|The Transformation Story Archive||World in Flux|
I have now long considered how best to begin this narrative. How does one effectively describe a change so dramatic as that which has happened here? How can I ever hope to convey the total sense of despair that is so prevalent among us? Perhaps the best way is just to tell you where I am now.
I am writing you from a crumbling, bungalow-style cottage in Omaha, Old State Nebraska. I sit here at a desk, using a slightly leaky ball-point pen. It's called a Paper-Mate. Pen and paper are two things that we still have plenty of left. There are lamps here in the room. I have destroyed them. The appliances here are unlikely to be of much danger to me, but I guess I just have to keep dealing with the old fears.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you an exact date. I would guess it is around twenty years after the turn of the second millennium. There is no way of knowing for certain. After the Flux infected our world, we were too jarred to keep track. I expect that somewhere out there is an astronomer or some other scientific-minded person who is aware of the exact day. We all measured our lives, I think, by Sundays. There were Sunday drivers, Sunday night sitcoms, Sunday church services, Sunday sales. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
You pay for the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge.
I guess you probably won't know what that means. It's from old television commercials. I remind myself of them a lot; you'll have to excuse the habit. They're comforting to me, and sad. There is no television anymore, of course. No nightly news, no made-for-tv-movies, no Saturday afternoon cartoons. Three quarters of a century of television, of actors and producers and directors and writers, all pouring their lives into it. Television and movies. And it's all lost forever.
There is, quite literally, nothing of the old life left. The word "technology" has become obsolete. Hell, there's a lot of obsolete words now. In fifty, seventy, a hundred years, they'll have been forgotten entirely, and the only testaments to the ages that passed before will be the cities. It's funny, but now that they're all dead and abandoned, the skyscrapers remind me of giant tombstones.
The Flux came and destroyed it all. In just three minutes, it was all gone. There is no more electricity at all, not for any practical purposes. We'd always talked of extraterrestrial beings before-we'd envisioned the earth destroyed by the little green men in the flying saucers. There are no little green men. Just plasmodial entities that infect and possess electrical charges like demons. Wall sockets and power lines are symbols of terror to us now. Lightning bolts mean death.
But not by electrocution, no. As far as I know, no one has died from electricity since the initial Shock. The Flux doesn't burn the body; it warps it. It remakes flesh with some strange sense of purpose, exaggerating features, adding others, removing some, and replacing yet more. This is what makes it horrible. It is one thing to see a friend die from electric shock. It is quite another thing to see horrible, mad, giggling arcs curl out of the television and wrap around his head, then have him turn around only to discover that he has no face left at all and that you must watch him die of suffocation.
The Flux is obviously sentient and mischievous, as its effects on people have a sort of poetic justice at times. It can also imitate, playing with physical forms as if they were clay, mocking other life forms that are nearby, whether they be animal or vegetable or other humans. Strangely, it is not always cruel either. I have seen the blind with their vision restored, the lame walking about on strong legs, the ugly made impossibly beautiful. There is no identifiable pattern or purpose to the Flux's activities. It does what it does, and we must live with it.
The fear has died down somewhat. No one has seen the infestation in quite some time. This doesn't mean that it doesn't lurk beneath the surface of our world, waiting to jump out of a static charge or a not-yet-dead battery. What it does mean is that our focus has shifted. We, the inhabitants of this world in flux fight to preserve what is left of our lives, try to stop focusing on the past, try to give our children some hopes for a future that must be built from scratch, a new start for the human and not-so-human race.
So the catalyst is mostly silent. Perhaps it is satisfied, perhaps it is content to watch us all try to find something to fight for, something to believe in in a world of broken lives. Are we all some grand experiment or do we still have some purpose here? We wonder, but not too much. And on the rare occasions when the demons toy with our forms, we adjust and move on. So this is our world.
And who am I? You might call me a historian. I have been blessed and cursed to hear some of the voices in this world. They speak in my mind quite clearly, begging for their stories to be told, and I must tell them; I would go mad if I did not. Telepathy, I think the ability is called. A sixth sense, a perception beyond the immediately physical. I do not know why I can do it and others cannot. Perhaps there are other historians out there, writing the tales they hear, preserving the lives as best as they can.
Through the stories I tell you I have two main purposes: to discover the nature of the plague that has besieged our world and unremorsefully twisted our lives, and to prove to you that everything that made us human is still here. Each tale has a focus, a theme, a facet of human character that shines out of the darkness for the rest of us to see if we are watching.
But perhaps I give too much detail, or continue on too long. The nagging voices in my mind plead for me to pick up my pencil and relate another fable of survival. And all the questions still stand, the answers revealing themselves bit by bit. What is the Flux? Where has it come from? And what has it yet planned for us? For where we are, where we were, and where we will be, I hope to remain your friend,
FLUX: Intro copyright 2000 by Jason The Skunk.
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