I dreamed of a cloudless sky. Grass between my fingers and warm sunlight upon my face. The wind was cool and the sound of the trees rustling in the breeze only increased my satisfaction. A hand landed firmly into mine, it was slight and gentle. I opened my eyes to see laying on the ground next to me a young girl, no older than five, smiling at me. Her eyes glistened as the memory of their owner flooded back.
“Cynthia?” My eyes drowned in joy.
The child smiled and pointed off behind me. I rolled over to see who or what she was pointing at. And to my utter enchantment I saw Cynthia, her hair glistening in the wind and her smile coasting on the sunlight. She looked into my eyes and walked gracefully towards me.
“You knew all along Richard, you knew the moment they found something in your blood didn’t you?”
Words could not form in my mouth. Instead I stared, nodding.
“But here, you are as human as you want to be. Here we have a daughter.” Cynthia beamed at the young girl.
Streams of tears cascaded down, I was in a place only I could have created, and I had valued myself as human, for by god, I am as human as my emotions allow. I was happy, wholly and completely happy for the first time in all of my existence. The calls of the real world manifested as black clouds in the sky above me.
“Daddy, don’t go!” the young girl begged.
I placed my hands on to hers.
“I’ve got to, I’ve got to finish this. I’ll be with you both soon.” I sobbed, looking towards the blackening sky. “I’ll be back soon, just you see.”
The sky shattered and the ground beneath me dropped. As I fell, two white arms caught me; I looked up to see two Puritan officers dragging me towards the border. The sky a grey shadow blocking the once great rays of light. Heade marched just ahead.
“Open the gates!” The Puritan officer shouted down his headset.
And they did, the large metal gates opened slowly. The bright light from the Puritan state was extraordinary, the vast white city was far larger and more wonderful then I could ever conceive. The towering sky scrapers holding millions upon millions of Puritans. As we drew closer, I began to see people. What appeared to be ordinary people, thousands of them flocked to welcome us. All dressed in elegant white robes, their smiles calm and serine. It was then I realized, these people, these women and children were, all of them, products of Dr. Heade and his program. Though they were commodities of a human organization they were, in every conceivable way, perfect. Their society stood tall and proud out of the ashes of the once poisoned earth. The distant billboards advertised peace and wellbeing with the phrase ‘A Bright Tomorrow For The 22nd State’
“Hank envied the purity that these people possess. Richard, that device in the crate would have killed over half of the population of this district. Do you see now? You would never be able to finish his ‘one final defiant stand’ because you have something that Hank could never dream to acquire; empathy.”
I propped my head against my shoulder, my skin pale and lifeless.
“H-Hank wanted only to sanctify the i-imperfection that made humanity what it is.”
“And what was humanity Richard? Warmongering? Selfish? Divided by something as simple as nationality? Was that worth saving Richard?”
“It was worth fighting for.”
“You’re not one of them! They’re a dying species. They’re the past.” Heade motioned to the growing crowd of Puritan civilians. “They are perfect.”
I struggled to stand, my leg now completely limp.
“I see that now, but what of the legacy humanity has left behind? How shall they be remembered?”
“Remembered? After the Puritan’s gain total control, they shall become humanity; our legacy continues through them.”
I limped forward towards the city, my body weak. Such beauty, such immeasurable beauty, that no one could ever describe it to you accurately. There was nothing I could do or want to do to stop this magnificent civilization. I turned around to face Heade.
“What good am I?”
Heade walked forward pistol drawn.
“You were a remarkable side effect, Richard. But your place in this world is no longer valid; you’ve had your time, and so have I. The world belongs to them now.” Heade’s eyes began to water. “I’m sorry Richard.”
I held my hand up.
“Wait, j-just…” I wiped the blood from my hands. “Are you religious Dr. Heade?”
“Look around you Richard, this you see before you is my Eden, these people? My creation, I believe in one being creating a civilization, a purpose, and a duty. I am not god, but a product of his, and I am continuing the cycle, until the day that creation is no longer necessary. Why?”
I fell to my knees.
“Because Doctor, a wise man once said, reality is what it is, not what you want it to be, and if God does exist, he will weep for you. Humanity was exactly as God intended it to be.” I utilized the last ounces of my energy to force a smile. “Hank, The Hunched man was right to envy them.”
Heade stepped forward with no remorse and no emotion, placed the pistol to my head and paused.
“Then, Richard, I ask you to beg his forgiveness for me.”
Heade pulled the trigger and released me from my perfectly imperfect prison.
The lights had returned, the sky faded into view, and I was home. Cynthia’s warm embrace for eternity, and the love of a child would accompany me until time itself shattered and the boundaries of reality and fantasy are opened once and for all.
And so I write to you, those who would follow the messages left by those who fought perfection, who stood in the face of the inevitable and made a stand. To the families that now reside in the retirement camps, and those poor souls forced into the wastes I pray that you’ll take comfort in the notion that no matter how terrible things may seem, you are all equally imperfect, equally human and in it together until the bitter end. And my life, though fantasy, was something I will never regret, as the world slowly changes into the perfectly perfect world that God did not intend.
‘Non quomodo Deus voluit.’