Greed, Groucho:54, 6006 YD
by: Episkopos Cain
I thought I had woken up after sleeping uncomfortably in bed, however, this couldn’t be true as there was no longer any bed under me, only a sparkly brown and yellow dirt. I stood up and looked around me. In the distance were mountains, far closer was a low flat topped hill. It was like nowhere I had been before, yet intimately familiar. Then I saw her. Dressed in full bronze armour, a helmet over her head and a double bladed sword in her hand, she walked up to me. As I got closer, I saw that her hair and armour were covered in blood, a large shield with an apple covering it, the word written on it clearly visible.
“Ah” I said. “OK then. Whats all this about?”
The golden eyes within the helm looked at me. “Its for my amusement and for your possible education. After all, isn’t all life
but a learning experience?”
“I thought that was all Yahweh’s shit, testing people and so on?”
“Its not really a test though, is it? You can’t fail, or succeed, only learn from it.”
With that, she beckoned, then turned and started to walk away. I followed, seeing what she had in store. We stopped suddenly. Looking down, I saw two weapons on the ground, a short sword and a hammer. “Choose only one” she said. I thought for a moment, then reached for the hammer. The sword had the advantage of an edge, but was purely a killing weapon. Hammers had utility in their favour. I stood back up straight, but Eris had vanished. Making my way back to the plains, I saw suddenly a flurry of activity there. Walking down the hill, I saw that they were men and women, all busily at work, consuming the resources of the area to make new things. But as I drew closer there were other things I noticed.
They walked curiously, sometimes bumping into others thats transected their paths. Instead of stopping or apologizing, they just carried on. Occasionally when it came to several against one, the one got trampled on. I also watched as they fashioned bladed items and handed them to others, cutting them as they grabbed it and took it to other areas around the plains, where they were dumped in piles for more blind drones to fall over. One man just ate continually as he walked, whatever he could find, if it was food or rock he didn’t care. Blood ran from his mouth and there were children following him, crying out in hunger. Seeing as he was closest, I walked up beside him and shouted “hey!” It didn’t have an effect, so I attempted to grab some of the food he had held against his body by his arm. Immediately, he grabbed me and shouted “get off my stuff, FUCKER!” and nearly broke my arm shoving me to the ground. I let him walk on, then dusted myself off and rubbed my arm until some life came back into it.
Getting up and moving on, I made my slow way to the flat hill I had seen at the centre of the plains, watching as I went the mechanical scenes of destruction and mindless suffering. Making my way onto the flat surface, I saw someone had erected a huge tablet in the centre, with writing on it. Getting closer, the writing was obvious. Words and phrases jumped out, such as “everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order …”.
Under that though, other words could be noticed, as I drew closer, such as “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But under that there were even older scratchings and carvings. I made out one barely, that read “ now on, till (Ahura) Mazda grants me the kingdom favor, I will impose my monarchy on no nation. Each is free to accept it , and if any one of them rejects it , I never resolve on war to reign.” But even under these carvings there were the oldest ones, the ones that had always been there. “Blood shall be spilled and more blood, for there is never enough…”, “war brings strength and only the strong have the right to rule” and “cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them–the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites– as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach.”
I had an idea as to what to do. Lifting the hammer, I swung as hard as possible and struck the tablet. As the first crack appeared, everyone stopped what they were doing, at started to move towards me, an urgency in their step that I hadn’t seen before propelling them. Spurred on, I struck again and again, until the tablet crumbled, its lower sections totally destroyed, collapsing in on itself. But what I saw horrified me. Instead of stopping what they had been doing, or even attacking me, the crowds had turned on each other. They were spilling blood and crushing bones, like a horrible theatre that would never end. I noticed that an armoured figure was beside me again. “Why are they doing this?” I demanded. “Why didn’t it help them?”
“Whoever said it would help?” came the reply from under the helm. “You think they want to have their illusions ripped from them, the true extent of their handiwork displayed for them and everyone else to see? They’ll torture themselves with guilt, unless they can lay the blame on someone else. You were a target first, but then they saw what those around them forced them to do too. Consider the lesson taught.”
I looked back, and no-one was there.