Silence filled the void throughout an underground lair unknown to the conscience world. Buried underneath a cave, where only a selected few know about and study its repetitive cycle. The chosen few, known to the world as the Illiterates, thrive on its blessing and inherit its tradition. Their shadows slither every corner while their chants linger in the air. Their presence is ever known. Their mark etched across the world, immortalizing the dynasty of predestination. Annually, they gather amongst the cave to celebrate their all merciless God.
For many generations, they have dominated all others. Out from the chaos they have ensued, they thrive; building nations that would stand the test of time. They hack every secret, will every soul and oppress every revolution. This is the little cult that could and would, leaving those who have been awakened by their deception with the mistakes they’ve made to expose every lie to the sleeping world; only to be discredited as accusations. They know no boundaries and fear no fate.
Nothing but the candle light torched at their hands light every turn and every twist. It is but what little the candle light can reveal of those who enter its maze. Demons disguised as men cloaked in black follow a familiar trail down the dark corridors of the wondrous cave. A hooded figure wore hooves for hands as he swung a cow’s head side by side; blood smearing his robe at every tug. The figure crept into demonic realms alone, guided only by faint whispers.
His echo haunted the emptiness as he slithered through the maze. He roamed the paths blind by the obscurity in the abyss. He bowed to keep the restless away. His chant, a protective incantation, kept the evil at a distance. Broken skulls lay on the ground, chains scattered in the dirt, and dusty webs hung all around. The cave was Deaths home; the chosen ones were His disciples. He wandered, lost in the bottomless pit of hell, until he reached a dead end.
The hooded figure spoke in a language no longer spoken. Slowly, the walls before him opened. Light flickered in the dark, damning ghostly demons back to the shadows. Behind the opening wall stood a group of cloaked personas worshiping a trance maiden in a circle. A beast carved on the wall resembled a man infused with an eagle’s head crowned with large antlers. Big black alien eyes glared straight into the soul. The beast had broad shoulders and a chiseled chest. Feathers in fur clothed the beast who resided in the cave. His right hand held a straw of wheat while his left claw wielded a sphere.
Fire blazed in the altar below their mural, illuminating their alien God. The cloaked figure pulled his hood back, revealing an elderly pope, as he made his way inside to his position. Bloody horns replaced his halo. Darkness consumed his eyes, engulfing his spirit with rage. An upside down cross scarred the center of his forehead. Once they were all in place the ceremony would commence. The elder raised his hand to the heavens and spoke again.
One by one, the others revealed themselves; a circus of demons masked in wealth. Woman and man stood in a circle as their token maiden mumbled in ecstasy. A crown made of silver thorns shimmered in the dark, glorifying their prophet. They each waited in silence as the elder finished their prayer. They ended their praise in unison, addressing their definitive ruler. The ritual was about to begin, building towards new life.
Fumes rose from the altar, drums roared in silence. The maiden, spellbound by their incantation, emerged from her bed and began to dance; lost in her diluted mind. Her robe fell as she swooned, naked and exposed. She twirled, swayed her arms back and forth to the rhythm of their chants. Her long auburn hair followed her every move. Her bright blue eyes rolled to the back of her head as visions smothered her subconscious. She danced gracefully, simultaneously caressing her belly. The child she would soon birth rattled from the substance while its mother pranced in bliss.
The room began to spin as she twirled, unaware of whom she was or who she was with. The fumes clouded her mind with false hopes and dreams. Her doubts melted as the high kicked into over drive. Their spell deepened, hummed low deep within her mind. Their demonic masks and preying hunger fueled her trip as she spiraled out of control. She later screamed as blood leaked from underneath her, trickling down her thigh. She was aware but couldn’t function. The high kept her climbing but the pain brought her down.
She grasped her stomach, aching from the sharp pain that throbbed in her lower spine. The others remained in their spot, furthering their chant repetitively. The room kept spinning as she frantically mumbled for help. Fear dropped her to the ground as their masks taunted her all around. She gripped both sides of her stomach and pushed with all her might. “God, help me!” She screamed as her baby began to crown. She closed her eyes as white pain shot straight up her back, numbing her into consciousness.
