2 Cents

 Inspired by the Urban Legend of derailing a train with a penny, the inability to sleep last night and “Parade” by Susumu Hirasawa

 

It was the dead of winter and for whatever reason the subways of new york were all cold. My mom told me that there is so much machinery down here, working all the time, that it should never get too cold when in the deeper part of the subway system, plus you know, “beneath the frost layer”. So anyway, it’s freezing, so of course everyone is bundled up. It was a sunday so there weren’t that many people on the platform. Many of the people who were there had long jackets on making them look like Mr. Treacher from Hot Fuzz, you know, the old guy who ended up having a shotgun under his coat? Well for the most part thats how everyone looked.

I was standing there, waiting for the 2 train so I could finally get to my buddy’s apartment uptown. Then out of nowhere, these two MTA workers came down the platform in a mad dash. They were peeling and posting rather large poster sized stickers on every wall-like surface they could find. They weren’t saying anything though.

“Must be some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign.” Someone from behind me said.

I co-signed with that thought and just watched the madness unfold. When they got to the front of the platform, they dropped the few remaining posters they had. Mostly everyone was watching by now in earnest curiosity. They each reached into their pockets and pulled out two small circular objects. I was pretty far from them but I could at least hear what they were saying clearly.

 

“TWO CENTS! You did not ask for it, but we will provide it. Would you stop a robbery from happening 4 feet from you?”

One of them walked over to a woman and grabbed her bag. She like everyone else was enjoying the little show they were putting on so she didn’t put up a fight.

“Would you let your assailant take your belongings with no restraint? How would you react to someone about to take their own life? Would you let it happen? Or would you move to preserve that ever so precious light? What if we were murderers!”

The two pulled out guns from underneath their jackets. The girl had an assault rifle, and the guy had some massively sized hand gun. They aimed at the crown and fired. Small little flags popped out that read bang, everyone laughed. The train was finally coming and they two actors yelled in unison.

“Two cents can be useless, or very powerful. Like a coin on the train tracks!”

They jumped down and I could see that everyone was a little anxious now. The train was coming closer and we could feel the station start to vibrate from the massive train. They each placed their coins on the tracks and in one smooth motion, grabbed their posters and said, just before the train drowned them out.

“Ours and many others’ 2 cents will change the world this day!”

They ran up the stairs, the girl still carrying the womans purse. As she yelled the train came in the station. I heard a loud ping and from the corner of my eye I saw something flash. I instinctively ducked and someone behind me shrieked, then there was a another loud sound. The train had jumped the tracks, slammed through a support beam and everything just became screaming/running bodies, shards of tiles, exploding cement, and torn metal. I turned to run from the train, which had also taken out the stairs the 2 cent psychos ran up and I saw why I heard the shriek. The bright flash I saw was one of the coins, it had found a home in someone’s face. My stomach churned threatening to send me to my knees but the grinding sound from behind kept me running, so I did both.

I finally got to the stairs and as I topped them the ground from beneath me shook violently. I looked back down the steps and saw nothing but train. A woman had just made it, only 1 second from becoming ground meat. I helped her up and we ran as fast as we could topside. As soon as we topped the steps I fell over and puked again. The woman did the same.

“That guy!”She yelled after wiping her mouth.

“The penny was…”

“In his face.” I finished.

I was crying and she looked as anyone would after witnessing what we had just seen. Eyes wide and shaking with the rest of her body. She must’ve been the person who shrieked from behind me.

“C’mon we have to get to a police station or…”

The words were wiped from my mind as I looked around. My hearing went out and I heard nothing but a loud ringing. There were people running like mad everywhere. A bus was being overturned and blue and red lights were everywhere. The posters the two from the subway were hanging were everywhere. Windows, bus-stops, buildings light poles. It was unreal, I couldn’t hear anything and chaos was all around us. I helped the woman up and I pointed to one of the posters. She was still shaky but we moved closer to it. There were dollar signs with wings and pig snouts on them, purple clouds in the shape of a skull and crossbones. The statue of liberty was holding a rifle and was standing in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The dollar pigs were flying out of the windows of the building and there were ants with the American flag painted on their bodies walking by the statues feet. I read it out-loud even though I could only hear ringing still.

“When pigs first flew in the 20’s many were scared. But now our very air is no longer our own. We are being exposed to the noxious sickness and elemental irresponsibility of others and are dying from the results. Yet no one cares to bat an eyelash. Engrossed in ourselves failing to realize what’s going on around us. Some have tried to set things right.”

