Friday, September 7, 2012

The Pallbearer: Honeymoon Blues Part 4


The sun was rising when Cassie and I reached the outside. I had never been one that watched sunrises much before Chrysalis. I was too busy watching strange things happening around me to be bothered. This one though, this particular sunrise, got watched.

It was worth it.

Cassie saw it first as we came up the incline leading out of the tunnel we had walked for over thirty hours. Her head tilted to the right as she saw the sky. She stood that way for a moment, even as I kept walking, my eyes on the ground, trying to tug her forward. Then, just as my eyes started to tilt up and look at the thing pouring light across my toes, even as my Brute’s optics were finally deciding to come out of night vision mode, Cassie ran.

You see, some people towards the center of the city that don’t live in arcologies where day and night are simulated can still watch the sun rise and set. In some places in Chrysalis Falls, the lights flicker just right so that you can watch the stars at night. We had not been to those places in over five years. We had not watched the sun rise, had not watched it set. We had only been able to see it slip through the sky high above our steel cocoon, our prison.

When my eyes hit the skyline and began to absorb what I was seeing, I ran too. I ran with my feet and my Brute’s feet both. We charged forward into the sight before our, diving into the newborn rays and drinking our way up.

What words are there for a sunrise? How do I tell you what one looks like?

The Corps spent billions on engineering the arcologies to artificially broadcast a single unified image through hundreds of floors stuffed with people. Every pane has to work in synchronicity to display the proper angle of light just the way it would strike real glass windows. They have to be able to show the sun at just the right angle so that if I walk from one end of the building to another, I see the same sun in the same position in the sky. In order to create this seamless illusion every arcology has an entire support complex filled with supercomputers and support staff maintaining them to properly engineer every sunrise and sunset. Happy people need their circadian rhythms catered to. Happy people work harder for less. Happy people revolt less often and sell fewer secrets to the competition. Happy people don’t steal company time by clocking in right before running to the bathroom. And so, Happy people get their sunrises and sunsets. But you know what? Every single person that lives in the arcologies, from the youngest child to the oldest suit sitting and rotting at his desk while he debates whether he wants a male or female personal assistant to get his rocks off this morning, knows that their sunrise is a boldfaced fucking lie. They know it. With every part of their body, they clench their teeth tight as they watch artificially generated U.V. rays pour through panes of supposed glass claiming to show the morning on the other side. They bite their tongues until they bleed, wincing in agony as the computerized sun rises. It is, by and large, an accurate replication. Just as a sunrise in a movie is an accurate depiction of a real event. But you know what it isn’t?

It isn’t a fucking sunrise.

I don’t care what you call it; just don’t call it a sunrise. It isn’t. What we saw that morning was a sunrise. It was an enormous egg rising from a vast sea that you couldn’t look at without rainbow spots eating your eyes. It was a blood-drenched apron being spread across the sky as the day settled down to watching the ants below play war. It was a lake of molten fire being poured from the night god’s forge over the clouds to line them.

It was the glory that ancient people first worshipped.

I tripped as I ran and fell to my knees. I stayed there, my hands in the dirt, looking up at the sun as rose, unhindered by walls. I felt the soft dirt between my fingers, the stab of grass into my palms, the bite of ants as they crawled over my hands.




I was breathing air that hadn’t been swirled within the smog-filled vortex of Chrysalis Falls. I was breathing air that wasn’t filled with neurotoxin byproducts from the chemical factories and the crematoriums.

I didn’t notice that The Wall wasn’t active. I wouldn’t notice that for another four hours. I wouldn’t even start to wonder why we weren’t being filled with holes yet. I didn’t see the eyes following our every movement, watching us from the trees a hundred yards away. I didn’t even see the dark green of the pine trees for two more hours.

Cassie and I had eyes only for the sunrise. It was dawn.

How little did I know.

It was dawn.

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