Home PlanetA Story by Ron Sanders
There's more than one way to take down an enemy.
If you’re reading this I have to assume you are of an enquiring disposition, can access basic computing equipment, and are able to open, close, and copy documents.
PLEASE SAVE THIS DISK!
Or make copies, if you can, and send them to any known survivors, and to any agencies--especially those expressly formed to deal with this horror. If you have a printer, print this out and distribute copies to any parties capable of plumbing it for clues. I can’t print off this thing, even if I could find an AC source.
I’m not a scientist, I’m not a journalist, I’m not some hot-shot professor able to pull strings and make noise. I’m just a guy with a little solar-powered word processor. I’ve been retired for some time now, so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to take notes. Due to my analytical bent, a penchant for hoarding provisions, and a lack of family and social responsibilities, I’ve been able to ford the tragedies, the death and the madness, and still remain reasonably sane and emotionally cool. Though I’m slipping, goddamn it. I’m slipping.
This entire journal shows exactly as processed, from the first keystroke to the last. What you are now reading is an addendum, cut and pasted to the page’s top. If the following seems stupid, it’s the stupidity of honesty. If much of it comes off as trite and ignorant, well, I guess that’s the real-time scratch-and-stumble of innocence. I could proof and edit, provide a neat and cogent trail--I’ve learned enough from just banging away to produce a strong file. But I’m not going to polish this, for one simple reason: I could be unintentionally deleting clues--no matter how homely, clumsy, or seemingly inconsequential; clues that might be needed by some surviving researcher. Also, as I’m not a diarist, I did not include dates. For this I apologize--but who could have predicted, from those first dire whispers, the horrific reduction, the brutal extermination--this impossibly repulsive obliteration of man.
Here is my journal; unadulterated, naked, done with. It’s over, you fuckers. I quit.
Icant’ believe it.My first wordprocessorrr@ Ill getthe hang of this thing soon enoguh. Its’ just like a typweriter. but it saves ontoa disk, Very cool. I’ts solarpowered so I don’t n’eed to chargeit. Colplasible key
Board. Stores in a fannypakc.
I bought it to record myobse
Rvations on the ozone layer issue. Evrybody and their mother’’’s running around like chikcens.but I don’t’ see anybody else taking notes
Okay. I’m going to hunt-and-peck until I get good. Here’s what’s happening:
The ozone layer is breaking up into what scientists term Q Pockets. There’s that famous one over the Antarctic. But now there’s one over New Zealand, a couple over Europe, six more around Africa, and that really big one over the Pacific. The layer is undergoing an effect meteorologists label “tattering.” You can see it. Kind of. Here and there the sky shows streaks, or “rifts,” as they call them; sort of a burnt umber look, approaching maroon. But they seem to vanish as you stare, though every once in a while something resembling a crack will appear for a bit. I’m talking over great expanses of sky here. Yet from a ground vantage you do get this tectonic effect. We’re told the atmosphere is stabilizing, that’s all. I sure do hope so.
I’m getting so good with this thing I can make formatting changes on the fly. Italics, bold, or underlined. Jump to the front or back of a word, line, or paragraph: no big deal. Justification and smart-hyphenation. I did a whole bunch of practicing in non-saved documents, but it was worth it. Watch dese fingers fly, boys. I gots da mojo. “Quotes”, $y^^b()!$, numera1s; a snap! Ellipses . . . and--em--dashes: (colon) each just a key/stroke away. Superguy.
Storms are all the news. I guess that’s what we’d have to expect, what with the atmosphere breaking up the way it is. Hurricanes are common; typhoons out of season. Yesterday there was that tsunami in the Phillipines; thousands dead and nobody even blinks. And we keep getting this “Earth will heal” stuff. Maybe. But it’s pretty obvious the scientific approach is a dead end.
Well, we did it, people: you and I. With our cars, with our factories, with our lousy aerosol. Just had to deodorize that room, didn’t you, Homo sapiens? Just had to gun that engine. Go on, sport, have a nice day. Hey, I know! Let’s all take the tires off our cars, put ’em in a gigantic pile in the rain forest, cover the whole mess with gas and let it burn. Maybe sprinkle on some discarded plastic and used batteries for good measure. Then we can all join hands and sing We Are The World. That’s right; just you and I. The Evolved Ones. And afterwards we can alll;;/////
Whoops. Sorry about that. Spilled my artificially flavored instant coffee with saccharine and MSG and had to stomp the damned styrofoam cup into the dirt. But that’s okay--I dug it down deep, and covered it up good. That’s because I care.
