Gabe Krawec

Canada

My name is an anagram for "Beware Gack", so if my writing starts to heavily feature Gack, please send help. If I write about a "rag week back", it's too far gone. There's no hope. Good luck finding my inheritance, much less keeping it.

Message to Readers

Still a bit too long for the competition, but I'm really not sure what I could leave out (This is all based on personal experience)

The Dream Lottery

November 12, 2017

The soldiers of The Waking Eye had a uniform that could make the meekest man look like a warlord. Bulky enough to show muscle where there wasn’t, but sleek enough to make them seem impossible to outrun. Coupled with a mask and dark sheets of interlocking metal covering the body; age, gender, race—humanity, was hidden. But the worst part was the voice. They spoke through some kind of radio that made their voices all sound the same. A low, crackling monotone that made every word they said sound like it came from a script. Alex stood before a towering officer in the middle of a storm, fiddling with his ticket, trying not to look into the piercing white lights where the officer’s eyes should be. The ticket was a fake. A convincing one, but still a fake, and his nerves were getting the best of him.
“What is your first name.”
“Alex.”
“What is your surname.”
“I have no surname. I am Alex, of The Waking Eye, serial code 173869.” Alex said, repeating the mantra that had been drilled into his subconscious since childhood. He still focused. Even stuttering a word on the mantra was a capital offense.
“What is The Waking Eye.”
“The Waking Eye is the food I eat and the air I breathe. It an idea and an ideal. I owe everything I have achieved to it. The Waking Eye is all around me and always will be.”
“Who is your government.”
“The Waking Eye.”
“Who is your leader.”
“Lucifer Steele. It always has been and it will always be so.”
The guard took the ticket. Alex heard a beep from the officer’s retinal computer. For a moment, his blood ran cold.
“Alex, serial code 173869, you are cleared to enter the dream facility.”
He breathed a sigh of relief, and walked into the large, angular building, which, like the officer’s armour, bore The Waking Eye’s insignia, a minimalistic human eye without the pupil. It was everywhere, and like the mantra, it had a way of being burned into one’s mind.
As he walked along the clean, white hallway, he noticed his hand was shaking, and his heart was still pounding. He slipped himself a few pills. The Waking Eye was indifferent to drug use, in their military; “microdoses” of hallucinogenic drugs was often encouraged, but the supplements Alex took, Maca root, Alpha GPC,  theobromine, were hard to get his hands on. He had to buy them, disguised as painkillers, from the woman who showed up to his lab to protest in the lobby. It had been a while since he’d seen her.
“Hello, dreamer!” Exclaimed a voice. Alex almost choked on his pill. It seemed to be coming from speakers all over the room. The overly chipper voice bombarded him with each sentence, as soft music played in the background.
“I’m Lucifer Steele, your leader, and father of The Waking Eye, and you’ve just won the dream lottery! Please proceed down the hall while I explain.”
Alex already knew what to expect. After all, this is the moment he’d been preparing for, the day he’d stop this world from ever existing. Still, he walked down the hallway quietly and slowly. He had to keep the illusion up for just a little longer.
“Once, before The Waking Eye opened, men were much weaker than they are today. They would waste half of the day doing absolutely nothing! I realized this was a problem, and I had to do something about it.”
Alex rubbed his eyes as he moved down the hallway. They were always bloodshot, and his pupils were always contracted. It was a side effect.
“At first it was a pill, but people loved it so much that we started putting it in the water, and eventually the air! As the old society collapsed, we awoke, we became The Waking Eye! But of course, there are always side effects. Your comfort is our number one priority, so enjoy a night of rest and reflection on our glorious civilization. Sweet dreams!”
Alex could almost hear Lucifer’s signature toothy, open-mouthed smile through the words. Alex saw him almost as much as The Waking Eye insignia. He was on every billboard, always addressing his subjects from his penthouse. Something about the perfectly fitted suit, perfectly trimmed beard and his thick framed glasses rubbed Alex the wrong way.
No longer. For he was going to use the gift The Waking Eye thought he’d forgotten. His sleep wouldn’t be wasted. He had been cultivating his vitality, taking the supplements, doing push-ups in his apartment during his 30 minute breaks and exercising his intellect in imagined debates with pundits of The Waking Eye, and he was ready. Alex had heard stories from before The Waking Eye, mostly from the woman in the lobby, stories of people who could separate their immortal conscience from their mortal body and act through time.
He came to a dimly lit room. In the middle sat a bed like a reclining chair that hovered a few feet above the ground. Alex slowly lay down and focused his mind.
“I’m going to go back in time and stop Lucifer Steele from ever existing.”
 The idea had occurred to him at work. The Waking Eye had selected Alex to be a “Genetic Screener”. Technology created during the “sleepless age” allowed The Waking Eye to screen all possible genetic combinations from any two parents and select the most ideal outcome. But before The Waking Eye, before Lucifer Steele, they had a far smaller sample to screen from, one which simply detected any genetic disorders.  Nevertheless, the technology Alex used was still based on this, and if he could just get to the lab where Lucifer was born, he could corrupt the data, make it look like he would be born with a defect, and they would select a different child, one that wouldn’t create The Waking Eye.