There was a picture of a Guy Fawkes mask next to that sentence.

“But the meddling of the Negative Light made them an example, too powerful for anyone to contest…Until now. Listen for dial tone and join us.”

My vision started to go white and I looked at the woman. She still looked terrified and I could feel her hands on my jaw bone, then I passed out. It was weird though, I could feel my body being dragged and I knew I was ok. Then as if I was dreaming, I saw something. A purple flame with a white and yellow core and tinges of blue. I saw it and I felt so calm and peaceful. For a moment I could have sworn I knew everything. Then I heard voices, not in my head, they sounded like they were coming from a t.v. It must’ve been the news.

 

“Yesterday this was the scene at all of the worlds Major cities as well as many other smaller metropolitan areas. Posters seemingly designed for each culture worker ants, and flying dollar pigs for America, drugs and guns for Mexico. Robots and gun toting anime girls for japan. They haven’t told us their name yet but each poster seems to be calling more people to their ranks. Asking people to “Listen to the dialtone.” After I saw each poster I immediately scoured numerous irc’s looking to see if anyone knew what was going on.”

Ok this is clearly an internet news site, guy said he was combing internet relay chats. I opened my eyes and saw that I was not in my house.

“My head…”

“You’re finally up! Dude you’ve been out for like a whole day.”

It was the woman from the train station.

“Thanks for not leaving me in the city.”

“We puked together, I’d say that was a bonding experience.”

She smiled, it seemed she was dealing with what happened fairly well. In an instant everything from, apparently yesterday, came flooding back and I saw that guys face and the body parts from when the train took out the stairs almost killing this woman. Perhaps I turned green because she immediately pointed to the bathroom.

I stared into the mirror for a few seconds after washing my face and I heard the news reporter from the live-stream. This was certainly the strangest form of the news I’d ever heard.

“Just got a text from my source. He’s cracked the code on their website and I’m looking at it right now and it’s pretty intense. My source says he’s been on it for at least 2 hours and the same song keeps playing. It’s in japanese so he can’t figure out who’s singing or what the lyrics are… Alright guys I’m calling out to the twitter verse, Follow me @theActualNewz, thats news with a z, and help me figure out what this song is.”

He played a bit of it but I knew what song it was immediately. I shot out of the bathroom and looked at the rather large set of computer monitors.
“So how’s your stomach?”

“Shh!”

She looked at me with a confused face as I tried to remember the lyrics.

“kyouki no PAREEDO ga kuru KIMI no na no moto ni.”

“You know japanese? Whats the song about” She asked me.

“The parade of terror is coming, and it is in your name”

“Sounds like a serious movie.”

“It is, it’s about…” I paused as the song stopped on the computer and @theActualNewz looked up from his computer.

“Thanks guys as always for getting me the straight facts! It seems this song is by Susumu Hirasawa. It’s called Parade, and it’s pretty much got a bleak message, about how sick society has become. Now as for the site my source says there is a countdown hidden behind the front page. Now I don’t know about you guys but I don’t see how there is any other page besides this one.”

“I’m gonna check the site.” The woman said.

“I’m not sure we should.” I said cautiously. as the guy continued.

“My source says that the really important information is on this page and that adding the extension, hhu3_d4w!hewh3ye_art_^md5!$n4^i!tyllbe@pe3t4(e, will open it up but here’s a warning, the page is extremely graphic and is def NSFW, or for anyone squeamish of ultra violence.”

The woman asked if we should check out the second page again, as she started to enter the url extension, as the reporter yelled.

“Holy shit! Ok, um guys I don’t recommend going. I’ll just, oh god. I’ll just um try to tell you what’s going on.”

The woman’s looked alarmed as she stopped typing the url in. She quickly hit delete and sighed in relief.

“That was close. I saw enough shit yesterday. I am curious though, it takes a lot to make this guy freak out.”

“I’ll take your word on that. By the way, whats your name?”

I was almost embarrassed that it took me so long to ask the person who may very well have saved my life who she was.

“I’m Samara, graphic designer. Thus the two monitor setup.”

“Joaquin, programmer.”

We shook hands and turned our attention back to the guy on the monitor.

“Sorry I didn’t check out the page first guys. I had no way of telling how horrible it was, for any of you who are now scarred for the rest of your lives I’m so, so sorry. For everyone else I’ll try to be as minimal on details as I can. There’s basically a timer and a lot of blood and body parts, it seems that it was pieced together from a bunch of grind-core pictures and video stills. The timer right now is counting 3 months, 24 days, 9 hours, and 50 minutes…. And there’s also a scrolling paragraph, let me read it for you.

