I will die after this conference, exactly at 1:32pm. He will come and kill me as it was declared in the announcement. I could go in public when the conference is over to make it harder on the executioner but what is the point of making a scene if it won’t change the result; I will die in less than an hour, exactly at 1:32pm.
I came to accept this fact much easier than I thought I would. But I can’t help the sudden urge to achieve something before my execution takes place. Maybe I should participate in this conference more intensely which is one of the boring, regular artists meetings, considering it will be the last thing that I will ever do. Maybe talk more, point out more, so the people will be more aware of me, so when I die, it will mean something to somebody. No. I’d rather leave silently, without a trace, knowing that my life meant a whole lot to me than to others. But unfortunately the reason I accept my upcoming death so easily is because my life doesn’t mean much to me either. But then, on a second thought, I could have killed myself rather than letting a stranger’s hands own my last breath. Yet, I couldn’t dare to figure out that I wasn’t brave enough to kill myself.
I know I’m a coward but at least I don’t fear my death. I never feared death. It is a very common part of our every day life, much more common than it was before. Now, they execute as easy as they give. They give you anything, you know, anything you want, from food to luxury, free and easy. All you have to do to survive is to deserve the air you breathe. If you fail, they execute you. People need air. It’s such a wonder that people don’t live in fear, that one day they may fail to deserve the air they breathe and their time would be announced. All of them think they will live forever, which is principally true. Considering the extremely expanded life span thanks to manipulated evolution, most people do live forever. Even I, despite of my failure, managed to live for 556 years. But time passes much faster now. Yesterday comes so quick that it becomes history and future is just tomorrow around the corner.
But it is not easy to deserve the air, especially for us. They attach too much importance to us. They say: “The salvation of the humanity lies in the hands of the artists.” It causes such a pressure to carry the hope of all humanity on your shoulders. Yet, it was proven before that this pressure made artists more and more productive in the past. Because the pressure caused conflicts and revolt which inspired early artists. But the world has changed since then. Now we have them. Now you need air. The stress causes you to hyperventilate and hyperventilation wastes air. But I don’t blame anybody. My failure belongs to me only. I failed the hopes placed in me. I failed myself. Even if I was born as an artist, I turned into a disaster. Instead of using my conflicts productively to create art, I let them destroy me. There is no point of blaming a perfectly working system at this point. It is so perfect that when they announced my time, I felt a great relief like I was finally dismissed… from life.
It was exactly 13 months ago when my downfall began. It began so slowly that it was too late when I realized what I was doing. First the amount of pieces that I produced was reduced to almost nothing. They thought I was working on a masterpiece. Then I requested the machine to record my thoughts. They were very common tools among the artists who were deemed to be average. The machine did most of the job in creating, all you had to do was to think and the machine would filter your thoughts and present the final piece. They never thought I would want one. But then, they thought, a masterpiece required some aid. I never thought I would want one either. I was one of the premium ones, one of the exceptional artists unlike academic ones. My art has always been exceptional until I got caught by the most lethal disease of my era: skepticism. The sky is not blue anymore when you are skeptic, the art is not the salvation and the life is not eternal.
I convinced them and myself as well, that I needed an aid to be more productive. I kept telling to myself that they were for my convenience. I never thought I was growing lazy, giving up my humanity to laziness. The next thing I know, I stopped thinking. The machine didn’t record anything for 5 months. So, they took it back to give it to someone who deserved it. This world is all about deserving and I deserve my execution. It didn’t take me long to stop looking after the machine was taken. I have to admit; I lost my interest. I knew nothing was eternal. Every beautiful thing that we built would collapse and yet they are not even beautiful anymore. I was at the point that I started 8 months ago. But now, I was different. I was content with my dumbness and blindness even if I knew it would bring my end. It was then I realized that I never intended to produce anything, anyways. I was just placing obstacles on my way to postpone my end. But I didn’t realize it until it was too late. Exactly 11 months after I requested the machine they announced the time of my death. I got the machine from the black market as soon as I could with great helps of my friend Luvry. I was hoping to create my last masterpiece before I died. But now I see it will be no more than a lousy suicide note. I was expecting this. But know I feel sorry for the rest. Even thought most of the people will have no idea about my departure, they will know that one more has left and many more will.
I look around the amphitheatre and sorrily see how few of us have left; just a little over one hundred from all over the world, just a little over one hundred to save the humanity. I will be dead in an hour so one minus “just a little over one hundred”. I see Hunchon at the front, quite a center of the attention with his everlasting ambition. He is a happy and a very satisfied artist, as well as the rest of the amphitheatre. He has always been happily ignorant, full of exciting ideas, exciting and utterly dull, overused and poor. How easy it is for them to create. They don’t worry about originality; all they care is to deserve the air they breathe. They don’t care if they bring anything new to the society, anything original. All they do is to repeat what has done before them. They create just enough to deserve their air never realizing how lame they are. But these ones are happy, content and satisfied, filling their machines with useless thoughts that would only bring an end to the humanity rather than saving it.
