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The Other World

During an annual parade, a little girl discovers a different side to her idyllic town.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Rosemary Ketchum and Aa Dil. Photos are titled "People Holding Rainbow Hand Fans" and "Man Wearing Yellow Overall Pants Between Buildings" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a bizarre surrealist look of pride paraders costumed in gothic drag-like mime attire, with one waving a rainbow fan with a long ribbon attached to the end, blowing in the wind.]

 

It’s that time of the year again. The sun is shining and the sky is a clear blue. Smiling people both young and old are out in full. A striking rainbow arches over the town. Joyful youth rollerblade down the streets, waving rainbow stripes as they fly down the inclines. Confetti rains down on the cheering crowds as laughter and music blankets the air.

 

A young girl holds her father’s hand as they skip down the sidewalk. Something catches her attention in the corner of her eye. She stops and stands still, trying to concentrate her eyes as mobs of gleaming skin march by. Her depth of field adjusts to the focal length of a grey fence blocking off access to an alleyway on the other side of the street. Her sight trails up the fence and reaches barbed wire. She frowns.

 

Her father looks down at her.

 

She lowers her focal point and dares to adjust her focus beyond the wire-mesh. Her eyes reveal a world desaturated with faded hues of brown and green. Black plastic bags line the walls and spill out across its floor. Wires with hanging rags connect either side of the alley. A clogged sewer grate collects sludge, rainbow-coloured straws and discarded cups float in it. She notices a moving figure deeper in, it is obscured by a thick moving black fog of dots that gather near the refuse.

 

Her father nudges her shoulder.

 

The figure trips and collapses onto the wet floor. It crawls, inching itself closer to the bottom of the fence. Black hands grasp the chain-mesh. Tired eyes look up at the passersby. They remain oblivious, their attention focusing on each other and the direction of the flow. Its eyes continue to dart around. And then they meet the girl’s.

 

Her father looks across the street.

 

The girl is promptly picked up and plopped on her dad’s shoulders. Gleefully, he carries on and the two disappear with the current of joy.

Flipper Uprising

In a world controlled by a ruthless fast food corporation, a young burger flipper finds himself caught up in a violent worker uprising.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Aaron Schwartz and Horizon Content. Photos are titled "Brown Buffalo" and "Two Burgers With Fries and Sauce" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a nightmarish surrealist image of a buffalo with tumorous burgers growing out of it, with the surrounding outdoor rural landscape also being morphed by the madness. The original colour has been modified to appear as a hazy mix of yellow, orange, brown, red, and maybe a light tint of lime green.]

 

The latest flipper strike has been put down by our brave forces! Food production is UP by 20%! Be thankful to our executives for their fine management!

 

Inside a men’s restroom a scrawny man wearing a gold and red uniform washes his hands, his name tag reads: Anthony.

 

A large man regurgitates the contents of his stomach in a nearby stall. The collector bowl flushes and the thick puke swirls down the drain.

 

Thank you for your GENEROUS calorie donation! Please deposit your regurgitation assistance spoon into the slot on your right. Have a pleasant day!

 

The door to the men’s restrooms is suddenly thrown open and slams against the plastic wall.

 

Anthony! Get your ass back on shift! You don’t get paid to piss—

 

A roaring sound of gunfire is heard outside the restroom accompanied by frantic screaming.

 

Hey, you’re not with security! Just who the fuck—

 

Piercingly loud gunfire fills the restroom, pieces of the shift manager’s body flies around the corner and splatters against the wall. A man dressed in green fatigues swings himself inside the restroom, a red bandana hides the bottom half of his face. He snaps his weapon towards Anthony, but hesitates before lowering it.

 

Fuck man! I almost shot you!

 

The armed assailant begins checking the stalls one by one, kicking the doors open with fury. He reaches the end where the large man is hiding. A short scream along with a blast of gunfire from the assailants’s submachine gun is heard before an explosion of blood soaks him.

 

Ha, would you like some FRIES with that fatty!?

 

He swiftly turns around and grabs Anthony’s arm.

 

This our time man! The flippers are rising again! This time it ain’t fucking peaceful!

 

Anthony is pulled out of the restroom into a cafeteria. A scene of horror surrounds him as mangled and butchered corpses of customers cover the eating area.

 

An obese woman carrying a chubby baby in her arms runs against the direction of a moving escalator that connects to the street above. She lets out monstrous breaths before collapsing and tumbling backwards. Her baby goes flying and is caught by another armed man in fatigues, this one wearing a striking beret. He hands the baby over to the commando beside him who appears lesser in rank.

 

Look at them! They can’t even walk up stairs! These are the slobs who we’ve been slaving our asses off for! Pathetic!

 

The bruised woman struggles to get onto her knees as she looks up at the man holding her infant. The woman cries in terror and raises her hands towards the man before falling flat onto her face in exhaustion.

 

Just put it out of its misery already! It can’t even stand up!

 

What are we going to do with the infant?

 

The man in the beret fires off a few shots causing shards of plastic to fall down behind him from the ceiling above. Commandos gather around him.

 

Alright, that’s enough! We do what we did to the rest of them! Kill them fucking all!

 

But comrade flipper! It’s just a baby, surely—

 

I said we kill them fucking all! This is a class war, either you’re a flipper or you’re full of lead!

 

Yes, comrade flipper!

 

A commando steps forward and blasts the woman’s head into pieces. The infant starts to wail uncontrollably.

 

Shut that thing up already!

 

Ah fuck, are we really going to do it!?

 

Just fucking shoot it!

 

One of the commandos places the muzzle of his submachine gun against the infant’s temple. Just before he pulls the trigger, a commando beside him shoves him, causing the stream of gunfire to miss the infant. The infant screams deafeningly.

 

Nobody is fucking killing the—

 

The man in the beret guns down the insubordinate commando before he can finish his words, targeting his legs, while the one who was shoved finishes him off.

 

If you’re not with us, you’re against us! Flippers unite!

 

Flippers unite!

 

Finish that thing off in the restroom, I’ll handle the uninitiated!

 

Yes, comrade flipper!

 

The commando holding onto the baby jogs into the restroom as the baby continues to cry. The man in the beret begins approaching some uniformed workers, reading their name tags, and asking each of them individually to join his group. He then arrives at Anthony.

 

Loud gunfire echoes from the restroom, the crying of the infant abruptly comes to a stop as silence fills the cafeteria. The man in the beret steps forward and grabs Anthony’s name tag, tugging it off his uniform and then tossing it behind him. He grabs onto Anthony’s shoulder and leans into him intently.

 

So… Anthony, are you with us?

Coming of Age

Still a virgin at eighteen in a society where casual sex is mandatory, Ernie is involuntarily committed into a sanatorium where he finds others like him.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Anthony DeRosa and Erkan Utu. Photos are titled "Grayscale Photography of Person at the End of Tunnel" and "Opened Door" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a psychedelic visual of inside a ridged metal pipe with the silhouette of a figure sitting at the end, seemingly about to fall out.]

 

She’s dead, my mate. I killed her. I threw her out the window. She’s on the concrete now, a meat pancake. I can already hear the sirens.

 

I’m eighteen years old, a man, or supposedly a man. She was to be my first. I didn’t want her, but she wanted me. She really wanted me.

 

They’re here now, it’ll take a while for them to get up here. Maybe I should join her? I’ve heard rumours of the place they’ll send me to: a grand building in the middle of the city, pure white like everything. You go in sick and you come out normal, or you don’t come out at all.

 

I can hear them breathing now, panting heavily. Their boots echo, but they’re getting slower, more tired.

 

This is my last chance. I either join her or I join them. I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t…

 

Numbness, tingling, voices, I cannot move. Squeaky wheels turning. Lights, bright lights, fluorescent. The pressure… Weighted eyes, it hurts.

 

A voice… A man, no… A woman, no… A man and a woman. Doctor and nurse. I am there, the sanatorium. What will they do to me? I should have done it when I had the chance.

 

Moaning… Crying… Terror… All around me… Muffled behind doors. I’m being put into a room, padding, surgical lighting, clean and white like everything else. It’s locked, the door is closed and locked. My wrists are tied.

 

Patient… Male… Eighteen… Diagnosed… Extreme phobia… Crime… Murder… Involuntarily committed… Recommend… Security maximum… Stabilize… Hand me that… Thirty? No… Adjust that… Good enough…

 

I’m awakening… They must have drugged me. It was difficult to think clearly, but it’s getting easier now. They have me strapped down to this table. My wrists and ankles are tied. I don’t think there’s anyone else in the room with me.

 

I can still remember what I did, but how I got here I have no idea. Must be a side effect of the drugs…

 

Footsteps… For me? Yes, the door is opening. Oh… It’s Life Manager Quinton… Now I really wish I had joined my mate… Looks like he’s brought in a few of his assistants too… All nicely dressed as always.

 

Well… Well… You’ve really done it this time Ernie… She was a full 8.0 on the Hooper Standard and a startling 9.12 on the Baker Spectrum. Do you have any idea of much this will set me back? Why you little shit—

 

Uh, sir if I may?

 

Yeah… What is it?

 

The file… You’re supposed to—

 

Yes! I know! Give me that…

 

A file exchanges hands… I think, is that my name on it?

 

So, Ernie… I understand your type. You think because you fulfill your work quota that you can just go on and live all by yourself, don’t you? Selfishly rejecting people… Your file has a quite record of that. What your type fails to understand is that my type exists…. My type, not bounded by some abstract occupation involving contrary or whatever have you mathematics… No, my job is your social wellness and your social wellness is FUCKING SHIT!

 

Quinton’s gone behind me now, I can’t raise my chin enough to see him…

 

You know… Most men in your position with an opportunity like that… Well… I had hoped you’d be grateful… We usually have to pay those people to visit rejects like you, but she liked you. You hear that Ernie? That woman you tossed out your window because you were too fucking afraid to get your teeny-weeny dick wet liked you. And now she’s dead. And I’m TWO FUCKING LEVELS BACK!

 

Uh, excuse me sir—

 

FUCK PROTOCOL! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE! ALL OF YOU, OUT!

 

His lapdogs leave the room, now it’s just me and him. Quinton’s known me since birth… He always hated his job and I never made it easier for him. He’s the last person I would want to be alone with.

 

I can hear the anger in his breath… He’s furious.

 

Would you like me to go over the record for you? Yes, a very excellent education and work record. Stellar… Very stellar… BUT THAT’S NOT FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH! As a member of THIS society you need to be more than just a FUCKING HUMAN CALCULATOR! There’s a little thing called, although not as little as your— You know what? Fine, I’ll follow protocol. You get to watch a LITTLE tape and then you get one LITTLE chance afterwards to make things right… One LITTLE chance…

 

He adjusts the table… I’m on an incline now. There’s a monitor on the wall in front of me. He inserts a tape into the slot below it. He turns it on and leaves the room. I’m alone at last.

 

A man’s face appears, I recognize him… He’s Society Founder Martin Waterman. Smiling as always… The kind of smile that says something else entirely…

 

Why hey there! As you know I’m a very busy man. We’ve come a long way since we only had a few dozen associates, now we have billions, and more coming… So, they’ve had me record tapes for unique situations… And yours is… Uh… Well… Very unique and unfortunate…

 

He takes a seat on a lounge chair and drinks some lemonade from a straw.

 

You have committed murder… Well… I guess we all make mistakes sometimes right? And… You’re eighteen and still haven’t had your first sexual experience? Now THAT is truly troubling.

