In the far reaches of earth’s timeline, Mankind attempts a scientific feat that promises a new age of wonder and creation. This erroneous act becomes known as The Great Mistake. The aftermath leaves space a toxic void of unimaginable creatures mutating into chaos as fast as they multiply into armies. And the Blood Oceans on Earth so closely resemble our imagined images of Hell that it would be comical if it wasn’t so terrifyingly unsettling.
Random Possibility 0x0b91k7a838p–0101
“Why is it even called Dark Breakers?” asks Alexandria.
Jim answers Alexandria the same way he did yesterday. “I don’t know yet, Alex!”
She’s quick with her rebuttal. “Wouldn’t it make more since to name the book after it’s finished? I mean, what if it never ‘materializes’?” She mimics quotation marks when she says materializes.
Jim regrets giving her this ammo to mock him. But Jim regrets a lot of things. “It wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t going to materialize!”
“Right, right, right. I forgot.” She straitens up and does her best Jim impression. “We learn from the future while we create the past.” She cocks her head and asks “What about the present?”
Jim already regrets what he’s about to say “The present doesn’t exist. If it did exist, you wouldn’t be able to move.”
She squints at Jim. “Because . . I’d be stuck in time?”
Jim closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. “Sure.”
Jim spins his chair around and looks at Alex. “Would Pink Floyd have made The Wall if they didn’t have a system to rebel against?” Alex looks at him quizzically. She almost says something then just shrugs. “Why is it when we’re children and terrible at everything we do, everyone keeps telling us how proud they are. But when we’re grown and have multiple skill sets, being prideful is frowned upon?”
Alexandria has a sense of Déjà vu. She says nothing as Jim continues. “And then there’s the Christians. Christianity wouldn’t even exist without the sins of man. Forgiveness is only relevant when someone needs forgiving.” Jim is looking at her with wide terrifying eyes. “Nostalgia is the enemy of discovery Alexandria! It will trap you in the past and block you from the future!”
Jim stands up and starts towards her. What is he talking about? What is he doing? “And the Dark Breakers…” Jim stops and looks down at the floor. Alexandria’s heart beats fast and loud. Her eyes search for meaning. When Jim’s gaze returns to her, his eyes are red from fresh tears. “The Dark Breakers won’t save you”
Alex sees the carved shiv too late. Jim aims for her throat and lands true. She clumsily grasps at the object lodged in her throat. Jim grabs her legs and pulls her off the bed. Her head hits hard on the cold concrete floor. With his left hand he holds her gurgling face down against concrete. He digs his knee into her chest. With his right hand he pulls out the shiv and begins to stab her repeatedly in the face and throat.
Alexandria experiences a violent and unexpected death. Her memories fade while everything else slowly becomes unstable. Then. There is nothing.
During the day, the suns ghoulish green rays pierce the Dark Terror Void before reaching Earth as Poison Light. Like starved leaches it latches on exposed skin. The pain is immediate and horrific. The Moon vanished during The Great Mistake. At night, the Darkness is a thick sludge that is near impossible to traverse. The Chaos Mutants and the Feral Monsters are both drawn to this Dark. Both creatures also violently crave human intestines.
“Terror stems from uncertainty. It resides in a moment of realization. A moment when uncertainty channels fear. Time threatens to never move again even as it reaches for eternity. Hopelessness bars imagination. Helplessness beckons guilt. Acceptance darkens the spirit. “ Alexandria has her eyes closed and her head tilted back. She pauses briefly to allow her words time to settle. Her eyes open slowly. She blinks away tears then looks down her nose at the man kneeling before her. “That moment…” She can barely get the words out “…is so very important to me.”
The man tries to speak. But his tongue is still in the sink. And his teeth are still in his stomach. Alexandria smiles. She is covered with blood. Her arms reach out in front of her like an evangelical on Sunday morning. She brushes away tears with her palm. “I’m so happy!” Her gaze burns deep into the mans eyes. “Are you ready for your realization?”