I see Luvry when he slightly moves uncomfortably in his seat, hidden in the dark. He never fancied ones like Hunchon. He thought they just mislead the society. They lead it to its downfall. He is a natural born artist too, like me. He is one of the true artists conflicted with pleasure and pain. But his death time is announced as well: eight weeks from now on.
It’s is a really great coincidence -or should I say plan- that both of our times were announced the same day, but his execution was eight weeks after mine. I remember the moment exactly. The announcement came when I was staring out of my window thinking of contacting Luvry to tell him about the reality behind the blackmarket. The feeling came too sudden. Images started to flow in front of my eyes: me sitting in the amphitheatre, Luvry in the dark, Hunchon in the center of attention, the face of the executioner and the time: April 12th 1.32pm. I sat back in relief like this was what I was waiting for. Technically, you can’t tell others about your time and nobody can conceive it either. It’s not pronounceable and preventable. It’s like fate, a natural death forced by an executioner. When I contacted Luvry, he knew it and I knew he knew it. I also knew about his time too, eight weeks after my execution. We laughed. That’s all we did. Then a silence came. I decided not to tell him about the blackmarket. Instead I asked him if he could get me the gadgets. He was more than happy to do it. He felt like he convinced one more for the cause, a cause lost long ago.
I can’t stop thinking that they had a plan of some sort when they placed his death much after mine. They knew that he was a lost case the first day he got involved in the blackmarket but they waited until my fall to announce his time. So it makes me think, they really had a plan. Maybe they wanted to examine the effects of the blackmarket from every possible point of view. Maybe they wanted to give Luvry some time to create his last masterpiece inspired by my departure. Maybe they just wanted to know if I would tell him the truth about the blackmarket and as a result betray them. But I knew I had to keep quiet if I wanted them to take into account of my last words that I will leave with the machine.
Luvry has been in the blackmarket for a long time. He thought of it as the new salvation, a kind of rebellion that humanity needed to survive. All the unregistered items and many more could have been found there, some kind of a last resort. It was where people knew that there was something wrong even if they couldn’t admit it. It was where people looked slightly worried. It was where people, for the first time, realized that the end is near. It was where everybody thought they found something real. But I knew that he and the rest were wrong; blackmarket belonged to them too; it was just another controlled environment. It was built to offer an alternative.
I knew it from the beginning, because it was my creation. I knew people needed to hide or runaway eventually, because I felt that way. And they took my idea and built the blackmarket for anyone who wanted difference, but in the end all it offered was indifference. So he got me an unregistered machine. I was hoping that my upcoming death would trigger something in me to create art. But it didn’t take me long to realize that I was dead long ago. Nothing came out. The machine stayed still. But nobody came to take it; it was ‘supposed’ to be unregistered. So I thought I could leave a warning with me, so they would know what’s coming. So they would know that the artists are not capable of saving the humanity anymore, that they have to find something else. But I can never be sure if they will ever listen to me; after all I am a failed one, a disgrace.
It’s 1.16pm now. I see Hunchon and his colleagues murmuring at the center of the amphitheatre. We exchange an uncomfortable glance. He tries to smile but his smile freezes as he sees my expression. He realizes what’s coming up for me even if he can’t tell exactly what or when. He turns around in rush trying to avoid my presence. I know that I just gave him the most lethal disease of our era: skepticism. It is going to take him longer than me and Luvry to give up but he will give in eventually. Now he thinks that he may be the next.
It’s funny and sad at the same time that after we beat all the outer threats like AIDS, cancer and AD01 that came right after them and scattered the whole humanity, the most dangerous disease that will cause our extinction is our minds; it’s the way the humans think and process. What is going to be next in our fight against extinction? Will they replace our minds with something more controllable and predictable? All of this is to prevent the extinction, but all it does is making sure that it will come. What we failed to see was; we evolved into something other than human to survive. What we can’t see now is that human race has already extinct. We are something else.
I can’t stop thinking what would have happened if we continued the way we were; killing each other with wars and religion, poisoning ourselves with technology or biological agents and therefore accelerating and also distorting our evolution, letting diseases diminish our number drastically. I wonder if we would still survive. I wonder if we were left alone, would we figure out eventually by ourselves a way out of the upcoming Armageddon? But then they wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have evolved in to them. That’s why they came back; we came back from the future to make sure that we will evolve into them. They said that the air is precious, that why we have to preserve it. They said, in the future, one has to deserve the air s/he breathes. They showed us how miserable it will be if we don’t take extreme measures now. So we accepted their rules and way of living. But now I see that whatever we did, do and will do is not going to be able to stop what’s coming. We way passed their time with great celebrations. But we, they, the humanity will still extinct. All we and they did was postponing it a little further. It doesn’t make me feel any better. It does not change the fact that I failed myself. The whole world can end, I don’t care. But if I was satisfied with myself then I’d know that I deserved the air I breathe. Now, I don’t want to live a life that I failed to actualize myself.
I look at Luvry as he leaves the amphitheatre. He looks at me for the last time without a single expression on his face. He just looks to see me. He will know soon everything I knew, everything about them. He’s smart enough to see the big picture. But now, he just leaves. The lights are off and the amphitheatre is empty. I see the time: 1.31pm.