by Daniel William Gonzales
Morrison hated space food. It
tasted like farm feed to him. You
only eat dehydrated meatloaf so many times before you actually began to
the moisture of real meatloaf. Then
there was Eddie, the vegan who had his own stash of hydrated garden
there was Calvin
Maxwell, the eccentric leader of their crew whose father had been a
famous space explorer so Calvin was obsessed with trying to live up to
imagine of a man he had never really known.
father had died when he was sixteen during a routine mission to Mars
they had gone back to earth, the ship had gotten caught up in the
atmosphere and come apart. It
national tragedy; he remembered for a long time that people kept
looking at him
strangely, as if he possessed some secret knowledge of his
father’s death, as
if he could give them some insight into the death of a national hero.
least we have cable,” Greg said.
hate it,” Eddie said.
what?” Greg moaned, sick of hearing the vegan complain.
hate this! Being
cooped up in a
spacecraft, I got into this gig because I wanted to explore other
stars up close, not to fix satellites and collect meteoroid
is the meat and potatoes of the space industry, Ed,” Calvin
if you don’t like it I suggest you take the pod back to Earth
and just pray it
survives the trip through the earth’s atmosphere.”
soon as Greg had uttered the words, he winced, “Oh shit,
sorry, Calvin. I
wasn’t even thinking.”
said nothing. He
hated that his
father’s death was all he was known for.
there’s no need to be defensive, Greg.
I was only sharing a complaint.”
like whining. The
sixties are over,
pal. They have been
for a long
time. So save your
hippie, I’m going to
change the world crap for someone who gives a damn.”
gasped, “You know, man.
I didn’t expect
this from you. When
I first met you,
you seemed like a pretty level headed guy.
I find it really sad that you have all this pent up anger
you. Maybe I could
help you work out
some issues. I have
some books in my
room that I could lend you.”
don’t want to read your New Age
propaganda. I was
raised to be a real
man, not some tree-fucking pussy!”
gentle spirit has nothing to do with my masculinity.
If you are insinuating that I am a homosexual, you are
wrong. Although I
have had many
emotionally fulfilling relationships with men that made me understand
Greg cried out in horror,
“Jesus Christ, man! You
are the biggest
fag I have ever met in my life!”
it out!” Calvin shouted, “I expect professionalism. We have an important job
I sense some para-psychic activity up ahead.”
wormhole?” Greg asked.
don’t know. Maybe
or something else.”
alarm went off.
go outside and check para-cell 8.”
just tightened it this morning.”
waltzed over serenely to the hatch and began to suit up. He sealed his helmet over
his head then
opened the launch tube. The
behind him then he entered the security code and the landing hatch
the darkness of space, Eddie clutched onto the side of the ship and
over to para-cell 8. The
cover to the
panel had become loose again. Something
was pulling it off.
is weird, he thought. In
the vacuum of
space, the forces of gravity usually weren’t this violent. It was as if something was
pulling off the
panel. That would
require a lot of
looked up and saw the electric swirls up ahead.
A series of colors shone and dashed about wildly. Purple, green, blue, red
was a wormhole after all.
was mesmerized; it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his
life. The energy
was strong and
literally enveloped him. The
magnifying its energy unlike anything Eddie had ever seen before. It was literally draining
the heat from his
body and feeding off of it. Yet
could not take his eyes off the long tendrils of color which touched
through his suit and slowed his heartbeat so it could feed. The buttons on his space
suit began to
the tunnel had become
magnetized. It was
attracting the nuts
and bolts on his suit.
cried out as they began to fly off of him.
the landing! Open
the landing!” he
kept pressing the com button on the inside of his suit, “Open
trying,” Calvin said, “It won’t let
arms ripped off his suit, then the lid of his space suit shattered and
fish out of water, he began to suffocate.
In a last ditch effort to save his life, he grabbed onto
the hatch door
and attempted to pry it open with his nails.
He scratched frantically at the landing hatch, trying to
pull it towards
him but as soon as he got close, the energy pulled him and he kept
Eddie felt the tendrils
of colorful energy surround him and suck him toward the ball of light
spiraled like a long string of souls all bound together. The sides of the tunnel
opened up and burned
him like the flames of a dying sun and sucked him into its fiery mouth
swallowed him whole.
disintegrated almost instantly.
the ship, havoc was breaking loose.