The man looks back at his tormentor. Alexandria can barely contain herself. Her eyes contain such a strange combination of happiness and hatred. Tears begin to stream down her face. She leans in and barely speaks above a whisper. She pauses to look him over a bit. “I’m keeping you alive for as long as I can. I will smash your fingers and toes with hammers. I will burn your limbs.” She looks up at the ceiling trying to remember something. “I will remove your skull cap so I can pour salt on your brain”
The man believes her. He is afraid and looks defeated but true terror has not yet been achieved. Alexandria raises her arms to the man. Inside her cupped hands she is holding a garage door opener. Alexandria smiles “Push it!” Alexandria lets the opener fall in front of the man. He picks it up and looks at Alexandria. His head is tilted like a dog trying to ask a question. Alexandria screams at the man. “Push it!!”
The man looks down at the opener. He knows something terrible is about to happen. A sound suddenly enters the room that wasn’t there before. The man looks up at Alexandria. Her eyes widen as she waits to hear the sound one more time. The room is dead silent.
“He..Hello?” A child’s voice. The voice so innocent and foreign in this blood soaked madness.
Alexandria tilts her head back, closes her eyes, and reaches out towards the heavens. She breaths steadily through her nose. Her smile and happy eyes are now replaced with a much firmer expression. “Push it.”
The edge of the mans thoughts tickle with caution. He has no choice. He pushes the button. Metal vents clang open behind Alexandria revealing bright yellow light that fills the room. Another room can be seen through the vents where a small silhouette stands out.
Alexandria smiles fully when the man realizes it’s his daughter. She can feel the shift in the room. Panic, Fear, Helplessness. Time becomes his temporary tormentor as terrible thoughts bombard the broken man. His daughter starts screaming when she sees all the blood. True terror has entered this room.
Alexandria pauses to appreciate her masterpiece. She drops to her knees and looks at the mans face. She surprises herself by asking the man a question. “Why is this so important?” She studies his tormented face as if the answer would appear if she just looked hard enough. “You don’t know do you?” Then she pealed off his eyelids with a grapefruit spoon.
Unable to escape into Space and unwilling to tolerate this nightmare, Mankind begins an aggressive campaign to find tangible solace from unspeakable evil. The mistakes of the past would not be revisited in this theoretical realm. Mankind would rebuild their broken empire with cautionary tales woven into the fabric of life and creation.
Alexandria jerks awake. She looks around, then remembers what her father just said. She looks out the window of the truck. She squints hard at the grass pasture. She’s looking for something that isn’t there.
“I guess you’re right.” She admits. “Why does it matter?”
Her father sighs. “It matters because you can’t just accept everything you see. Right there is proof that something you thought you knew your entire life is false. You should question everything.”
Alexandria shoots her Father a cold stare. “That sounds like a terrible way to live Dad. How long is something guaranteed to be truth incarnate? What about us? Do we question the very brain doing the questioning?“ Alexandria hates discussing philosophical conundrums. She sees them as problems with opinions for answers.
“Yes! Question the changes! Question yourself! Question the damn questions! Then fucking repeat!”
Alexandria didn’t think she’d ever heard her Father swear like that. “Jeez Dad, alright! I’ll question the FUCK out of the DAMN FUCKING questions.” She starts laughing. Her Dad jams his foot down on the accelerator. Alexandria is thrown back into her seat. He turns to her and speaks in a soft gravely whisper.
“Pray then for sin. Pray for the sinless bastards who now grow cold. May they find solace in oblivion. Pray for their sons. May they harvest sour fruit to poison their daughters. These meek men have claimed their prized ball of dirt from the old God. May their betrayal never see forgiveness . . ”
Alexandria stares wide eyed at her Father who continues his rant. She can’t breath. She can’t move. The truck goes faster.
“…and the Dark Breakers will remain lost in paradox…”
Alexandria feels like she’s remembering a dream. She repeats something her father just said. “Dark Breakers?”
