Filling the Void
I suppose it’s the fear of the unknown that drove us insane. Or more rightly, the unknown that was in our face and our minds for so long. Really it boils down to: They were here, and then they were gone. Nothing else to say, nobody knows what they were put here for, or why they were taken. My great-grandfather was a boy when they first showed up; he was living in St. Louis working in a glove factory. He had the exciting job of ‘glove-turner’, all the gloves were sewn inside out, and at the end of the process, a machine inserted a hand mold into the glove, and my great-grandfather would turn the glove right side out. Now, that would drive me crazy! So, one day my great-grandfather got up and went to the bus stop, and everyone was talking about the ‘thing’ that had appeared under the arch. Great-grandpa wasn’t much for fooling around; he was raised on a farm where work came first, so he caught the bus and headed to the factory. At work, everyone was huddled around the TV in the break room where the news cameras were showing a clear ball sitting on the ground under the arch. It was actually hard to see it, it being clear and all, but you could still tell it was there. Really what made it stand out was the swarm of people that had been pushed back from it, causing a void in the swell of curiosity. Of course the Police kept everyone away, but when the Army got involved things really got whacky. Locally, this was big, but of course the real craziness was that there was one of these in all of the major cities around the world! According to great-grandpa, they built a building around it, and nobody could get in. The news was filled with guesses and hypotheses about what they were, and what they were for, and mostly ‘who’ sent them! I’ve heard of some of the experiments the government used on these things My grandpa wrote about all this on his blog, he wrote down all the stories his dad had told him, and had collected a bunch of pictures of many of the things. I had a collection of his blog with the pictures for a long time, but I can’t open them on my computer anymore; sad. So as you can imagine, at first the world went crazy, the religious nuts said it was the wrath of the Lord, though I never did hear a good explanation on where ‘divine orbs’ came from. The weak of mind really lost it, the suicide rate skyrocketed. Grandpa would sit captivated as his dad would tell the stories about it, his was the first generation that lived and died with these things. It was during grandpa’s time that they started becoming part of society, all the crime scene TV shows switched to government research team trying to analyze and figure these things out. Grandpa used to talk about how crazy people were, and he would liken them to the apes in the beginning of 2001. Iran even tried a small tactical nuke on the one in Tehran, talk about shitting in your living room. I remember when grandpa was dying, he would always lament that he never figured out what the things were, “But soon, very soon I will know why. “ Grandpa got religion not too long before he died, so I suppose that gave him some comfort. Dad really couldn’t care about the things, and rightfully so, by the time dad was a man, most of the governments had opened up the things to the public. Grandpa had taken him to see many of them around the country, and they even went to the one in Paris, after France loosened the restrictions. Our science class went to the one in Chicago one spring. I always thought it was funny that they took us, I mean no one could tell anything about them, but it was cool to see it. I even snuck under the rope and touched it, but boy that caused a big stink, apparently there were alarms on it and I was surrounded in about two seconds. Nothing really happened, they sent me through some screenings, and took blood and hair samples, but I could tell that even the sampler’s hearts weren’t really in it, just following policies and procedures.
Well, now here we are. My great-grandfather was here when they came, my grandfather was part of the first generation that lived with them, my dad was part of the generation that couldn’t care less, and now I’m part of the generation where they are gone. Just like that, they were gone. It’s funny, a lot of places didn’t even notice at first. There was a collective gasp as the world realized that they were gone, we may not have known what they were, or what they did, but the void left behind was devastating. Every culture in the world was left reeling, and trying to find its footing. Here in the States, it was just as bad; again, every religious nut came out of the woodwork, somehow they related the disappearance to the ‘wormwood’ of Revelation. Many of the mainstream religions had actually incorporated the things into their dogma, but worse than this were the cults that had sprung up around these things. There were people in high places that were if not part of these cults, at least they were connected. But my oh my, the vacuum these things left was too much for society to handle. Not knowing what they were for, or where they came from was sort of easy to gloss over I guess. It’s like a card, when someone ‘out there’ cared enough to give us them we didn’t need to know, we just liked being ‘special’. But now, I suppose we felt like we were dismissed or something. I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist, but I can tell you we all lost our minds. Local councils were set up to discuss what had happened. And the general consensus was that we had done something to offend our alien benefactors. Some of the greatest minds of the time came together and deduced that whoever had sent them had weighed us in the balance and found us wanting. All the nut cases were having their moments in the sun, and theories were more plentiful than at their coming. But it eventually boiled down to something ‘we’ did. Some government agency came up with the grand idea of scanning all the data storage cylinders and find every anomaly they could. Sadly I am one of those anomalies. Someone came up with a list of everyone that had ‘violated’ the sanctity of these things. So here we are; an advanced civilization, and tomorrow I am to be pulsed at the site of my violation. My last night on earth, and I’m in a Chicago jail waiting to be offered up as a sacrifice to the unknown. To the un-fucking-known.