May we never forget. May we never forget our past. Our history defines us, of who we are and who we are not. History keeps a pattern. It may not happen exactly the same way, but it does repeat. But what if history is forgotten? All the effects are still seen, but the causes have mysteriously flowed away from the current citizens’ minds. We believe that World War 2 was the greatest atrocity the world, as a whole, has ever faced. But in this near future, the war is forgotten. In this foreign but sister world no one remembers World War Two, it happened but no one cares, ‘it is just a bunch of stuff that happened a long time ago’.
May we never forget the heroes; may we never forget the corrupted. May we never forget the destruction; may we never forget the creation. May we never forget the sacrifices; may we never forget the selfishness. May we never forget the suffering; may we never forget the celebration. May we never forget the suffering; may we never forget the celebration. May we never forget the people who showed up for the fight, but didn’t win the war; may we never forget the people whose excuse was that they were just following orders. May we never forget the dead; may we never forget the survivors. May we never forget the world; may we never forget the people. May we never forget the mistakes; may we never forget the success. May we never forget the abominations; may we never forget we are humans. May we never forget the victories; may we never forget the defeats. May we never forget.
10:46 A.M. Tuesday the twenty-second of January of 2019
As drab as the middle of winter can be, Mr. Chang’s Global history/current events makes it seems like it would drag on forever. Mr. Chang pulls up CNN Student News on the SmartBoard for Kyle’s eighth grade to watch and discuss current events.
Kyle is wearing a sports jacket and khaki pants that looks very rumpled. Kyle has his towhead hair in the current style of gelled hair swept to the side. Kyle leans back in his chair never caring for the droning on discussions about ‘some dude says something half way across the world’. The news reporter sounds very excited to be reporting – as much as a stuffy old man can be- but his huge vegetable-looking nose is distracting Kyle from actually paying any attention. The video clip ends and Mr. Chang wheels out in front of the class on his comfy-spiny-chair that Kyle desperately wants instead of his hard student desk seat that seems to be mandatory in every Jr. High.
Mr. Chang is a rather large middle-aged fellow, but a very enthusiastic teacher. Mr. Chang begins with, “So, class, what do you think of Quara’s new national pride that the up and coming new UCAB is promoting?”
Kyle watches the second hand of the analog clock. Tick, tick, tick of the seconds of his life that he can’t get back from sitting in a classroom where he is learning nothing, but how slowly time moves. It seems that no one has anymore besides schools as it seems a staple to have the kids have something to do besides actually learn.
Bella answers, “What is wrong with a 3rd world country actually taking national pride and giving the idea to other countries to do so, too?”
Mr. Chang responses, “Good point, Bella. But you see, UCAB isn’t just promoting national pride, but all of Central America to unite, and they want South America to join in as well, to unify and become one great country. That’s what UCAB stands for, Unify Central America for the Betterment.”
Kyle starts wondering why Mr. Chang feels the need to share these silly things people say, isn’t there more important things going on like new iPhone 11? Ohh, won’t that be awesome to have the latest technology that bring whatever is on your phone into the air like the old superhero movies did, Kyle day dreams off.
“So, Kyle your thoughts,” Mr. Chang says, noticing Kyle’s lacking effort to show interest in the class discussion.
“Ummm . . . I think UCAB is just trying to do what their name suggests, help Central America become better,” Kyle answers sheepishly.
“Ahh, so nice of you to remember what we were talking about five minutes ago! Alec would you mind repeating what you said so that Kyle can enlighten us all with his opinion?” Mr. Chang says with echoes of laughter from Kyle’s classmates.
“But weren’t other countries scared when the U.S. started the Manifest Destiny movement and started taking over the West? How should UCAB wanting to unify the southern American countries be any different?” Alec repeats, who is the biggest show-off-nerd Kyle has ever met.
Kyle pauses as if untangling a ball of string in his head and then says slowly, “People always fear change. It is something unknown, but change needs to happen for anything to get done. So why can’t countries unify to achieve a better goal?”
A girl in the front of Kyle turns around and says to him, “Because it’s so close to our borders and what happens then?”
“And that’s all the time we have for today. Great discussion class! Now, I want each of you to have a voice and that voice is to be heard through talking to your parents and gathering information and writing your opinion on this. I will post the assignment on the internet classroom and it will be due at 11:59 Wednesday night. Eighth grade history class dismissed. Go learn and make history today, future world changers!”
Shuffle of tablets and chatter rise to fill the room as the students pack up and go on to their next class. Kyle’s friends, Jack, Ben and Sean, come over to him as he grabs his stuff and head for the door.
“Dude, I seriously don’t care about what some Prime Minster candidate says in another country. Heck, I don’t even really listen to what they say for the 2020 elections in America!” says Jack walking backwards while looking at the group.
“Yeah, and now we have to write a paper on it! Watch out Jack,” Ben says as Jack narrowly misses a group of giggling girls by the water fountain.
“Hey Kyle, you actually going to log on to War Calling game today and play with us?” Sean asks getting up in Kyle’s face as a joke.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. My parents have banned me again from playing any games until I get my grades up to a 3.0. And I’m just like, ‘Hello trying to have a life here! It’s only eighth grade, not med school!’” Kyle says clearly aggravated.
