1. Dear Diary

1. Dear Diary

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Dear Diary,

We came to our home in the bowels of the Earth before I was born and they say that it’s lovely down here. Better than up there, anyway. But it’s only what they say.

Mum taught me that once upon a time there was said to be a war. Powerful explosives created from the heart of stars were used to ensure victory, and victory came, though in all honesty I’ve no idea who the enemy was and even what the word victory means..

Mum said the victory was glorious, but how she properly knew is unclear to me. Her mother told her the same. It was the truth as told for generations, so it must be true.

I have decided to write this diary because once there were said to be thousands of us and now there are only tens, maybe not even a hundred. Many hovel homes lie empty. The cemetery cave is full, and its stink pervades everywhere these days. How we can call this world of ours a paradise with that nauseating stink everywhere I don’t know, even though there are beautiful corners.

For instance, there are the hanging gardens of Nirvana. Brilliant hanging stones glittering in the half glimmers that come somehow reflected from the glowing lamps. I don’t understand such things, nobody alive today does, but there was a time when our antique forefathers came to this home of ours that mighty things were properly understood. Like how to win a war by using the heart of suns.

What’s a sun?

So once there were many thousands down here. Even I can remember when people, men, women and children, jostled through the mighty squares and called on the shopping arcade for their bread and dried fruit from the subterranean orchards. But the throngs have become dribbles and I can see, for I have eyes for understanding the nature of things, that the day may well come when we who remain are all gone. The halls, the caverns, will be empty save for the Cemetery Cave, and even there the piled up dead will shrivel and shrink, and leave only their bones behind.

They say, the clever men, that we need the light of suns but have never explained what a sun is. So we crawl through our lives down here in the darkness dreaming of what they may be.

But all, dear diary, is not lost, for I have fallen in love.

I am Jenny and he is Timmy, and the two words go together like words always should. Like me, he is a young soldier (we’re all called soldiers, though why I’ve never properly understood) and he is defined on his record as male whereas I am female. But definitions like that don’t matter, to me he is gorgeous and he says that we have a duty to make a baby between us. What he says is perfectly true, for without babies there can’t be many more generations, but neither of us is quite sure how to go about it. I asked mother and she told me it would come naturally when I’m ready, and then she died and we took her to the cemetery cave and laid her in there, together with a fungus bouquet.

So I suppose it will come naturally when I am ready. Timmy says it will too, but he’s as untutored as I am. He thinks it has something to do with his winkle, but that was treated to something called The Snip when he was a tiny baby. They do it to most baby boys for fear of Paradise Hell becoming overpopulated. Anyway, we will try, though if we’ve got the right idea, nothing has happened yet.

Martha, she’s the old lady who lives in the next aperture to ours, had her birthday yesterday. Our years are divided into what are called months, which are divided into days which through an odd arrangement of numbers add up to three hundred and sixty five for each year. The days are marked by what is called the Light Half and what is called the Night half. It is all so confusing, but the laws were set down in the very olden times when our people came down here to avoid being blown into what has been called smithereens by the powers of stars, whatever they may be. Anyway, Martha is really old. Next birthday will be her thirtieth if she reaches it.

Thirty is dead old. Mother was only twenty-six when she died. It is said, though I don’t believe it, that once upon a long time ago people lived to be as old as fifty, but the strains of our subterranean Paradise mean that lives are lived in full much quicker.

I’m sixteen, so I guess I’m more than half way through my time on Earth. I don’t want to die, of course, but that’s what people do when they get to be too old to stay alive.

Anyway, back to why I’m keeping this diary. It’s a good job there are stacks of what are called exercise books in a cave known as the School Room, though I doubt it’s ever been used as a school on account of the poisonous moths that live in it in unbelievable numbers. I had to fight my way through them in order to get my hands on half a dozen exercise books. Timmy thinks I’m daft doing this but has to admit that it’s better than doing nothing.

He spends his days at work. All the boys go to work. They have to pedal rows of machines that cause the lights to work. That’s why Night time is dark, black even, because the boys are all in their beds, tired out. It is said that if there are few boys in the future the girls may have to take their turns at the pedals. I suppose it would be something to do when I’m tired of writing in you, dear diary.

Anyway, Timmy says I’m daft writing this. I tell him it’s so that future generations can learn about our lives in Paradise Hell, but he pooh-poohs me and says the way things are going there won’t be any people any more one day. Unless, he says, the girls all produce babies. He does all he can, and he does it as often as possible, which is most nights after work, but so far I’ve failed.

But, you know, I don’t think it’s very wise having babies.

I don’t think our life is really worth living.

And that war that began it all. What’s a war?

© Peter Rogerson 13.02.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on February 13, 2021
Last Updated on February 13, 2021


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..