He had to try. Alex focused. He focused on his body, his mind. He visualized them as they drifted farther and farther apart, his body returning to the dust it came from and his mind returning to the void. Floating, weightless, eternal.
His eyes opened. The air around him was cool, it was refreshing. He felt so much lighter. He realized he was standing in an office. It was empty and quiet, save for the humming of the ventilation system. He looked at his hands. They were much younger than his own. He wore a white lab coat with a name tag clipped to it. “Alex Grey, CERN”.
“That’s convenient.” He thought. Suddenly he heard a female voice behind him. She spoke in a French accent.
“Doctor Grey, project Pygmalion is a go. Are you ready?”
He spun around and found himself face-to-face with the woman. She was short and blonde, also wearing a lab coat and a name tag: “Anna Müller, CERN”. But most striking were her eyes. Perfectly clear, and blue as the sky. Alex couldn’t believe it. It actually worked.
“P-project Pygmalion?”
She chuckled. “A little nickname the boys gave it, since you seem to be so in love with it.” She pulled herself closer to Alex.
“But if you leave me for a Large Hadron Collider before we even have a wedding, I’m keeping the dog. Come on, let’s go!”
As she turned around, Alex noticed the ring on his left hand. He remembered that used to mean marriage. He started to follow her; it was all he could do.
 They walked down the hallway, down a flight of stairs, and into the open air. Crickets buzzed as they walked down a dark path, towards what looked like an old mineshaft.
Alex had so many questions, but didn’t know how to ask them.  He almost felt bad for taking over this person’s life. Who were they? And what was this project they were working so hard on? His thoughts were interrupted by Anna’s cheerful voice.
“Did you hear about that terrorist cell at the ice walls?”
“Hmm?”
“The Info Warriors. They were broadcasting live, but the UN managed to jam their signal and sink the ship before they could get anything reliable out. We need to put out more ‘Antarctica’ videos now though, so I might be in Norway soon.”
Alex didn’t know if this was good or bad news. “What exactly were they trying to do?”
“They started where they all do, analyzing the horizon, seeing the gaps in the satellite footage, but it’s never enough for just them to know. They have to tell everyone.”
Alex nodded, trying to hide his confusion as they entered the mine, which was not a mine at all. Perhaps originally, but now the rocky walls were covered in plasma screen TVs and glowing keyboards displaying all manner of calculations, diagrams and simulations. Anna walked to a console and began typing.
“So... what exactly ARE we doing?” Alex asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Testing my loyalty?” Anna said. She stepped away from the console and gestured to the animation on-screen. It showed a round, flat map of the world with a blinking network of pipes below it.
“This is a particle accelerator. The largest ever built. It spans the earth, we started building it after we figured out it was hollow. We believe it could hold the secret to travel between parallel dimensions, perhaps even travel between alternate worlds that exist beyond the ice walls.”
“Is—is that safe?” Alex said.
“That’s a level 9 secret, Doctor Grey.” She said. “I don’t want to have to kill you.” She giggled, but pulled her labcoat aside, revealing a holstered pistol.
Alex forced a smile and started trying to find out how to get out of here and find Lucifer. An elevator door opened out of the stone, and they both stepped in. They descended in silence as he thought. Could what she’s saying be true? He’d always been taught the world was round, and he’d seen Antarctica on TV! How could it be filmed in Norway? The doors slid open, and before them was a room of scientists.
Each had at least one screen, all of them running calculations. On the far side of the room was a large window looking into a section what had to be the collider, an enormous metal tube. In the middle of the room was an empty chair, the only empty chair.
“Take your seat, ready on your command.” Anna said, grabbing a tablet.
Alex sat down. His seat had a view of the collider, and on a screen beside him, he could see its entire route around the flat earth. Anna walked beside him.
“On your command.” She repeated. Alex froze up. He didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly, they were under a hail of machine gun fire.  The window to the collider was shattered and scientists everywhere fled for their lives. Anna pulled Alex to the ground. Using the chair as cover, he caught a glimpse of their attackers as they stepped out of the elevator, fanning out in neat formation. He recognized the glowing eyes and metallic armour. They were soldiers of The Waking Eye.
With them, Alex heard a voice. It had to be impossible, but it was identical. It was Lucifer Steele.
“Find Alex!”
He tried to hide among the bodies, but one spotted him.
“There.”
Anna’s eyes widened as she pulled her gun from its holster.
“No!”
She lept in front of him, and took out a soldier, before the rest fired on her. She mumbled “Alex...” as her body collapsed. Enraged, Alex picked up the pistol and fired on the soldiers. One fell, two, three, until they closed in on him, tackled him, and sedated him.
 