“Well, when you are doing Mr. Chang’s stupid assignment, we’re going to be,” Jack makes a Pew-Pew noise imitating laser guns, “at the Hoods!”
The boys laugh as they go separate ways to their different classes.
4:35 P.M. Tuesday the twenty-second of January of 2019
“Hey, Dad, I need to talk with you for an assignment in Mr. Chang’s class,” Kyle says to his Dad, who is pretending to work-from-home like he does every Tuesday and actually just watches Netflixs.
“Yeah, just a second.” Kyle’s dad says holding up a finger signaling for Kyle to wait. Kyle looks around his dad’s office like he has done so many times. The baby pictures of him getting home from the hospital hang next to Kyle’s first day of school. On the other wall Kyle’s first honor roll of getting 3.0 last year with Kyle’s mom’s Master’s certificate hanging above. Kyle never liked that it seemed like his parents valued his mom’s Masters in Business more than all the hard work Kyle had put in. He had even stayed after school once!
“Ewwww! Man, this is intense!” Kyle’s dad flips his computer screen down and turns to his son ready to listen. “Sorry just had to finish that episode of Iron Fist from a few years back. What’s up?”
“Mr. Chang says that we have to talk to our parents and gather information about UCAB and form an opinion on it and write a paper. So do you know anything about it?” Kyle asks sitting on the sit across from his dad’s desk.
“Oh, yeah yeah. I read an article about that on Yahoo this morning. I think it’s a perfectly fine idea. Those countries have been struggling for so long; it’s good that they have a guy like Phillip Borcez to lead them. He’s a really smart guy and he came from a hard past. I’ve never met a strong person who didn’t become that way without lots of hardship. His mother was a prostitute and he lived on the streets until he was fourteen. Then he got a job as a Mayor’s assistant in a small town and worked his way up the ranks. That’s what I call a honest-working man! UCAB can really do some good, and I believe that he is the right man to be the head of that,” Kyle’s dad says fidgeting a bit as he says so.
“Okay yeah, I can see that, but his name of his party is Unify. Is it wrong to take over lands even if it is to make Central America better?” Kyle asks feeling proud that he came up with a good question.
Kyle’s father says almost harshly, “Borcez never said that he’d ever do something like that, just that he wants Central and South America to have something to be proud about.”
“Yes, but unify under a league of nations or unify under one country?” Kyle brings up another point.
“Good thoughts here. You are really taking school seriously this time, I see. I don’t know, only time will tell, but I believe in Borcez,” Kyle’s dad says in a way that ends the conversation. Kyle picks up his tablet that he wrote notes on and walks up to his room to work on the paper.
Kyle Fornear My Opinion on UCAB
The national pride group UCAB only wants to help Central America to become better, just as their name suggests. The president of the organization and Prime Minister Candidate, Philip Borcez stated in his running address, “Unify Central America for Betterment has goals. Goals of erasing starvation. Goals for erasing poverty. Goals for erasing war. Goals for erasing drug and human trafficking cartels. Goals for erasing crime. But increasing the safety and well-being of Central and South American countries. UCAB has goals and I want to achieve them.” UCAB is just a charity organization that wants to use a government to help. I believe Borcez is the man who should change the world and the way to do it is through UCAB.
6:55 A.M. Thursday the tenth of October of 2019
Kyle eats his pancakes while watching the news that his mom now puts on to ‘increase his acknowledge about the world.’
“Breaking News! Phillip Borcez has just been elected Prime Minster of Quara. Borcez has almost become some sort of celebrity in Caribbean and Central America with the ideas and personality he brings.” A montage of Borcez waving to a cheering crowd, kissing babies, talking to prisoners plays through as the reporter voices over. Then a clip from his inaugural speech is shown, “I would like to thank the people of Quara for giving me this honor of serving you. You are by far the best people in the world!” the crowd cheers, and Borcez pauses, and then resumes, “Your perseverance through the wars and the poverty makes you the strongest nation. I plan on making a land for you and your children to live in and not have to struggle to get bread on the table and without getting robbed going to the store to get it. I have goals and those goals will be achieved by unity!”
Kyle’s mom clicks off the TV, and sits down across from Kyle, and says, “Your thoughts.”
“Awww, Mom it’s too early to think.”
“Kyle, you need to be an informed young man. And to do that you also need to know what you believe in and not just what the news reports say. Your thoughts,” Kyle’s mom says folding her hands in front of her.
“Whoo-hoo it’s great a guy is going to help the world and he has a nice smile,” Kyle says into his plate with a lazy-sarcastic tone.
“Kyle Michael Fornear, this is a huge step for 3rd world countries! Please show some kind of interest,” Ms. Fornear says sighing at the lack of respect her child is giving.
“He is a fan favorite and has ideas that could actually work. I think his ideas of cleaning up the street and stuff is a good start to make the country do better. Also his creation of more job opportunities to decrease crime and increase exports to have a bigger space in international trade is a really swell idea, too,” Kyle smiles at his mom with an all-too-cheesy grin, “Am I well opinionated and bright young man enough now to go to school?” Kyle says with another smile.