Greg was nearly blubbering with fear.
pull away from it! Change
trying! The damn
magnetized and is pulling
the entire ship into it. We
choice. We are
going to be sucked
in. We need to get
into our hyper sleep
pods. They will
freeze us and stop the
began to move towards the back of the ship.
can do this!” Greg said and fiddled with
the controls wildly.
a fool! You’ll
die!” Calvin screamed at
ran to his hyper sleep pod and initiated sequence.
There was a small chance he would survive and that the
wouldn’t just melt the ship in its fiery chasm. I guess we’ll
see, he thought.
Help me, Dad, were his last thoughts as the machine froze
Gregory was fighting against a wonder of the universe and failing. The wormhole sucked the
ship closer then
just as they were about to be consumed by the heat of the tunnel, it
ship through at lightning speed.
didn’t have a chance.
grew ancient within seconds. His
grew withered and old, the flesh literally was devoured by the
advanced time and all that was left was a skeleton.
Then even the skeleton ceased to exist after a time and
disintegrated to dust. Several
seconds and even the dust was gone as if the man named Gregory Morrison
never even existed.
wormhole spat the ship out the other end.
Then the ship split in half, the shock had been too much
for it. The panels
unraveled and the ship split in
in its own right,
the hyper sleep pod still functioned without the ship commanding it. Calvin Maxwell, son of
Simon, floated in
outer space encased in his glass coffin for years.
Snow White before him, he waited until his savior came to rescue him,
was not a handsome prince but rather a spacecraft.
occupants of this rather peculiar looking craft scanned this strange
then loaded it onto the ship.
my god!” one of the men said, “I recognize this guy! He’s Simon
Maxwell’s son, the famous explorer of Terra 9. I remember him from that
book…the one in the
he’s been missing for over
two hundred years.”
awoke in a small white room. He
it painful to open his eyes. They
been frozen shut so long. He
lips with what felt like a rubber tongue.
How long had he—
surrounded him. They
seemed to have no
actual physical presence. Where
(something?) touched his arm.
think it’s awake,” he heard someone say.
he tried to talk but instead vomited.
you are weak,” a man said, “You have freezer burn. We are treating you. Your
arm broke off. We
had to replace it
with a synthetic one. It
will look and
feel exactly the same as your real arm did.
Do not worry, you are safe.”
couldn’t see them, everything was so blurry.
All he could make out were vague black shapes against a
are on Earth. No,
we are not
aliens. We are
human, just as you. A
great many people are excited by your
return, you are a legend. Students
your picture in history texts. Your
father was a great man, innovative for his time.
He made the first bold steps toward colonization of other
worlds. He changed
the way we thought
about the universe. However,
race colonized over six planets since your time and discovered five
universes to ours.”
you been gone you mean? Well,
come as a shock to you but Mr. Maxwell; you have been missing for over
was stunned, he began to shake.
sadly they are all gone. The
moved on. You will
find though a great
many things have changed from your time that a lot remains the same. We have preserved many
artifacts, relics if
you will, from your time. They
a link to our past.”
this made Calvin feel a little bit better.
As long as he could still see the Statue of Liberty and
Garden then he was set.
slept then and had a long dreamless sleep.
world was nothing like he remembered it.
one thing there were no cities. The
landscape was one long stretch of huts, temples and jungle.
you may have noticed,” the man who introduced himself as Edic
said, “The cities
are gone. They were
before my time but some of the old ones could probably tell you of them. There was a war. A holocaust really in
which most of the human race was wiped
out. Those who
survived decided on a
new way of life. A
return to nature. We
called it Project Eden. The
survivors of the holocaust were a
smaller number than you might think.
Only ten thousand left out of a population of billions. This was how far the
devastation was spread.
We have decided that
cities aren’t the way. We
live from a naturalistic point of view.”
