

 

The record for the longest time, before freaking out completely about the whole sitch…was…

Another piece of trivia for ya, same fuckin guy. Went into a coma from hypothermia, wasn’t revived for ten hours. The rest of us were pretty damn quick about it, and it was fucking scary to watch. Too.

Being through it, well, damn…

Remember the first time you felt your crystal flash, the heat of it, the different buzzes for the different flashes you were giving off. Your soul laid bare, for everyone to see.

Not only the bad, the anger, the fear, and the lying.

But the good too, the hope, the love, the truth, finally believed and irrefutably proved. Finally.

 

Things changed. Of course, they fucking did.

We changed, all of us, some for the better, and some, regrettably, for the worse. That’s the only thing that really, really, showed our true colors, as it were. The way they changed when you knew they were telling the truth, about you, to everyone. It was there every time you met someone new, a long flash of reaction.

Reaction to each other. And when it was others, plural, it was even more revealing.

When you looked into someone else’s eyes, they knew you, and you knew them. We actually tried to avoid eye contact for a while, but we all missed it and looked back at the other person, who was missing us too. Something else we learned about ourselves I suppose.

 

The best color was blue for some reason, didn’t you think it would be white? Me too. Nope. White was like, third, after yellow.

Black was the worst, of course, saved for the worst.  I want to tell you more about this, but I have to be as linear as I can remember.

I was green, which turned out to be good. Five steps down from the top, and there were only really fifteen steps, so that was good, I guess.

 

I’m sorry if this seems to go back and forth between the present and past tenses, sometimes when I remember these things, it’s like I’m there again, moments imprinted on my soul.

 

Where was I? Oh, yeah. As you can tell, from the aforementioned. The world changed, once we could see who everyone was, and who they were really trying to be, We tried to focus on the good, but we soon found out, to our great shame, that they, the lighter shades, were few and far between. It broke our hearts… well, it did.

 

And don’t get me started on how many darker shades there were, at the beginning.

 

Anyone who tried to remove the crystals, suffered bigger and bigger electric shocks, inside and out. Most of them stopped before they died of heart failure, most of them. Sometimes I think about those that would rather die than be exposed, and then I stop because it hurts me to guess.

Politicians, hell all government workers, and lawyers, judges, doctors, teachers, EVERYONE Was judged and found wanting. We had to redesign the whole shebang. And That hurt like a motherfucker too.

We eventually, found a way through it, mid-grade shades would actually be more respected than they were, we even found room in our world for the darker colors, but they were watched closely.

I got a really cushy government job, nothing serious, but way fucking better than the gas station.

It’s kinda funny though…that the gas station was where it happened.


Submitted: October 02, 2021

© Copyright 2022 chrispy. All rights reserved.

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