“I’m only trying to help you.”
Kyle gets up, and grabs his tablet and lunch, and heads for the door. Kyle’s mom ‘uhem-hm’ three times before she realizes that she isn’t going to get Kyle to turn around and pay attention to her. “Are you forgetting something?”
“Aahhh, the question of a gentlemen to a lady. The Gentleman Kyle would like to ask the Lady Christie her opinion,” Kyle says bowing and twirling his lunch as doing so.
“Thank you. I think he’s great, but what if the people don’t want to change?”
“Well, they want change enough to vote him in,” Kyle says standing in the doorway of the kitchen impatiently.
“Yes, but what if the Cartels and corrupt officials like it how it is and put up a resistance? I mean sure there is going to be some putting up a fight, but Quara doesn’t have a huge army,” Kyle’s mom says and then almost as an afterthought, “Yet, to deal with a massive revolt.”
“The Cartels want order and structure and a place to belong and a little money in their pocket. Borcez can make that for them. He can give them good paying jobs and order, all the while making an industrial revolution and making a spot on the map other than being known for a bad place,” Kyle says looking at the time.
“Good conversation, but lose the attitude next time. Go catch the bus and have a great day!” Ms. Fornear says cleaning up the dishes.
10:36 A.M. Monday the seventeenth of August of 2020
Kyle wakes up late in the morning just like any summer day. He stretches and plays on his phone for a few minutes before collapsing on the couch out in the living room.
“Teresa, turn on,” Kyle commands the television as he makes himself comfortable knowing that both his parents are at work.
“Teresa, next channel,” Kyle commands again as he flips through cartoons and TV dramas. A new report flips across the screen, “Teresa, go back one channel.” The screen shows a beautiful news report and a caption below ‘Quara and Nolafa unite as one country.’
Kyle gets off the couch and walks closer to the TV almost as if he can’t believe Borcez succeed this far.
“Yes, Borcez’s goals has been achieved as he says so often. The crime rates are down by 96% compared from a year ago. Quara’s economy is booming and the citizens couldn’t be happier. Now it looks like Nolafa wants to join in on this prosperity that Borcez is bringing. Nolafa merged with Quara because of how good the nation is running. Nolafa’s Prime Minister, Juan Gomez, said.” The screen shows a press conference of Gomez this morning. Kyle has never seen the man before, unlike how Borcez is everywhere. It’s like every Central American citizen worships the man, Kyle thought.
“After an overwhelming outcry for a system like Quara’s, I’ve decided to make a choice. This has been extremely difficult choice for me as a man and as a leader. After long thought, I can’t put a system like Borcez’s in my country and that was hard to accept. As most of you know, I have been having talks with Prime Minister Borcez and together we came to terms that Nolafa and Quara were better as one. The people come from the same background and culture and want to be united. The resources, economy and overall well-being of the united country will double. So I am proud to pronounce in 15 hours from now or at midnight the 18th of August 2020, Quara-Nolafa will officially become one nation!” The crowd cheers in agreement to the decision that their leader made.
“Teresa, turn off,” Kyle yells in disgust. Does Nolafa seriously not see what they are getting into?! Quara just gained double the land without having to lift a finger! Yes, their system is great and the country is a success, but is Nolafa controlled that easy by low crime rates and a handsome leader? Disgusting how easily people, whole nations, can put their trust in a single person and not even flinch, Kyle thinks walking to the kitchen to grab a bowl of his favorite cereal, Mini Wheats Mango.
Friday the sixth of November of 2020
Breaking News: Quara-Nolafa unities with Burena; now to be called Quara and the United. The new country has now accumulated almost 65, 000 miles squared of land rich in natural resources.
Monday the Twenty-second of February of 2021
Breaking News: Quara and the United has now added Sada to the list increasing the country’s landmass by a third.
9:26 A.M. Monday the Tenth of May of 2021
“Breaking News: Quara and the United yet again have merged with Quinca. Quara and the United now control the Quinca canal that is crucial to ship passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean,” said the news reporter that Kyle’s 10th grade class was listening to in History class.
The situation with Quara has changed Kyle into become a better and more attentive student. Over the years he has started to understand the importance that world is going through now. On Kyle’s tablet is apps of world maps and instant news feed unlike the games and Insta-Chat that most other of his classmates have.
Kyle has Mr. Chang again in sophomore year because he goes to a small school in Illinois; there is only two history teachers for the middle school and high school. Just like every other current events day Mr. Chang rolls out on his desk chair and says to the class, “Thoughts.”
Unlike Kyle’s seventh grade self, he is known for being the know-it-all when it comes to current events. Reluctantly, Mr. Chang calls on Kyle, “Your opening opinion like every time Kyle.”
“There are now five countries in the Quara and the United group all within the past year and all of them joined willingly. They have now over 110, 000 square miles of land that is filled with factories and farms. Their imports are at an all-time low. They have basically no debt. They just keep doing better and better. What happens when they want a country and that country refuses?”
Bella answers, “See, I don’t see anything wrong with what Borcez is doing. He is only trying to make the world a better place.”
“But what if that ‘better place’ is infringing on the rights of nations for the betterment of it’s people,” Kyle countered.