Eddie was right after all, Calvin thought.
have gone back to what you may consider a primitive way of life but to
us it is
a revelation. Humanity
was lost for so
long, obsessed with war and progress, greed and death was everywhere. Our ancestors were right. This is what is most pure. We hunt what we eat,
mostly fish and
all the animals left
now. We enjoy
vegetables and fruits and
the synthetic meat recipes. We
built temples in honor of the Goddess and we worship nature in all its
Goddess who graces
us with the gifts of wind, earth and sunshine.”
see,” Calvin said, “So how is it that you said you
saved things. I
mean you told me you had artifacts from my
Edic said, “We do! Come
with me to the
took Calvin’s hand and led him to a large brown stone temple
at the apex of
town. It was
gigantic, it must have
taken years to make.
the temple children played jump rope and mother’s breast fed
entered the temple and
saw candles everywhere.
forefathers persevered these artifacts found in the ruins of the
led Calvin to a series of glass cases piled upon stones.
one was the arch from a very popular fast food restaurant of his time
began with an M. In
the next case he
saw a magazine with celebrities on the cover.
is this Jennifer Anniston? Was
goddess of some sort?” Edic asked.
some, I suppose.”
the third case Calvin saw a CD with the name Michael Jackson on it.
began to laugh hysterically.
don’t understand,” Edic said.
Calvin managed to get control of himself he said, “It just
figures that out of
all the great discoveries, all the art of the 21st
Century, all that
remains is this pop culture garbage.”
is this word: pop
culture?” Edic asked,
“Is it a metaphor? Like
laying the rainbow egg?”
more like, we had so much more to offer than this and this is all that
don’t think you do,” Calvin said,
“Everything I knew is gone.
My family, my friends, my wife…she told me
not to go. She said
she had a bad
feeling about it. I
never did listen.”
sorry,” Edic said, “I don’t know what to
This place is all I have ever known.
It is my home. I
don’t know what
I would do without it. Perhaps
feel as lost as you seem to be.”
night in the grand plaza, Calvin ate dinner with the village.
of the head shamans, Vittoro spoke, “We would like to welcome
a man of the past
to our fine tribe. Frozen
in time, he
is a living testament to what was and ever shall be.”
were all dressed so strangely, in such bright colors.
He felt like he had walked in on an Easter parade in an
all studied him closely as if he were an antique of some sort; they all
fascinated and simultaneously frightened by his presence. Especially the children
who saw him as some
exotic new toy with which to play.
food wasn’t bad at all; deer meat, greens, some fruit mush
with marshmallow and
a cool ale. After
dinner men beat on
drums and everyone did a strange dance in which they seemed to gyrate
wildly. It looked
like an orgy. Calvin
was too embarrassed himself to join
in with them.
are you enjoying yourself?” Edic asked.
well,” Calvin said, “It’s
are but humble servants of the earth.”
that night after things calmed down, a group of children gathered
fire and an elder tribesman would tell them the stories of the Earth
the Gods would interact with humans in the stories, other times they
become the living embodiments of a feeling or emotion.
Calvin saw similarities in these tales from
his own time. Joseph
Campbell was right
after all, myth lived on.
Calvin grew tired and felt his eyelids droop, he saw a young girl who
had to be
in her late twenties with long cinnamon brown hair in exotic curls
her back, the ends of them knitted with beads.
looked at him for a moment shyly in the distance shyly but fascinated.
gave her a quick smile and she returned it.
went to his tent and slept. When
awoke he heard the hustle and bustle of the morning market, matrons
their wagons full of sugar treats they had made in the form of idols of
Gods. This was
mostly for the children
then there were other wagons with wooden sculptures like totems which
the heads of nature: earth,
tribespeople came to barter with them over the worth of their goods. Children would have to
recite poems or
chants (some of which Calvin recognized fragments of) in order for them
candy. While the
elders traded deer
skins for idols or handmade eating utensils.
The way they did things was both new and old. It felt like pieces of
modern culture had sifted through to the
primitive and they had entangled together in some purgatorious
his day, Calvin thought, the sight of all this shouting and calling out
easily have been mistaken for the New York stock exchange or a public
was when he saw the young girl again from last night.
he worked up the courage to approach her.
name is Calvin,” he said.
laughed, “I know. The
a beautiful name.”
sister’s name is Lavender.
I think it
is more beautiful.”
seemed to enjoy watching him do so.
old are you?” he asked.
six moons,” she said, “You?”
I used to be thirty-six but then I got frozen so I guess technically I
two hundred and thirty six years old.”
laughed, “Wow. You
are very old.”
ancient,” he chuckled, “So do your people marry or
take companions or what?”
smiled at his question, “We take a soul lover and if they
adore each other enough
they go to the temple to dance their love before the Gods and become
that they are wed in
the way of which you speak.”
guess you guys don’t divorce.”
is the separation of souls but it is a great tragedy.