“Hopefully you see it now, the horrid path we’ve been walking down. These images have been taken from all over and put together in this fun little package for you to enjoy. Our aim is entropy, of only the highest calibre. There comes a time when being lied to is aggravating beyond all measure. Unfortunately it seemed that too many of us were content with being lied to. Inhumanity rains down upon us all, yet we indulge in this fantasy we’ve created inside the putrid loving voraciousness that is society. That is not to say there aren’t some out there fighting the good fight but they are ignored and left to rot when they are in trouble! That is why we formed, like the mass floating in the Pacific ocean, we are a collection of everything that was forgotten and thrown to the wayside because of something new and exciting. Before our own ignorance drowns us all, we have decided to do something. You may have noticed the anonymous mask on our banners. We are not them, they were crushed by the efficiency of the viral facilities when that bill was passed 3 years ago. Anyone who so much breathed the word Anonymous or Wikileaks, was black listed and silenced.

The plasma of the universe running through 29 will remain, but we hope the vectors in your future are not great. Like a babe, look toward your mother for protection because, like the best way to remove a band-aid, the occult will come forth en mass, both yin and yang. New technology abounds, and if you can hear the silence take heed and be ready. ”

 

I fell back in a chair and Samara looked as terrified as I felt. The ringing in my ears started again. Samara was talking but I could only see her lips moving. My vision whited out again and I saw that purple flame from before and a bolt of lightning shot across it. I felt my self fall over out of the chair and then Samara’s hands on my face. She opened my eyelids, I felt her open my eyelids, but I couldn’t see. Then I felt her jump back and my eyes started twitching. A searing pain shot through my head, then nothing. The flame left and I opened my eyes.

Samara was holding a sword above her head and looked scared and confused at the same time. Her lips were moving and the ringing in my ears started to die down.

“…good so I’d suggest you phone home e.t. Unless you want to be turned into string cheese!”

“What are you talking about Samara?”

She blinked, I guess trying to make sure I was still there or something. The claymore still over her head threatening to, from where she was standing, castrate me.

“Samara, woman who I just met yesterday, explain to me why I’m an alien?”

“Because, Aliens.” came from the computer, spoken by @theActualNewz, probably referencing a tweet one of his viewers sent him with that meme attached. He then proceeded to continue speculating on who this unknown group was.

“Well, Joaquin, if that is your real name…”

“Which it is Samara.” I said cautiously, and calmly.

“Please explain to me why your eyeballs changed while you were unconscious!”

I looked at her like she had three heads, while still not moving, and lying down on the floor propped up on my elbows.

“You know, right now, you sound like a CRAZY PERSON! I passed out, it’s been happening to me increasingly lately. My ears start ringing and everything goes silent, then my vis…”

She cut me off.

“Shut up, you said everything goes silent?!”

“Yeah, it’s not pleasant.”

She lowered the sword slightly, but I dared not move as she started talking again.

“New technology abounds, and if you can hear the silence take heed and be ready. Holy shit dude, go look at your eyes now! Don’t worry I’m not going to kill you.”

I looked at her cautiously and got up slowly, as to not invoke anymore hostility. Facing her, I moved towards the bathroom and quickly got in and locked the door. I looked in the mirror and saw my iris had changed colour.

“Holy shit! My eyes!”

I yelled in panic and heard no response from Samara. I moved closer to the mirror and noticed everything looked more vibrant. It was as if there was a little flame surrounding everything. My iris and pupil had changed shape too, but I couldn’t describe exactly how it looked, it was circular but also had straight lines. I flew out of the bathroom keeping my left eye open with one hand and pointing to it with the other.

“WHATS WRONG WITH MY EYES!”

Samara was getting her coat, hat and gloves. Mine were already on her couch.

“Dude, it’s the crazy people. They did something, with whatever technology they were talking about, that’s what changed your eyes. Either one of them did something to you a while ago and you didn’t notice, like maybe a shot, or a scratch. Or maybe they spiked your drink with some hyper evolution thing. Ooh! Maybe it’s microwaves! I don’t know dude put these on!”

She handed me some contacts that looked like regular hazel iris’s.

“I bought those for a costume this year, they should cover up your eyes while we’re at the store.”

Confused but feeling like it was the right thing to do, I went back to the bathroom and popped them in, and came back out handing her the contact case. She put her hand out as if to say I should keep the case, nodding my head in agreement I started to put my coat on.

“Why are we getting dressed?”