“Doesn’t a government exist for the people?” says a quiet student in the back that Kyle never took the time to learn his name. “If a way is proven to be better, then shouldn’t the government do what is best for their people?”
“Borcez’s system hasn’t been proven, it has simply existed with no civil unrest for two years now,” Kyle says defensively.
Mr. Chang takes control of the class, “Okay . . . let’s steer this conversation back on what this new announcement changes. Key point: the Quinca Canal.”
“I think they are going to control the canal for their own use and that will increase the prices of foreign goods, but make theirs cheaper,” Alec says.
“Smart, smart and very possible. Any other thoughts?” Mr. Chang asks. Silence, followed by fidgeting. “Okay. Enough of current events, let’s move to the past to see why things happen in the present. Remember your test on the French Revolution is on Wednesday, so let’s do a ‘popcorn’ review. Nick, can you tell me some of the main causes of the French Revolution?”
“Uh, yeah. So, um, the French population had been increasing at a very high rate and they didn’t have enough food for everyone, so the people were getting rowdy. Also there was the three estates system from feudal times that didn’t allow for social mobility so the people had little voice and were being mistreated by the upper class,” Nick explains with much fidgeting and nervousness.
“Very good, thank you Nick, but also remember debt was a main factor – debt including helping America gain its independence,” Mr. Chang compliments. “Andrea, tell us what the general population at first thought of the National Assembly. Also tell us what America thought of it.”
“The National Assembly was a great move for democracy and the people liked it. Although the aristocrats got nervous about the changing social class that the National Assembly demonstrated. America – the Democratic-Republicans, including Thomas Jefferson – liked the idea of France have a democracy and the people taking part in the government,” Andrea answers.
“Quite a thorough description Andrea, thank you. Emily, tell us about the revolution mastermind, Robespierre, and about how it is ironic what his committee was called,” Mr. Chang instructs.
Emily explains, “Robespierre was at first almost a celebrity to the people. His committee was called the Committee of Public Safety, except during the Reign of Terror, he killed people, not keeping them safe. Anyone against the revolution or especially if the person was an aristocrat was killed.”
“You definitely caught the irony, Emily, nice job. Now I would like to remind the class that when Napoleon was emperor, France and Britain were at war. The new made country and the lasting empire drew other nations in and the world itself was at war. A world at war,” said the history teacher with a strange distance sorrow in his voice.
8:40 P.M. Tuesday the Twenty-second of March of 2022
Phillip Borcez, Prime Minster of Quara and the United, makes an address, “Quara used to be the place not to be, now Quara has become the place to be. Quara used to be the country with the highest crime, most kidnappings and murders, and now Quara has the least. Quara is in the top ten manufactures in the world and climbing the ranks every six months. So great citizens of my great nation Quara, do you trust me?” The crowd screams back in various forms of agreement.
“Let me read you this, ‘in 1903, Lombroso, the father of modern criminology, summarized his views on the left-handed of the world. “What is sure,” he wrote, “is, that criminals are more often left-handed than honest men, and lunatics are more sensitively left-sided than either of the other two.” Left-handers were more than three times as common in criminal populations as they were in everyday life, he found. The prevalence among swindlers was even higher: up to thirty-three percent were left-handed—in contrast to the four percent Lombroso found within the normal population.’”
Borcez pauses letting the information settle in and then continues, “Left-handed people are more likely to become alcoholics. Left-handed people use a different part of the brain than all the rest of us.” Then Borcez says real slowly emphasizing every word, “Left-handed people are what sickens the world. They are poisonous to our society. They are the sledgehammers to what destroys what we built together. Nothing unites a nation like a group to hate, despise, abhor, and I am giving my united country to be united against! All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people. We, my beloved people, are in the midst of a great movement. Lefties are ruining the world and I plan to end that statistic. I have goals and I plan on achieving them!”
Kyle finishes watching the video on his phone in his bedroom and slowly looks over his left hand as if it’s a foreign object. Kyle is left handed. This just became personal.
7:40 Wednesday the Twenty-third of March of 2022
Don’t look at anyone, don’t look at anyone, don’t look at anyone, Kyle thought walking into school. Keep my hands in my pockets. Write with my other hand. Everyone saw the news yesterday, so everyone saw that they have a free pass at anyone they don’t like who is left-handed.
“Hey, my man Kyle, or better known as,” Jack looks around, fake making sure that no one is looking even though everyone is watching. Kyle puts up his hoodie and draws the strings around his face. Jack continues, “one-of-the-people-Borcez-publically-called-out-as-not-right-in-the-head.”
Sean comes running up to them and says, “Kyle, you know how you’ve never asked out a girl?” Sean continues without waiting for a response, “Did you ever think it’s because lefties are more likely to be gay?”
Ben yells, “Burn! Nice one!” Sean and Ben high five and smile at Kyle who is clearly not enjoy the tease.
“Buzz off, guys,” Kyle says and starts walking faster.
“Kyle, we were just having some fun! Come on! Can’t you take a joke!?” Still getting no response from their angried friend, Jack yells across the hallway, “Or is the way you are made, you literally can’t take a joke?”