 
Alex awoke on a cold, shiny floor. All around him were floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking one of the megacities of The Waking Eye. Standing in front of him, in his fitted suit, his hair in a bun, staring out the window, was Lucifer Steele. On both sides of him were armed guards. Alex slowly stood, regaining his senses.
Without looking back, Lucifer began to speak.
“Not all men are created equal, Alex. Each is created lesser than the man created before him. This is how we create balance.”
He turned, this time, his smile was gone. His expression was one of pure, calculated rage.
“I understand your motivations. I too am a man of science. But there are some things that should not be done, some things that upset the balance.” One guard produced a glass, and the other began pouring water into it through a filter. “Now, would you like a glass of purified water?”
“Upset the balance?!” Alex sputtered. “You created a drug that stops people from sleeping! Where’s the balance there?”
The guard placed the cup on the floor as Lucifer spread into his wide mouthed grin. “It’s an adjustment that had to be made! As a result of YOUR mistakes!”
“Why do you always smile like that?”
Lucifer paused. “Excuse me?”
“Why do you always smile like that? You look like a muppet.” Alex began stepping towards him.
“That’s close enough.” Said Lucifer.
Alex kept walking. “Why did you even keep me alive? Just so you could gloat?”
Lucifer’s smile became even wider.
“You and I can work together, Alex. There is much we have in common, if you can only be made to see the truth.”
“We have nothing in common!” Alex shouted, lunging at Lucifer, who expertly dodged, allowing one of the guards to hit Alex with the butt of his rifle. He collapsed, clutching his head.
“With all due respect, Alex, you don’t know what you don’t know. Until a few hours ago, you still believed the earth was round.”
Alex writhed on the floor. “All those scientists, why did you kill them? Why did they have to die?”
“THEY DIED FOR YOU!” Lucifer shouted, his voice echoing through the room. “Why can’t you see that? You have the power to make their sacrifice worth something. Join me.”
Alex slowly stood.
“I’m done talking. If they all died for me, what’s three more?” He looked Lucifer dead in the eyes. Alex knew he could match his vitality.
With a swift kick, Alex launched the glass of purified water at the guard in front of him. His body convulsed as the cyber armour’s circuits fried. Using him as a human shield, Alex grabbed the assault rifle, and took out the other guard, just in time to receive a stunning punch in his spine.
Alex whirled around, to find himself face-to-face with Lucifer Steele. He tried to throw a punch in return, but Lucifer’s vitality was overwhelming. He took Alex in one hand and with tremendous force, he threw him towards one of the windows. It shattered, but Alex managed to cling to the side, dangling off the side of the massive building.
“I wanted to help you, Alex, but you refused. And you’re too dangerous to have alive.” He strode towards the side of the building where Alex hung.
Alex summoned his vitality, and pulled himself up, leaping towards Lucifer. They traded blows at superhuman speed, each combatant 7 steps ahead. Finally, Alex tricked Lucifer into a roundhouse kick to the face, and he fell to the ground.
Lucifer looked up. His glasses were shattered, blood ran from his lip. His face was pure hatred. “You’ve put up a fight, Alex. You’ve made me utilize my vitality.” His lips spread into a bloody smile.
“But The Waking Eye sees all!” Lucifer collapsed as he unshackled his form and attacked Alex’s vitality directly. He felt the strength draining from his muscles. Lucifer’s voice hissed in his ear:
“I almost feel bad for you, until your death, you thought what you were doing was so noble. God does that to you.”
Alex’s forehead was beaded with sweat as he tried to resist. “I thought speak of Gods was outlawed.”
“There’s a reason for that.”
Alex focused. He called to God, called for aid, as Lucifer made his weight heavier and heavier.
Then he felt it. Small at first, a push, something placed within him. He pushed back against Lucifer, with all his strength. He felt the energy being banished, the vitality returning. Alex started to move towards Lucifer’s limp body.
“No!! You don’t know what you’re doing! Alex, you idiot! You’ve doomed us all!”
He kept moving.
