Chapter 1: My EarthA Chapter by ericdeben
In a corrupt world where everyone is anonymous, one man rises to bring order.
When I was born, my father wouldn’t take his eyes off me. In fact, he didn’t take his eyes off me until I was about the age of 7. He made sure he knew who I was, so we wouldn’t get separated. So he wouldn’t find another child and think it was me. So I wouldn’t find another man and think it was him. Every man looks the same here. Every woman looks the same here. Sounds the same. Dresses the same. The only thing that makes us different is what goes on in our head. And my head is constantly dreaming. Dreaming of a different world. A world that isn’t as corrupt, as violent, and as lonely as this one.
My father told me a story once of a place where people looked different from one another. It was called “Earth”. The people on this planet had this thing called a “name” which apparently is some sort of assignment given at birth. A label that says “this is him, and this is her”. With each name came a reputation. Some reputations came with consequences. Some with power. Some with gifts. He told me of a time where we tried having names, but people kept claiming to be who they really weren’t and the system became corrupt. Now the population agrees on just being anonymous, so no one calls anyone by a name; no label of any sort. We just make quick social interactions when we have time to. Saying “hey” then maybe some small talk and we move on. I’ve never had a friend that lasted more than a few hours, hence being on such a lonesome planet.
When we aren’t talking to one another (which is almost always), we fulfill our selfish needs. We’re all anonymous. There aren’t any consequences for our actions and we don’t have the capacity to care for people we don’t know (or people we don’t know that we know), so we can do whatever the hell we want. For some people that includes killing when we’re angry and raping when we’re horny. What a corrupt world we live in. I for one do not participate in these selfish acts. The planet is already corrupt as it is and it doesn’t need me to make it even worse.
In fact, I want to make it better. I want to make it more like “Earth”.
This “Earth” my father told me about… I wonder if he made it up or if it actually existed once before. Someone must have told him about it. There still could be an Earth. Well there’s no telling. It’s not like I can fly into the sky and travel to planet far away. Or can I?
No, I can’t. But I can try to bring Earth to us. Not like dragging the entire planet, but its customs and its concepts. Well, you know what I mean. I don’t quite know how. But I’ll figure it out one day. One day…
I start to get up out of my small, twig-built tent that I’ve been hiding in all day. The ground is cold and hard and I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic. I should’ve build it somewhere more comfortable, but hidden by this gigantic tree, this seemed to be the best spot. Why might I be hiding, you ask? Killers and rapists. That’s right; in a world where everyone is anonymous, there’s an abundant supply of them.
They run on the land with their sharp, wonderfully edged blades, satisfying their hunger to kill. Their hunger for sex. From the constant killing I hear outside my tent at night, I assure you that this planet lacks any civil form of anger management… or any management at all for that matter.
I open the mouth of my tent that’s made up of nothing more than a big, green leaf, dripping water that runs under my already-cold body as I sleep. The tent seems to be built on a slope, but I didn’t know that when I started building it. Hiding in a tent is about as effective as hiding under the covers when you think there’s a monster in your bedroom, but it has done a good job at keeping out ‘monsters’ this past week anyway. So I trust my safety in the tent.
The coast is clear of any monsters today, I think. It’s safe to leave the tent. The calm population outside my tent flushes away any fears I've had from the previous night. Our people are pure black with strange white eyes. No pupils. Each and every one of them is in shape - the same shape as everyone else. Every man is equipped with a flat, but muscular belly. Every woman is equipped with a nice pair of breasts. The gaze of our people makes me shiver, even though I look the same to all of them.
I check the time on the nearby sundial. It’s noon. I head to the Circle, attentively looking in every direction for an oncoming attacker.
The Circle is more of a miniature hill; a bump in the ground with a small stone in the middle. Hundreds of people join together for a few minutes a day to see what entertainment they can find here. Usually, there are bloody fights to the death, interactive games with the audience, or a singer that sings about the fear and unsettling pain in our society.
I think everyone can agree that we are corrupt, however most everyone can also agree that they like it corrupt. It lets them persist with their selfish acts uninterrupted. But today, we don’t have the usual form of entertainment. In fact, this wasn’t entertaining at all. It was rather painful to watch. Today, we have trollbait.