Sean cuts in, “Who would want to be friends with a guy so abnormal he is probably going to murder someone?”
This makes Kyle turn right around and march towards them. Kyle says in a loud-whisper gushing with anger, “Who would want to be friends with a guy so abnormal who can’t even see that his friend has been up crying about this all night! Don’t you see all the people in this school who agree with what Borcez says? What if they take it to heart? What if they decide I’m one of those monsters? What if I turn out to be as bad as they say I am?”
Wiping away the tears and turning away from his so-called friends Kyle feels like the world is against him, and soon he might be right.
7:26 P.M. Wednesday the Twenty-third of March of 2022
Lying on his bed as if dead, but in reality he is soul deadened from what Kyle has gone through today. All the teachers looked at me differently today. It wasn’t fear nor menace, but weary. They were weary of who I might become, or already be. It was worst when I rose my left hand like normal and everyone looked at me and then I slowly brought it down and rose my right hand to answer a question.
Borcez isn’t a great world leader; he is just a mad man in control. How can people honestly believe the generalization he is making? It’s like saying everyone with blonde hair and blue eyes are a superior race. I have blonde hair and blue eyes, but also left-handed what then? What if Borcez was left-handed? What would people think?
Kyle becomes the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. He remembers when he visited the Falls for the first time; they were so massive compared to his kindergarten frame. He thinks back to when his dad raised him up over the Falls fence barrier to get a better look at the little tiny boat called Maid of the Mist and how it was bombarded by the Falls. How it rocked and shook, but didn’t capsize. Kyle feels bombarded by the world – by those who he had trusted, by his friends, by his teachers – just like the boat. The hits just keep coming and coming and his ship slowly drifts closer and closer to the true downpour. Kyle is rocked and shook, but he decides he will not capsize.
Kyle’s face then becomes Niagara Falls. His tears bubble over and he lets his grief out. Kyle cries like this for some time until he hears the pitter patter of rain on his window. Kyle gets up and wipes his nose on his shirtsleeve. He walks over to the windowpane and whispers furiously, “Rain, taunt me, mock me, I hear your laugh, I will not shed tears against you anymore.”
Kyle inhales like a city man new to the country and closes his eyes. He turns to his length long mirror and studies himself like he is seeing if he likes the new outfit or not. Kyle decides he likes the new Kyle. The Kyle who won’t put up with the taunts, the snarky remarks, the discrimination from this day on. The taunts – or more their effects on him – will stop the same day as they began. Today.
He walks into the bathroom and does the time old trick of drying his tears so that it doesn’t show. Kyle wets a washcloth and then squeezes it until it is only damp. He puts it up to eyes and slides down the bathroom door to sitting on the floor. He listens to the TV playing in the living room. It sounds like his parents are watching a romance comedy that his mother loves and his dad has to put up with to have his mom watch the action movies with his dad. If only life was that simple.
Putting the wet washcloth to the side, Kyle takes a towel and pats his eyes dry so that there is no red splotches visible. The trick is to get the nose un-swelled, which is a dead giveaway especially when you are an only child, even more attention.
Masking himself with an easy-going smile and a deep breath, Kyle nonchalantly strolls into the living room. Kyle takes a chair next to the couch where his parents are sprawled and tries to take an interest in what the teenage girl is saying. Kyle’s dad looks up and sees Kyle’s right hand is more calloused than usual. Putting the two and two together he whispers, “Don’t give in.” Kyle’s dad meets his son’s gaze and nods his head. Kyle watches his dad and he seems almost ashamed to have to even give the advice to Kyle. Almost as if he is ashamed to have a son that will be in the world’s focus just because of the way he catches a ball.
“Isn’t she Veronika Bonell? Honey?” Mrs. Fornear asks her husband.
“Teresa, who is the actress in this movie?” Mr. Fornear commands the TV.
“Veronika Bonell is correct as your wife said Mr. Fornear,” answered the TV.
Kyle thinks to himself, may be the world doesn’t see Borcez as a madman because they don’t want to. Why is the world so oblivious to the things that truly matter and can only focus on the things that don’t? Because they want happy, perfect lives just like a movie. A picturesque life of obliviousness.
Saturday the Twentieth of May of 2022
Breaking News: Quara and the United have built a statue of Borcez with only the right side of him.
Monday the twelfth of September of 2022
Breaking News: Quara and the United has offered Venbia to join the United and Venbia refused.
Friday the sixteenth of September of 2022
Breaking News: Quara and the United is asking all of it’s able bodied citizens to join the military or they will lose their jobs. Borcez ended with the following statement, “Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.”
Tuesday the eleventh of October of 2022
Breaking News: Quara and the United have started to occupy Venbia. If they take Vebia they will have a large controlling factor of the oil industry and the first South American country increasing their land mass to 546,000 square miles.
Wednesday the thirtieth of November of 2022
Breaking News: Quara and the United have occupied all of Venbia and it is predicted that Venbia will surrender before Christmas.
1:54 P.M. Thursday the Twenty-Third of February of 2023
Psssst-Pssssst the old speaker system buzzes to life during Kyle’s senior year of high school in his calculus class, “Staff and students, please remain calm and collected. There has been an attack in Los Angeles that Quara and the United claim to behind.”