“Why couldn’t you just listen?”
He kept moving, until Lucifer stood at his feet. He felt his strength returning as Lucifer’s body regained consciousness, trying to crawl away. He gave one final stare to Alex.
“We’re alike. We’re more alike than you could ever know.”
Then, with a kick, Alex threw him off the building, sending Lucifer tumbling down, past the smog, hundreds of floors down, into the megacity. Alex had no time to celebrate. He had to go back again, make sure operation Pygmalion happened. He pressed the water filter to his face filtering out all Waking Eye effects. His vitality was full, he had only to will himself back.
When he awoke, he was in the elevator again. To his shock, he saw the soldiers all around him. They paid him no attention. His blood ran cold as he looked to himself. He was wearing the armour. He had the insignia. In his hands, he held the rifle. The doors opened, and they all opened fire. Scientists fell and computers were shattered. Alex stood still. He couldn’t believe it. How?
It was over in seconds. Slowly, he stepped out. Corpses were strewn all around the room. He heard radio transmissions from the soldiers around him.
“Where is he.”
“He’s not here.”
Without a second thought, they walked back into the elevator, leaving Alex. Step by step, he shakily moved towards the chair in the middle. The one he was supposed to be in. It was empty. No sign of Anna either. He saw the touch screen on the armrest.  “Initialize”. Slowly, he pressed it. A low hum immediately began. It grew louder and louder until it shook his bones. The lights began to flicker, until they gave out entirely.
In the darkness, he could hear his own heart beating. Then, a shuffle. He turned around, and in the darkness, stood a being, his spitting image. It was naked, covered from head to toe in amniotic fluid. His eyes glowed ever so slightly. Alex felt humbled in this being’s presence. It gave him a crooked smile.
Hello, Alex. Thank you for creating me.
Alex’s weapon hit the floor with a clatter. “Wha-Who are you?”
I am project Pygmalion. I am CERN. I am you. Alex, I am God.”
“Did you help me defeat Lucifer?” Alex said.
I am the one who comes from the space between the earths, who has always existed, created and watched. You created me. I took your form. Perhaps it is you that is God, Alex.”
“But—“ Alex looked at his uniform. “Why am I wearing The Waking Eye’s insignia this time?  Aren’t they trying to kill god?”
“Quite the opposite, Alex. Turn the eye sideways. It is no eye. It is CERN’s birth of God.”
Alex saw. The iris was the emerging head from the womb of the large Hadron collider. That’s why there was no pupil.
“And this is not the same earth, Alex. There are many, with icy walls between. It is like a grid.”
“So they were right about the flat earth.” Alex said. “What about the other planets”
“Not all of them. Now, there is much you must do. CERN has began to shift into The Waking Eye, a new Waking Eye, with a new god at its forefront. You will not survive until this time, so you must create a copy of yourself, Alex.”
Of course. That’s why he had been given the job he had. God knew all along. God was with him. The lights came back on as Alex took his seat. The technology, it was all the same for a reason, for him. He prepped the device with his DNA.
“There is one more thing you must do, Alex. You must meld body and soul to retain consciousness into the dawn of your new world.”
“How?” Alex said.
“It is simple.” God said, approaching with a large needle. “An RFID chip must be installed.”
Alex froze. RFID. That was how The Waking Eye won their wars. That was how they brainwashed their soldiers. It was a means of control. It was the mark of the beast.
Alex, give me your wrist.”
Alex knew God’s vitality was far too much to counter directly. He lept for the gun and fired towards the window, shattering it, then summoned his conscience and retreated, back to Lucifer’s building.
He awakened to screams all around him. Above him, in the crimson sky was a planet, a round one, approaching at an incredible speed. It had already clipped the tops of skyscrapers, and showed no sign of slowing. He now saw what the eye really was. A slanted view of a spherical planet smashing into a flat earth.
“It’s called Nibiru. It’s my home.”  Alex heard the voice of god behind him.
“But now, it is a tool. It’s just the right size to destroy everything except the ice walls.”
