|The Structure Next Stage
Author: manizev PM
Maier's dreary life of endless questions and tentative answers has been abruptly interrupted by an event beyond his understanding, beyond any of his imaginations. A mammoth, mesmerizing structure has materialized right in the middle of downtown, dwarfing the zenith of human capabilities, with a purpose eons beyond human understanding.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Horror - Chapters: 3 - Words: 12,551 - Updated: 06-27-12 - Published: 06-26-12 - id: 3036120
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There used to be a stage in the lives of certain men, certain humans, when they calmed down. When evolutionary instincts to seek approval, revel in approved successes and to flaunt the imagined glories, started to lose their sheen. It was not a frequent occurrence. Most kept on travelling the same path set by human nature. The path set by the evolution of the human mind over a million years, and over thousands of years of tribes and civilizations. There were very few, who came across this lonely stage. Alone in their minds, trying to figure out the present and resolve the future. The few, who were deep down doubtful of the modern society's validations, and the human nature itself. They were apprehensive, unsure. Society's flow scared them. Yet they had hesitantly convinced themselves to follow the flow, in their own insecure, confused manner.
Then at a certain stage, a little distance was created between them and the society's flow that they thought they were supposed to be a part of. Social insecurities, wealth and status as defined by the society and the desires of youth started to unravel, and reveal themselves as elaborately imagined fantasies. Fantasies enforced by the conflux of human nature, human capabilities and modern evolution of the society. The constant struggle for vanity's sake started to become crystal clear. Masks of the society started to wither off. Symbols of strength, power and hope turned out to be corrupt, conniving, weak human beings.
Some of these lonely humans realized that deep down all they desired was their little warm space, respect and worth of their work. Just a few human beings to share the innate human needs with. A day's honest work, a night's dreamful sleep. A family to create a comfort zone with. A few friends to share their frustrations, imaginations and nightmares with. The basic human desire to be in the warmth of your cave, with the people you could trust.
Gradually, the lack of loyalty, sincerity and respect in the modern society drew them away from its enchanting mirages. The reality of human nature came out of its golden mask. The human myth started drifting away. Finally, their own sense of honor came out of the shameful, fearful corridors.
Some of them turned the new found sense of honor into rage. Rage that was always constrained by society. Its standards, its skewed sense of justice and its hypocrisies. The rage inevitably turned into frustrations. A festering wound that could not be healed anymore. For some, acts of rebellion could temporarily assuage it, but the only guaranteed solution was death, or complete physical isolation from human society. They wandered around in their minds, and in the society looking for courage and direction.
For others, their frustrations led them to disappear in their own imagined worlds. In their own dreamy battles and their own imaginary "last stands." They functioned on symbiotic isolation from human society. For most of them, their rage stayed with them, its outward intensity crushed by society with time, but the rot inside carried on forever. Few lucky ones found their solitary islands, and could live the rest of their lives in their own protected comfort zones. With a few close friends, their families and a few, humble motivations.
Then there were those, for whom the rage did not seem practical, and the isolation was hard to realize. These few just calmed down. They went about in the society as before, establishing their minor roles in it, ensuring their current economic state. They kept on hoping to come across like-minded souls, and a few answers about life. They followed the basic standards of the society that they had to. Just enough for no one to notice their struggles. Just enough to be considered normal and stable. Calm and serenity formed the base of their wild imaginations. Instead of rage, hope of finding the meaning someday. Hope of understanding and realizing the seemingly random desires and purposes of life. Finding a sense of purpose beyond the futility of worldly accomplishments, and the inherent fatality of human life. They internalized their sense of honor, their understanding of human nature. Their questions on the judgment of the life itself, conclusions on existence and its creators. They internalized their struggles, carried on with life and waited.
One of them was walking down on the Wecar Street that day. Thinking about the rest, sleep and tiredness. The lazy contemplation that the modern society takes away from you. Heading back towards his job, head tilted downwards, staring into the familiar eyes of his most consistent friend; nothingness. As usual, creating his own random, imaginary world out of that nothingness.
Then there were those, who had calmed down as an intelligent life form, as a civilization eons ago. Those who were way beyond humans in the evolution of their intelligence. They knew human nature right from its first conception. They had seeded the first bursts of intelligence, and followed the human growth. They knew humans before humans invented Gods. What humans thought of Gods, may as well have been them.