We weep for it. They
go into the river and stay under for two minutes then spend the night
woods from the softness of their beds.
In that night, the Gods mourn for them.
Then one of the halves must leave the village and settle
elsewhere. They may
never see one another again.”
that’s harsh,” Calvin said.
Lyandra said, “What is this word?
is just such a great tragedy to abandon
your soul. You will
never be complete
again. Sex is one
matter. Love is a
deeper thing. You
may have sex with someone as a fancy of
youth but adult love is everlasting.”
if the couple has children?”
they have one, he stays with the mother even if she is the one to leave
village. IF they
have two children, a
child for each. Three
or more then they
all stay with the mother.”
about gay people? Do
you have gay
people here? That
was a hot button
issue of my time.”
in joyous delight?”
as in two people of the same sex getting it on.”
who, uh, want to join souls with other men and women who want to join
with other women.”
she exclaimed, “The chosen!
Most of the
shamans are what you would call gay.
They have special powers and visions of the future. They are our helpers and
leaders. They may
take a lover if they
wish but they can never join souls.
is forbidden. It is
taboo. These men
and women have a special destiny
to fulfill; sexual relations do not matter to them as much as normal
people. They are
chosen by God to send
messages. They are
The Republican Garden of Eden.”
what do you do all day?”
sew, I eat, I write in my journal, I pray, I think, I fish. The men hunt. They build things, talk,
and make decisions. We
are all very busy. We
do not waste time. Laziness
is one of the downfalls of man.”
Calvin said, “Sounds like my time in its own way.”
felt like an anthropologist investigating a foreign land, only it was
a home that had long transformed into something new and yet archaic.
you show me where I fit in?” Calvin asked Edic.
do you mean?”
me something to do. A
purpose. I mean,
I’m basically a dead man…I’m from a
world that doesn’t exist anymore.
have to believe I was given a second chance for a reason.”
should see the shaman in the woods,” Edic said, “He
will guide you to your true
will take you there.”
took Calvin to a hut at the edge of the woods.
knocked and Calvin heard the screech of a latch peel back and a face
like the Great and Wise Oz.
lord, the traveler wishes to speak with you.
He wants a reading.”
latched closed and they heard some clattering inside the hut as some
were thrown. A dish
smashed against the
wall. Then the door
slowly slid open. The
place was bigger inside than it looked
from the outside. The
shaman was a slim
middle aged man with gray around his temples and piercing blue eyes.
seek to know your place?” the shaman asked.
only light sifted through the open windows of the hut.
There was a bed in here, a bookshelf, a
writing desk and a strange box of potions filled with various
looked like he had weapons in there.
man paced about for several minutes as Calvin sat in the desk chair. It was firm and sturdy.
the shaman turned to him and said, “You saw him die. The astronaut. His skin
melted from his bones. It
still. It was the
last thing you saw
before you froze. You
dream about it
and wake up screaming sometimes in the night.”
was another one. E—Edie? Eddie.
He was like us. He
was a lover
Eddie was a vegan. He
got on Greg’s
was a very angry man but he liked
you. He cared for
you more than he
could admit. He
thought of you like a
didn’t know what to say to that.
about the future?” Calvin asked, “What am I here
for? Why was I
shaman turned to Calvin suddenly, angrily and clutched his arm,
“You are the
betrayer! You will
betray us all! No
matter what we do—it is meant to be this
way! You will
destroy our way of
life! It is your
was scared; afraid the man might pull a hand axe out of the chest and
the shaman grew calm, “But nevermind that.
Work in the fields with the men.
Leave me. I
have a headache.”
walked out of the hut.
did he say?” Edic asked.
said to work in the fields.”
rows of corn, carrots, peas and bananas.
All day long they plowed, watered and cut away weeds. This was work that Calvin
to. He had grown up
on a farm before
his family moved to New York when he was ten.
He had done chores like this.
Except there were cows and chickens, both of whom were
extinct now. It was
hard work but honest, Calvin knew
what his ancestors must have felt like.
was good exercise but his body grew burned form the sun and he had to
idol Lyandra gave him for an ointment for his reddened skin. The shamans were good
managed to make lotions and headache remedies from the simplest things. Weeks passed and Calvin
finally felt he
belonged in this place, on his home planet again.