 

He gets up and picks up a golf club. He takes a swing and then hands it over to someone on the side. He’s now walking into a forest, his smile unchanging…

 

Here’s the wonderful thing about living in this grand society… We all do our work and we all have our wellness. You can’t be happy if you’re missing a crucial piece to the puzzle. And what’s so bad about sex anyway? What do you have to fear? It won’t take too much time out of your day. I’m sure you can return to your work like nothing ever happened and maybe feel a bit more relaxed too. And here’s the most important part, it boosts your immune system, like our premium vitamin products. I hope you’ve been taking yours…

 

He’s taking his clothes off and jumping into a pool now. Breaststroke… Now’s he’s out and grabbing a towel…

 

Ah… I love swimming, don’t you? So, here’s the thing… This sexual inexperience of yours… Well… It’s not healthy, but we’re going to give you one last chance… And I know… I know… I don’t like saying this, but there’s really no other way to say it… If you… Y'know… Reject this opportunity this time…

 

His smile disappears… The tape ends.

 

The door opens, it’s Quinton…

 

It’s… TIME buddy boy! What are the rest of you standing around for? Get him down the hallway!

Y-y-yes sir!

 

His minions shuttle me out, they push the table down the hallway. Quinton looks down at me sometimes, but he then disappears, his minions follow him. I’m alone in this white hallway… I look around and there is no end to it. You’d expect double doors somewhere, but you can’t see the end, it’s like placing a mirror in front of another and you get this illusion of infinity—

 

Footsteps… They sound like… Heels? A nurse? No… She’s not a nurse…

 

She’s looking at me…

 

She’s past me now and entering a side door. She’s coming back out. She’s pushing me inside the side room, this place looks odd. It’s darker than the others. I can’t see the walls, are there any?

 

She’s closed the door. It’s just me and her.

 

My wrists… My ankles… They’re free. I’m off the table now. I need to get out. Where’s the door? It isn’t there… Where is the door!?

 

She’s still in here with me. I can hear her breathing. Heels… Moving in the darkness, I can’t pinpoint the location… I feel the ground, it’s tile… What’s this? A knife? It’s sharp and cuts my finger. It’s mine now.

 

I can hear her voice… It’s calling out to me… Taunting me… What is this? I call out… Demand that she shows herself, but how can she? I can’t see anything, I can’t see the floor, it feels cold… I wish I had shoes.

 

I have her… She’s a couple metres ahead… I’ve become closer now. Take a few more steps… I’ll find her…

 

Do you want me?

 

Just a few more steps… Another whisper…

 

Do you want me Ernie?

 

I’m so close I can nearly tas—

 

Is that knife for me Ernie?

 

She has me. Her arms are around my neck, I’m not sure what’s going on. Where’s the knife? It’s not in my hand. She must have took it. If I get it, I will KILL her. KILL. How dare she touch me!

 

Do you want the knife back Ernie? Do you want to stick it into me? Is that what you want Ernie?

 

I struggle, I kick back, but it’s no use. She’s taller than I am and much more stronger. I thought she may have been a worker from the pleasure district, she has that gait about her, but no… She must be from security. You can feel it in the arms… They have experience.

 

What’s wrong Ernie? Can’t you get free? Are you not strong enough? You were strong enough to throw your other mate out your window, weren’t you? Why aren’t you strong enough to fight me?

 

She’s choking me and taking her time at it too. I feel like she could snap my neck. This must be some kind of sick game Quinton thought up. I will kill him too. I just need to get… Free…

 

Don’t struggle Ernie… You want to lose… You want me to beat you… That’s why you rejected the others, they weren’t as strong mentally or physically as you are… But I am both…

 

The sweat… Our limbs are getting slippery… I’ll play her game and loosen up a little… And then…

 

I don’t need anything to control you Ernie, I just need my bod—

 

Ha, I’m FREE! I slipped right through her grasp like a slithery snake. Fool! But… No knife… She still has it. This isn’t over yet…

 

Silence. No breathing. Just darkness and cold tile. Slippery now with all the sweat. I’m laying down on my back and spreading myself out like a starfish… I’m putting my ear against the floor… Nothing. Nothing? Where is she? Where could she have possibl—

 

I get up and start running, I don’t know where, but I run as fast I can. This place cannot be infinite, there was a door…

 

Still nothing… I have been sprinting for close to a minute. Am I going in circles? I stop and try to slow down my breathing. I am starting to get scared. I can’t hear anything except my own heart rate. I never thought I’d miss fluorescent lights…

 

Wait… What is that? I smell something… Someone? Bad odour… Breathing, I can hear breathing. I call out… Somebody responds, but it isn’t her, it’s a softer voice… A quieter one, like mine…

 

We embrace each other in the darkness for a brief moment… Okay, this person is obviously a she… Wait… There’s another? This one… Male… Another… And another… What? Who are these people? What are we all doing here?

 

Shh…

 

Huh? Shh… What?

 

Take my hand… Walk with us…

 

We’re in a line in the darkness, I don’t know how many there are of us, but I’m at the back. We’re shuffling our feet, but we’re not very quiet… Breaths keep escaping… I ask again, this time in a hushed voice who they are…

 

I think it’s a test…

 

What?

 

I think it’s a test… To see if we can work together to…

 

Shh, keep it quiet back there… You’ll alert them!

 

Alert who? There are other weird women in here?

 

Hey… Psstt… I found something over here?

 

What?

 

I said, I found something… It feels like a grate—

 

A metal grate is opened, the line of strangers leads me into it. I crouch down and crawl. The metal is cold like the tile, but apart from the sweat of the people in front of me, dry.

 

Oh, shit! I almost fell, there’s a big fucking hole over here! Hey, watch it, you’ll push me—

 

The man’s echo at the front stops abruptly and then we all hear the sound of a water splash.

 

H-h-hey, you okay down there!?

 

You fucking bastards! It’s a sewer down here!

 

Hey man! I didn’t mean to push you! The others didn’t stop—

 

Ah fuck it! Maybe this system leads to outside the city!

 

Outside the city man!? Are you nuts, it’s a desert out there, how do you expect us to survive!?

 

Yeah? And who the fuck says that? Mister Premium Vitamins!?

 

Shit! How am I supposed to know man!?

 

The sound of another splash is heard.

 

Woah, where did you go!? Hey!

 

Relax dimwit! There’s nowhere else to go, but down here!

 

Hey… I know why don’t we go b—hey!

 

A man yelps before another splash of water is heard echoing down the passage.

 

The line moves ahead, I crawl with it.

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I think it actually smells a bit better down here!

 

That’s because you smell like shit, so you’re used to it!

 

Damn, man! Why you gotta’ be like that!

 

I’m getting closer to the echoes now…

 

Can you guys actually see anything down there!?

 

No and that’s probably for the best!

 

The line suddenly stops moving.

 

Hey, what’s the hold up?

 

Hell if I know…

 

Someone call up front.

 

HEY, WHAT’S THE FUCKING HOLD UP!?

 

Some chick is refusing to jump, she’s got bad nerves I guess!

 

WELL FUCKING PUSH HER YOU ASSHOLE, I’M CLAUSTROPHOBIC!

 

Hey… I’ve got an idea…

 

Yeah, what’s that?

 

Why don’t we just all start moving forward like a train, that’ll force everyone up ahead to keep moving.

 

Yeah, I’ve got an idea too…

 

Huh?

 

Shut the fuck up. What do you think of that?

 

That’s not funny man.

 

I think it’s pretty funny.

 

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE! GET THIS TRAIN MOVING ALREADY!

 

Guys maybe we should stop making all this noise, y'know…

 

Starting with you, your breath smells like asshole.

 

How do you even know what that smells like?

 

I have one…

 

The fuck?

 

IF YOU GUY’S DON’T START MOVING SOON I’M GOING TO OPEN MY GAS VALVE!

 

The sound of a woman screaming is heard and then a loud splash. The line starts moving efficiently again. I finally reach the edge of the hole in the passage.

 

Something is making noises behind me, crawling and breathing… I can’t see anything, but it sounds like it is getting closer…

 

Ernie… Baby… Where are you off to honey? Don’t you want your little knife back? Don’t you want to stick it into me?

 

I swiftly swing myself through the hole and fall into the sewer water below. I flail my arms about until someone grabs a hold of me and pulls me towards the sewer’s edge — still pitch dark.

 

It’s okay… I got you. Come on, the others are moving fast, we don’t want to lose them.

 

I recognize the voice, it’s soft, the same woman I first met of the group. She leads me down a narrow path on the side of the sewer. I hear a large splash behind me and stop for a moment, her hand tugs against mine.

 

Hey, what is it? We can’t stop moving!

 

I mention I thought I heard a noise behind me, maybe it is the strong woman who was hunting me before.

 

Forget it! We’re going to lose the others if we don’t hurry up!

 

She pulls my hand again and this time I follow her, she wraps her arm around mine and we start picking up the pace.

 

We can now only hear each other’s breaths, the sounds of the others in the distance has faded. My feet ache.

 

Shit… I think we’ve lost them… How are you doing?

 

I’m doing terrible, I’m soaked in sewage, terrified, and exhausted. I think I can hear footsteps behind me, maybe even heels…

 

We can’t rest here… We can’t even sit down, the current is going in this direction, so it must lead somewhere… Let’s just keep moving… I can’t hear anything except you and the water… Come on…

 

Our movement is getting increasingly sluggish as we both succumb to exhaustion. I fall first onto my knees, bringing her down with me. We both fall into the water and get taken by the current…

 

I awake to see the sky, it’s a bright baby blue. I’m being dragged on some damp sand, a large sewage pond lies in front of us. She lets go of me and collapses onto her back. She struggles to catch her breath.

 

There’s… There’s… footprints behind us, looks like the others… Premium Vitamins was right, it’s a desert out here…

 

We both stare up at the city’s imposing walls. A tall muscular figure emerges from the drainage pipe and looks upon us before turning back and disappearing inside.

Facial

An aspiring beauty contestant suffers an acid attack and is subsequently banished to a hyperviolent underworld of undesirables.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Magda Ehlers and Pixabay. Photos are titled "Brown Man Face Figurine" and "Waterfalls" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a psychedelic dreamy visual of a metal mask resting among a wild overgrown meadow of flowers, grasses, and bushes.]

 

Oh… You’re going to love the next one… Standing at one-hundred and sixty-eight centimetres… Just under fifty kilograms… Oh… She’s perfect… Such potential this one… I’m just dying to show you her folks… Words don’t do her justice… Ladies and gentlemen… I present you… Number Twenty-Two!

 

The audience gasps as their anticipation is rewarded.

 

No makeup here folks… That’s natural skin… A beautiful vanilla…

 

She stands in front of them, the spotlights cast out the shadows of her frame. She stares out ahead, her eyes are blinded by the lights.

 

Check out that near perfect facial symmetry… Laser display on… Wow, that’s a close one! Twenty-Two, assume second pose.

 

The platform rotates as she assumes a leaning pose.

 

Take a look at that—

 

There’s some commotion in the back.

 

Operators— Turn on stage lights— All lights on! Oh my God is that—

 

Ugly, it’s an ugly!

 

Somebody get security, where’s security!?

 

It’s touched me, it’s touched me!

 

The crowd frenzies. A stream of clear liquid flies through the air and hits the model square on the face. She screams.

 

Jesus! Somebody call medical! Get security down here!

 

Large men push through the crowd, they tackle a man and seize a two-handed water gun from him. They proceed to violently beat him. He lets out a shriek before his throat is crushed by a man’s heel. His face is then pounded into mush.

 

The model is taken off-stage, a team of people huddle around her as she is laid down, still screaming as she covers her face with her hands.

