The Fallout

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Christian Writers
After the events of 2121, humans can no longer dwell on the radioactive surface of the Earth. Sequel to SCARLET BEAST and GENESIS. Continues in DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE.

Submitted: September 23, 2015

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Submitted: September 23, 2015

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Earth, 2200

 

“Mom… Mom!.. I can’t fall asleep.”

“Again?”

“Yeah… Can you tell me a story?”

“All right. Once upon a time, there was a powerful King…”

“What’s a king?”

“It’s like the Overseer, but even more important.”

“Okay.”

“That King lived in a beautiful palace high up in the blue sky.”

“What’s a palace? And how can the sky be blue? The sky is deep purple and sometimes black.”

“Well, I heard that long time ago people used to live outside. Right on the surface. They probably all lived in palaces. And they also say that the sky was blue at the time.”

“You can’t go outside without a radiation suit.”

“I know, sweetheart. It’s just a story.”

“So what happened to that King?”

“I’ll tell you if you stop interrupting me.”

“Sorry…”

“The King was very nice to his people. He gave them everything they ever needed, without wanting anything in return. In fact, he was so nice that he told them they could do whatever they wanted.”

“Why?”

“Because he thought they would just trust him to always do the right thing.”

“Oh… looks like he wasn’t too smart.”

“He was very smart. But he was even more generous and kind.”

“So what happened?”

“What happened is that the people decided to storm his palace, kick him out of there, and become kings themselves.”

“Whoa! That’s so mean!..”

“Indeed it is, my boy. The King tried reasoning with them, but to no avail. He tried to explain to them they’d be much better off with him being their King and them being his people, but they wouldn’t listen. So he locked himself in the palace and stopped talking to them for a while, hoping to give them some time to cool off.”

“Did they?”

“Not in the least. They quickly forgot all about the King and turned against each other. They started torturing and killing each other. They began to destroy the land, burn up trees, exterminate entire species of animals. There was no end to the madness”.

“Mom, is that why we have to live in vaults now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Anyway, the King was very, very sad. His heart was bleeding. He could not watch all those cruelties and murder any longer, and there was no way to convince them to stop, so he let most people die, and only saved those who were not entirely mad.”

“Wow, harsh!..”

“Yes, it is. In our world, sometimes even the nicest people are forced to do something harsh when there is no other way.”

“Like when Dad beat me because I kept running outside without a protective helmet?”

“Exactly like that, honey.”

“So what happened next?”

“Well, the King got really sad because he didn’t enjoy at all what he had to do. He loved his people. So he chose a small group and made an agreement with them. He’d help them as much as he could, but in return they would have to do exactly what he says. You see, when people don’t follow the laws of love, they can only follow orders.”

“Like when I threw stones at that little animal and didn’t feel sorry for him and then you were mad at me and told me to do hard work and I cried and then I finally realized the animal was very poor and didn’t throw stones anymore?”

“Something like that. In any case, that seemed to work for a while, but then it got worse again.”

“Why, those people stopped listening again?”

“No, they listened, and they mostly obeyed, but they did it out of fear, not out of love. I’m not sure I can explain this to you, because you are probably too small to understand the difference. See, the King didn’t just want them to obey his orders. He wanted them to love him just like he loved them. And he wanted them to love each other.”

“And they didn’t?”

“Not always. But at least they were not trying to reject the King any more. So the King thought it was time to meet them. He left the palace and walked towards their town, looking like a regular man.”

“Just like that? Hmm, after everything that happened he should’ve taken some weapons with him.”

“Oh, he had plenty of weapons. Remember, he was a very powerful King. But he didn’t want to scare them. He wanted to convince them to love him, and that is pretty hard to do with weapons.”

“I see… So, did he convince them?”

“Some of them, yes. Even though he was wearing the simplest clothes and was looking like an ordinary, poor man, some of the people recognized him.”

“How? Did he tell them?”

“Not directly. But sometimes you just know. I guess there was something King-like about him.”

“Is this the end?”

“No… are you bored?”

“Not at all! So, everybody was happy and they finally made peace, right?”