The new Earth was not so alien after all.
the words of the shaman faded from memory altogether.
night Edic showed Calvin a picture of himself from an old history text.
borrowed this from the temple,” he said, “They have
a library of pre-Eden
artifacts, you should see them. You
might recognize a few things but this is how I knew who you were. When I first laid eyes
upon you in the space
capsule. It was
saw his own face in a one hundred and fifty year old history textbook. It had a picture of him
and a caption that
read: Son of famous
Maxwell, Calvin Maxwell disappeared during a routine mission to Alpha 9. He has not been heard from
a legacy. Not one
you’d ask for but something.”
hit a wormhole, didn’t you?”
don’t know. I
believe so. It all
happened so fast, I didn’t have much
time to think. Hey,
I just thought of
something. How was
it that in a land of
earth worshippers you managed to have a spacecraft to go out and rescue
Edic looked embarrassed, “We found you on the radar. There was an alarm, it
we may live above ground in this earthly paradise, below us exists the
of that old world. There
are only a few
of us who still believe it is worthwhile to explore it.
We watch the monitors and look for signs of
alien life. Or
maybe even survivors of
the Earth holocaust who somehow managed to escape.
At the edge of the woods beneath this very ground we sit
exist a base of operations your government must have created when
things were very
bad. Down there
were two ships equipped
to travel and one day when we got the distress signal from your glass
ventured out to rescue you. Two
priests, a shaman and myself.”
I see this place?” Calvin asked.
course. When would
you like to?”
the edge of the woods there was a cavern that looked like an ordinary
when you walked inside, the platform became less rocky than metal and
into the earth. The
place looked like
an old army base from his time but there were NASA logos all over the
walls. It was dusty
and most of the
equipment was rusty but still operational.
it’s like a museum.”
place frightens the villagers. They
it as a bad omen.”
is a place of science,” Calvin said, “Not
went to the counsel and began to press buttons.
is how we found you,” Edic said.
on screen were images from satellites all throughout space. It was amazing. The transition from the
land above, a tribute to primitivism then
this hollow workspace below was almost hallucinatory as if he existed
time periods at once. He
between his new way of life and the memories of the old.
you come in contact with any alien life?”
know there is alien life,” Edic said, “Who do you
think humanity went to war
decimated us. We
won the war just barely at a price.
99% of the world’s population was destroyed
though. It was a hollow victory. Those
who the aliens didn’t kill died of nuclear fallout sickness,
after it was all
over there were only ten thousand of us.
Seven thousand reside here in New Eden, the others live in
a place they
were these aliens? What
were called the yahweth. They
powerful and cunning.”
didn’t the survivors try to colonize on other
the alien war people were scared of outer space.
We just wanted our world back the way it was. It was enough for us. We only rescued you
because you were human,
a genetic link to the past. The
space exploration are over. Nobody
used to,” Calvin said, “I used to be so jealous of
my father. I used
to imagine how wonderful it would be
to be up there. So
high above the
earth. Then when I
got up there I
didn’t feel anything. It
child’s dream becomes an
adult’s reality but so disappointing.”
sorry,” Edic said, “That’s why you must
appreciate your new life here. You
may see us as simple but honestly we have
found peace. Peace
in an honest day’s
work, in plowing a field, in earning your keep, being productive and
we were losing that in the time I came from.
Talking to people on a computer screen was our idea of
why it’s so wonderful here.
We have gone back to basics.
To see what makes life work.
Not greed or avarice or envy but compassion,
productivity and faith.”
right,” Calvin said, shutting off the counsel,
“This part of my life is
finally ready to move on.”
they left the cave.
next few months were heaven to Calvin, he felt himself become filed
sense of wonder and peace at his new surroundings.
Finally he belonged somewhere, he had found his calling. Lyandra and he became
close friends and she
taught him more of the ways of her people.
He did not try to make the relationship romantic, just her
was enough for now. Then
during a huge bonfire as several men beat their drums wildly and women
shrieked, they danced over the flame.
it was a religious holiday of some sort.
began taking off their clothes and started dancing naked around the
hail Goddess Earth! Her
illustrious beauty! Her
blissful mounds!” they chanted.
A few boys giggled at the last entry.