 

Get a sedative! She needs a sedative! Get water, get some water!

 

She is sedated. Water is gently splashed on her face. They lift her and put her onto a stretcher.

 

A day later she awakes in a hospital, a man in white medical scrubs with a warm smile greets her as she opens her eyes. He sits next to her and holds her hand.

 

Hello Gabi. How are you feeling? It’s normal to feel some fatigue, it’ll take a while for the drugs to wear off. We did the best we could.

 

She reaches over to the phone on the coffee table beside her.

 

No, Gabi. He doesn’t want to talk to you. I mean who would? You haven’t seen your face yet, once you do… I’m sure you wouldn’t blame him.

 

She tries to touch her face, but the man stops her. She begins to sob.

 

No, don’t cry Gabi, it’ll just make it sting. You’re lucky it didn’t hit your eyes, not being able to see out there would make your chances a lot slimmer than they are now.

 

She tries to hold back the tears as she murmurs.

 

It’s best if you don’t talk. A taxi is outside waiting for you. You can stay here for another thirty minutes if you’d like. I’m afraid I have to leave you now, your face is bothering me and it’s my smoke break soon. And… I’m sorry this happened to you, but there’s nothing more we can do. The acid went too deep, there was barely anything left to recover.

 

He gets up and attempts to leave, she grips tightly onto his hand and refuses to let go.

 

Don’t make this difficult, let go of my hand.

 

She reluctantly lets go. The man heads towards the exit, but stops and turns to her.

 

Oh, I almost forgot… Wear this over your face when you leave the room. Good luck.

 

He tosses her a paper bag with two holes in it and then turns and leaves the room.

 

She stares at the bag while it rests on her lap for a moment. She slowly puts it over her head and adjusts it, so that she can see through the holes. Carefully, she gets up from the bed and wanders outside her room.

 

Medical staff move out of her way as she wanders down the halls towards the hospital’s entrance. A taxi cab is waiting for her directly outside. She tries to get in the passenger seat, but the door is locked and driver motions her to get in the back. The cab drives off as Gabi takes a seat and fastens her seatbelt.

 

Oh look, another one. Let me guess, an ugly got a lucky shot on you? Bastards. Well it could be worse, they might have got it in your eyes. Most of their victims can barely make it out of the hospital, but you… You can see, can’t you?

 

As the cab drives on, the surroundings become more and more dilapidated. Homeless people are seen scouring the streets and rummaging through trash. The road becomes bumpier.

 

You’ve never been out here I take it? Welcome to the gutter, you better get used to it because they won’t take you back. I’m sure you feel like the most unluckiest person in the world right now, but I promise you, there’s always somebody that has it worse.

 

A naked man suddenly runs out in front of the cab and tosses a petrol bomb on the windshield. The cab swerves right and smacks right into a wall, triggering the airbags and knocking the driver unconscious. The same man smashes the driver’s side window, cuts off his seatbelt with a pocket knife and pulls the unconscious taxi driver out through the window. He strips the driver’s clothes off and quickly puts them on himself. He then bolts off and disappears into an alleyway.

 

Another man comes running out, he is clothed and carrying a briefcase. He kneels down beside the unconscious driver and begins rummaging through his briefcase. A scalpel is pulled out and the clothed man presses it against the driver’s eyelid.

 

The driver suddenly awakens and screams at the top of his lungs. The clothed man is taken by surprise and jumps back. The driver charges towards the man and wrestles the scalpel from him. The clothed man then retreats into an adjacent alleyway, leaving his briefcase behind on the road. Gabi watches this all unfold from inside the back of the cab. The driver feels his cut eyelid with his finger and licks the blood off.

 

That’s right run off you fucking pansy! Jesus, where are my damn clothes!? Fucking vultures!

 

The taxi driver walks to the rear of the cab and opens up the trunk. He pulls out some old blue overalls and quickly puts them on. Next, a long double-barrel shotgun is taken out, presumably loaded as the taxi driver proceeds to point at Gabi.

 

Alright ugly, you better get a move on! No doubt the vultures will be back. You don’t want to be sticking around here and neither do I… Jesus fuck, my cab… Don’t worry cupcake, daddy will fix you… What the hell are you still doing in the cab ugly!? I said get the fuck out of here!

 

He throws open the back side door after inspecting the damage of his vehicle and tosses Gabi out of it onto the road. She scrapes her knees and elbows on the pavement.

 

Get! Go on! Get out of here! Come on, I’m not fucking horsing around! Get your scrawny ugly ass up and out of here now or I’ll give you a 12-gauge facial! Not like it’d make much of a difference for you, haha!

 

Gabi starts to sob as she gets back up on her feet.

 

Oh, what? You’re going to start crying over that? You won’t last a day out here if you’re that weak… Look ugly, I’ve driven dozens of you out here before, the first few times it was kind of sad… Now I just want to get my cupcake back home safe, you dig? Now get fucking lost!

 

A man comes running around the corner down the street, he is screaming hysterically and bleeding from one of his shoulders.

 

The fuck is that?

 

The roar of a jeep’s engine is heard as a four-wheeler comes screeching around the corner, it halts and flashes its high beams.

 

Just my fucking luck… Hey ugly, if I were you, I’d be finding an alley… Fast… What the fuck are these idiots doing out this early, it ain’t spring vacation…

 

The jeep spins its tires and rushes forward. It quickly catches up to the running man and plows him against the road. Drunken laughter is heard from the passengers before the jeep backs up and runs over the fallen man’s head. The vehicle thrusts ahead once more, speeding directly towards Gabi and the taxi driver.

 

No! Stay away from my cupcake you motherfuckers!

 

The taxi driver fires off both barrels, but the jeep continues to propel forward and smacks directly into him, sending his weapon flying over the windshield and his body several metres back. The jeep comes to a stop and several young men dressed in fraternity uniforms jump out. The taxi driver groans in pain as he struggles to turn himself onto his stomach and crawl. One of the young men walks towards him carrying a golf club.

 

Bullet-proof glass bitch! Ha… Are you really trying to crawl away?

 

Heh, we should run him over man, just like the other ones!

 

Yeah man! Then we should get back to base, the water cooler is almost empty!

 

Shit, I thought you said we had plenty!

 

That was like an hour ago man!

 

Fuck!

 

Wait, who the fuck is this?

 

It looks like another one from the hospital.

 

Hey man, you did the last one, can’t it be my turn now?

 

Yeah, whatever… Sure… Have the meat all to yourself.

 

Sweet man!

 

A few more others dismount the vehicle, one carries an automatic rifle. They surround Gabi as she backs up against a brick wall behind her. The man with the rifle guards the group from behind as the rest slowly approach her. The taxi driver cries out as he is beaten with a golf club, his crying does not last long however.

 

That’s one over par!

 

I’m still winning!

 

Wait until we get home, I’m just getting warmed up!

 

The group stops approaching. One of them steps forward and shows Gabi a metal handle, a blade suddenly pops out from it. He waves it like a wand in front of her.

 

Don’t worry… I don’t need to see your face…

 

He aggressively grabs at her shoulder and brings the blade closer to her, she sits down and screams out in terror. In that moment shots are fired and bullets pierce through the group in front of her. The man with the switchblade turns around and is shot multiple times, he collapses onto the ground in a pool of blood with the others. Gabi cowers silently against the wall, blood sprayed across her clothes.

 

The man with the automatic rifle steps carefully over the bodies and crouches down near her, he speaks in a jittery, but soft tone.

 

Gabi… Gabi!?

 

He pulls the paper bag off of her head and desperately checks her body for any signs of injury, tugging at her clothes for confirmation no bullets hit her. She panics and curls up into a ball and hides her face, her body shakes anxiously. He stops and looks behind him, pausing at the scene of carnage.

 

Oh God Gabi… Oh God… I shot them all, they’re all dead… When you screamed… I… I recognized your voice… I couldn’t let them… I couldn’t…

 

He slowly puts down the automatic rifle and breaks down in tears.

 

I… I tried to call the hospital, I tried to see you, they wouldn’t let me… They wouldn’t… I never thought I’d see you again… I… I went out with some friends… I’ve done some terrible things out here Gabi… You couldn’t imagine… You couldn’t imagine me having done the things I have—

 

The man brings his hands to his face and bawls into his palms, his hands become soaked by his tears. He then reaches for her shoulder and lightly touches her, she instantly tenses up and he pulls his hand away.

 

Gabi… Gabi please… I’m so sorry… What they were going to do to you… I… I have done… I helped them… So many times… God… Their blood… Their blood is everywhere…

 

He sniffles as his nose becomes runny, he leans forward and cries into his own arm as he gets on all fours. He picks up the automatic rifle and sits down, he slowly pulls out the old magazine and slides in a new one.

 

Oh God… The screams… The screams Gabi… We’d leave them… Let them bleed… Let them bleed out… I didn’t want to do it… I didn’t want to do it, but the others… The others…

 

Gabi stops shaking and begins to sit up, slowly revealing her face to him, albeit hesitantly so.

 

You remember when we met Gabi? Can you… Can you remember?

 

Her face is shown to him in full, the acid burns still fresh. His expression remains unchanged. He stares into her eyes as he holds the automatic rifle. He pulls the charging handle back and presses it forward. He then warmly smiles at her, she nervously smiles back. Both of them maintain their gaze at each other.

 

It was never… It was never about how you looked Gabi…

 

He slowly turns the gun’s muzzle up to his face.

 

It’s about how you make me feel… I love you… I love you so much, but I can’t stay… I can’t… Not after tonight… Not after everything… Please… Please forgive me… Goodbye Gabi…

 

He wraps his lips around the muzzle and promptly fires, blowing out a chunk of his head. His lifeless body falls back. Her smile remains frozen as she stares blankly straight ahead. A few figures creep out of the alleyways and begin dismantling both vehicles. They scour the bodies and take what they find useful. One of them steps towards Gabi and bends down to grab the automatic rifle. The figure pauses and looks at her eyes, but she does not return his gaze. He snatches the gun from the ground and hurriedly follows the others back into the alleyways.

Extrajudicial

A government operative struggles to cope after having murdered a reporter and his entire family in order to avoid exposing a top secret operation against a pedophile ring.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Clem Onojeghuo and Pixabay. Photos are titled "Ocean View during Daylight" and "Grey Revolver" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a psychedelic visual of a metallic oiled landscape of a beach front, with what appears to be a mix of clouds and glaciers on the azure horizon.]

 

An independent journalist, along with his family, were found dead last evening in their home from an apparent break and entry gone wrong. Police have apprehended the suspect, who turned themselves in and confessed to the crimes the next morning.

 

Local neighbours are distraught at the deaths of the man’s family, which included a four-month-old infant, who was shot while sleeping in her crib…

 

A man engulfs the tip of a pistol’s silencer while watching television inside a musky apartment. He rubs the trigger with his finger and pulls back the hammer of the handgun with his thumb. The gun clicks after he presses against the trigger, firing nothing into his mouth. He pulls the silencer out of his mouth, saliva drips from it against his chin.

 

Family photos of the murdered infant are shown on the screen. The man stares with a vacant expression. He pulls out the gun’s magazine and slides in a single round, loading it back in. He cocks the gun and lifts his chin up, pressing the silencer up against his throat, pointing it at a steep angle.

 

A phone rings beside him and he lowers his weapon.

 

The next day the man is sitting on a bench shaded by a line of lush trees in the rear. An older man, wearing a suit and tie, approaches and sits next to him. They overlook the beach front as families and couples relax in the sun. The suited man beside him loosens his collar and begins to speak…

 

It’s like another world out there, isn’t it?

