I no longer feel for those I kill. In a sense, the world has done me a great favor. My cross to bear, from man to man, woman to woman, child to child, is exhausting. One could call it disheartening, though I reckon many would figure I don’t have much of one to lose. Yet, an escape from this curse has never been closer…
Perhaps an escape is not the correct way to phrase it. Rather, I have been given medicine. Yes, finally, an alleviation to my long-numbed pain. But at the same time, I now hold a helpful tool. In fact, my existence has never been more simple.
Why, then, is there still something missing? A melody unsung, soaking, dissolving in a sea of cacophony. A note of confidence, forever lost in confusion’s dark haze.
Unbeknownst to me, a thin, severe-looking woman with sharp features and stark gray hair, perhaps sixty or so, meanders in front of my path. I let out a flustered sigh, and notice my error an instant too late. The woman, making contact with my icy breeze, crumples to the cold marble floor with a resounding thud. Dead.
Upon a closer glance, I identify her, not needing so much as a gaze at her business card, which protruded slightly from her charcoal suit.
Susan F Downer, Attorney at Law.
I then shift away from information visible to her clients. Age 52, mother of three. Heavily in debt, bit of a drinker.
Much like all the rest lately, an avid PubliCoreNews follower.
After gathering information from the brain, I always peer into the soul, searching for some link between the two. A lawyer, an optimistic voice in my head reasons. Perhaps she has yet to fall victim to Bleakness.
But as I examine the depths of cognizant thought, I realize both the brain and soul are as blank as their temporary resting place. As the last of her life fades away without an ounce of protest, Susan Downer’s conscience softly slips into silence. It was all over in less than a second.
This time with more care, my forever frozen lips emit a bored sigh, much unlike the last.
The Enlightened souls, those yet to succumb to Bleakness, put up a fight. However tiring and heart-wrenching it may be, there is a great degree of satisfaction, of excitement, to grappling pugnacious, resisting souls. It reassures that they had lived their lives well, and that all, if even for a moment, had truly found themselves.
In the many thousands I visit each day, I struggle to remember the last soul to oppose me.
Shuffling away from the attorney, I begin to fully take in my surroundings. I’m in a vast hallway, with grandiose stone pillars running up the walls, magnificently arched ceilings with perfectly spaced globes of light hanging from them. A courtroom. Sliding across the floor, I reach a large wooden door, the intricately carved handle longing to be pushed open, to be useful. It reminded me of the thoughts I gleaned from Susan’s consciousness; simple and limited. I give in, delivering a gentle push on the handle as the door creaks open.
I step outside and a cold, sharp wind pierces deep inside of me.
Perhaps this is what it feels like for everyone else when I come.
A saturating mist is falling from a dark, heavy sky, but it has little effect on the vicious crowds below. To one side, an army of colors battles a horde of those dressed in jet black.
Despite a clear hatred of each other, the units appear to share two things. In each of their eyes rests a burning fury. In each of their hands lies a small black screen, PubliCoreNews clearly visible on them all, blasting messages of dehumanization. PubliCoreNews shouted, and the crowds chanted, louder, fiercer, angrier.
I don’t know who threw the first ball of slush, leftover from the previous week’s storm. I don’t know who retaliated with the first stone.
But I do know the first victim.
A rock, perhaps the size of a softball, launched from the hand of a weak black-clad man. I later learned he had been aiming several feet behind the young girl’s head.
I silently float to her side, resting near her anguished mother.
Danielle McCarthy, age 6, first grade.
The mother’s screams are drowned by the louder, more pertinent rage of events. Little Danielle’s mind, however, is not empty, like Susan’s. It merely whimpers why, forever stuck on a question without an answer.
I rest a hand on the mother’s weeping head, and she falls beside her daughter. An act of kindness. Melissa McCarthy, widowed, 38, would never have to live alone in this empty world. But as I look into her soul, and find PubliCoreNews has changed how she thought, told her how she thought. I find only Bleakness, and wonder for how long she has already been alone.
Around me, PubliCoreNews blares. Rocks land, some hitting their marks. Screams of pain are muffled by barks of ferocity.
All stand oblivious to the little girl and her mother.
How could they care, with their screens pulsing every thought into their brains? There simply was no room for humanity, for morality. PubliCoreNews saw through to that.
There will be no winner to this battle, but a loser, humanity, stays fueled by the media’s iron grip as the world sinks further into Bleakness.
* * * * *
The year is 2018. The setting, a courtroom deciding upon an important verdict. Though the events and names of this story are not real, the concepts are all too much so. Bleakness infects the minds and souls of many, when opposing thought is extirpated for the sake of conformity. Despite a degree of hyperbole within this narrative, the dangers of limited media perspective in society are nonetheless present.
However, hope is not lost, as 71 Republic is reinventing journalism. With a free speech platform and a variety of perspectives on key issues, we at 71 Republic emphasize independent thought and quality journalism. Rather than mandating how to think, we hope to explain why we think. To help support 71 Republic’s mission of overcoming Bleakness, please fuel our Patreon. The time to act is now. Can we count on you?
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