Yours choice, mankind !
A blinding light of neon advertising struck in the eyes.
“Only here! Free sex! Men-women, men-men, women-women! All possible combinations! Only 20 credits for unforgettable night! Make yourself pleased!”
And just nearby on another building - “Virtual sex with world stars! Feel yourself famous!”
A slow turning. The first, second, third building - everything sparkled with red and crimson fires and suggested to feel “true taste of life”, as it has been written on a signboard of the next stocky construction, inviting “grandiose inhabitants of our capital” to take unique part here and now in summoning of “powerful spirits from underworld” under the direction of “the great prophet”, whose name “is so powerful that cannot even be said aloud”.
People were passing on nearby - they all were dressed in some sort of dark clothes and their faces were turned towards the ground. It almost seemed as if they didn’t notice him.
What a strange world is that? He didn’t remember himself living in it earlier.
He slowly moved forward, studying city vicinities. He had no more doubts that he somehow appeared inside a city.
Streets were lightened up by long lines of dim lanterns. “And how can they distinguish anything in such a darkness? - an overdue amazement came to his mind.
But the ones living here apparently didn’t desire to notice anything, except for but few things. Here some bent townsman ran into a nearest building. A newcomer turned his head to behold a next signboard. Large shining dark-crimson letters were imprinted on its surface:
“Fights without rules. Life is just an instant in the eternity. Death is a release”. And a bit more after - “The property of a lifeguard service of grandiose inhabitants of grandiose capital”.
And once again a painful push of a thought coming - “where am I?”
* * *
He kept moving down the night streets of this city, and new and new pictures were opening for him.
“Your relative is just a human. But you are the God. Prove that! Best weapons and ammunition from military warehouses! Life is a prison. Death is a release”. And familiar words, written a bit lower on a board - “The property of a lifeguard service of grandiose inhabitants of grandiose capital”.
And once again, more and more … Dazzling light of crimson fires …
“Virtual club ‘Illusion’. A virtual model of a capital - and you are its lord. Feel yourself a God! Property of Virtulex Enterprise corporation”.
“Roulette of doom. Now it’s your “rolling”, mortal!” And once again an additional text, written lower - “A place with no losers, for life is a curse, and death is a release!”
“Slaves we are not. Give aggressor a strikeback! Vote for the “Ashes” project. Each invader gets a nuclear bomb!” And lower - “Institute of sociological research of the Ministry of Attack and Defense”.
Buildings, buildings, buildings … Fires, fires, fires …
This city made one mad. Something suppressed his will and tried to make him behave the same way - having forgotten of everything, run into a nearest tavern, or a sex-dance-club, or virtual “snack bar” - and for many hours to cease remembering any longer.
Of who you are. Of whom you should be. And of what you’ve become …
It seemed as if something terrible laid down on his shoulders, trying to press him down, flatten out, turn into nothing that one, who’s not consent with that order of things. The city itself, apparently, was going to finish off this impudent intruder, not corresponding with its essence - and its rules of life.
He kept and continued moving hour after an hour. And nevertheless he kept moving, hoping to see a gleam of light somewhere. But no matter where he turned to, there was all the same on each new street. Same sinister buildings, as if engulfed in crimson fires, same writhed people with some sort of absent expression of their eyes, entering and leaving them, same human words, constantly forming inhuman phrases.
He could go no more - he suddenly terribly desired to lie down on a street and die. Just to lie down and be no longer - to no longer observe all he had to, to see it no more. To get rid of it as a nightmare.
One more step. And again. And again. A hit - and he embraced the ground. Oblivion …
* * *
He opened his eyes and raised a head over the ground, trying to figure out what has happened. Distinguished a building nearby - and a sharp flash has lit up his memory.
“N-n-n-o-o-o! Only not here! Not here again!”
That was not a dream - he was observing a very same city. Almost nothing even changed, unless for a bit darker surroundings - probably the night has finally reigned. Then he dropped himself on a ground once more and moaned - from a despair and hopelessness. He had no wish no live on here - and had to. What for? What for?!
Silence. Deadly silence. The night city has been already sleeping.
Silently was he lying on a granite roadway, paved by black marble - and just as silently tears were flowing from his eyes, leaving a clear transparent trace. He didn’t remember what was going on after these moments - merciful memory has erased these instants of time from him. When he has regained consciousness once again, he remembered only despair - and a city in which he was for now - a city, which has covered the sun like a dark giant.
He distinctly remembered that all. He did remember so much more.
He remembered how he rose up and started wandering the streets once again. Was wandering aimlessly. He was obliged to move anywhere, to do anything - something to help him forget of the horrors of this world - ones, perfectly constructed by its own inhabitants.