 

A part of you wants to join them and forget… But we both know that isn’t how it works.

 

Once you enter this line of work… There’s no going back.

 

You’ve been having some problems recently, haven’t you?

 

Your recent work was a success… The operation is still safe thanks to you. I imagine that’s of little comfort to you right now however…

 

It’s normal to feel guilty about what you did, it’s normal to hate yourself for it…

 

You believe what you did was evil… I mean, how could it not be? You killed a man, his wife, and his children, including a tiny baby girl. The people out there… They’d think you’re evil too, but they don’t understand, they can’t understand…

 

You and I… The people we work with, we live in a different reality… We live in the real world, we know how ugly it can be and what must be done, so the people out there can live in peace…

 

The truth is… You didn’t kill the reporter, he killed himself. You didn’t kill his family, he did. And not just him, but the people out there as well… Their morality is what forces us to keep our operations hidden… If that reporter had been allowed to expose us, our operation would be shut down in the name of justice… And what is their idea of justice? What’s written down on a piece of paper of course. That’s their idea of justice, but people don’t live in books… They live out there, on the beach, enjoying the safety we ensure, while enduring none of the consequences…

 

They will judge us, they will condemn us, but without us, the evil in this world that doesn’t follow by anything, not paper, not their heart, nothing… That evil will overrun them.

 

It’s not a constitution or a law that protects them… It’s people like you… Willing to grab a weapon and do what has to be done.

 

Don’t think of the family that was lost, think of the families that were saved… The countless children that our operation will take from the thralls of human trafficking… Those out on the beach today and the millions more that can exist in peace because of the combined actions of the f—

 

The man in the suit stops talking mid-sentence as he smells something peculiar…

 

Is that?

 

Both men turn around and spot a vagrant laying on a branch connected to the tree behind them. He lights up a joint and lets out a deep puff before giving a cordial nod to the pair.

A Day at the Superstore

A young boy finds himself separated from his mother while at the superstore.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Immortal Shots and Egor Kamelev. Photos are titled "Brown Wooden Spider-formed Statue Photography" and "Macro Photography of Lynx Spider" respectively. The outcome of the generation displays a nightmarish psychedelic visual of a large spider figure, along with several other shapes resembling spiders, setting is outside in a park. The original colour has been changed to a desaturated mix of red and purple, with maybe a tinge of brown.]

 

A little boy is buckled up in the backseat by his mother inside a family van. The pair drive off to a superstore. They arrive and leave the van in a massive perpetually unfilled parking lot. The mother holds her little boy by his hand and leads him into the superstore.

 

Inside, she picks him up and seats him on a shopping cart, she pushes it past the automated sliding doors and carries on through the aisles. They reach the toy section and the mother picks up her son and lets him down to explore the toys available on the bottom shelves. There, the boy takes a particular interest in a toy dinosaur, inspecting it with his hands… He brings it closer to his nose and takes a whiff, recoiling back as it smells like an aroma that is combined with feces, rubber, and plastic.

 

He turns to his mother, but she has walked off somewhere… He puts the toy back and walks near the end of the toy section, peeking around to check the main aisle. His mother is nowhere in sight. He frowns, starting to worry a little and takes a walk around, checking each aisle individually.

 

Hesitantly and worryingly… He calls out for his mother, but there is no response… Each aisle remains stark and empty… He hears only the squeaking of his running shoes’ rubber soles…

 

Finally he reaches the hardware section and finds a man wearing a red vest sitting on a stool at a computer terminal… Maybe an employee? He approaches from behind him and tries to get his attention by speaking in a soft voice…

 

Excuse me… Sir? My mother… I think I lost—

 

The man uses his foot to turn himself around on the stool, the seat turns like a wheel. Part of his face hangs on one side, he smiles at the boy, revealing decaying teeth… The boy can smell his putrid breath. The man starts to laugh before turning back around. The boy covers his nose and looks confused. The man takes a deep breath before turning back around, he leans closer to the boy and asks him a question…

 

What’s her name kid?

 

Her name is Lani sir…

 

Oh… You don’t have to call me sir little boy… See my name tag? It reads: Neal. That’s my name.

 

Okay Neal… Can you help me find my mother?

 

Sure… What does she call you kid?

 

My name is Jakob… But she calls me Jake.

 

Alright, give me a sec’ here… I’ll call this one in.

 

The man grabs the wired phone next to him, a piercing noise is heard over the speakers briefly… He clears his throat and speaks into the phone over the announcement speaker…

 

You’ve got a nice kid, Lani, here in the hardware aisle… Right near the back… His name is Jake and he’s pretty afraid and lost… Better come down here before I get hungry, my lunch break is coming up soon…

 

The kid looks even more confused, the man looks over at him and licks his lips. He puts the phone back into its holster.

 

How much does your mother weigh Jake?

 

What?

 

I asked… How much does your mother weigh Jake?

 

Why?

 

You won’t be enough for lunch…

 

The kid starts walking backwards slowly…

 

Suddenly the man’s tongue shoots forward out of his mouth, it wraps around Jake’s neck and tries to pull him back. The man’s face stretches as his mouth enlarges to an unnatural size, his teeth becomes jagged and sharp…

 

A thick stream of brown liquid trails down the man’s tongue, steam comes off of it as it edges closer to Jake’s face. The kid struggles, grasping the muscular tongue with his hands and tries to break free of it… No use… It holds onto him like a snake and only constricts him further…

 

He desperately looks over to the shelves beside him, he spots a hacksaw and drags it off the shelf… Using both free hands, he presses it down on the man’s tongue and starts pushing it back and forth. Blood immediately spurts out and the man screams in agony. The kid continues and relentlessly saws right through the tongue, cutting through it like cheese. He drops the saw as soon as the tongue gives way and escapes around the next aisle. The man comes flying around the corner after him, falling into an adjacent shelf of work tools. A lawnmower is dislodged from the top of the shelves and falls straight onto the man’s face. He collapses and gurgles blood as his hands twitch — he becomes silent as he dies.

 

Attention shoppers, we have a sale on enemas, 50% off, limited time. Irrigate your colon with our quality and affordable line! Now available in yellow, tangerine, and deluxe azure! Remember, daily cleansing is key to maintaining your metabolic health rhythm! Liquid vitamin solution sold separately. Browse at the—

 

A lady’s screams are heard coming from a few isles down. She sounds almost like the boy’s mother. Jakob runs to investigate, finding a woman running from a remote control truck toy. It fires a spear attached to a string and it punctures into her shoulder. The truck then backs up and starts dragging her back. Jakob hurriedly grabs a pair of safety scissors from a rack nearby. He chases the lady being dragged and tries to cut the string, but accidentally drops the scissors. The lady suddenly grabs Jakob’s ankle and he is pulled along with her down another aisle. His hands reach around for something to grab onto. The truck turns into an open restroom door and Jakob manages to grip onto the cold metal door frame.

 

Crunching is heard inside along with the woman’s screams, Jakob feels warm blood pool around him. Once his ankle is free from the woman’s grasp, he crawls out of the doorway and collapses on his stomach. He sobs against the ground.

 

Suddenly he feels a hand grab his ankle again, he jolts onto his back and sees the same woman holding his leg, she pleads for him to help her. He notices the bottom half of her torso is missing, her intestines are being sucked like a vacuum back into the bathroom by an unseen force.

 

A thick fleshy tube slithers out of the bathroom and starts sucking on her open bottom half. The woman’s eyes are sucked inside its sockets as her body is condensed back and sucked backwards into itself.

 

After the wormy tube gulps down its meal, it lets out a loud and deep burp before morphing into a humanoid shape. It quickly assumes the form of a male retail employee who adjusts his vest and wipes some liquid substance off his forehead.

 

Please excuse myself for letting that one out. How can I help you today?

 

Jakob stares blankly at the man.

 

Hey? Are you okay?

 

Jakob takes a deep breath after getting back on his feet.

 

I’m looking for my mother.

 

Your mother? Wait… Was she the woman I just—

 

No.

 

Phew, I didn’t think so. You don’t smell related.

 

Her name is Lani.

 

Your mother you mean?

 

Yeah.

 

How about this sir… We wait until lunch is over and if there is still a Lani here, I’ll call her up. That alright with you?

 

Okay.

 

Excellent, is there anything else I can help with today sir?

 

No.

 

Well then I’m glad to be of some help. Now if you don’t mind… I need to unload some excess…

 

The man walks back into the bathroom and closes the door behind him.

 

Jakob trails the wall and follows it back to the entrance of the superstore. As the automated sliding doors open, Jakob is blinded by the daylight outside. A figure in a hazmat suit emerges wielding an assault rifle. They are followed by several other identical appearing figures in suits.

 

The entrance is covered by a white tarpaulin and is sealed with tape by the figures. The figures turn to Jakob and tie him forcefully down to a stretcher. They carry him through a small opening down a sealed tarpaulin hallway.

 

Monstrous shrieking is heard in the distance followed by gunshots. One of the masked figures places a medical breathing mouthpiece over Jakob’s mouth. Jakob soon goes unconscious as they ferry the stretcher with Jakob into the back of a van outside.

 

Jakob awakes in his bed at home to his mother wiping drool from his mouth with a cloth. He sits up and hugs her tightly. The house starts to shake and rattle as loud sirens are soon heard in the distance. Lani picks up her son and carries him into the bathroom. She steps into the tub and huddles down with Jakob.

 

The house continues to shake violently as it begins to separate into two. The ground splits and unsettles the foundation, causing the floor beneath the bathtub to collapse below. The tub falls and then shatters. Lani’s leg is snapped forward at the knee, breaking the bone.

 

A rattling and hissing noise comes from the growing chasm in front of them. What appears as the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail brushes up against Lani’s neck as she cries out in pain over her broken leg. A tentacle like appendage then appears beside it and stabs into her shoulder. She lets go of Jakob as it tears her away from the shattered tub and pulls her down into the dark chasm below — her screams echo upward until they can no longer be heard anymore.

 

An exhausted Jakob gets up from the tub and backs away from the chasm’s edge. He hears the roar of chaos around him as his neighbourhood becomes engulfed by smoke from burning house fires. He covers his mouth and coughs as he makes his way out of the ruins of his home. The ground shakes again and his ruined house is swallowed by the earth.

 

Jakob steps out onto the suburban boulevard, witnessing a scene of apocalyptic horrors in front of him. A dozen or so fast-moving creatures rip apart a man’s limbs and defecate an acidic sludge upon his body, then proceed to quickly consume him. These creatures then scurry inside a larger beast’s mouth.

 

They again emerge from the creature’s mouth — a slug-like organism with hundreds of small legs pushing itself out of a crevice in the ground.

 

The small, but larger-than-life solifugae-like monsters surround their next victim: a pregnant mother. She is immediately swarmed and attacked. Her belly is ripped open with their teeth and her fetus is forcefully removed. The woman is otherwise left alone, with the creatures carrying the fetus away and disappearing back into the parent creature’s mouth.

 

The woman’s body convulses on the ground, her belly’s gaping wound is quickly sewn together by flesh strands before she stands up straight and gets her balance. She turns to Jakob and walks over to him. The child remains frozen in place.

 

Nice day, isn’t it sweetie?

Blood, Soil, and Margarine

During a race riot, a little girl is sent out by her father to get some groceries from a local supermarket.