Like a volcano spewing lava and ash flying through the soiled air, the class panics of mourning and conspiracy theories free float. Girls rush to one another and scream in terror, guys are lost in what to do, but Kyle knows exactly what to do and feels compelled to do so.
Kyle stands and puts his hand over his heart and faces the classroom flag in the corner. Loud enough so that everyone can hear, Kyle repeats what every student says to start the school day, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and,” Kyle’s voice breaks and he pauses and continues, “to the Republic for which it stands,” other students join in, “one nation under God, indivisible,” the whole class is repeating the Pledge now, “with liberty and justice for all.” Tears are wiped away because those thirty-one words have never meant so much to the small town high-schoolers. A moment of silence, a moment of honor, a moment of fear, a moment follows before the class resumes into volcanic eruption.
Everyone is one their phones looking at every news story. Whispers share the newfound information. There is crying, there is craving for understanding, there is an acknowledgement that everyone agrees that nothing will ever be the same; and there is Kyle still standing, gazing at the flag and mouths the words, “This is an act of war.”
9:54 P.M. Thursday the Twenty-Third of February of 2023
4,782 lives were lost in Los Angeles due to the Quara and the United bombings. 4,782 people with dreams of life, not dreams of death. Little boy dreams of being superheroes that was ruined by the corrupted. Young college students dreamed of creation, not destruction. There was work place sacrifices that no dreamed of brought upon by an act of selfishness of a nation. The suffering and bloodshed in the street was followed celebration of Quara and the United. The survivors had to pick through the dead to find co-workers, sisters, fathers, wives, people with future lives that was ruined by a mad man with plan. The world watched as the number body count ticked, ticked, ticked upwards. The mistakes of the people who were taken vanished and only remembered by their successes. So Quara and the United, I pose a question, 4,782 lives were lost and estimated 450 left-handed people died how do you feel about the 4,300 people who were right-handed and died?
~ Kyle Fornear’s notebook
9:00 A.M. Friday the Twenty-Four of February of 2023
The President of the United States of America address to the world after attack of his home city:
“My parents died in the attack yesterday. They were at a coffee house like they do every Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of schoolchildren will never receive their diplomas. Businessmen, mothers, doctors, homeless, bankers, waitresses, citizens of America will never see another sunrise because of the bomb that Quara and the United sent yesterday. This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. This is an act of war. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Quara and the United on Thursday, February 24th, 2023, a state of war has existed between the United States and Quara.”
Saturday the Twenty-Fifth of February of 2023
Prime Minister of Quara and the United, Phillip Borcez address to the world after the attack he gave the final word for:
“I, personally, believe that struggles make a person stronger in any sense of the word. A student learns better if he struggles with the concept. A young adult is able to deal with stress better if they have developed a coping method. And the same goes for what happened to America yesterday. Nature puts living creatures on this globe and watches the free play of forces. She then confers the master’s right on her favourite child, the strongest in courage and industry. The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel. America is the weakling, they view us as cruel, but I am only trying to make them stronger! We as a people need our struggles, and I plan on making them. The left-handed persons have all the blame on them for this happening and continue to have it happen. The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Leftie. Was there any form of filth or profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Left-hand dominance person involved in it? If you cut even cautiously into such an abscess, you found, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazzled by the sudden light – a Leftie! Potential gives birth to strength by persevering through struggles. The self-righteous bigots of Los Angeles did not survive not because they were Americans but that they did not persevere, they did not have the strength because of a lack of struggles. Americans do not know how to persevere because they know not what tribulation is. I, your persevering leader, tell you, Quara, that our past is what tribulation is. I am here to make America strong through struggles. Strength is the prize of struggles. Quara, we have so many prizes they can’t all fit on our shelf. To America I say, where are your prizes? Where are your struggles? You lived like a fattened hog while the rest of the world, while Quara, while I, screamed for a chum! And did you listen?! No. I am here to bring you, America, to the slaughter house, I am here to give your fat to the people in desperate need. America, you will have justice brought to you by the people’s screams you pretended not to hear. The people’s screams are your accusers, and I find you guilty. America, you obese proud weak nation, this attack was only the first of many, it is your punishment and it will break you or make you stronger. So, I say to my citizens as I have said time and time again, I have goals and I plan to achieve them.”
7:38 P.M. Friday the Third of March of 2023
I’ve decided it is best if I join our military to fight against Quara and the United, Kyle thought. There will be a draft soon anyways and I believe I have to fight for my country, for myself. I’ll join as soon as I can, they’ll be wanting anyone who they can get. I need to do this. If I have to die for my country to win this war against this mad man, then I will die with honor.
June through September of 2023
Kyle goes to basic training and thrives on the idea of serving his country like it’s his meat and potatoes of his mind. From the 3:30 A.M. wake ups, the twenty-five mile hikes, ice cold showers every five days, shining his boots; he hopes, prays, and contemplates on the state of his nation. Kyle has his eye on the prize and nothing is making him lose focus.
