The Mark of the Beast

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Have you ever waken up starving to death? No? Then there is no way to know what it feels like when your stomach is completely empty and it hurts. In these cases your thoughts are usually mixed-up and all you can think about is food. It’s as if you’ve become a primitive species which you would surely feel ashamed of in some other case.

Submitted: November 26, 2011

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Submitted: November 26, 2011



author: Yavor Kostov
translation from Bulgarian: Sarah Kostov

Have you ever waken up starving to death? No? Then there is no way to know what it feels like when your stomach is completely empty and it hurts. In these cases your thoughts are usually mixed-up and all you can think about is food. It’s as if you’ve become a primitive species which you would surely feel ashamed of in some other case.

On that very day the pain Philip felt wasn’t caused just by the lack of food in his stomach but by the feeling that the time had come. He had never felt so boxed into a corner before. His deadline to make a decision whether to be branded like an animal had come. In fact branding is not exactly the right word for this situation. The words that would best describe the case, is implanting a microchip in people’s right hands or foreheads.

The revolution of technology allowed such intervention. The World’s government published a new law, according to which everyone had to have a bearer with their personal information, insurances, bank credits, taxes, and the place which that microchip had to be implanted in was your own body. This, according to the new-laid-down order, was a much easier way to insure people’s safety and the duties they had toward the order.

The young man tried to go back in time and recall the memories of how all this started. Anger suddenly filled him. That was not typical of him. In the beginning the innovations seemed not so significant. A person could tell himself that the ton of information he sees and hears of everyday about the reforms was just to be put in the news emission. Bit by bit the process, though, started to seem more dramatic with such high speed that whatever the reaction of the people against the new order was, it always seemed to be late.

All countries started to unite. The leaders of the New World’s Order gradually decided to apply common rules for everyone. It all seemed to be for the good of the people but then bit by bit the personal responsibilities vanished and from that the right to take care for your own health, education, family and security…

In the name of the peaceful life together, the variety and tolerance the values, in the beginning not so imperceptibly, began to more and more crumble away. In order to be more precisely described the process and what influence it had on the ordinary people the example about Philip’s friend-Danny would be best to be given as one. He had a small hotel at the end of the town. It looked like a rustic house from the outside but the interior was really nice.

One day in the spring two men knocked on the door. As soon as Danny saw them standing on the doorstep he knew they were gays- a married couple. It was more than obvious. Danny, due to his beliefs, refused to let them stay in his hotel and provide them with place where they can “have fun”. What do you think happened? Affected by his refusal to let them stay in the hotel, the two men reported him to the committee of sexual discrimination which was part of  the Agency Protection of the New Order and my friend wasn’t just left without a hotel but he’s now in some kind of jail for three months as well. In other words this can be called upbringing camp. A place prepared for people with backward thinking.

Philip sat in front of the computer and wrote:

The boy woke up
and saw
everywhere high walls were built
according to a new law.
Bright colors " lacking morality
Bright colors but with doubtful-quality.

He loved to write poetry when feeling down. Just like at that moment. It was clear to him that there wasn’t much time left to write without being troubled. That day was the day when he would have his electricity cut. People like him, who didn’t wear the microchip weren’t allowed to buy and sell anything and as a result they couldn’t even eat. He had made his decision and the time to accept the consequences had also come.

With pain in his heart he realized that he was alone. The people like him, who had the same beliefs, had left the town .The more alert people moved in villages, sowed the land they had bought while it was still possible and raised animals for food. With the exception of Philip, though. He had never liked the rustic kind of life and that was why he thought it would be better to be where he liked to be when the time comes.

The paintings
showed kids,
holding balloons
in red nuance
A river sprang
from under a tower
with four columns "
ancient columns but new ones.

The bell on front door rang. He thought it might be someone from his relatives and close friends looking for him but the thing that he least wanted to do is to pointlessly argue with them. They had been trying to convince him for weeks to be put under the procedure of implanting the chip.

He opened the door pathetically. It was his mother.

“Can I come in?”
“Only if you don’t talk about the procedure”, he told her sharply because he was tired of canvassing it.

“Oh, my boy, why are you so stubborn?”, she continued by pushing him gently aside to make her way in and then artistically sat on his couch.

She started crying but he rather she had shouted. He couldn’t resist long when somebody cried in front of him and what’s more his mother knew very well how to convince people by pretending to be the victim. To resist against the attacks he sat in front of the computer again.

From the tower
faces showed up
and all of them
looked differently.
Only one thing
united them -
the deep grey sorrow
and the fight against liberty.

“You look upset”, he tried to be kind.” Don’t worry about me. I’ll make it somehow”.

“How can I not worry, Philip? Look at you. You are as thin as a leaf.  I would bring you some food but your father forbade me. If the Police of the New Order find out that we are doing this we will be ruthlessly fined.

The pain coming from the pressure and hunger in the man’s stomach started again. He let his fingers move on the buttons of the keyboard to stop the pain. The thing that most irritated him was that people nowadays had stopped recognizing good from bad. The new leaders didn’t stop making people believe that the morality had no importance but paying their duties toward the New Order. They weren’t doing it so obviously. They were doing it by canvassing, advertisements, median messages and even more.

This made them reject any source of morality and, of course, Christianity. I can’t describe how many efforts cost them to deny, reject and mock Jesus’ words. It seemed as if they had finally succeeded. But no matter how many were against the righteousness, he knew He was right and they were wrong. He was honored to be on the side of righteousness.

Then from the earth
black smoke rose
and filled the whole world
with malice.
Then the man was lifted high,
a volcano erupted,
volcano of vice

“How long do you think you can bear this”, the worried voice of his mother and her wet from the tears cheeks looked very authentic. “Don’t you understand you won’t survive without food. Your father and I are very worried about you and you…you don’t even care about his brittle health.” 

“At least you have access to the health services”, he continued, wanting the woman in front of him to catch the sarcasm in his words, You also have access to food and to so much more. Oh and I almost forgot " What is the price for all this? Your souls.”

She didn’t reply to this but her face was like a stone. It didn’t move. The silence in the room became oppressive but he was a long ago used to it. For the past few weeks such conversations were part of his routine. However the poetry inside him was naturally coming out.

From the tower
showed up faces,
behind the walls.
With the mark on their
they looked like animals

He knew very well that his end was near and that no one would probably read his poems but he was writing them mainly to himself. He didn’t want to give up now; he didn’t want to lose his mind. At least not now when the end was so near.

You live in a dark century,
That’s why is needed wisdom
in Heaven’s name.
that the number with the
Mark of the beast
is number of man

“It won’t hurt at all. Just a quick prick and it will be over”, she was looking at him but she was seeing something else.

“No way mother. And you’d better stop persuading me. We belong to different worlds now”, as he was saying this he got sad about that poor woman sitting on his couch,”I’m sorry, mom, but that’s the truth. And you’d better leave now…Goodbye, mother.”

Philip turned to the screen of the computer and ended his poem just on time:

When I woke up, I
Walls were built everywhere

* * *

Then the electricity went off.

I closed the book. I was excited but I knew very well the end of the story. It’s incredible that when I read this story twenty years ago I was sure it was just a cheap fantasy story but today…

The electricity went off. People like me, who didn’t have a microchip implanted with their personal information, insurances, bank credits and taxes, were not allowed to buy, sell or eat.

I had made my decision and now was the time to bear the consequences.


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