 

 

[Accessible image description: Created using Deep Dream Generator by combining photos licensed for public use by Kaique Rocha and Pixabay. Photos are titled "Two White Street Lights" and "Strawberry Lot" respectively. The outcome of the generation shows a highly psychedelic narrow street composed of strawberries.]

 

On a television screen, a kid in a dark trench coat slowly approaches the entrance to a school cafeteria. He steps inside and scans the eating area, watching as the students cram in their lunches. Inside his trench coat... He pulls out a long unwrapped banana. Before he is able to take a bite out of it, he is pushed by a student from behind and trips forward. The student behind him takes out a sub-machine gun from his bag and aims it around. The whole cafeteria falls silent.

 

LUNCHTIME'S OVER FAGGOTS! Time to die!

 

He laughs maniacally as a wide grin appears on his face before squeezing the trigger.

 

His gun clicks — nothing happens. He squeezes it again and once again it jams. He frantically squeezes the trigger over and over again as the students start laughing at him hysterically.

 

The boy in the trench coat behind him stands up from the cold tile floor of the cafeteria and turns around to face the failed school shooter.

 

HA! LOOK WHO'S THE FAG NOW!

 

The trench coat boy walks up to him and merrily disarms the shooter. He inspects the sub-machine gun and lets out a chuckle.

 

What kind of FAG uses a QUANG®!?

 

The other kids in the cafeteria laugh nervously.

 

The trench coat boy pushes the failed school shooter out of the cafeteria. He slams the double door entrance shut and locks the doors with a broom stick, sliding it inside its two adjacent handles. He releases the magazine from the firearm and tosses it into a garbage can. He then places the gun on the table where a few seated kids inspect it uneasily.

 

You see? Foreign FAGGOTRYFAG went cheap.

 

He then reaches for something in his trench coat and pulls out his own sub-machine gun, clearly a different make.

 

Now this you see? Real quality craftsmanship. A limited edition fully automatic ZANDRA® 4600.

 

The students eye him while staring at his revealed weapon both perturbed and confused. The armed boy reaches into another pocket within his trench coat and pulls out an extended magazine. He slides it in and pulls back the cocking handle. One of the kids sitting nearby worryingly asks the boy in the trench coat if his sub-machine gun is loaded.

 

YOU BET IT IS! HAHAHAHA!

 

The trench coat boy then begins firing at the students in front of him, massacring the cafeteria in a mist of blood and smoke.

After finishing off the last few students, the trench coat shooter removes the broom from the doors and kicks open the entrance. He passes the failed shooter as he walks out...

 

WHEN GOING FOR A HIGH SCORE... BUY A ZANDRA® NEXT TIME, RETARD!

 

The television screen fades to black and the logo of the firearm company is displayed, along with a slogan.

 

ZANDRA®

 

MADE LOCALLY. USED LOCALLY.

 

The screen switches to a news broadcast.

 

Local authorities are encouraging residents to stay indoors, load their firearms, and cage their children. Rioters from the South End have caused violence across the city. Police are currently mobiliz—

 

A wrinkly morbidly obese man tosses an empty paper bag at the television set. He calls out for his daughter as he rolls his body closer to the remote controller sitting on the snug table on the other side of the couch, he breathes out heavily from his mouth.

 

MIKKI! MIIIIIKKKKIIII! GET DOWN HERE YOU DEAF RETARDED WHORE!

 

He manages to reach the remote and presses a red button. A loud banging noise is heard upstairs, followed by footsteps in quick succession. A young girl runs frantically down the wooden steps to the main floor. A shiny metallic collar appears welded around her neck. She pulls the collar away from her skin ever so slightly, giving the pressure ulcers beneath it barely minimal relief.

 

MIKKI! STOP MESSING WITH THAT COLLAR! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU!? YOU—YOU... YOU RETARDED MIDGET!

 

Her grip on the collar loosens and her shaky hands return to her sides, hesitantly so. Her eyes look partially at the man with a hint of resentment.

 

MIKKI! Mikki... My sweet girl, would you kindly pick up some groceries for your old man?

 

But I just—

 

The man's thumb hovers over the red button on the remote. Mikki watches his thumb and falls silent. They both stare at each other awkwardly for a moment before Mikki speaks up.

 

It—It would be my pleasure sir...

 

That's my sweet little girl. Now, you know the usual... Just pick up some extra margarine this time and a few more packs of cigarettes. And do hurry back in ten.

 

His thumb twitches before relaxing away from the red button. He places the remote on his swollen belly and motions her to leave. The girl complies and opens the front door to the home, stepping outside, and closing the door behind her—she hears the auto-lock engage as she steps away from the house and onto the sidewalk. She then makes her way down the block to the corner intersection.

 

Sirens and gunshots echo in the distance, but the streets in view remain desolate and motionless.

 

The girl crosses the intersection after waiting for the pedestrian light to signal green and she enters the small grocery on the other side.

 

Why do you think they act the way they do?

 

It's in their blood, if we hadn't brought them here, they'd still be hunting elephants on the savanna. They belong in zoos.

 

You do realize they belong to the same species as us?

 

Of course I do, that doesn't make them the same as us. You don't think I understand that we all originated in that part of the world? The difference between them and us is that we moved on and adapted. Our success is as natural as their failure. A dog can breed with a wolf, but that doesn't make them the same.

 

A lot of people would consider your views to be racist, what do you think of that?

 

Yeah, well, I'm no more racist than biology is. Who do you think is rioting right now? You build these animals homes and they burn them down. No matter how much welfare you give them, they still fail. You have to ask yourself why that is. You have to ask yourself why they can't out of all the nations they govern manage to become civilized without our help.

 

I see. Unfortunately that's all the time we have. That was—

 

Mikki gathers a list of grocery items as a shop clerk watches a television broadcast. She walks up and down the dairy aisle, appearing flustered. The clerk remains oblivious and completely fixated on the television program.

 

—from the Hygienics Society. We appreciate his time. You are watching the—

 

A group of young men walk through the grocery's entrance. The clerk leans to the side of his television set and eyes them with suspicion.

 

—stay tuned for our next interview with a police officer on the front lines of the South End riots. Now a few words from our sponsors...

 

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Dozens of pop cans abruptly scatter across the grocery floor. A small boy grips at his metal collar as his body contorts violently on the ground. The commotion distracts the clerk, who gets off his stool and rushes over to the boy. 

 

One of the young men from the group steps behind a lady and makes a thrusting motion with his hips towards her rear as she bends over to pick up an item on a lower shelf. His peers watch on with amusement and silently egg him on.

 

The young man jocularly pinches her rear and quickly turns. He pulls out his phone and innocently texts away. Alarmed by the pinch, the lady suddenly straightens up and looks behind her angrily at the man's back. His peers laugh in whispers, barely able to contain themselves. The lady eyes them with growing ferocity.

 

She reaches into her purse and pulls out a ZANDRA® 4600. She then directly shoves the small, but thick nozzle up the man's rear end. His peers stop giggling and the man cries out in pain.

 

NOT SO FUNNY NOW, HUH!? 

 

Wow lady, mi ass!

 

Damn... Kip it cool lady...

 

SHUT IT MONKEY!

 

No need fi guh calling wi dat now racist lady—

 

I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU RETARDED CHIMPANZEE!

 

The man with his rear penetrated by the gun whimpers in agony.

 

Hey guys! Mi ass nuh feel suh gud...

 

I WILL NOT BE MADE TO REPEAT MYSELF TO DIRTY FUCKING GORILLAS! SHUT THE FUCK UUUUUUUUP!

 

Meanwhile, Mikki traverses the aisles anxiously, seemingly unable to find something. The clerk is still busy with the boy, who is continuously experiencing low voltage shocks from his collar.

 

Finally giving up trying to pry the collar away from boy's neck using rubber gloves, the clerk pours water from a plastic bottle—causing the collar to briefly short circuit before electrocuting the boy relentlessly again. The clerk grabs the boy and drags him over to a back door. He then tosses the kid outside down a metal flight of stairs and closes the door. He takes in a deep sigh of relief and pulls off his gloves, his hands now sweaty from the rubber.

 

Mikki approaches the clerk as he suddenly spots her, he gasps in an irritated startle.

 

Yes... Girl... What is it?

 

I-I am looking for mar-margarine s-sir.

 

We don't carry margarine.

 

B-but you d-did last w-w-week.

 

b-BuT yOu D-DiD LaSt WeEk... Seriously little girl, just fuck off now would ya'...

 

At the front of the store, the situation between the lady and the group of men is getting especially tense. Now one of the men has out a QUANG® pointed directly at the lady while his buddy remains shallowly penetrated by the lady's ZANDRA® 4600.

 

Drap it lady or dis wi get serious—

 

YOU FIRST YOU FUCKING ORANGUTAN!

 

Nuh be a bitch an just drap it lady, laas warning—

 

FUCKING SHUT IT, YOU APE!

 

The lady's ZANDRA® 4600 fires off nearly a dozen rounds upwards into the man's rear end. The man lets out an emasculating scream just before the upper half of his body is internally torn to shreds.

 

Bumbaclaat! Yuh dead now!

 

The man with the QUANG® opens fire, lodging several rounds into his friend's body, with the other rounds being lodged into thick cereal boxes on a nearby shelf. The next time he fires, his weapon explodes in his hand, splitting his hand into multiple pieces of broken bones, muscle, and hanging skin.

 

Staring at his annihilated appendage, he remains silent for a moment. His voice then breaks as he cries out with shrieks of pain. His friend's body falls forward and collapses onto the floor. He falls as well and becomes unconscious, his friends are too frozen in fear to help him.

 

A massive euphoric grin appears on the lady's face, it grows wider and her lips stretch until her entire front row of white teeth show.

 

HAHAHA! WOOOOO!!! LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE WENT CHEAP! SHOULD'VE BOUGHT LOCAL YOU FUCKING MONKEY FAGGOT!!!

 

She raises her ZANDRA® 4600, it is drenched in blood and other unspeakable organic matter. Only two men now stand before her.

 

No please nuh shoot lady, wi cool. 

 

Yeah wi cool, no shoot lady.

 

STOP SPEAKING MONKEY! AREN'T YOU APES LITERATE!? ARE MY TAXES BEING WASTED!!!???

 

Wi new tuh dis country lady. Wi cool. Please nuh shoot wi.

 

YOU'RE NEW TO THIS COUNTRY!? YOU MEAN YOU'RE FOREIGNERS!? OF COURSE YOU ARE! I CAN TELL THAT BY JUST LOOKING AT YOU! WELL, TIME TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY A LITTLE SMARTER!

 

The lady points her ZANDRA® 4600 directly at one of the men. A piercingly loud sound fills the grocery store, and the lady's head explodes into unidentifiable chunks of red gunk.

 

The clerk steps out of an aisle into view, revealing a shotgun. Smoke comes out the barrel.

 

He looks around at the mess before him.

 

Holy mother shit, I hope these dead faggots got insurance.

 

Waah insurance boss?

 

If you don't know what it is, then you don't have it retard. Insurance exists because of shit skins like you. If we got rid of all the shit skins, we wouldn't need no insurance. Instead, we need insurance for everything...

 

Mikki walks down the aisle slowly and approaches the crime scene as the clerk continues his racist tirade.

 

Got a house? Well, you need house insurance because the shit skins gonna' break in. Got a car? Well... You need car insurance because the shit skins gonna' steal it. Are you alive? Well... Guess what... You need life insurance because the shit skins are takin' up all the space in the fucking cemetery. All you shit skins are good for are givin' liberals something to cry about and making a shit load of fatherless shit spawns. Hell at this rate, your shit skin ashes are gonna' be crowding up the stratosphere and we're gonna' need stratosphere insurance or some shit like that...