Maier had graduated a few years ago without any real feeling of accomplishment. In fact, he had managed to get two degrees, hoping for the society's approval and the associated economic benefits someday. The dream of stability and financial security, now that he had the appropriate credentials required by society. That stability was very important for him, for the sake of his family, and to make up for the lost years. Those young years had been spent wandering around, doing low level jobs, doing what the society expected, and hoping that a brighter future lay ahead. He had been raised in a struggling lower middle class family. A hierarchical level, where you have hope, but few resources. There is a constant sense of desperation and the threat of poverty is always at hand. Yet there are strong prohibitions against rebellion. You cannot curse your fate, and just let it all go. You cannot harass those just like you in the name of injustice and rebellion. You cannot beg for the society's dole. You cannot lay claim to others' resources. All you have is loyalty, honor and understanding that the life is not going to be fair. All you have is a little bit of hope, and a few difficult paths that society has left for you. Your path, your responsibilities are already defined by your family's needs. There is no point in rebelling against the expectations, against the family structure, against the few difficult, but plausible paths. Rebelling in a close-knit lower middle class family implies leaving your parents heartbroken. Running away from your responsibilities, and betraying those who rely on you, who have faith in you.
You do not have the luxury of being a rich rebel either, where you can wander outside the norms, with the guarantee of hearty welcome and financial security on your return. An intellectual privileged journey into the unknown, with rescue guaranteed at any point, and rewards ensured on your return. You can wander into the world of arts, travel to other countries, have a luxurious, adventurous youth, and when you come back the privileges will still be waiting for you.
You also do not have the carefree freedom of the rebellion of the urban poor. The imaginary, transient loyalty of the street. The hyperbole of what is real and what is untamed. Hyperbole of those benefitting from being your saviors, your leaders. There are no reparations for you, no government doles, no rhetoric for your struggles, and no activists anointing themselves as your saviors. There is no celebrated, imagined victimhood designed for you. Victimhood devised for your votes, for your plight to assuage the benefactor's guilt and feed the benefactor's ego. You are ignored by the society, by the society's leaders. All you have is your tiny set of resources in the society, few paths left open to you by the society, and the desire to someday see the other side. To become one of the successful.
Maier had been raised in these lower middle class settings of disciplined poverty. Where the insecurities were persistent, fear of the future imminent. Where your only allies were your family and your evolving brain. There were no victims and no saviors. He had grown up in an environment with imminent threats of financial scarcity that can take away years, decades of your hopes and dreams. So, in a way Maier was always little isolated. Always wary of the future. Not for the worldly desires, but for those dependent on him, and his dreams, his plans.
As he had grown to accept the new reality of human nature and the modern society, he had also transitioned from a wary, apprehensive adolescent to a determined, silent adult, with few material needs, but lots of plans.
After crippling years of unemployment, he had finally landed himself a job, and a career path destined for an unglamorous, but stable salary. When he was younger, and even when he was unemployed, he could dream about his plans, and leave it to the future years to realize those plans. After he had settled down, and accepted the security of regular paychecks, he gradually realized that more likely than not his dreams, his plans were going to stay as day dreams. Imaginary movies, never to be released outside his brain. This realization, unexpected as it was had hit him hard. It had hit the source of his imaginations, his dreams. He was fully aware of this predicament and his own helplessness. Therefore, more and more he had started looking downwards. Nowadays, his neck was always slightly bent, trying to salvage memories and fantasies of the past. Looking downwards, wondering if this was it. Looking downwards, analyzing the regrets and failed dreams. Looking downwards, wondering if there was still a way out. Looking downwards, figuring out ways to rekindle the fantasies of the future.