Friday the twenty-seventh of October of 2023
Mom and Dad,
It’s been since Elementary school since I’ve written with pen and paper, but I’m trying my best. The army is where I am suppose to be and I can feel it. The feeling of my country needing me is what keep me going no matter what the drill sergeant orders me to do. It’s the best feeling in the world. I received my orders yesterday of where my company will be headed. I’m going into old Nolafa country, which is a pretty bad war zone at the moment. Some of the people are a little weary of me going into the heart of the war zone because of what is my dominant hand is, but I’m not letting that stop me. Hope you know that I love you dearly, your son Private Kyle Fornear.
Sunday the nineteenth of November of 2023
Enemy forces captured Private Kyle Michael Fornear on the nineteenth of November of 2023. Fornear’s whereabouts is unknown, but most likely is in a concentration camp for persons of a left hand dominance.
Monday the Twentieth of November of 2023
The Quarian soldiers had kept me in with the rest of my company that was captured until they realized what my dominant hand is, Kyle recounts. They blindfolded me and drove me along a bumpy road with other soldiers and some civilians to a camp. The air is so dry compared to Illinois, it didn’t help that the truck kicked up dust making it even worst. It was like the air was cinnamon, making me cough underneath my blindfold. One of other lefties was crying and sounded like they were choking from the cinnamon-air. I tried to help the person, but I was tied and couldn’t see, so I wasn’t much use.
The camp isn’t a five star hotel, but it is not disgusting or unlivable, but I guess that is because the war is so early it hasn’t gotten to that point yet. The ‘camp counselors’ have a strict regimen of the ‘campers’ here. About a quarter of the people here have their left hand cut off.
The smell, here, sure isn’t going to be fixed by S.C. Johnston’s Air Freshener like their commercials would always brag about when I was nine. It smells like a hospital without the disinfectant to mask the blood and urine. Oh, do I long for the smell of my grandmother’s house when she would make apple-crisp in the fall when I came over to do my homework and get away from my parents. She would always wear that wore plaid apron that never got anything on it and softly hum as my mind was on my chemistry homework. I would stay up until close to nine at night, but she would never mind. I wonder how she is doing? She would probably be the one who would write letters to me in the army, if I wasn’t here.
I met a nine-year-old girl here. She is so frail and she said that she has been here for over a year and a half. She says every couple of months they say they will have a big feast, but first everyone must gather together in this room to be given their food. The first time they said this, she went, but forgot her dolly and wanted to have her eat also. So she slipped away to go get her, and when she came back everyone had already eaten and had gone to another camp, or so they told her. Now, whenever they say there will be a feast she hides in her hiding spot that no one knows about and she is the only one small enough to fit into.
Some day of 2024
I’ve lost track of what day it is, Kyle thinks as he lays on his bunk listening to the deep and shallow breaths of the people he has begun to know. Everyone is like ghost here, Kyle has thought many times before. Just wisps of what they once were, a spirit with no spirit. They have no energy, no hope. Kyle still holds onto hope that he has a purpose here; that there is a reason he was captured.
I know it’s been awhile since Christmas, that’s when I started to lose track of the days. The only thing that is big about me is my beard; they don’t want to give out anything sharp. It is so hot down here. I must sweat three times more than I drink. I am so thirsty all of the time. I’ve seen a lot of men drop down dead because a lack of water. Even the ‘camp counselors’ are a little dry in the throat. It feels like each thought is sucking a drop of water from me. So tired.
A period in time that exists in the year of 2024
They say it’s Hurricane season here and I should know when that is, but I don’t recall it anymore, Kyle thinks as he is huddles in the barracks with fellow men. The wind screams at the doors and scratches to be let in. On the roof are a millions of unfulfilled dreams crying from the Heavens with each one louder than the previous. A standing form of dilapidation is the barracks that shake and give away against the outside enemy, and yet the buildings are stronger than the people.
There are screams and whispers floating through the tightly packed room of what the destruction will be. Crops, buildings, lives? But for most, they just sleep through it, trying to get any rest at any time.
My standard issue cloths itch against me with the sweat and high humidity in the air, I’m clamy for the first time since I arrived here. The fabric prickles against my back in such a way that no amount of scratching will fix. I pick at the dead skin from work and sunburns on my feet, hands, face, knees, arms, everywhere, I feel nothing, but the calming sense of numbness. It starts to bleed, I start to bleed, I watch and don’t do anything because I haven’t seen something so vibrant since I left America. When I was seven, I remember crying and asking for Ultimate Spider-Man band-aids because it was ‘the worst pain I’ll ever feel in my entire life. I’ll never feel more pain than this. I need Spider-Man’s Web Bandages.’ I had hit my funny bone on a table. If only what I had said at the time were true.
Today is the first day it has ever rained here, it is nice to know that Mother nature still has that capability, but she doesn’t have to go out in such force. No matter how bad the rain howls I still want to go outside and twirl like a little girl ballerina and feel the rain. I want water, uncaring whether it is dirty or not, to touch my skin. I want to feel the presence of H2O on my thirsty, dry, cracked skin. I need to feel the liquid that slides down my parched throat, slide down my arm, legs, hair.
My day dreams becomes almost too compelling as I try to get up, but remember I’ll be shot if even one of the guards has a suspicion that I will try to escape. I ease myself down again and let my thoughts wander elsewhere.