 

Mikki notices the obviously deceased lady's purse looks quite full.

 

Things would be a lot better off if y'all shit skins just stayed put in your own shit countries where you can break into your own shitty huts, steal your own camel or whatever the fuck y'all use to drive out there, and die in your own dirt...

 

Mikki gets onto her knees and crawls over to the purse, which is partially hidden between the aisles from view.

 

Yuh get insurance boss?

 

You're daaaamn right I do. The whole package. I'm a self-employed patriotic God-fearing taxpayer who don't need no socialism, no sir. I pay whatever the insurance company asks for. Bargaining is for commie socialist liberal UNION FAGGOTS...

 

Mikki reaches for the purse, extending herself while on one knee and lifting her other foot off the ground in desperation to reach it without being seen.

 

Wah a union boss?

 

Well, if you ask me... The only union that ought to be permitted is a union between man and wife. Not FAG and FAG—although I personally ain't got much issue with them dykes... Hell I wish my wife had a bit of dyke in her... Y'know what I'm sayin'... But when it comes to marriage...

 

Despite her best efforts, Mikki is not able to reach it without risk of being seen, so she crawls back. She takes a look around for something to reach it. On a distant shelf in the modest hardware section of the grocery, she spots a rake and gets a brilliant idea.

 

One man, one woman. And in my personal opinion, we ought to hang or stone them FAGGOTS like you shit stains do. I'd say that's about the only good thang you shit stains do in your shit countries. You sure know how to kill them FAGGOTS.

 

Yuh talking bout homosexuals boss?

 

I sure am. The queers, the gays, the butt fuckers, the great deep space anus pioneers, I'm talking' about all them FAGGOTS. Gotta' round those filthy pervs' up and hang 'em high is what I say. Do it for the kids. Can't have those kind of vermin in our part of town.

 

Wi nuh like homosexuals eitha boss.

 

That's a damn good thang to hear, if not, I may need to waste more lead today, if you get my drift. Now... About unions... Let me tell you about those commie socialist FAGGOTS...

 

Mikki's got the rake now and it's time for her to put her idea in motion, especially while the clerk continues his fascinating tirade.

 

What unions are all about is getting workers to do as little work as possible for the greatest amount of money. They reward laziness and worst of all, they're secretly run by COMMUNISTS with "coincidental" foreign ties. Just like what we should do with the GAYS, we ought to also round up the union FAGS and put those troublemakers down for good. Only then will our country be free of the—

 

The clerk spots Mikki attempting to stealthily grab the purse with the rake after catching something in the farthest corner of his eye. He pumps the shotgun and wildly takes a shot at her, exploding a cereal box nearby instead. The two surviving men of the group take the opportunity to bolt out of the grocery.

 

Motherfuckers! You two NIGGERS get back here!

 

Mikki escapes out of the back with some groceries, but without the purse.

 

As the two men flee, a patrol car runs them over, throwing them both up and over the hood and back onto the pavement. Two officers quickly get out of the vehicle with their pistols unholstered and fire several times at the injured men, killing them. They quickly reload their pistols and alertly scan the vicinity before becoming at ease.

 

King Eleven to dispatch.

 

This is dispatch, go ahead Eleven.

 

We are code four with double sixty-niners on Central Avenue...

 

Go ahead.

 

...Actually ten-fifty-five for a double ten-fifty-three.

 

Is that an eleven-forty-two?

 

Negative on that eleven-forty-two.

 

Ten-fifty-five is on its way Eleven. Carry on.

 

Ten-four, Eleven out.

 

One of the officers inspects the hood while the other officer opens the side door and fetches a bottle of liquor.

 

God dammit, those gay NIGGERS scratched up the hood.

 

Fucking NIGGERS.

 

The officer pours the liquor on both of the bodies before taking a few sips from the bottle. The other officer gets into the car and drives it forward slightly away from the bodies. The corpses are then lit on fire just as Mikki walks into view from behind the grocery store, which is now locked down with shutters—the clerk is nowhere in sight.

 

Why howdy there Mikki! Out to get some grub for the old man, huh? He's lucky to have a sweet little girl like you. If I were him though, I wouldn't be having you out during a time like this. There's NIGGERS running amok all over the place, but don't you worry sunshine, we'll get 'em under control!

 

Yes siree!

 

Say Mikki, how about you take a ride with us? We'll get you home safe and sound for your pap. Too many NIGGERS out here just waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of a girl like you.

 

Yeah, come on now Mikki! We'll keep you safe from those NIGGERS!

 

Mikki gets into the back of the patrol car, the officers get in front and they drive off down the road.

 

Along the way home, they come across a homeless man begging at an intersection, the officer in the passenger seat gets on the microphone...

 

Alright NIGGER, time to get a move on!

 

The beggar gives the officers the finger.

 

That GAY ASS FUCKING NIGGER!

 

Don't let that NIGGER get away! FUCK his ASS!

 

The patrol car suddenly accelerates towards the beggar on the corner at the other side of the intersection—completely ignoring the red light. A speeding sedan collides with the side of the patrol car, sending the driver of the sedan through the windshield. His head slams against the side of the officer's head sitting in the passenger's seat. The sheer force of the impact cracks both skulls open like coconuts, broken glass sprinkles all over the scene.

 

Mikki appears alright, as is her bag of groceries, which she had been hugging onto with dear life.

 

The homeless man comes running over and inspects the crash. He walks quickly over to the side of the driver's seat of the patrol car. The officer is alive, but dazed. The other officer in the passenger seat is dead from head trauma, as is the crooked body of the sedan driver.

 

Reaching inside the driver's side window, the homeless man fiddles with the officer's holster, attempting to free his pistol from it. The officer begins to come to his senses and wrestles with the assailant.

 

Get your hands off me you dirty NIGGER!

 

The homeless man successfully wrestles the pistol from the officer.

 

Hey! That's not yours you filthy NIG

 

The officer is shot in the shoulder.

 

Gah! Son of a NIGGER! You shot me you NIG

 

The officer is then shot in the neck, he immediately starts choking on his own blood. The homeless man presses the gun up against the officer's temple and fires once more, soaking the front interior with wet red matter.

 

Mikki attempts to hide on the floor in the back, but it is too late. The homeless man opens the side door and drags her out by her hair. She screams and still holds onto her bag of groceries. The man pulls her up by her hair, gripping roughly. Mikki gets onto her feet and he pushes her into a narrow brick alleyway off the road.

 

Down the alley is another road. Loud rhythmic chanting is heard in the distance, along with marching.

 

One two three four! Kick the NIGGERS out the door!

 

One two three four! Kick the NIGGERS out the door!

 

One two three four! Kick the NIGGERS out the door!

 

Blood and soil! Blood and soil! Blood and soil!

 

Mikki is sat down against a dumpster. The man pulls out his smart phone and snaps her picture. He then inspects her collar, she winces as he pulls it slightly closer to him in order to read small lettering etched into the metal. As he puts his attention back to his phone and starts texting, Mikki suddenly bolts and pushes the man over with the force of her body. The man rolls onto his stomach and fires several shots at Mikki as she runs down the alleyway. Two of the shots miss her, but the last one hits her in the neck and she falls against the brick path, crushing her bag of groceries a little beneath her.

 

Oh, shit!

 

The man comes running over and sighs in relief after realizing he only shot her collar, which has merely been dented by the bullet. He tries to lean down to pick her up, but she gets up before he can reach her. She runs away again and he rushes after her onto the adjacent street, her grocery bag still in her arms.

 

Mikki scampers over to the advancing mob as the homeless man takes aim to fire.

 

The pistol clicks.

 

Hey! That guy's after that girl!

 

That's a NIGGER!

 

KILL THE NIGGER!

 

He's got a gun!

 

So do we!

 

Shoot the NIGGER! Shoot the NIGGER!

 

We should hang that NIGGER high and cut off his balls!

 

I want that NIGGER's balls!

 

What for, you FAGGOT!?

 

I want them dangling from my truck.

The fuck FAGGOT!? Shut up FAGGOT!

 

You're a fucking FAGGOT! What are you, a NIGGER FAGGOT-LOVING COCKSUCKER!?

 

Fuck you, you fucking motherfucker!

 

FUCK NIGGER FAGGOTS! WHITE POWER!

 

WHITE POWER!

 

The homeless man scurries back into the alleyway, a number of marchers take flight after him.

 

Mikki merges with the mob, who embrace her with enthusiasm.

 

Don't worry little lady! The MASTER RACE will protect you!

 

Ain't no damn dirty NIGGER going to put his filthy hands on you, missy!

 

You belong to us!

 

We ain't gonna' let those NIGGERS make a mixer outta' you!

 

She's not their WHORE!

 

White for white! NIGGER for NIGGER!

 

No, fuck NIGGERS! Rope for NIGGER!

 

Ropes for NIGGERS!

 

Yeah, ropes for NIGGERS!

 

Ropes for NIGGERS! Ropes for NIGGERS!

 

And the JEWS!

 

What!?

 

Ropes for the JEWS and the NIGGERS!

 

No, not ropes dumbass! GAS FOR THE JEWS!

 

You want to give JEWS free gas?

 

Free gas? Yeah, sure. Whatever... You really are a dumbass.

 

He must got NIGGER blood in him.

 

Who has NIGGER blood!?

 

This FAGGOT over here! He's a fucking stupid NIGGER!

 

His mother took it up the ass with an APE and out came a NIGGER!

 

He was born in the toilet, his WHORE of a mother mixed our blood with NIGGER and shat him out.

 

Imagine the smell!

 

The smell of NIGGERS is only second to that of the smell of JEWS!

 

Fucking kill that FAGGOT NIGGER!

 

I know where his mother lives! She's a widow! Fucking WHORE!

 

Probably killed her husband, so she can fuck NIGGERS in peace!

 

Let's make her join her CUCKOLD!

 

That FATHER OF A FAGGOT must be missing her!

 

Nah, he's missing her being FUCKED by NIGGERS!

 

Bury 'em altogether, one happy NIGGER-mixing family!

 

Shut up you stupid FAGGOTS! I ain't no NIGGER, I ain't no JEW!

 

Prove it FAGGOT!

 

He's probably undocumented, he has that look about him.

 

Hey, I was born and raised right here in—

 

True story, NIGGER! Show us your BIRTH CERTIFICATE!

 

A what certificate?

 

You don't know what a BIRTH CERTIFICATE is FAGGOT!? He's definitely an ILLEGALIEN!

 

Mikki speaks up...

 

Ex-cuse me.... But I really need to get home. My dad is expecting me and—

 

A man interrupts Mikki by slapping her hard straight across her face.

 

Don't you dare interrupt us, stupid WHORE!

 

Fuck that LITTLE BITCH! KILL THEM BOTH!

 

I want to fuck her ass first!

 

She's a fucking kid you idiot!

 

How about we kill her, the half-NIGGER, and the fucking SICKO!

 

AMEN TO THAT! KILL THE THREE DEGENERATEERS!

 

She ain't a kid if she can get pregnant.

 

Fucking kill that sick fuck! I'll fucking do it myself!

 

Now, wait a minute, the man's got a point...

 

Looks like we're killing four now. Anybody else?

 

I was just saying—

 

A spotlight from above shines upon the mob.

 

What the hell!?

 

Is that a helicopter!?

 

Is it the police!?

 

No, it's the news! They're from that FAGGOT TV station! Fuck those NIGGER LOVERS!

 

Several armed members in the mob open fire on the helicopter, it veers and flies away.