Calvin felt a tense feeling of foreboding now but he did not know why. He had the feeling
something horrible was
about to happen.
he saw one of the men gyrating wilding trip over a log and he fell into
fire. His entire
body became consumed
by the flames within moments.
started screaming, the man ran about wilding flailing and rolled in the
dirty. It was too
late though, the fire
had burnt through his skin to his brain, and he was dead.
woman began to sob and everyone said a prayer.
A bucket of water was thrown on the fire.
After that the party broke up.
felt terrible for the man.
came to his tent that night.
am very sorrowful about what happened tonight.”
I sleep with you?”
do you mean? Like
in my bed?”
the floor whichever you prefer.”
went to the bed then and Lyandra joined him.
Suddenly her skin next to his felt just right and he began
her. She was
rubbing her fingers up and
down his chest and before he knew it they were making love.
felt calm afterwards as Lyandra lay in his arms; a great tension had
him. He was able to
weep then for his
lost wife and his lost life.
next day in the fields he felt the sun burn his back.
heart was scorching.
had worked half the day when he finally took a break and suddenly
looked to be the man who had burnt to death in the fire last night. He nearly staggered.
that the man who died last night?” he asked one of the men he
man did not look up< “No.
I am sure
you are mistaken.”
Calvin was sure it was him. He
remembered the man’s exact face, the smirking grin, the way
he had leapt.
approached the man who saw him and then frantically ran away.
had no name to call out.
he thought but went back to work.
night he felt restless and decided to the lake for a swim.
washed his face and saw the moon reflected in the water.
all so beautiful, he thought. So
across the river near the edge of the woods he saw the man from the
earlier. The dead
decided he would follow.
man walked for a very long time through the woods, past the
shaman’s hut and
beyond the cavern where Edic had taken him that day.
walked to a place he had never seen before.
cave unlike any other, it seemed somehow recent, artificial.
he crept through the grass, the soft squishes below his feet and from
the cavern he heard voices.
need replenishing!” the dead man shouted, “I can
feel myself rotting! You
need to replenish me!”
are doing the best we can,” a familiar voice said.
moved towards the entrance to peer inside.
The moonlight provided him with a soft glow of light. Nothing could have
prepared him for what he
saw. It was the
most grotesque thing he
had ever seen in his existence.
were human bodies lining the walls of the cave, a huge mass of
squirming and trying to pry itself free.
Arms, legs, eyes, ears, mouths, torsos all dashed about
this living quilt of human flesh.
looked like a vision of what Calvin had imagined hell would be like.
this was the other side of Eden, apparently the serpent had built
IS THIS?” Calvin screamed.
and the dead man turned.
not what you think,” Edic said, “They
aren’t real. Just
provide the wounded with fresh parts.
They saved this man’s life.
Without them he would be dead.”
saw a woman’s face and mouth on the wall behind him; her
expressions of anguish
and despair were so raw and real that he had to look away. Limbs twitched and hands
palmed at him into
is sick,” Calvin said, “How can you do this to
aren’t real,” Edic said, “They
don’t feel things the way you and I do.
They are husks. They
don’t have souls.
Would you really pity the damned?”
look like they feel something and its suffering, endless suffering! How can you be so
the scientist, you tell me,” Edic said coldly, “We
made these people a promise,
one that we intend to keep.”
you guessed it by now, you ape or is your tiny little brain too small
isn’t paradise if there is
death in it. If you
want a true Eden
you must given them immortality, that’s what we provide. They are the hosts, we are
are the aliens you spoke of
that day! We lost
not that simple. You
really are a
that us versus them
mentality that killed off your kind.
No, we are not them.
They are us
and we are one.”
opened up his robe and exposed his chest.
Underneath his skin something crawled and rolled about in
made a deal. We
could not defeat
them. All they
wanted was a place to
live. We wanted
immortality. It was
the perfect trade. They
give that to us. All
we do is give them a warm place to
You’ve allowed yourself to be infected by
looked insulted, “You xenophobic primitive!
You are so blinded by your own ignorance that you
can’t see a gift when
it lies before your beady little eyes.
We are immortals! We
get to live
forever! The war
ended ages ago. I
should be an old man by now but still I
have preserved this youthful flesh.
never have to grow old or die.”
see. So you live
off the suffering of
these things you call synthetics.
flesh on a rack waiting for you. Look
at them! They are
in anguish and can’t
even scream! You
can call this progress
if you want to but it’s just wrong!”
laughed, “How easy of you to say when it’s one of
the synthetic limbs you are
wearing on your arm right now.”
don’t you remember? Your
real arm broke
off when you came out of hyper sleep.