“That manifesto said, “The plasma of the universe running through 29 will remain, but we hope the vectors in your future are not great. Like a babe look toward your mother for protection, because like a band-aid the occult will come forth en mass, both yin and yang.”, We have to stock up on food now, before this becomes big news. I know he said it, but only like 200 people are watching right now.”

I paused with my coat half on.

“So….wait plasma of the universe running through 29. When I blacked out I saw a bolt of lightning, lightning is a plasma, and it’s also electricity. Electricity runs through wires…”

“Number 29 on the periodic table.”

I looked at her surprised that she had that memorized.

“Chemistry is a hobby of mine.”

I nodded and continued.

“So they aren’t targeting power stations…right?”

“That might be what they mean.” She said waving me through the door.

“Also vectors, they said vectors.” I said as I passed her and walked outside.

“Wait this isn’t New York!”

“No the city was getting crazy so I got us in my car and drove back to my house in Pennsylvania.”

“Pennsylvania!? You brought me to your home!”

“Never thought I’d hear that reaction. Well I didn’t know where you lived and in case you forgot, New York was kind of losing its collective mind.”

“You could have checked my drivers license.” I said glaring at her as we walked to her car.

We were surrounded by trees and her driveway seemed to snake quite a ways from the main road.

“You want me to drop you off at a greyhound terminal? I’m sure all of their “vectors” are problem free.”

“They said vectors in the manifesto.”

“Yeah um, “vectors in your future.”” She said while clicking her garage door remote.

“A vector is a combination of destination and, um, magnitude…Oh…” I said feeling dumb.

“Exactly. And the last part, “Like a babe, look toward your mother for protection, because like a band-aid the occult will come forth en mass, both yin and yang.” Or something like that. Meaning, we’re going to have to get everything we need from the planet because the hidden natures of people will come out and over-run everything.”

We got in her car and she rolled out just far enough to close the door.

“Do you actually think they can cause that much pandemonium?”

Samara glared at me, and counted on her fingers.

“Dude, your eyes, the subway.”

“Good point.” I said sheepishly.

 

It’s been 3 months, 24 days, 9 hours and 45 minutes since then and like Sama Kuin said that day, things got worse. For fear of crazy people, we boarded up all of Samara’s windows and barely use lights at night. Sama Kuin say that they have taken over the utility companies and will make sure we have water, gas and electricity.

“Dude isn’t it weird that they are keeping the lights running?”

“Especially with all of their banter about polution.”

“Five minutes left.” Samara said while munching on some Trix. She was wearing her pj’s even though it was still daytime.

The day after @theActualNewz figured out at least part of Sama Kuin’s plan, he found out their name and that it was Finnish for tantamount, or equal. That same day, we noticed that even with the attacks two days prior, the governments were insisting the attack was a one time thing and that they wouldn’t be able to do any more harm. People were on edge and rightfully so. On a bet, Samara and I emptied our bank accounts and bought even more food and gardening supplies than the day before. We spent the whole day shopping, driving back and forth from her house to the different stores. We felt like we were idiots but then, the next day happened. Planes fell out of the sky and airports all over the world were shut down. Unless you were able to get some gas stockpiled for your car, you weren’t going anywhere too far. People everywhere lost their minds, however it seemed that having our power, and running water was pacifying a few people. Samara and I estimated we purchased enough supplies to last us for a year, long enough to get some plants growing at least.

“Hey Samara what do you think…”

Her computer screen flickered, making my voice stick in my throat, it was time.

“This is a representative from Sama Kuin.”

“Dude, what the hell?”

“I don’t know Sam.”

It’s an actual person, not a mask, or crudely drawn cartoon. There’s no dark lighting to obscure her face, or audio trickery to make her sound like jigsaw. Her hair is red, her eyes looking like mine, but yellow instead of my orange. She was standing or sitting in front of a white wall. We can only see her face. There’s no music or sound effects it’s just her, looking at us.

“We’ve kept the light on for this long, in that sense we are your landlords. We’ve pacified the millitary of each country, and torn down your governments. How are you doing so far? We’ve high-jacked your internet today to bring you a brief message. They say that years ago the world went dark for 3 days and that the sun once set in the east and rose on the west. We are here to say that this will happen again. Well not the sunset and sunrise part. Not all who can hear the silence have found us, we are now searching for you all. But we leave you with a final thought. Three earth days? Or Three Mercurian days, perhaps Venusian days are our measuring tool? We’ll let you figure that out, until then…”

“The power went out Sam.”

“Yes…yes it did Jo…”

“Shit.” “Shit.”

 

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