 

Yeah!

 

Get lost FAGGOTS!

 

Get some!

 

WHITE POWER!

 

WHITE POWER!

 

Bye, bye NIGGERcopter!

 

Several large white vans come screeching around a distant intersection.

 

What the FUCK!?

 

The mob changes formation, with unarmed members getting out of the line of fire. Mikki is pulled along with them to the side. The armed members prepare their weapons and get into a firing position.

 

Anybody got a visual!?

 

They're coming right this way!

 

It's THEM!

 

How do you know man!?

 

What's them?

 

Shut up half-NIGGER!

 

My cousin got snatched by one of those vans man! Happened right in front of me!

 

Shit, you fucking serious man!?

 

Yes, I am fucking serious!

 

Fuckers are driving right at us, let's unload on these FAGGOTmobiles!

 

These ain't FAGGOTS man! We should get off the street, maybe they ain't coming for us!

 

Fuck you PUSSY! These are OUR STREETS! We pay for 'em!

 

I thought you didn't pay your taxes, Fred?

 

A small canister is tossed from above, it lands in the middle of the mob, hitting a man on the shoulder.

 

Ya-ow!

 

What is tha—

 

Mikki is blinded and her ears ring painfully, she soon collapses unconscious.

 

Some time passes before she regains conscious.

 

Don't shoot me! Can't you see I'm white! Are you fuckers blin—

 

A dozen shots are simultaneously fired, the voice becomes immediately silent, followed by the sound of a body dropping.

 

What the fuck!? Why are you killing us! There's NIGGERS over there! You stupid motherfuck—

 

The yelling is halted by another barrage of gunfire, soon accompanied by the sound of a body falling once again.

 

Those without proper identification will be processed at a later time. Your patience is being evaluated. Demonstration of incivility results in summary grade reduction. Estimated processing time is not yet available.

 

The noises become muffled, Mikki feels straps loosen across her arms and legs. Her blindfold is removed slowly, she squints her eyes as they are exposed to the interior fluorescence. She raises her hands to touch her neck... A hand gently stops her and a man speaks to her in a quiet, but stern tone.

 

Refrain from touching your neck. A physician will regularly inspect the site for any sign of infection and administer necessary care. Healing time can vary. You will be informed when we know more.

 

Mikki regains her eyesight and takes a look around. She is inside some kind of white metal compartment, sort of a mix of a van and ambulance. A man dressed in bleach white fatigues sits by her. She is resting on a stretcher.

 

W-where am I? What h-happened?

 

The man releases his gentle grip on her hands.

 

You are at Provisional Liquidation Site 21B. You are inside a 2031 NCC Multi-Purpose Hybrid. I do not know this vehicle's serial number. You were extracted from an Active Maladaptive Cluster. Your Smart Behavioural Correction Device has been removed and destroyed. Ulcers on your neck have received treatment, suspected cause is from chronic contact from your SBCD collar. You are under the custody of the NCC and will be transported to Provisional Youth Rehabilitative Detainment Centre 12E. The AMC you were extracted from is currently undergoing summary field liquidation.

 

My groceries? What happened to my groceries?

 

Most likely the NCC rescue team left it at the site of your extraction. The NCC will provide for any of your nutritional needs, along with toiletries. We already are in possession of your medical documentation, any pre-existing conditions will be taken into consideration. You are entitled to full medical care.

 

My father... Where is he? Does he know what happened?

 

Your father was subject to SFL within the past six hours. I do not know the specific time.

 

My father was subject to what? Where is he!?

 

Summary field liquidation. Technically speaking, he's above us right now.

 

He's dead!? He's in the heavens!?

 

The heavens... Yes, in a manner of speaking... His remains were incinerated and deposited into the atmosphere in accordance with Provisional Liquidation Disposal Order 92K.

 

Why!? What did you do to him!?

 

You are required to remain calm. Failure to comply will result in summary sedation and a possible summary grade reduction pending tertiary review.

 

Mikki takes a deep breath before asking again...

 

What happened to my dad?

 

In layman's terms... Your father was classified as an intolerable threat to society... He was shot dead and his body was burnt to ashes.

 

An intolerable threat? What did he do!?

 

Speaking in plain terms for the purpose of achieving your understanding... Your father was deemed an intolerable threat to society because he put an electric shock collar on his daughter's neck, and abused her with it for an unknown period of time. You are his daughter, Mikki. And he did this to you. In addition, had he not been found as a threat, his severely poor health would have likely resulted in him being euthanized. A child abuser is not granted the privilege of euthanasia, so he was killed by firing squad.

 

He's really gone...

 

Yes, Mikki, your father is really gone. He is never coming back and he cannot ever hurt you again. Under our custody, you will never be treated like how he treated you Mikki. Never. The maladaptives outside... Not even them are treated like how your father treated you.

 

You keep saying that, who are you and what are you doing to those people out here?

 

I'll immediately correct you on that Mikki. First, the maladaptives being subject to SFL are not people. People, Mikki, do not commit violence because they don't like the way someone looks. The NCC considers people to be compassionate, civil, rational, and most of all Mikki, a shared value of lif—

 

You're killing those people out there, how do you respect life?

 

How do we, the NCC respect life? We respect life by defending it... We respect it by removing threats to life. Just as not all cells in the body are good.. The same goes for members of our species. How can you protect the body if you are unwilling to eradicate cancerous cells? You can't. Ignoring the threat of cancer results in death. Not all humans are equal, Mikki. Some want to help others, give love to their children, give back to their communities, and make themselves along with the world a better place... Others want to steal, rape, violate, and destroy all that is good in life. A civilized world Mikki, cannot tolerate the latter. Your father Mikki, cannot co-exist with a civilized society. His very nature, Mikki, goes against the health and well-being of you... And his wider community. Him and his kind must be utterly eradicated for the survival and prosperity of the human race.

 

Who are the NCC? Who are you guys? Where did you come from?

 

I must say Mikki... That your inquisitiveness is impressive for your age. Your desire to question your circumstances is regarded as a positive trait by the NCC and should do well to improve your grading—

 

My grading?

 

Yes. We evaluate and grade. Like how a school does. Those that fall below standards receive appropriate treatment... And our standards, Mikki, are very necessary. We have failing grades... And like in a school, those that fail are eliminated. In our case, we expel them permanently from society and the gene pool.

 

You mean you kill them. How do you determine who fails and who succeeds?

 

We don't determine that Mikki. We evaluate it, but it is up to them and their nature... If a human has dangerous maladaptive traits... Sociopathy... Narcissism... Psychopathy... If these traits cannot be corrected or they have demonstrated a capability to inflict severe harm... We have no choice, but to liquidate them, Mikki. If a dog bites the face off an infant... It is put down. We apply the same policy to all life. A human being, who is far more intelligent and potentially capable of inflicting far more cruelty than a mere dog... It is our view that such a capable organism... Should actually be regarded with higher concern. 

 

People aren't dogs though...

 

Of course people are not dogs, Mikki... Remember, we don't put down people.

 

So, what is the NCC? What do they call you?

 

We're the National Curling Club, my designation is—

 

You're the curling club!?

 

That's our official name, Mikki. We are functionally the secondary civil administration.

 

I don't understand...

 

Well, you see Mikki... For the past four decades, it appeared that the primary civil administration ran the show... They consisted of local governments, the national federation... The justice department... Subregional police forces... The military... Essentially all visible administrative organizations... In the event of their failure, the secondary civil administration takes over. If we fail, the tertiary civil administration takes over. The primary failed four decades ago, but we kept them as the visible power until an opportunity for regime change presented itself. Today is the perfect day for that Mikki... Peak racial tensions, social unrest, disillusionment with the established institutions, widespread political apathy... And with the implementation of digital and cyber mass surveillance... The population right now Mikki is in a state of ideal translucence and malleability. It may surprise you just how many of the public support our present initiatives... And how many simply don't care... We can reshape society like clay and for those who cannot be transformed into social benevolence, they will be expunged.

 

Why tell me all this?

 

Every level of civil administration has its own policies and procedures. We study the level before us and in areas where they failed, we seek to prevail. Right now as I speak, the tertiary administration is studying us too. A popular theory is that there is also a quaternary authority and many more beyond the tertiary... The NCC is only aware of the tertiary. The primary wasn't aware of us. Why tell you all this? We are transparent Mikki. In the preceding era, secrecy was the status quo. Our purpose is to destroy the status quo and reconstruct anew. Should we fail, we are fully aware the tertiary will take over. Conspiracy theorists call this system the "deep state", we call it: accountability and the separation of powers. We have nothing to hide. Our mission is to expose corruption in the system, regardless of form, and annihilate it. We then take what is pure, what is innocent, what is good, and we cultivate it.

 

How do you know me? Who are you? Where did the NCC come from?

 

We have been tracking you since your mother was discovered to be pregnant with you, Mikki. As monitoring programs improved, so has our knowledge of you and others. Fortunately for us, the majority of the population agreed voluntarily to carry a CLD. In exchange for convenient instantaneous global socialization and computation, we have been able to amass a comprehensive database on nearly all citizens and non-citizens. Here and abroad. Both our friends and enemies have inadvertently made themselves translucent to us. We can simultaneously be in every pocket, in every ear, in every home, and street... We can be everywhere at the same time. Once you see the true scope of our web... You will be amazed Mikki, truly amazed. The population bought into this program, they waited in lines stretching miles just to be a part of it.

 

What's a CLD?

 

A CLD, Mikki, is a Cellular Locating Device. Or what you may call a cell phone or a "smart phone." One of many tools we use to gather information, but certainly the most valuable. It is the one device we can be almost certain that almost every member of the population will carry with them everywhere. We could never predict that not only would the population embrace the surveillance state out of convenience, but willingly pay for it... Monthly and even per gigabyte... Through this technology, we have created a national nervous system, we have made every individual into a sensory organ of the state. This technology is so powerful, Mikki, that many have come to regard it as an appendage of their own body, and experience distress when it is not present or accessible to them... No wild and unreliable mind control schemes necessary... Their nature provides all that is needed. Even if we sought to abolish the surveillance state... Most of the population would refuse to let it go. They have become dependent on it, emotionally, physically, culturally, socially... They can't function fully without it. This is the true success of it all Mikki, the beauty and genius of it... We have achieved information totality. With barely any force.

 

Where did the NCC come from? What is your role in all of this?

 

You should be a reporter, Mikki. You ask many questions. I feel like this is an interview, but I do not see a camera, except for the one inside of course.

 

There is a camera inside here?

 

Of course, Mikki. Not only a camera, but a microphone too... Among other monitoring devices. If you or I were to violate the policies of the NCC, we can be held responsible. How else can you verify guilt without evidence? How else can you find evidence without the production and collection of it? There is no other way. We already know where keeping justice blind gets us.

 

Who is watching us? Is anyone listening to us right now?

 

Maybe, maybe not Mikki... What I do know for certain is that everyone is watched. Nobody is given the privilege of privacy, nobody.

 

Even in the bathroom?

 

Especially in the bathroom, Mikki.

 

Why?

 

If we are to have a total surveillance state, it must be total, Mikki. If we make one place sacred, one place where the state apparatus cannot penetrate, then that is where the cockroaches will hide. The insects will all hide and concentrate in the darkness, we must not keep anyone or anyplace in the dark. The criminals, the maladaptive mites, they must not be given anywhere to hide. Within the safe ignorant confines of the dark, wretches nest. No one escapes the eyes and ears of the NCC. This, you must remember Mikki. You must always remember... That we... Are monitoring every inch of our domain at all times. If you commit a crime, if you betray the new social order, we will know. You will be held accountable. Your grade will be adjusted accordingly, you will be treated accordingly. Think before you act, Mikki. You are entitled to the privacy of your thoughts, you are entitled to the privacy of your dreams, but all that is beyond shall be known in full.