Her Father stops talking. He glares at his daughter with a look of disgust, then he looks at his hands gripping the steering wheel. His lip begin to quiver as his eyes tear up. His voice is normal again. “They can’t save you.” He looks back at his daughter and the raspy voice shouts “They won’t save you!!”
Alexandria looks away from her Father and sees a semi-truck bearing down on them. “Daddy!!”
The last great discovery created by humans is true intelligence that’s artificial. Tita uses the word God to describe herself. Were they adopting an artificial God? If Tita creates and protects this new world, maybe she is our God.
But what of the old God. Is he dead? Did his heart break as he witnessed unforgivable sin perpetrated by his beloved children. Was he also a highly advanced artificial intelligence created by Mankind in the crux of a doomed timeline?
These questions weigh heavy on Humanity. But such philosophical prodding is not a luxury a world filled with poisonous sunlight is allowed.
“Daddy? The fuck you playin’ at girl?” The man speaking is Captain Jim. A selfish man who looks as bad as he is and drinks as much as he can. He keeps his ship looking just as depressed and drunk as he is.
“Nothing Jim. I must’ve nodded off.” Alexandria tries to remember how she got here. She sees that Jim has a pistol in his left hand and a bottle of Whiskey in his right.
“Girl, I don’t know whats more fucked up. Callin’ me ‘Daddy’ or fallin’ asleep during hostage negotiations.” Hostage? Alexandria looks around but sees no-one. “Don’t worry kitten. I already shot the hostage. You failed!!”
Why does he have a gun on a space craft? Alexandria tries desperately to revisit her thoughts in hope of an answer. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“Now that we’re all on the same page maybe we can continue.” Captain Jim clears his throat deep and hocks up tobacco tar which he spits on the body in front of him.
“Alexandria? . . Where the fuck is the moon?”
tread light these times; scorch not the wise
if wrought such plans for mans quick rise
to cast this place through quantum ties
and find some peace out past the skies
that . . is where the moon resides.
— Alexandria, the Mind-traveler — Old-Earth Archive
Mankind once again stands at the precipice of discovery. Those not turned into Feral Monsters, eaten alive by Chaos Mutants or taken by Whisper Creatures to the rising tides of The Blood Oceans, stand ready for Mankind’s Artificial Evolution. Led by their new Artificial God they begin what is now known as Mankind’s Second Great Mistake.
As Alexandria dies, her memory panes become unstable. The images on the screen fade along with the AR Display. The studio audience claps and the attention returns to the center of the room. Alexandria and Jim are sitting in chairs across from each other. Alexandria is still staring where the AR Display had been. Jim leans in. With the softest, most considerate, consolingly voice, he begins the second part of his live interview with Alexandria the Mind-traveler.
“Alexandria, in this possibility, you were stabbed in the throat, face, and eyes almost a hundred times before you succumbed to your injuries and fell back to the thousand-year-simulator. What was going through your mind?”
Alexandria looks at Jim for the first time. She blinks twice, glances at the cameras, then centers herself and tries to remember. “In this particular possibility, I had many fond memories of Jim. We lived in that prison cell for almost three years. Jim going off like that was a complete shock. So, what was going through my mind? Confusion mainly. I couldn’t even register what was happening. I couldn’t process fear or anger. Just confusion and pain.”
Jim nods slowly. He savors the moment just a bit too long before continuing. “Now . . that brings up something I want to talk about. These possibilities that your experiencing. Sometimes there are mistakes in the details. Large mistakes.” He keeps nodding while he talks. “Now . . it’s my understanding that prisons on Old-Earth were never coed. A male and a female would never share a jail cell together. Yet, there you were. How do you explain not noticing this discrepancy. Do you believe they were put there on purpose by someone to get your attention?”
She tries to think who had this information. Something about it seems off to her. “I don’t . . think I knew that.” Jim gives her time to continue. “The memories were programmed to be my current reality. I never had access to any sort of reference to compare them with. If their were discrepancies they were probably missed data pockets that Tita filled in automatically. There was never any reason to question anything.”
