The Great Mystery

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The Great Mystery
by Janine Bandcroft
Rajiv was either too cowardly, or too sensitive, to take his own life. 
 
It was too messy, too complex, and he didn't want to leave that for someone else to cleanup. 
 
In fact he didn't think about it much at all, now that he had discovered the great mystery. 
 
 
 
Maybe, having discovered the great mystery, it would be easier over there, on the other side.  Maybe he would have the option, like those around him, to journey from physical space to physical space as it pleased him.  Maybe he'd even find opportunities on planets beyond his own.  But he was a coward, and he didn't want to make a mess.  Rajiv was determined to wait his turn.
 
His own planet had been invaded, of that he was certain.  Many things looked the same - his family and friends appeared to be living out their lives 'normally.'  They were evolving, changing, growing older, even dying.  But Rajiv was certain they'd all died already.  Not in some big explosion, that wouldn't make sense, because then he would be dead too.  But he wasn't -- Rajiv woke up in the same place, in the same body, every day.  He was the only remaining human blessed, or cursed, with that ability.  He wore his own underwear, and brushed his own teeth.  And he had discovered that there was something much more sinister going on than a simple military takeover of the planet.
 
Rajiv guessed it started happening a hundred years ago, maybe more.  What else would explain the insistent and progressive loss of green space, methodically, around the planet?  His human ancestors had taken care to build their cities around parks, away from beaches, to protect life affirming watersheds and wildlife sanctuaries.  The humans loved birds and other benevolent creatures, and sought to protect wild spaces for them, and for their own solace.  Past decades showed a steady proliferation of disregard for the earth's physical environment - despite obvious warning signs that a loss of spiritual comprehension would necessarily follow, despite floods and desertification and excessive heat and hurricanes and all the horrific consequences that resulted each time another piece of earth was destroyed.  The creatures around him, Rajiv was certain, were no longer human - and hadn't been for a very long time.
 
The beauty of this successful takeover of the planet lay with early human scientists who, whether wittingly or not, had conjoined with energies beyond their control.  Their quest to play at being God had resulted in a project so far removed from their powers, many of them found themselves neither too cowardly nor too sensitive to take their own lives.   That, ironically, was the last powerful act they would ever own.  What they had started, in their experiments to infuse dead matter with life, would eventually lead to the extinction, and replacement, of all species on planet earth.  Those energies they guided to life here rose up against them - silently, routinely, and with unspoken permission to perpetuate the sequence of life's transmogrification.
 
Rajiv was one of the last born from a woman's womb.  When he was young the scientists perfected the cloning of women, including their ability to hold seeded life and birth it.  All of Rajiv's siblings, friends, and family, unable to comprehend why those they trusted were suddenly so unspeakably cruel, had been quietly driven mad.  Many were led to suicide.  They, like those who drove them to their unspoken insanity, were replaced with cloned replicas of themselves.  For a time, this procedure was sanctioned as the only way to maintain stability amidst the chaos of the mass murder/suicides.  Somehow, Rajiv survived it long enough to realize what was really going on and, miraculously, without going mad himself.
 
The real challenge wasn't so much about acknowledging that his family and friends had been removed and replaced by genetically engineered twins of themselves as it was about maintaining the silence.  Of course it wasn't pleasant to ponder the circumstances that led to their demise, but Rajiv was learned in a culture that ponders reincarnation and the eternal spirit.  In some ways Rajiv was pleased that this friends were spared the suffering of the singular existence he was burdened with.  He imagined them negotiating for space in bodies that could access leisurely activities like sailing and surfing, hiking and mountaineering, snow-shoeing and skiing.  Of course they'd invest time and energy, as they always had, maintaining a household, raising the children, working for the betterment of their communities.  But at the end of their work days, Rajiv assumed, the travelling ones would have opportunities that he could only dream about.  They were able to be together, to recognize each other, to work together.  Rajiv could only pretend to know them.
 
Maintaining the silence was Rajiv's greatest challenge.  Why should he, he would indignantly ponder?  If it were true, that the human species had been systematically removed and replaced with scientifically constructed bodies that were receiving energy from throughout the universe, why shouldn't he be able to speak this truth?  Because, he realised, his own freedom was at risk.  These new aliens, this invasive force, wasn't friendly.  It was all his family could do to keep them from destroying themselves and the earth along with them.  They seemed transfixed with the power of death.  Their primal instincts ruled - they were driven by lust and greed, and the proliferation of the species expanded like never before.  They did not want their truth spoken.  Many millions of new souls were born of, channelled through, bodies that were nothing more than vessels for passing energy, energy that felt no affiliation or devotion to the body aside from the service it provided - to offer orgasm, and create slaves.  Rajiv imagined the travelling energy  was like wifi or cell phone radiation, neither of which was entirely understood either, and the consequences of which were yet to be determined.  Yet there it was, continuously floating through space, landing in places that offered some semblance of familiarity.  And there was the selfish energy, travelling through the universe, landing in places that accomodated their sole search, facilitating pregnancies unwanted, unplanned, unnecessary and, ultimately, unloved.  
 
Rajiv realized he'd spend the rest of his natural life in silence.  He played the part of son, brother, and friend, but he would never again play the part of lover.  He would not know husband, or father.  How could he?  His idea of love was one soul partnered with another.  He was not willing to kiss the lips of one whose eyes he could not recognize.  But that wasn't the worst of it.  The worst of it was realizing that, no matter what progress the 'species' might make towards peace, disarmament, distribution of wealth, protection of what remained of earth's resources, all their collective efforts would be erased with rapid insistence by the next travelling group of hierarchically inclined energy units who were able, thanks to those ancient scientists and the proliferation of war in space, to plug into their familiar patterns of lust and domination.  
 
The circle, sadly, was unbroken and eternal, and Rajiv was powerless to do anything but silently watch his beautiful world slowly disappear.
 
 
 

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