There’re these weird sunsets I catch from the jetty. I’m sure a million shutter bugs are right on it, but I wish I possessed the vocabulary to do them justice. Purplish, instead of fiery . . . how strange is that? The spectral band is shifting, yet in ways I’d have never predicted. It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope on an overcast day, but with breaks in the barrel, and with morbid dayglo stains in the glass. So odd. How can I put it . . . it’s beautiful, because it’s nature, but it’s ugly because it’s . . . wrong. I’m depressed as hell. I want my world back. And when twilight hits, you get these funny spots in the sky--I know I’m not imagining them, because I’m not alone. Even though scientists attribute the phenomenon to residual glow, we lay folk seem to know better. Ghost-specks . . . like miniscule eyes . . . millions of them . . . watching you, wanting you . . . and gone with the night.
I don’t like the looks of the ocean. They say the tidal drag is waning. She broods, rather than breathes. Spume left on the sand stands for hours before dissolving--creepy. It has traces of purple, like everything else. I’ve begun to despise that color.
The sun, with this continuous cloud cover, is perpetually obscured; there’s only a bright spot in the brown and violet quilt, moving in a heavy arc every twelve hours. Despite this cover, the world does not grow cool; the air has a sticky tropical feel--scientists ascribe this to a kind of greenhouse effect. I heard on the radio that crop plants aren’t failing, as one would expect with the dearth of sunshine, but appear to be altering their chemical structure somehow. This is apparently through profound and complex changes in soil minerals, those weird wind currents, and air quality in general; all due to atmospheric “stepping.” We are witnessing our world falling apart: seven billion greedy, shortsighted, extravagant fools in a Petri dish. And now, all over the globe, those crops are being declared inedible: bitter, textureless, covered with purple blotches--as ugly, noxious, and undesirable as we’ve almost casually made our once-beloved planet.
Ah, this lightning--these tremendous discharges on every horizon--how does this fit in with stratospheric changes? Is the whole phenomenon “stepping” down? It’s the most awesome spectacle . . . mushrooming bursts of light, as though whole cities were exploding, pyrotechnic pockets that blossom and sag, the sky humming like high-tension wires in fog. At night the erratic displays have this iridescent beauty, with their buggywhip streamers crackling overhead . . . they leave a burnt odor, but odd. I can’t put my finger on it. And clouds--how strange to see these familiar puffy lands grow striated and bulbous. They remind me of jigsaw pieces, only expanding, like taffy, gradually closing gaps in the superlayer of fried amber sky. They have a new kind of transparency, an unearthly sub-opacity that both diffuses and mirrors the ghastly purple atmosphere below. It goes to show how indifferent are we vain little bipeds to that high plan of nature. Our sky, our lives’ breath, is now a polluted and failing lung. This glorious structure of earth--we tore off its skin, man. We made a wondrous hothouse an outhouse; with our fossil fuels, with our mercury and acids, with our vile refineries. We don’t deserve this place, maybe we don’t even deserve this existence. Ah but, God in Heaven, it breaks my heart to watch our poor world die.
I’ve been examining some of these plants. Creepers and other supple varieties in particular show extensive change. But they seem healthy enough--though diseased. Does that make any sense? The coloration invariably leans to mauve and purple; greens and yellows are nearly nonexistent. The smooth-cell feature common to supples is strangely spiny--not woody: scaly. Larger plants droop, giving all the visual impression of dying flora. But why don’t they die? I tried bending a stalk, intending to break it for internal study, but it snapped back, as though infused with a vital tension. It scared me in some way. I’m beginning to feel out of place.
The air’s very dense, the sun’s spectrum’s shifting. I don’t know if the shift will adversely affect this little word processor’s solar charger, but I’m going to hang with the document as long as I can.