Would you rather be one armed?”
I don’t want to achieve it like this.”
looked at his right arm then like a stranger.
It seemed so much like his but yet it had come from the
wall of skin. An
eyeball stared at him
now from a man’s forehead.
opened and closed desperately to speak something.
An arm slid out of a man’s chest and reached
towards him as if
wanted to reclaim a piece of itself.
vomited on the ground.
is inhuman! I
can’t stand for it! I
Paradise isn’t worth this!
is too fucking weird!”
monkey speaks again. Tell
me, ape. Did you
cry in your time when they tested
products on little animals and made them scream?”
turned and ran from the cavern.
you ape! Run all
you want but you are a
part of this! Whether
you let us in or
not! You are a part
of this wall of
dead man pressed his back up against the wall and felt several hands
him through his skin. He
sensation was almost erotic. They
to rebuild him, repairing his organs.
The breast of a woman rubbed against his lips, he sang out
to them and
the wall of pulsating flesh wrapped him in a tight pink cocoon and
Calvin got back to the village he sought out Lyandra.
She was carving another totem for bartering day. It was then that he
notices how strange the
item looked like a white grasshopper’s face.
These weren’t Gods.
the creatures. The parasites!
is that?” Calvin asked her calmly.
space deity,” she said plainly.
you have one of those things inside you too?”
looked up at him then, smiling, “They are a gift.”
opened up her blouse and he saw the creatures press itself against the
make us immortal,” she said, “Who can ask for a
Not being a
host for a fucking bug!”
DARE YOU!” she screamed, it was the first time he ever saw
anger on her
face. She slapped
him, her nail cutting
his face and leaving a trail of blood.
of you are even human anymore. You
have evolved, primitive. You
Betrayer! You are
the one the shaman
warned us about months ago! I
have known it would be you! You
traveler riding on a pale horse, you are the dark rider.”
pulled out a large knitting needle then that had to be at least ten
long. She rushed
towards him. He
avoided her lunge and swung her across
the room. She hit
her head on the side
of a homemade oak desk. The
cut her forehead and she bleed.
god, he thought. What
have I done?
slowly he moved towards her when suddenly he saw the thing crawling out
throat up through her throat. It
it’s white gangly forearms to pry open her lips and he
watched as it squeeze
it’s fat body up out of her belly to her throat. It looked like a tumor
neck became swollen and bulbous. He
picked up the knitting needle off the ground.
The parasite had five beady black eyes that stared at him
with a deep
penetrating preciseness. It
from her, drenched in saliva and stomach acids and a smattering of
blood. Swiftly it
skittered towards him and
jumped. Just as it
towards his face, he held out the needle and watched the creature
let out a horrible cry so loud that it seemed to pierce his eardrums.
sound rang throughout the entire village, alerting everyone to his
misdeed. He was
sure the creatures
spoke a language of their own and when they were angry who said they
just take over the body of their hosts for their own uses. That was when he heard the
cries of the villagers. He
distraction, he grabbed the torch that hung in front of the hut and he
walls of the hut on fire.
were screaming now, alarmed by the fire and the death of one of their
saviors. Calvin bet
that fire was
probably the only thing that slowed them down.
In the moonlight as he ran towards the woods, he saw the
glint of axes
and blades that the villagers had gathered to kill him with. He felt like
Frankenstein’s monster then in
an old black ‘n’ white horror film.
Except everyone else were the monsters.
only had one choice, escape.
ran through the woods as fast as he could to the cavern that Edic had
him when they both had been on friendlier terms.
With any luck one of the ships they had used to rescue him
was still there. Although
been made in technology since his time, he was sure he could figure out
controls. He had to.
slipped into the cavern and found the counsel where the uplinks to the
satellites were. Using
a few of his
more criminal skills his famous father had taught him, he hacked his
the system mainframe and sealed the entrance to the cave. Ok, one problem solved, he
thought, now to
search for the spacecrafts. One
cameras at a side station showed the villagers outside with their
weapons trying to pry open the metallic doors to the cave.
even an axe will do it, you morons.
This is a state of the art facility.
suddenly an image of a spacecraft appeared on screen.