A hopeful man steps onto the center stone. The wide look in his eyes and patterns in blinking tells me he’s going to sing, but apparently he has something else in mind. “Attention,” the man on the stone yells, “I have come up with a plan-“
An audience member interrupts him, “Shut up! We don’t want your stupid plan!”
His hopeful eyes change with frustration, “Hear me out,” the man says, “this plan will-”
“G-T-F-O,” a woman shouts rather aggressively.
Musicians holding tube-like instruments carved from what seems to be sticks of bamboo wait in disappointment on the edge of the Circle. Tired of hearing about bullshit plans that 'won't work', a few people try to coax the musicians onto the stone. Instead they just leave, mumbling hateful things under their breath. However, I don’t want to hear them play; I want to hear the man with the plan propose his idea. We need a plan.
Gesturing around the Circle, I yell out in the man’s defense, “Hey! I wanna hear what this man has to say!” I look over at the man. “Go on”.
An audience member from across the Circle glares at me. My body shivers on impulse and I look away.
The man looks around at the audience, worried, scared. I can tell things aren’t going as he planned. He looks for an escape, but then gulps and continues on with his proposal, “We can have a government-“ the crowd ‘boo’s at him in disapproval, but he continues to shout over them anyway, “A government to put some order in this corrupt world we live in. To change the world! It’ll be better. It’ll be-“.
The crowd has gotten too loud and he gives up with a long sigh. His speech has ended all too quickly. As he attempts to make his remorseful steps out of the Circle, a few angry men and one woman maul him to his rather painful-to-watch death. No one cared about him. Well, no one knew they cared about him.
I heard every word from that man’s proposal. And I realized that’s what we need in order to change society. We need a government. We need control. But the problem is no one wants a higher power. To interfere with their selfish acts. To change. No one likes change.
But we need change. We need to be more like Earth.
As people exit the circle in disappointment, I head back to my tent to think about Earth some more. To think about a government.
I need to be a leader. I need to take a stand. We need to try names again. We need to dress different. We need to have order. A thought escapes out my mouth, “But how can I be a leader if people don’t want one?”
The mouth of my tent opens suddenly and I duck down in the corner. A man looks at me and I think it’s the end. “Don’t kill me,” I mutter in fear.
The man steps inside of my small tent. It can barely fit the two of us. “Relax,” he says, “I’m not here to kill you.”
I get up and sigh in relief.
The man continues, “I heard you talking about having order in the world. Being a leader?”
It seems he may be on the same page as me. Maybe he could be a partner of some sort, I think. No, that’s ridiculous. It’ll only be a matter of time before we separate, never to see each other again. Well, never to recognize each other again.
He leans in close to me and I feel myself starting to suffocate from the lack of space in the tent. I have a bubble, man. I think. Get out of my bubble.
“I want in,” the man whispers.
I can’t help but let out a little smirk. I know he means he wants in on my plan, but I was just thinking about my bubble and - never mind.
But I wonder why he’s whispering. Maybe he realizes being in favor of something so different makes him vulnerable to the world. Anyone who disagrees with him can easily just kill him off. “Great. You got any ideas?” I say.
“Well we could have a system. If someone does something bad, we kill them on the spot,” he suggests.
“But I don’t want to kill anyone,” I counter. Punishing the monsters shouldn’t turn me into a monster, I think.
“Any better ideas?”
“Hey, we can at least try it,” he interrupts.
There’s an awkward silence and the man looks at me, curiously. Without any other logical ideas, I guess we have to resort to killing as a punishment. But does that make us any better than them? I mean our intentions aren’t selfish like theirs. We’ll scare people into being good, right?
“All right,” I say, “but that’s not all we need here. We need a system to differentiate people from one another.”
“Like names?” the man says.
“Like names,” I confirm.
The man looks at me with discomfort, “We tried that one time. Didn’t work. How would you make it any better?”
“We could have… unique names. No two names are the same. We carve them into our arms.”
“Now who would let us carve something into their skin?”
“You’re right. That’s stupid.” I can’t think of a way a system of naming could work in a society of such anonymity. The idea is clearly far-fetched, but there must be a way it could work.
“I like where you’re going with that, though,” the man pats me on the back, gets up, and starts for the exit. I begin to follow. “Let’s just stick to punishing the bad people,” he says. “Worry about names later.”