 

What if I don't want to be watched all the time?

 

You misunderstand Mikki. We don't need your permission. To the NCC, whether or not you consent to our rule is irrelevant. The primary civil administration functioned democratically... Citizens voted for their representatives. Democracy implies the mob knows best. We know it does not. The mob must not be given representation, the mob must be cut up, it must be broken apart, and reconstructed if possible—the rotten parts tossed away. Do not also misunderstand our nature Mikki... It is okay to disagree with us, and you can make your voice heard. We support a free and independent press. We have nothing to hide and we are not threatened by critical free-thinkers.

 

What about the tertiary? They are allowed to keep secrets?

 

Do not confuse ability with allowance, Mikki. We do not know all there is to know about you either. Have we been questioning you? No. We've been answering your questions. Here you are, in our custody, yet we are not acting as the interrogators.

 

So, can I watch others on the cameras?

 

You will do well at the PYRDC, Mikki. Not many of your age are so curious. That shows intelligence. The NCC and you have much in common.

 

So, can I?

 

It depends.

 

Depends on what?

 

Access is restricted for appropriate uses only. Just because you can be monitored everywhere doesn't mean just any person can watch you.

 

Who can watch me then?

 

Investigators, researchers, journalists, in some cases data will be made available to the public. It depends on whether the access is called for or not. We have automated systems in place to detect situations of distress and or of special interest.

 

Who determines if access is called for? What do you mean by special interest?

 

Well, Mikki, that isn't determined by one person or a small group. It also isn't determined democratically. It is rather complicated and will be something that can be explained to you more accurately by a better—

 

The man suddenly goes quiet and looks to the side. He nods his head and promptly secures Mikki against the stretcher.

 

What? What are you doing!?

 

The man then fastens his own seatbelt and keeps a firm hold of the corner handle on the stretcher. The engine of the van starts up and the vehicle begins moving.

 

You have been secured to the stretcher, Mikki. This is for your own safety and is only for the duration of the trip. It should take at most an hour. We are en route to the PYRDC. 

 

As the 2031 NCC MPH van drives Mikki outside the area of PLS 21B, commotion erupts among the lined detainees. A man about to be executed by firing squad runs away towards the open rural farmland. He taunts them as he races off.

 

Catch me if you can FASCISTS!

 

Armed NCC soldiers in bleach white protective gear watch on. One of the soldiers shouts at the running man, but otherwise remains stationary.

 

Halt! You will halt! I said halt! Stop running at once!

 

Two other soldiers quickly prepare to deploy four aerial drones. Propellers on the drones soon spin up and the drones lift up from the ground. The drones take chase and speedily catch up to the fleeing detainee, who spots them above while he takes the moment to catch his breath.

 

One of the drones fires a small speared chain that pierces the man's leg. Another drone fires a second chain, which pierces the man's other leg. The third also fires off a chain, which pierces the man's bicep, and the fourth drone's chain pierces his other bicep. The man screams aloud as the four drones work together to hoist him up into the air. He kicks and flails around as the drones struggle to stabilize him several metres above the ground.

 

No! Let me go! Let me go! Please! Oh God! Let me go!

 

The drones fly him back over to the execution area. A nearby news crew watches on, filming the whole event.

 

It hurts! Please! I'll do anything you say! Just let me go!

 

Now hovering over the pit of bodies, the drones suddenly retract their chains. The spears slide smoothly out of the man's flesh. He screams as he falls back down towards the earth. His body impacts the mass grave with a quick thud. All becomes quiet except for the buzzing of the drones above, which in short order, descend to the ground below. The soldiers approach the drones after their propellers stop spinning and proceed to pack them up.

 

Alright, next! Stand still. Stop blinking. Almost done. There, let me process this a bit.

 

Sure.

 

Fred Riordan Cooper?

Yes, Fred's my name.

 

You are in the wrong liquidation line, Fred.

 

What?

 

This is LL F, Fred. You're supposed to be in LL D.

 

Line D?

 

That's right, Fred. Line D. It's over there... Under the sign, "D."

 

Oh, my bad.

 

It's okay to make mistakes, Fred. Okay... Next!

 

The news crew along with a reporter cautiously approach the liquidation lines, they stop as they come near a few of the NCC guards.

 

Excuse us... Would it be alright to ask these people some questions? I'm Eckart C. from Good Evening NIGGERS.

 

Good Evening—what?

 

Good Evening NIGGERS. I'm a reporter from G-E-N, Eckart C. Surely you've watched our program before.

 

You're a journalist, Eckart?

 

Yes, we're an evening news and talk show program.

 

Understood, what do you need, Eckart?

 

I'd like to ask a few of these people lining up here some questions.

 

What people, Eckart?

 

The people lining up here.

 

There aren't any people lining up here, Eckart.

 

Come on now... Surely you can see all these people?

 

There are no people in these lines, Eckart.

 

Oh... Can I interview whoever or whatever is lining up then?

 

Yes you can, Eckart. The NCC supports a free press.

 

Ah... That's good to hear... We'll uh... Start interviewing, then?

 

You do that, Eckart.

 

Really? You're not going to shoot me or my crew, right?

 

Why would we shoot you or your crew, Eckart?

 

Well... You've been shooting a lot of people lately...

 

A concerned look appears across the NCC guard's face.

 

Have you witnessed a member of the NCC shooting a person, Eckart?

 

Yes... Before that, uh... Drone demonstration, I think you guys shot a few dozen at leas—

 

That's very concerning, Eckart. The NCC does not authorize its members to shoot people. As you have admitted to witnessing a crime, you are now required to submit to questioning, Eckart.

 

Submit to questioning? Now, wait a minute...

 

A white van pulls up seemingly out of nowhere beside the reporter.

 

Shit! Please wait a minute! Let me explain!

 

Of course, Eckart. You can explain to us fully at Provisional Interrogation Camp 137Z.

 

Several NCC soldiers promptly get out the back and surround Eckart from the rear.

 

Jesus! No! Please let me explain!

 

You are required to remain calm, Eckart. Allow your field-appointed NCC handlers to guide you.

 

No! This is a mistake! Hey! Get your hands off me!

 

Resisting us, Eckart, will result in summary grade reduction.

 

I said get your hands off me! I have rights!

 

Your grade has been summarily reduced to C-minus, Eckart. Further resistance will result in further reduction.

 

Fine... Fine... I'm okay! I'll go with them, alright!? Jesus! 

 

As soon as the soldiers let their guard down, Eckart takes a run for it.

 

Running is considered resisting, Eckart!

 

Fuck you guys! I know my rights!

 

I don't think you do, Eckart! Come back here and allow us to explain them to you! I said come back here! Turn back around and run this way!

 

Eckart does not turn back around, he continues running.

 

Have it your way Eckart! Grade summarily reduced to F! Deploy the drones!

 

The drones are unleashed upon Eckart, who despite running away so eagerly, the drones merrily catch up to him and violently hoist him up into the air. They fly him back, he hangs suspended facing the earth by the four spear chains. He grunts loudly in pain, but puts up little struggle. His crew records him as he pleas for their help.

 

Hey! You guys! Help! This is a mistake! Tell them I'll cooperate!

 

They ignore his pleas and continue recording, the camera man gets on one knee for a better angle, while a crew member extends out a boom mic.

 

FUCKING ASSHOLES!!! DAAAAAARGGGGHHHHHHH

 

Eckart is dropped by the drones into the pit and is instantly killed upon impact. The drones are once again decommissioned and stowed away.

 

Alright... Next!

 

Early in the afternoon the following day, Mikki is eating some lunch in a cafeteria at the PYRDC. She watches a television broadcast while she eats...

 

—changes are here to come. Before our arrival, vans would be used by creeps to pray on the young. They would be used by criminals to transport stolen goods and smuggle human beings. The most unfortunate used vans as their homes, camping from parking lot to parking lot to avoid trouble with private security. Now, with the NCC in full deployment, vans will be the ones rounding up the creeps, the criminals, people smugglers, and of course, those who could use a lift to their new NCC-provided housing unit... We know what I lot of you are thinking watching this all play out at home. Is this the end of my freedom? The death of democracy? The start of dictatorship? During the next couple days, we will answer all these questions and more.

 

The NCC have nothing to hide. We are committed to transparent governance. Many of you have already seen the harrowing and disturbing images on various television networks of mass graves built by our dedicated men and women in uniform. Rest assured, therapy will be offered at no charge to all those that find themselves in distress during and after this monumental transition. Psychological evaluations in the coming weeks will be mandatory for all citizens and residents alike... But we can discuss that process at a later date.

 

For now, let's answer the question that we know is on nearly everyone's mind: why are we, the NCC, engaging in mass executions? The short answer is that this process—however unpleasant— is unavoidable, and while it may seem contradictory: it is in the service of protecting life and repairing deep wounds that even time may never heal. Before this transition began, society became accustomed and normalized to systematic abuse. Not only were abusers openly tolerated and at times sanctioned, but also elevated to positions of higher authority. You had rapists running the churches, the schools, the state, and by far the greatest injustice of all: you had rapists overseeing justice itself. The system had become perverted to its very core. For this reason, we must cut it down and tear out the very roots of this corruption.

 

How many will be killed? Tens of thousands... Hundreds of thousands... Millions... Tens of millions... Whatever it takes... No corner, crack, hole, or underside will be spared from this cleansing. Atop the mass graves we will build parks, schools, hospitals, churches, recreation centres, medical clinics, nurseries, retirement homes, public housing complexes, and places of commerce. This foundation of progress will define our entrance into the new era. No longer will we be the unwilling neighbours of evildoers, they will be buried six feet beneath us where they all belong!

 

Every abused child, man, woman, elderly person... We do this, so that you may all no longer be forced to imprison yourselves in terror... So, that you may live a beautiful and free life of orderly peace... No more should you have to lock yourself in your own homes, walk your children to school out of fear of their abduction, or dread the day your abuser will be released from a place designed to harden their incivilities... For the dead shall never rise again... They can hurt you no longer... The future belongs to you. Let us end this nightmare once and for all. Let us have the strength to do what must be done! For our children, theirs, and beyond!

 

Mikki is awoken in the coming morning by a distant orchestra of gunshots and screams. She climbs out of bed and shuffles over to the window in her bare feet. Rubbing the crust out of her eyes, she peers outside.

 

She overlooks a vast lowland expanse. Brief flashes of light appear across the valley, the rising dawn above the posterior ridge illuminates the scene before her. Pockets of smoke blanket the valley. Untold numbers of people are lining up to join the pits of the dead. An endless caravan ferries more and more into the midst. Armed soldiers in white march them along. Drones fly across the orange sky, lifting any who flee up into the air and plunging them down into the pits. 

 

Overwhelmed by the scene of systematic killing, she shuts her eyes and a tear escapes down her cheek. It trails down her neck and seeps into the bandage. She feels a burning sensation and raises her hand. Upon feeling the bandage, she checks her face in a mirror in the en-suite. A wide smile appears across her face. She walks back over to her bed and climbs inside.

 

The sounds of the killings outside continue relentlessly, but Mikki smiles and cries. Her tears irritate the wounds beneath her bandages. She touches near her neck again and starts to laugh.

Impressum

Texte: Schizoid Nightmares
Cover: Vlad Momot
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 24.03.2020

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