Author: Anthony Rove
I am sorry, Samuel. You are thirteen and a man. Today, we go to The Grid.
Oh, nephew. Shed your tears in here with me. You are a man now. And, as a man, it is okay to be frightened. It is okay to cry. I cry sometimes too. Sometimes, I am so scared that I press my palms against my ears until I can’t hear anything except my own blood pumping away.
But we men must always cry in secret. Don’t ever let anyone else see you cry. As of today, it is up to you to protect your mother and your sister and everyone else. The women have enough to worry about, eh? They worry about the food, and the shelter, and the tribunal, and the disgusting heretics. That is a lot to worry about. They don’t need to worry about the ‘tons as well. We protect them from the ‘tons. And we do our best to protect them from the fear, too. So finish crying before we leave. Fear is an infection. Don’t contaminate them.
I know you’ve heard stories about the ‘tons. I know because, when I was a boy, other boys would drive me crazy with these tales. My friends would insist that some ‘tons are over fifty feet tall—as big as a pre-incident building! They would tell me that some ‘tons are so small that they could crawl into a man’s ear without him even realizing it. There is truth to these stories, nephew. But do not dwell on them. Instead, reflect on your catechism.
In the beginning, God made the world and God made man. And man lived in harmony with the world. As long as God played the role of the creator, and mankind played the role of the created, it was good. But Samuel, you know that mankind is too arrogant for such an arrangement to last. Mankind insisted on becoming the creator. And mankind created its monstrosities—the ‘tons.
The first ‘ton’s which mankind made were small, no bigger than a man’s fist. They were metal, but not particularly hearty. However, mankind had foolishly endowed them with the four essential qualities of life: movement, discernment, aggression, and reproduction.
The ‘tons were meant to be weapons—attack dogs. Once released, they could topple entire nations in a matter of weeks. By design, they were supposed to move only in certain places; to find only certain kinds of people; to kill only a certain number; to build new ‘tons only a finite number of times.
But the ‘tons slipped the leash. It took only one error. A single ‘ton refused to stop reproducing when it was supposed to. It kept assembling more ‘tons in its own image. Its children began building more in turn. Once they could repopulate unchecked, the ‘tons evolved just like any other living thing. Now they have no artificial limits. They kill indiscriminately and without limit. Today, there are no more nations to topple.
Just when the end seemed inevitable, God once again became flesh. In the Second Coming, Christ did not die to atone for our sins. No, we must atone for our own sins by living in this broken world. Instead, Christ built The Grid: that divine work of technology which keeps the ‘tons away.
In exchange, Christ commanded humanity to stop tinkering with its petty machines. Your brother, Levi, broke this covenant. Attempting to harness electricity in any fashion is unforgivable.
Today, you expel your brother from The Grid and watch the ‘tons devour his body. Today, you see the price of sin.
A fine piece of in-character, in-world narration.
I created an account just to comment that this a very beautiful work. It would be a good prolouge for a novel too. The collision of religion and technology here was perfect and thought provoking– well done.