It said it was three corridors down to the right shaft
quick left to portal 9. It
just couldn’t be happy, could you?” a voice said
behind him, “You are so
arrogant. You just
assume they are
using us. We made
an agreement. It’s
a choice! Who are
you to decide what is wrong, you ape?!”
I just want to go,” Calvin said, “I will find my
own way in the galaxy. This
isn’t my world anymore.”
do you think you will find out there, xenophobe?
Peace, is that it? You
had it right here, you fool and you rejected it like a spoiled child! You are a monkey. Evolution’s bare
relic that must be destroyed. We
pursue you to the ends of the universe if we have to, you will never
you leave me no choice,” Calvin said,
“I’ll have to kill you all.”
turned to the computer, “Initiate self-destruct
thing known as Edic unleashed an unholy shriek then like Lyandra had
computer spoke: Self-destruct
initiated in T-minus five minutes and forty two seconds. Charges loading.
grabbed Calvin by the throat and began to crush his windpipe. The man who Calvin had
once trusted as his
guide had now become his enemy. Edic’s
pupils were a pure milky white; there was nothing human about him
parasite owned this man. Calvin
pulled the knitting needle out from
behind his back where he had stored it after stabbing
stabbed the Edic-thing through the eye.
the man died then the disease inside him, both letting out their own
three minutes, twelve seconds.
ran down the corridor.
then left or was it a left then a right?
villagers outside had devised a way to break through the barrier. They brought the village
shaman who held a
strange metallic device called a prong and jammed it into the control
near the door. A
few hundred volts of
electricity ran through him, all absorbed by the thing within him and
to the cave suddenly slid open.
Everyone ran inside.
piled in one after another. Axes,
knifes and torches in tow.
two minutes and counting.
went down the wrong corridor and had to backtrack to the ship. It was exquisite,
everything he imagined it
to be. It stood at
least eighty feet
tall and sixty feet wide. It
deluxe cruiser. Families
could live in
was the luxury liner of the universe.
pulled open the welcome hatch and closed the door behind him.
to work the controls.
soon as the villagers heard the execution sequence, they began
hacking at the counsel wildly at the control modules that they had no
to operate. When
they saw Edic dead and
his yahweth dead on the ground, they broke into fresh cries of anguish. Some of the villagers ran
up to the surface
minute, twenty-three seconds—
fired up the engine and tired to manage the controls.
They looked completely alien to him.
There was a tutorial guide but he had no time for that.
activated, the ship said.
control panel lit up then and the ship prepared to launch.
ground underneath the forest opened up, knocking a few trees out of the
spacecraft fired up and
prepared to launch.
coordinates, the auto-pilot said.
don’t care! Just
few of the villagers stumbled down the corridor to the space craft.
tried to hack at the sides of the ship which were impenetrable.
few of the lehweth squealed and plunged out of their host’s
chests tearing them
apart in sheer desperation. The
of the fittest, in the end all things wanted to live.
spacecraft blasted off into the sky racing at light speed.
him the temple became a tiny brown dot then a huge sonic boom of an
that wiped out the last remnants of the human race.
even a cunning yahweth could survive a fireball that size. He only hoped that the
cavern of the
synthetic flesh had been burned in the fire also.
Those living dead things deserved to be put out of their
few seconds later, Calvin felt the ship hit the Earth’s
atmosphere and pull
free of its tug. Now
I’m free, he
thought, staring out at the blackened void of space lit by tiny
he would discover an entire kitchen pantry of space foods that would
twelve man crew fifty years. There
also a wreck room on the ship full of entertainment.
Video tapes and even an old arcade game from his day. All the semblances of life
aboard one ship.
dark calm came over him now as he bid goodbye to the planet of his
there was life
elsewhere, he thought, maybe some people did survive the holocaust and
coasting through space just as I am.
perhaps he could find some form of alien life that didn’t use
humans as hosts.
worse came to worse, he could search for another wormhole and pray it
back in time to his own day, to a world he recognized.
these thoughts and a thousand more, Calvin Maxwell, son of a famous
explorer wandered through the depths of outer space looking infinitely
space to call home.
© 2007 by Daniel William Gonzales.
Daniel William Gonzales is
a 29 year old
college student with a Bachelors in Psychology who is currently working on his Masters
in Adult Education. He
currently works as
associate manager of Barnes and Noble and part-time as a student
counselor at a local high school.
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