Jim looks less than enthused. He obviously wants a different answer. “Oh, come now! There’s plenty of suspicious things that warrant closer looks. I mean, look around you. You’re in a bizarre intimate possibility with a guy named Jim right now. You can’t even see the audience. They might not even exist!”
Alexandria shrugged. “OK . . what do you propose?”
Jim smiles big. “Every iteration of these possibilities were inhabited by two humans. Jim and yourself. The Great Terrorsphere only showed its presence inside your emotions and actions. Correct?” Alexandria starts to shake her head, then sighs and agrees with him instead.
“So, let’s count some humans” Jim stands up and offers his hand to Alexandria. Her initial reaction is entirely contradictory to her unenthusiastic response. They walk holding hands towards the audience. She becomes aware of a familiar sound as they get closer. It sounds like water being splashed around. The air conditioning in this part of the building is set very low. Alexandria crosses her arms to stay warm.
They reach the audience viewing area. Jim flips a light switch. In front of them is a large tank of water. Around and inside the tank are approximately 40 penguins.
Jim’s gaze has been fixed on her the whole time. “Well, Alexandria?”
Alexandria thinks really hard. Penguins. Yes. She knew there were penguins over here. She remembers thinking about the clapping penguin audience. Such an amazing creature. “I guess there’s no humans to count.”
The penguins start slapping their fins together while they coo and whistle. All things she was sure Penguins did.
“If there are no humans to count, that is a definite result.” Jim countered. Alexandria can’t believe this guy. Even after seeing the penguins with his own eyes, he still doubts. She can’t remember what his point is anyway.
Jim closes his eyes and turns back towards their seats. Alexandria follows him and they both sit down. Jim looks straight into the camera with a stern steady stare.
“If your just joining us, our guest is the Mind-traveler, Alexandria. She was trapped in space after The First Great Mistake. While Earth worked tirelessly to remedy said mistake, Alexandria and her Captain lived alone on a space craft above a moonless Earth. As we all know, The Second Great Mistake caused the Time-lock Calamity which tossed time loops across the universe like stones on a creak bed. Alexandria and Jim were dragged out of their bodies into Terror infested space where Alexandria, Jim, and the entity known as the Great Terror-Sphere merged and became trapped in the Artificial God’s Thousand-year-simulator. For thousands of years, they have been playing out every possible situation that could ever happen between their combined memories.”
Alexandria stares wide eyed at Jim with her mouth hanging open. That’s not what happened. What the hell is he talking about? Why is he saying these things? “What the hell are y..”
Jim quickly pushes forward. “Now we’ve reached our viewer mail segment” Jim pulls a basket out from under his chair. He reaches in and pulls a card out. He reads it silently and nods enthusiastically. “This is a good one. It’s from Jim. He wants to know where the moon is.”
Alexandria stares straight ahead and starts breathing deep through her nose.
Jim pulls another card.
“This next one is from Jim. He writes to us from beyond our reach. Dear Alex, Where does the moon reside?”
“Woah . .this one comes all the way from beyond our comprehension. Jim writes . .Where does the moon reside?”
Jim says “The moon Alex. Where is it?”
Alexandria has tears streaming down her face. Her eyes are closed and she is desperately trying to suck air in through her nose. “Stop it.”
“Where the fuck is the moon Alex?”
“Where does the fucking moon reside, Alex?”
Alexandria finally breaks and shouts at Jim “I thought this was over!!”
Jim snaps back “Clapping penguins that coo? C’mon! This isn’t over! This is still happening! Where does the fucking moon reside?”
“I don’t know!!”
“Where the fuck is the moon Alex?”
“I DON’T KNOW!!!”
“Where the fuck is the moon Alex??”
“I DON’T KNOW!!!”
Jim raises a gun to her face and fires. “Well then fuck it!!” Jim’s exhausted eyes take in yet another dead Alexandria. “Fuck it.” He says quietly.
He breathes in. He breathes out. In. Out. He closes his eyes and brings the gun to his head. He hesitates. Jim opens his eyes and glances over at the audience. He shakes his head and snorts a laugh. “Fucking penguins.”