I hate this air. Everybody does. It makes you angry, embittered somehow; makes you despise your neighbors, makes you want to use foul language--and I’m a pretty genial guy. Biochemists say it’s to be expected: the atmosphere’s oppressiveness is producing unbecoming, albeit perfectly understandable, mood changes. Don’t fight it, they tell us. That only increases the body’s tension-factor. Okay. Whatever you a******s say.
I’m getting skin sores. Just like everyone. Boils, rashes, fungal patches. Fingernails are turning black and green. It doesn’t hurt. Maybe it’ll pass. Sun screen is said to help.
Another change has come to the air.
Tiny particles--those ghost-specks, distended, now not unlike grains of salt in appearance--are just standing about in suspension. Millions of them, glinting high in this heaving damson sky. I’m reminded of those glass snow bubbles we had as kids. Turn them upside down and white flakes would drift throughout the encased water; these particles behave similarly. They disintegrate upon touch, so scientists are only able to investigate at the molecular level. Silicone is the base, and there are traces of barium and bromium, apparently released by the soil as a consequence of organic breakdown.
Other folks--theorists mainly, and they’re coming right out of the woodwork--argue that these specks are the result of unusual oceanic evaporation; one physicist states that atmospheric dissolution has created an arena wherein consequences bizarre to our way of thinking will become the norm. Well, give the f****r a cigar. Has he been living underground all this time? There’s a thought. A spokesman at Cal Tech goes so far as to suggest we’re witnessing what conditions might be like on another planet. These are typical of the fools and frauds who’ve always capitalized on catastrophe: anything for your fifteen minutes--even if it’s the last fifteen you’ll ever see. There are creeps running “safe suit” swindles, hookers making purple-spotted love with sticky old men, parvenu prick preachers with their quickie flocks and stale promises. Where are the poets? Where are the thinkers and visionaries? Same place they’ve always been: ground under the hooves of the shameless crowd. People will believe anything, so long as it appeals to the viscera. Now there’s this video hoax with the granules. Some guy fast-motions a sunup-to-sundown skyframe. Somewhere over Baton Rouge. Yeah, we all f*****g see it: granules arcing and combining with a serpentine motion, moving independently and in groups--what the media has the balls-out audacity to call “schools,” as if people aren’t freaked out enough. Even though a university electronic arts class immediately shows how this video is easily effected using the crudest home equipment, it’s too late. People are running around with their heads up their asses. It just makes me sick.
This is a text specimen from Science And Sentience’s interview with that ubiquitous theorist Dr. Brigham Railer on the Granular-Cluster Theory. I’m omitting a number of technical sidebars, as well as a few snippets that, due to core impertinence on the part of the questioner, were frankly digressive.
S&S--Do you feel the Granular-Cluster Theory adequately explains this peculiar tendency of apparently random colonies to spontaneously diverge? Is it spontaneous?
Railer--Well, as many theorists agree, this effect--wherein granules aggregate independently, even as their radial cousins tend to gravitate--is strikingly similar to the Globular Theory, where cells colonized in the primal sea.
S&S--But, Doctor, these are not cells, the atmosphere is not a sea, except in perhaps a metaphorical sense, and you haven’t addressed the issue of random divergence. Gravitation, at any level, affects all matter concordantly. What would cause these incongruous splinter clusters? Why wouldn’t all granules, since they’ve been determined virtually identical in mass, behave identically?
Railer--Who knows? There are currents in the air as well as the sea. Radiant energy could be a factor. We need to wait for the data to accumulate (laughs). And no pun intended.
God, the air stinks. It has a putrid smell. I feel I’ll swoon.
A totally bizarre thing.
That guy with the video wasn’t running a hoax after all. Now that the granules are clumped to the size of golf balls, you can see how they do sort of proceed hurky jerky--what newscasters are calling “attitude.” The biggest reason for this visual factor, though--and I can see it quite clearly from the jetty--is that the process is speeding up as the clusters’ mass appreciates. Clumps appear to oscillate for a second before swerving in to impact clusters--“hosts,” they’re called. I swear I can see them growing before my eyes. It’s awesome.