Hours pass, bodies are moved and stretched, guards change shifts, and the unhappy married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hurricane, final decide to divorce and the storm passes.
The guards command us to go outside and start to survey the damage, but after they have made sure there wasn’t any perimeter breeches. Kyle starts to wonder if he should have been nicer to Teresa if she felt this way when he gave her commands. If I didn’t know that this was a war zone before, I would be without a doubt that it is now. Palm trees, shingles, house knick-knacks, liter the camp. We are order to start cleaning up the camp with the guards at our back and the mud at our feet we do so.
Mud is thick, full of spilted wood and plants, mud; not the mud after it rains in the backyard when I’d go searching for worms that came up. The mud-tar sticks onto our bare feet and holds them down like Hell trapping us, but we are crawling back to the surface.
One man falls down picking up a branch. He is too weak and weary to get back up. A friend notices and tries to pull him to his feet. The friend sucked in the mercies of mud falls too and is unable to rise. So the two men drown in the six inch deep muck. The men drown in, back home the length of a iPhone, but here it is the depth of death. We clean up the trees, the debris, the bodies.
I’m glad it’s raining again so that no one can distinguish my tears from the rain drops.
Sometime later in the year of 2024
They’ve said tomorrow we will have a feast, Kyle thinks as he works. I can’t quite remember, but I think that is something bad about it. It is so hard to remember anything outside what life is like here. I remember the soft carpeting of my house from when I get up late in the summer and how my feet aren’t supposed to be bloody. I remember the warmness of hot chocolate after sledding with Jack, Ben and . . . my other friend and how that made everything feel safe and quench my thirst. I remember the glow of tablet screen from hours of homework and researching the war that I am now a victim of.
No, I’m not a victim. I signed up for this. If this is where I am supposed to be then I’ll be here as long as I can. Maybe my purpose isn’t to end the war or a great act of courage, but to delay the end so that my nation can win. I remember reading books, those dusty old things, and everyone remembers the hero, but so often he just comes in at the right time and does the right thing; my purpose is to set up that for him. In here, I won’t be the all saving hero, I accept that, but won’t I accept is that I have no purpose here, no meaning to my life anymore. Everyone always got to have a purpose otherwise they will have no life. This plague of the minds that Borcez has set in motion has made us fall from grace, but we are crawling from Hell and hoping for reincarnation in a better life.
Oh life, Life cereal that was the best to munch on when doing nothing but nothing. I want a do-nothing day again. I want a summer-of-eighth-to-freshmen-year day where I can wake up late and lazily spoon over Instant Oatmeal and talk to my friends and not care about the future. I remember taking showers with the warm water immersing in mind-numbing routine, I want that so bad. I remember laying out on the roof even when Mom and Dad said not to and counting the stars. Now I count the breaths of people and how sometimes, sadly, I hear a breath not being exhaled again. I remember life and how it isn’t supposed to be this way.
The day after last in the year of 2024
Today is the day of the feast! Kyle thinks as he and his fellow ‘campers’ drudge to the large building where they will receive their food. I don’t think I’ve had more than a piece of bread every other day for . . . a long long time. I, honestly, don’t care what I have I just want real food with some substance to it. I just want something that doesn’t taste like French Toast without the sugar, or cinnamon, or syrup, or vanilla or any of the ingredients that makes French Toast something that people would actually eat. I would be fine if it was French Toast, but I want it the way Mom would make it on Sunday mornings. If the feast was even a plain turkey sandwich, I would honestly believe Santa was real and gave me the best present anyone could get.
It’s so crowded in here, how are they going to pass out the food? I look up and all around to see if there is some sort of space to send the food through, but all I see is sprinklers like they have in schools. It might just be the lighting, but I think something is coming out of them even though there isn’t a fire.
I remember something about a girl and her experiences with a feast. I wonder what ever happened to her? I wonder what happened to my friends from school? I know there was a draft sometime when one of the soldiers who didn’t want to be here killed himself somehow, but I don’t really remember the details. I wonder if my father or Mr. . . my history teacher had to go into the service? The stuff that is coming out of the sprinklers is really heavy in the air now.
The girl and the feast, what about them? Something about people not coming out ever again? Am- Am I not going to get food like they told us we were? Is this a hoax? Is this a death chamber? Yes, this is a death chamber. I’m going to die for what hand I tap my phone with the most. I am going to die for which hand I cut my steak with. No, I am going to die for my country because that is what I knew might happen. I am going to die for my beautiful country with honor, and grace and meaning, and –
May we never forget the heroes; may we never forget the corrupted. May we never forget the destruction; may we never forget the creation. May we never forget the sacrifices; may we never forget the selfishness. May we never forget the suffering; may we never forget the celebration. May we never forget the people who showed up for the fight, but didn’t win the war; may we never forget the people whose excuse was that they were just following orders. May we never forget the dead; may we never forget the survivors. May we never forget the world; may we never forget the people. May we never forget the mistakes; may we never forget the success. May we never forget the abominations; may we never forget we are humans. May we never forget the victories; may we never forget the defeats. May we never forget.