Today, Maier was walking down on the Wecar St, looking downwards, heading back towards his office building at 633 W Wecar St. As he had walked over the short bridge between the 7th and 8th streets, he had briefly looked down at the narrow, dark, listless river. As always, he had noticed that this river did not belong to the activity and urban charm of this downtown area. Other than that he had been lost in his thoughts. His nothingness, like he usually did. It was a typical northern hemisphere day. Temperature leaning towards little chilly, but you cannot tell if it is winter yet. Cloudy and some sunshine, but you cannot really place, where the Sun is. You know it is daytime, but cannot really place the hour. On this gloomy day he was getting stuck in the memories of his forlorn past. His efforts at trying to think about the future were failing. As he turned his downwards gaze away from the river towards the grey pavement, it took him a few moments to realize that it had started drizzling. It dawned on him that he needed to hurry, since he had forgotten to take his jacket, and cover his head. His ever present, fall season dread of getting a cold made him look up. His only thought was to cross the lights on the 7th St, before the "Walk" sign disappeared. He raised his head upright and headed towards the crossing with a purpose, planning to do his routine; look left, look right and then look left again, even though the Walk sign was on. Another ever-present habit that he applied dedicatedly, even when driving on deserted roads. Ingrained from working in the ghetto for years, and the fear of minor accidents that could still tear into his budding savings account.
As he raised his head slightly to the right, he noticed that everyone seemed to be anxious, in a hurry just like him. The typical office workers wandering around downtown streets. Always in a hurry, always a text to send, always a phone call to make. He raised his head again to look around, and sensed something different about the hurried looks. He realized that everyone seemed to be staring upwards into the sky, but were not really heading anywhere. The hurry seemed to be in their minds trying to fathom something, but their bodies seemed to have stopped in mid-motion, waiting for new signals from their brains. This thought jolted him out of his inward zone. Something was happening. There was anxiety around him, but he could not tell where it was coming from. He followed there gazes into the sky, but did not see anything abnormal. Most of his view towards the north was blocked by the tall, luxurious looking investment bank building, whose hallways, meeting rooms and cubicles he had wondered about before. He thought about moving over to the bridge to get a better view in the general northern direction that everyone seemed to be staring at.
Then, for a moment he felt alone. He stopped dead on his feet. His tunnel vision seemed to have kicked in, without his brain having had a chance to figure out what was going on. Everyone seemed to have moved to the cross-section and onto the bridge. His vision focused on the few, who seemed to be walking, almost jogging away from the direction that the rest were staring at. Those unsure runs, when your brain has already made the decisions for your body, without you being consciously aware of the unfolding situation. In an instant, he decided to follow the runners and find a vantage point to register what was happening.
Before he could move a foot, the earth seemed to give away. A giant roar ensued along with the shaking of everything the senses could perceive. The roar seemed to be moving upwards, from the feet to the head, indicating something unfolding at a near distance, rather than something hurtling towards you. It felt as if the whole downtown, all the giant buildings, the street and the pavement itself were rising slowly. The vibrations accompanying the roar were crippling, and for a moment Maier's legs buckled underneath him, as he knelt down, trying to find the cement floor of the pavement with his hands. His vision went blurry. All his senses seemed to be giving up, other than the immediate need to get close to the pavement floor. It was as if an earthquake had originated right underneath the downtown. The roar and the vibrations were playing hide and seek with his senses. His brain was absolutely devoid of any active or passive thoughts, other than looking for the elusive pavement floor. The shaking of the ground and the roar carried on for about half a minute, increasing in intensity, as if the breaking point was about to be reached, probably somewhere close. As if the whole downtown was going to burst open.
Then, everything went silent. As intense as they were, the roar and the vibrations ended abruptly. There were no shrieks, no cries. It almost seemed sunny and serene for a couple of seconds. Those, who had started jogging away had been stopped in their paths like startled gazelles. They were now sprawled, kneeled over the ground, and were staring back in a daze. Trying to recollect, about to decide whether to run, or just stare. It took Maier a couple of seconds to recollect his bearings. He looked at dozens of people sprawled all over the pavement back by the bridge. He slowly got up and started moving back towards the cross-section of the Wecar St and the 7th St. His view to the north had been completely blocked by the tall investment building during the roar. There was a bus-stop for bus #15, right by the lights. Those at the bus-stop looked like a flock of kneeling worshippers, trying to get up, simultaneously trying to hide away from something. Maier moved slowly towards them, trying to join in their gaze. Find out what they were looking at.
In an instant the whole sky seemed to have brightened up. His eyes widened, and right in front of him, bordered by the tall investment bank building and the city hall past the 7th St, was a giant mountain. A giant mountain rising few hundred feet ahead of him. A leviathan of shapes and color. A mammoth structure with a sleek alter ego. Something artificial, made by intelligence, but not of earth, not of humans.