His head pokes out for a second, then as he makes his first step, he stumbles and falls to the ground.
“You okay?” I say, thinking he had only tripped. Blood starts running into the tent and I hear a man grunt in anger.
I hesitate, then I spot the man’s feet at the mouth of my tent. I run out and tackle the man by the legs. He has a knife.
The man takes his knife and goes in for a stab, but I stop the knife with my hand, cutting off my left pinky which wasn’t of much importance anyway. With an awkward grip on the knife, I counter it towards the attacker’s face. As I press the knife's tip up against the man’s nose, my adrenaline kicks in and I stab him with force.
Blood squirts out in my direction and his head drops back to the ground, eyes closed. He lets out one last breath. I’ve never seen someone so at ease, I think. Not from this perspective, anyway.
I killed him. It’s my first kill. Feels good.
I get up and look around to see if anyone was looking. No one was. Fights are the norm here. No one really cares about them; they just silently fear them.
Dragging the two bodies away from the tent, I think about the man’s plan to kill the killers - to punish them. How it’ll make me a monster. How there’ll be less monsters if I kill them. Society’s better off when less of the population is selfish. And I’m not selfish, I think, am I?
I walk the on the land, trying to spot any other 'rule breakers'. There are four simple rules I go by:
1. Don’t kill anyone.
2. Don’t threaten anyone.
3. Don’t rape anyone.
4. Don’t troll anyone.
Of course, I’m a hypocrite when it comes to rule one, but my intentions aren’t selfish. It’ll bring good change, I hope. Don’t second guess yourself or you’ll end up dead, I think.
I spot a man across the woods. He walks awkwardly, almost angrily. His huffing and puffing even registers in my ears from far away. Anger means killing here, so I keep my distance and follow him to his destination. After a few paces, he pulls a blade out from his pocket and he starts to run downhill.
I accelerate over to the hilltop and see that he’s headed for another man, whose back is turned in the other direction, not paying any attention to his surroundings. If I was the first person on the madman’s path, it could have been me he was after, I think.
I sprint and tackle his target from the side to protect him. The angry man jumps on top of me. The area is crowded, but he couldn’t care less.
As he perfects his grip on the knife, he pays close attention to me. He won’t take his white eyes off me, making sure I don’t move. The anger in his eyes is unmistakable. With the knife grasped firmly in his hand, he aims for my skull; and from the looks of it, my forehead.
I stop his arm before his knife can reach my skin. As I grab the knife in my uninjured hand, he looks at me, astonished. I should be nervous, but after being able to kill that other man earlier with such ease, I’m somewhat confident that I’ll live through this one, too.
“Rule number one,” I say, ready to kill, “don’t kill anyone.” I stab the man in the chest. He couldn’t look more surprised as he falls over to his much-deserved death.
People stare at me from all around. I can’t tell if they’re amazed or confused. But either way, it’s a good thing they noticed. It’s a good thing if they’re scared.
His original target gets up. Out of breath he says, “Thank you,” then he runs away. He seems to fear me, but it’s not him who I want to be scared. It’s the crowd; the audience.
I get up and get a better look at my audience. There are about forty people, maybe fifty. Not quite as much as there usually is at the Circle, but enough to satisfy me.
“Would anyone else like to… take a stab?” I yell out, holding the knife in my hand, panting for dramatic effect; even though I can breathe just fine.
As expected from my provocative statement, a man sprints towards me in response, already equipped with a knife in hand. I drop to the soft, green ground in a planking position before he has the chance to hit me. He trips over my body. Knife in hand, I hop up and stand over him. I can tell by the look on his sorry face he knows it’s the end of the road. I drop my knife into his skull and his blood splatters around my ankles.
Almost immediately, people shriek with fear. Fear, hmm… I like fear.
© 2011 ericdeben
Shelved in 3 LibrariesAdded on August 21, 2011
Last Updated on November 25, 2011
Tags: chapter 1, anonymous, story, dystopian society, earth, trolling, internet, killing, murder, sameness, the giver, politics, government, anarchy, rape, threatening, laws, rules, morals, ethics, death
Some town, MA
AboutI'm 15 years old and I'm an aspiring filmmaker. When you review my writing, don't just shower me with praise; I can use all the constructive criticism I can get. I'll be taking creative writing class.. more..
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