This is getting beyond ridiculous. Some stupid b***h in South Dakota claims a low level clump attacked her dog, for Christ’s sake. It’s these lunatics who are driving away what little sanity’s left, and it’s the f*****g media who are supplying the leverage! Everybody knows that dogs, and especially those breeds trained as guards, have been leaping and snapping at these ground clumps all along. It’s inevitable the twain should meet, and obvious reports will become more numerous as the phenomenon accelerates.
Oh, so now petroleum giants are being forced to curtail the distillation and sales of fossil fuels. So now your f*****g NATO, SEATO, and goddamned PUTO are clamoring for an international “hiatus” on commercial manufacturing. So now microwaves are being taken seriously. GOOD! Put us back in the stone age, when men ate unadulterated food and our children weren’t poisoned from birth. Keep your stupid nuclear bombs. The only weapon I’ll need is a good solid chunk of basalt. Just make sure I get a scientist or two to try it out on.
This is just godawful sickening; no lesson in biochemistry could be more depressing. It shows how the senses are hard-wired to focus on the beauty of nature, instead of that gruesome underbelly usually reserved for a microscope or coffin’s interior. The clusters are doing what biochemists call “attaching,” similar to the blind function of viruses. What this means, as far as I can understand, is that elements in our blood, mainly iodine and calcium, are “marrying” (now scientists are calling us the hosts, for the love of God) non-active elements in the clump-colonies, molecule for molecule, so that the hosts’ plasma is bled out the skin surface, or “leeched.”
I positively loathe this reckless use of leading terminology!
It just kindles already inflamed imaginations. And so we get more asinine reports of colony attacks, preposterous rumors of people bled dry, wild stories of “gang clumpings.” As I say, all this nonsense only makes the situation worse. Yet, in another way it’s understandable; I’ve had to dodge a few myself. Some are the size of medicine balls. But that’s just the point: stay out of the way, a******s!
I’ve set the save function to every minute. That way, even if I’m cut off halfway through something, this journal will be very up-to-date, as opposed to the old method of entering a manual save at the close of each
It’s all a mess. A panic. People running this way and that, begging for a solution, screaming for their Maker. The heat’s unbelievable. It lashes at the skin and eyes, strangles the tongue. No one will believe the reports: the temperature dropped an average of three degrees over the last two days--it feels like it rose ten. The air is actually sour; you can taste it. The alkalinity of soil samples is on the wane, the pH all over the place.
Bael Laboratories has come up with a “peel ’n’ toss” disposable protective suit, for Christ’s sake, but what the f**k’s the point. We’re already covered with sores. God, I can’t breathe. They say going out without a suit increases the risk of skin cancer. A******s! Who’s gonna live long enough for it to develop.
This is impossible. Now there’re reports of colonies smashing through picture windows and attaching to homeowners! Idiots! Alert One is ordering all civilians to don those stupid suits: they say the material will mask hemoglobin. We’re one step away from martial law. But nobody gives a crap. People are going nuts with shotguns and flamethrowers. There’s simply too many of those things; and now some are “bonding,” as opposed to just “replicating.” 911Radio reports one the size of a house over Connecticut.
I’ve had it with scientists and theorists! I’m fed up to here with their one-dimensional explanations about chemical interactions. I’ll believe my eyes, not some a*****e lecturer.
You fuckers tell me how a mass of “inert silicone-based clumps” can swoop on a lady and carry her off screaming!
You tell me how a couple of colonies can fight over a child like a pair of hammerheads fighting over a surfer.
You tell me how a “secondary osmotic exchange” can leave the streets littered with bloodless corpses.
F**k you all, f**k you all, f**k you all.
I don’t need some goddamned scientist to tell me our Earth’s been appropriated.
I don’t need a climatologist to tell me the atmosphere’s been altered to suit another species, and I don’t need some f*****g biologist to tell me they’ve been adjusting plant life all the while.
And I don’t need any shitface scientist to tell me that that ugly thing swooping my way is coming to suck me dry.
F**k you. Right over here. Come and get it. Yeah, f**k you! That’s right: carbon-based; sweet, pink, and juicy. F**k you, f**k you, f**k you. F**K YOU, F**K YOU, F**K YOU. F**K YOU F**K YOU F**K YOU FUCKYOU FUCKYOUFU
© 2010 Ron Sanders
Marina del Rey, CA
AboutL.A.-based novelist, illustrator, poet, short story writer. more..