Alex turned around, anger and confusion mixing. “But why?”
 “When I gave humanity free will it was a mistake. I must purge. There must be a new flood, but in giving you free will I have given you the key to infinite worlds, too many to destroy by traditional methods. You gave me the DNA I need to create a new Alex and Lucifer. The RFID wasn’t real. It was a distraction.”
“A distraction for what?”
Alex felt his vitality being overridden. He was forced back into the other world, where now he hung, suspended hundreds of feet above the mine.
Alex struggled to move. “How is this possible? I thought I created you!”
I created you! I created everything you know! Look at the natural world, Alex. It’s made up of equations. Look to the shell of the snail and the eye of the hurricane.  They are merely equations and every equation must have a constant. I am not bound by the shackles of time and space. There will always be an Alex, determined to save the world, and there will always be a Lucifer, tailor-made to be everything you hate about it You will always “create” me and realize my intentions too late.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened, is it?”
“Infinite choices, infinite worlds, infinite time. But I will wipe the slate clean with my equation, and start over.”
Alex struggled within God’s grip, but the energy was too powerful. He remained, hundreds of feet above the earth. Nibiru loomed above him, advancing with speed.
And now, Alex, the equation has played out, as it always does. It’s time for you to be removed.”
With that, God released his grip, and Alex went tumbling down. His body hit the ground with a sharp thud, and God turned his energies elsewhere.
But God underestimated Alex’s vitality.
Muscle by muscle, Alex pulled his body up. Though the blood pooled around him, and his leg was almost snapped in two, he pulled until he stood.
Oh my.” Said God. “He survived. You’ll be the first Alex to be there for the collision.”
Alex glared up at the advancing planet.
“Not if I can help it.” He limped into the mine.
Accept your defeat, Alex. You’ve played your part.” God hissed into his ear, but Alex kept moving, fueled by pure vitality. He limped Into the control room, God berating him the whole way, until he reached the console.
God sounded uneasy now. “Alex! What are you doing?
Alex entered the last command and the low hum of the Hadron collider began.
2 Peter 1:3-4” Alex grunted, limping to the elevator.
God’s voice was smug and venomous in his ear. “The elevator is gone, Alex. Now what’s this about Peter?”
“Never read your own book?” Alex asked, squeezing his fingers between the doors. With one final push of vitality, they slid open, revealing the dark abyss of the particle accelerator below. Now that the glass was broken, the whole room should have the effect.  The hum was louder now.
“I’ll spare you the details...” said Alex, the corners of his lips growing into a pained smile.
 “Let’s just say I’m saving the goddamn world.”
Alex let his body tumble down the shaft. His body was weak, it could not take another fall, but it didn’t need to. The particles that made him up were irrelevant. It was what was between them that was important. His Alpha waves, his soul.
Alex hit the ground running. His particles were accelerated to the point of ascension. God protested, but there was nothing he could do. Alex had unshackled himself the way Lucifer never could. He had eluded God’s cruel trick of death. He felt his force growing stronger as his particles accelerated even more. He freed himself; his vitality had never been higher. His energy rocketed up, above the mine, above the earth, towards Nibiru.
He saw them all. Every other infinite Alex, and it was beautiful. Each was a streak of bright blue that danced like a shooting star through the sky. He had freed them. Or had they freed him? The God they had all created was no match for them all. Their energy glided through Nibiru’s atmosphere, to its rocky, scarred surface. They pushed, with all their combined renewed vitality. Away from earth, until they could see all the infinite earths, and the ice walls that separated them. Towards the sun, which spun lazily over each earth, like a flashlight. Alex banished Nibiru to that inferno, and Humanity survived forever more.
 
 
 

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  • November 12, 2017 - 12:22am (Now Viewing)

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