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Oliver Cohen

United States

I'm Oliver, a burgeoning 14-yo writer in New York City. I try to use writing as my small way of alerting myself and others of their present human condition, and impart some valuable knowledge.

Message to Readers

I do not understand what direction I should go in from here in perfecting this piece.

New Year’s Revolution

February 8, 2015

There was something different this year. It was not in the air, or the dirtied faces of the people standing in the square, and it surely was not lying in a quiet corner of their hearts, for a crushing, unspeakable air of defeat hung over the audience as they stood in the square waiting. A speaker rose to the podium; the mayor. Unlike the tight, gaunt faces in the audience, he had the complexion of a cherry; red full skin and a thoroughly rounded belly, held together in the January cold by a limp, cinnabar scarf and an olive trench coat whose buttons creaked when he moved.

He reached the podium and cleared his throat. “My fellow citizens, today is a new day, in a new year, in a new millenium, and we stand on the cusp of a brilliant horizon.”

In reality, it was hardly a new millenium. How could human beings care about the passage of a millenium, and for that matter, how could one millenium since an event that no-one lived through prove possibly relevant? Furthermore, this was the Department of Censorship’s steadfast way of minting hope by rewriting the pages of books and calendars, and obliterating any texts that said otherwise than the new dates, and that, in its own way, held a sort of intrinsic truth that people needed in order to scrape along. Truly, it indeed had been one thousand years, and every day, every hour, every minute, every second, it had been one thousand years since some other point in time, that likely held little relevance in the everyday lives of each starving human being in the audience.

“I’d like to continue, by speaking about the accomplishments that we, as a people, have shared this year. Our coffers of corn, wheat, and potato yields are simply overflowing with food, and to our enemies, this is an obscenity. Though we are complete and whole as a society, we are a people forged not out of ease, but of overcoming tribulation.”

Though the reddish face of the mayor stood out against the ashen tenements, his voice only stirred the emptiness in the audience’s stomachs. His scarf, and him, by extension, were a light in the gloominess; a blemish, in the audience’s eyes.

The discord that he exuded compelled one man to speak. An old man with sullen eyes pulled up a chunk of asphalt from the dilapidated sidewalk, and held it in the air, his starved flesh barely willing to yield to the sudden movement.

“Why did you lower the sugar ration?” Murmurs began to permeate the crowd, like little strands of electricity. The mayor looked down from the podium, thrown. He struggled to regain his composure.

“-It is important to remember, in such brutal times as these, blighted winters, droughted summers, to retain hope. Hope, men and women and children, is all that we may hold onto in times like these.”

The audience would not settle. The mayor’s words, that once soothed the audience now worked to enrage them. They continued their susurrations, stirring uncomfortably as a long., disregarded vexation boiled inside themselves. The Asphalt Man raised the chunk again.

“This is a democracy, and we are in despair! There must be accountability! Our sidewalks are crumbling underneath our feet!” The black asphalt shook in his hand as the audience began to move, more riled, more frantic. Guards, from the stage, rushed down upon the man from the stage, and shoved through the crowd, their hands outstretched.

“There must be accountability!” He repeated, his voice thickening with conviction. He pumped his fist into the air. Others picked up rocks and raised their fistfuls of stone. The man’s single voice slowly formed a hurricane as others picked up his chant and raised rocks.

The mayor looked baffled as his guards snaked through the crowd, the guns hanging from their figures, their taught fingers locked on the triggers. Men and women shielded the man, forming a ring of emaciated spectres. Suddenly, through the din of the raging crowd shook one irrevocable sound.

Silence rung in the air as all people hung in their places.  The Asphalt Man fell to the ground, a bullet-wound spurting crimson ichor everywhere. The world fell upside down, as chunks of asphalt took flight. Men and women threw their idol-stones, and the passive audience suddenly became a tsunami, their wrath unstoppable as they beat down the guards and slowly took to the stage. The world was tipped, and the infuriated inhabitants of this new, dolorous existence stole life as hands grasped the terrified guards from all angles, stripping them of clothing, then hair, and then their flesh itself.

The mayor broke into hysterics as he tried to flee, his full fingers desperately trying to grasp at a gun off the body of a guard, though they would have none of the foolishness either, for they had suffered as much as the others.

The guards forced the mayor to his knees, and when the onrush pushed past the few loyal guards and reached the stage, the men and women were so completely stripped of humanity and galvanized by their hatred, that they trampled over the guards too, because they bore the sigil of the democracy. Soon, the mayor lay dead on the stage, and as fast as the rebellion had begun, it died.

The square stood red, and the people hooted in victory as the Asphalt Man weakly took to the stage. As he looked across the audience and into the eyes of the people he liberated, only then did he realized the monster he had created.

Sirens began to wail in the distance, and more of the city guard came rushing into the square, though the Asphalt Man realized it was already too late, even as their armored trucks and black cars came rushing in. It was already too late.


There would forevermore be no quiet.


People streamed into shops and buildings, and fires began to stream from windows and the sing-song sound gunfire became the national anthem of this new country as the guard tried to stop the anarchistic surge.

Only then, in the midst of turmoil, did the Asphalt Man understand his animosity for humanity, as the illusion of a true democracy evaporated before his eyes. The wound on his side brought him to his knees as his noble blood dripped into the soil.

There was a peculiar stillness in his final moments, as he reveled in horror at the monsters he created. His entire community existed in the square, smeared in blood and so wholly consumed. A deep sadness pierced him in the center of his being in one thought of total finality: They were no longer the same humans that they were on this fateful day one thousand years ago. There was something different about this year.


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  • February 8, 2015 - 8:24pm (Now Viewing)

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