The Pantheon

Escape 3: No Moses

June 19, 2021 Joshua White
The Pantheon
Escape 3: No Moses
Show Notes Transcript

I'm almost done with series things. Work has made me lazy. And there's a contradiction in terms, right there. I'm in pain. So much pain from overwork, and everything tells me I'm lazy.

It's not right. But, yeah. 

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I… I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if anything should be said at all. It’s just… What’s going on? I mean, I’m supposed to know, right? I’m the only… if the others… we’ve only got a hundred left. I’ve been in charge of greater numbers of people before, sure, but that was with things that made sense, like making sure they didn’t go about taking leaks in the storm gutters. Now… I have no idea. I think I’m supposed to be in charge, but in charge to do what? The thing’s already flying. I guess I’m in charge of making sure nobody touches it. Darius left some instructions, some info, but all of it… it’s just a muddled mess. We’re fleeing. We get that. Those monsters… those things that ate everyone back home… that’s incentive enough. I didn’t have to be asked to pack my bags lightly. The first second I saw one of them, I was just out. Nope. Not for me. I mean, if you’d seen them… I… I’m not going to describe them. I’ve already had nightmares about them twice, and that’s the same number of times that I’ve been able to sleep at all. So, I think I’m going to be a bit merciful on myself and allow myself to forget them, at least, their shape and color. I’ve gotta have a reason to justify running away, so I can just keep the memory of raw fear in my mind, say it was the sky, not the monsters. Although the sky was pretty freaky, too. That cackling darkness… but it wasn’t dark. Just like a hue of the air. But then you saw what it did to people, and… and I told myself just three seconds ago I wouldn’t be thinking about them. I think we’ll be able to measure the length of my remaining sanity in days.

And it’s not just me, right? It’s everyone. They all saw, and those who didn’t see, well, they saw themselves. It was justified. Of course. They broke the world, they slaughtered millions, for God’s sake! Still didn’t make killing them easy, though. Even for me. And I never physically spike one of them. It just… it’s revenge, I guess. It felt good for a few minutes, right, when we were possessed by righteous fury? Because we were right. We are people. We deserve such things as not having the sky devour us and turn us into… yeah. I know all the concepts of rights are fiddly and whatnot, but I’d say if there’s any rights people ought to have, it’s the right to not have their world end on them, not like that. Better to die a thousand times over from pneumonia. And that’s what I thought was cruel before. So, yeah, the guys were evil. I guess Darius was, too, although I can’t really feel any hard feelings for him after what he did for us. But, even still, the thing was evil, and we wreaked our vengeance to save ourselves, our kids, and our families. But we still killed. No matter how worthwhile, no matter how righteous… we were able to breathe a single sigh of relief whenever the ship escaped the atmosphere, but then the guilt started to kick us. Even if we don’t say it, I can see it in our eyes, our expressions. We’ve lost everything, even our sense of being good people. 

But there’s no sense mouldering on this, right? What can I do? I can’t go back and resurrect them, and probably wouldn’t even if I could. I am no Jesus. I am just a guy. An important guy, somehow. And that stinks. I thought I was going to be able to retire soon, spend my days looking out over the pond, pelting the ducks with bread. Kids had moved out. And now… dear God… I hadn’t even thought of… I’m a terrible parent. But again… I can’t… there’s no time for mourning. I know. I have to repress. Everything. All of these feelings. They must go away. I need to be able to be a figurehead for just long enough for everyone here to settle down in ordinary-ish lives wherever in Christ’s name we’re going. And then I can explode. I’ll spend my days at another pond, drinking and pelting the ducks with bread, putting extra effort into trying to smack them in their silly little heads.

But where are we going? Darius didn’t leave me with enough info. I’m not sure he understood our destination himself. Just somewhere east, full of people, he said. There’s a chart with some demographic information, numbers of populations that seem utterly preposterous until I consider that I’m in a tube hurtling through the void. But the charts don’t tell me much; they’re too relatable. Sure, one person of us is the same as one person over there, until we open our mouths to speak. Darius was sure that we’d speak the same language, at least. But past that? I’m not too optimistic. But then no matter how bad it gets, it will be better than if we stayed. 

Samuel… Lily… they were… I hope they… yeah. I have to stop thinking along these lines. Those are thoughts for when I’m harrassing birds for no discernible reason. That’s when I can deal with them. Now, well, now they don’t exist, and never could have existed. I exist. The others on the tube exist. The strangers whose homes we’ll seek charity from, they exist. Home? I never had a home. Not a real one. Nor did I have a job, or family. Those things are delusions of a past self who saw some horrific monsters. Yes. I can cling to that. To the image of those abominations. They represent the complete breaking of my mind, splitting it in twain between a past that might as well have never existed and a future that will be rancid, but still better than whatever the monstrosity could have offered. 

Did we kill anyone? No. We killed monsters. Not the full monster itself, but one of its fingernails. Not people. And we fled because we had to. And I am the leader. There is… I’m going to have to delude myself into this. How fucking terrible. I know I’ll be able to do it. Why not? But still… it seems unholy. Almost as unholy as when we… but we didn’t do that. Those weren’t people, right? Those were monsters, already gone. If we hadn’t acted, we would be a part of those amalgamations in their stead. That is it. That is right, a correct recounting of history, and yet it still feels bitter on my tongue. 

The dead man whose name will soon be forgotten gave me some things, too. I suppose he expected we’d need them. I don’t quite understand their significance, of course. One of the things looks like a hunk of scrap metal, no more. And the other? Well, it’s clearly a tablet of some kind, but it’s scrawled in a language I wouldn’t be able to learn if I dedicated half of my life to learning it. And then there’s some ring. The dead man was very obstinate about these things’ importance. Figured they’d buy us greater safe passage than the demons’ credit ever could. But then… they’re expecting different people. Demon people. And they’re dead. So, I… I’m going to go to bed.