He moved by open buildings of sex-dance clubs and saw hundreds and hundreds of embraced seminude bodies, jumping and spinning while dancing with some breaking off and tearing rhythm.
He saw how three humans in a street amicably injected themselves some sort of things, reminding syringes, and just a moment later tumbled down where they were standing on a roadway with a blissful expressions on their faces.
He observed how in some lane, in which he has casually turned, three men have fitfully nestled to each other and started quickly taking off clothes from each other, only to fall to the ground and start swirling on it afterwards.
He saw so much more. He could do no other.
He observed a planet and its continents. Observed, how dark stains started forming and grew in various areas. Observed, how light dots appeared in different locations, they too grew and extended - and faced the dark waves - and disseminated them. But there were so few of them- and running waves of darkness absorbed many, leaving no trace. Gradually dark stains filled all continents one after another - and in these moments some sort of crimson flame surrounded them - and they disappeared from a planet’s map, being covered by a massive dark cloud. During such instants a wild inhuman laughter filled a space and forced him to clamp own ears.
And then the earth suddenly started shaking and he has fallen to the ground, being knocked down.
It seemed as if the whole planet started tearing itself apart. Cracks started forming on the ground of all visible streets - and underground fire began breaking its way from these holes. A new tremor thrown him aside.
The very ground started blazing. Unknown underground fire formed small ardent spots at first, then lines, still merging and uniting, absorbing all new grounds. Fire stole up to buildings and they - mysteriously - started burning as well.
Yet inhabitants of this grandiose capital apparently did not care at all of the disaster that was taking place. Through open doors of a close sex-dance club he could see, how crowds of people, still densely embraced, were spinning and shouting something in frenzy - in a building that was already blazing.
“They will lose themselves, they are gonna to die! I have to rescue them!” - thoughts blazed in a consciousness of a mind, filled with a pain.
“They have already died for now”, - a voice came out from the depths of a mind, - “it’s not in your powers to aid them for now. They made their choice. They brought the destruction of their planet with own thoughts and lives - and their own destruction as well”.
A fire, which engulfed the building of a sex-dance club, has been growing stronger with each passing second - all floors of a building were now burning.
Finally the fire reached a bottom floor - in a single instant it absorbed frenziedly shouting and loudly laughing men … and during the same instant all has abated. Only the flame continued storming and its reflections shined through the once impenetrable streets. It was all going on only for several minutes - simple several minutes, which have been engraved in his memory for the time being since then. Almost like all subsequent pictures.
The picture changed. City disappeared.
He stood in the middle of magnificent branches of green trees in some unknown garden. He raised his head - and sunrays shined on his face. After terrific crimson flames of a city of darkness - oh God, how wonderful that was! Clouds and birds were slowly floating on a blue sky, a freshening invigorating wind was blowing in the face.
He observed a sun of a live world, he saw the light. Darkness was gone, it just vanished - and was no more.
All that remained were the cool wind, blowing in the face, green branches of trees, birds, roaming the sky and a feeling of happiness, which has filled his soul.
A cry of joy breached from his breast - he has been shouting loudly for long. He was alive among the live ones once again. He was in the live world.
And then he regained that mystical ability to oversee the whole world at once. To behold it clearly.
He saw green fields, stretched over continents. Saw men, working and living on them, there were smiles, playing on their faces - there was no doubt, that they were glad to live and work here. He felt the very atmosphere of joy, invisibly embracing the planet. He observed how people worked with enthusiasm - artists, poets, common plowmen and workers - from young to oldest. There was no unnecessary and unimportant work here.
He saw that all - and his soul was on the seven sky.
He observed, how light spots appeared and started growing, how they extend and light up continents, how these shining beams rise to the sky - and heavens of the planet answer them with a dazzling bewitching light. He saw how the planet’s atmosphere is purified and cleaned from dark beams - and how men start breathing with relief. How they sing with joy and smiles start appearing on their lips …
He saw so much more. These were the minutes, forever engraved in his memory.
And then a different world suddenly took over him.
* * *
Hey, John, what’s going on with you?! Stand up, John!
Ahhh … what’s with me?
It’s better for you to know, I guess. We were travelling through a park and all of a sudden you swayed and fallen to the ground. Is everything all right?
Yes. Yeah … all is … is well.
I … I don’t know. I just … simply saw two futures. And two choices … totally different ones. Like the earth and the sky - different … two roads. Do you understand? Two paths for men - for mankind.
Two choices? Two ways? What are you talking about, John? It seems that you have indeed hurt your head too much during falling. I have no idea of what you may be talking about.
Oh, nevermind. Very soon you shall feel it - and understand everything. You will be given your choice. Each of us will be. And as for now … how do you think … let’s go for a competing run till the end of the avenue?