“Unfortunately not. Some of the most powerful people in the land didn’t like the fact that man was speaking like the King. They thought they had everything under their control, and they didn’t need anyone to interfere. In any case, they only knew a King who was ordering them from above, and they certainly didn’t expect a poor guy who had no power at all. So, they caught him, beat him up, and killed him.”

“No!..”

“That’s how the story goes.”

“This is the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard! How could they do this to the poor King!..”

“Well, to be fair, they didn’t know he was the King.”

“So what? You shouldn’t do such a terrible thing to anyone, King or not!..”

“I agree with you, sweetheart. But sometimes people just don’t know what they are doing.”

“So that’s it? The King died?..”

“Yes, he did, but that’s not the end of the story. You see, when he died the people who loved him most were very, very sad. They thought it was all a cruel joke. They couldn’t understand why the King wouldn’t defend himself, so they started thinking he wasn’t the King after all. But the King knew what he was doing. He wanted people to know him and love him when he was poor and humiliated, even if he had to die to make people feel that way. If the people knew he loved them so much he would willingly die to prove it to them they would be ashamed of their ways and start loving each other more.”

“What a sad story!..”

“Wait, that’s not the end yet. The people were very sad and didn’t know what to think, but then the King suddenly appeared in front of them, alive!”

“But that can’t be.”

“How do you know what can and what can’t be?”

“People don’t come back from the dead. Like, last week Uncle was eaten by a scorpion. He just won’t come back, I know that.”

“Yes, usually it is so. But that is exactly what the King wanted. He wanted people to trust him so much that they would believe this incredible thing really happened. How can I explain this to you? See, he didn’t want to be too convincing. He wanted people to love him freely and not because they were powerless in the face of a miracle. But he still wanted to give them as much hope as he could without forcing them. He always let people make their own choices, but with trust and love, because that’s the best way to learn.”

“Like when two weeks ago you got mad when I said I won’t brush my teeth because nobody can prove me it’s really good for health, and then I started arguing, and then you just said do whatever you want, you’re a big boy now, I’m tired of explaining the same thing over and over again, if you don’t trust me then you’ll just have to find out the hard way?”

“Almost like that, yes.”

“Wow… this story is okay, I guess. So, where did the King go afterwards?”

“Oh, he went back to his palace, and the story says he’s still there.”

“And the people?”

“The people?.. Well, those who really trusted the King did a lot of good things, though they also had to suffer a lot. See, sometime later most people accepted the fact the King was there among them, but then they just returned to the old ways and even kept using his name to justify the bad stuff they were doing. And then they started thinking again they did not really need the King. So they tried to figure out things on their own once again.”

“And then?”

“And then they kept rejecting and forgetting the King, and some of those who still remembered and loved him left the land, while some others stayed but couldn’t save it. In the end, the beautiful land was almost completely destroyed by their own madness, and only very few people survived.”

“And then?”

“And then I don’t know, sweetie, that’s how the story ends, or at least that’s the only part I know. Maybe you’ll find out how to continue it when you grow up. Why don’t you try and sleep now?”

“I’m not sleepy… I don’t want to sleep!”

“Well, try your best. You can’t always do what you want.”

“Like those people who always did what they wanted… and ended up destroyed?..”

“Just like that.”

“Okay…”

“Sleep tight, honey.”

“Mom…”

“What?”

“You know, if this story is true… and if the King is still in his palace… then maybe one day he’ll walk out again… and come to us again… and then I’ll run out… but I’ll wear the protective suit first, don’t worry… so I’ll run up to him… and jump up… and kiss him on both cheeks, just like I kiss Dad…  but I’ll need to remove the helmet for that, so I’d better let him into our vault first… and then I’ll tell him I love him… Do you think he would like that?..”

“He certainly would, my baby.”

“Oh well… Good night then…”

“Good night. Sweet dreams, my little darling…”

“Mom?”

“What?”

“I think he will come. He will, Mom. I know it. Just wait and see. Okay?”

 

THE END


© Copyright 2017 Oleg Roschin. All rights reserved.

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