The birth was over before she knew it. Her son cried in the dark as the masked demons gathered around their sleeping beauty. The elder cradled the baby as he walked towards the altar. The baby nibbled on the saint’s bloody finger while he nested in his arms. The troubled maiden was coming back, dazed from the high, frightened by the shadows that surrounded her. “Where’s…” she struggled, “...my baby?”
The boy giggled as the elder toyed with his cheeks. The flesh of a new born brought a grin of delight in his dead aging eyes for he envied the child’s clean slate. He adjusted the few strands of hair to one side while cradling the boy, whispering wise words of enlightenment. “Cain was not the first.” He commented as they stood by the fire. “This world breeds no heroes.” He raised the boy to their God, “We praise the sinners and damn the pure. Power is salvation, chaos is our cure.”
Straight in the fires of Hell, Satan’s den where souls burn for a lifetime in despair never to see a ray of hope. There, at the altar, the baby kicked and screamed as he incinerated into ashes. A sacrifice for their God, to keep their throne and power, will forever be met. The elder stood by the fire as the baby’s chorus harmonized with its mother’s torture by the masked demons behind him. Alone in the cave, buried deep down its crevices, screams whisper to the lingering souls trapped taken by the Illiterates in honor of their imminent God.
Their reigning queen joined the elder as he remained by the altar. Her shimmering silver crown tainted in blood sparkled by the flames. Her mentor spoke in a language known only by them, the editors of history. “A prophecy has been foretold,” she repeated. “Yet we stand.” The elder turned to her and remained silent. Together they stood by the altar as the remaining bones cracked in the fire.
The screams eventually faded into echoes vanishing into whispers. As the last ember died with the fire, the cave became hollow. The walls opened once more. The beast remained in his throne, consumed by the dark, as his last disciple spoke those magical words. The walls closed, the elder and the others began their journey back to the living. Up the trail they went, peeling away their masks and prosthetics. Smearing away the blood, and bringing back the life in their dead soulless eyes.
Out of the cave they emerged as humans. The demons that once roamed the endless maze were now of man with man faces and man-like agendas. They dispersed, back to a structured settlement governed by the lies they tell; leading the world to a future they’ve design. They return to their place in the world, back home to their families and the responsibilities they’ve inherited from their forefathers to their forefathers. An opening at the bottom of a trench hid the entrance to their lair.
Where some aspire, they acquire a unique set of tools needed to succeed in a world no longer free. Tools assembled for greatness given to the right set of hands can become a power far greater than any written law. These are the tools their God descended onto them for a purpose, for a cause. A torch turned ablaze, a dim spark that ignited a barrage of ideas; one simple tool that fell from the universe now dominated the will of man evolving with the times.
Machine tools molded from iron tinkered to perfection was a growing source of new power. Accessible to all, no man rich or poor would live a life without their devices. They empowered man, giving them the tools they need to overcome any obstacle. Unknown to the consumer, their blessing was but a curse in disguise. The very same tools man used to fight corruption were the same tools used against them, though they would never know. No one would ever understand for who would believe in such an accusation?
Edgar Hemingway, the last member to drive off, sat in his car in silence as the sun began to rise. The hill that sheltered his God stood feet away, deserted with nothing but wildlife. A majestic scenery of deep greens and thick trees surrounded their mecca; a perfect haven for their imperfect God. He cleared his head before heading back home. The world kept spinning with the times, changing for the better or worse in women and man.
Secluded in a town silent to the world, a tower stood alone above the rest while monitoring its sheep. A twenty feet high building with reflective mirrors was the chosen ones main headquarters. Selected by government officials, trained by professional analysts and indicted by a secret hoard the premises as they collect information gathered through their sweeps. Data hidden in the pool of knowledge found by tags and filters awaits secrets not yet revealed to the waking world.
Up the seventeenth floor, Edgar dragged himself to his cubical. The same people who waited for his arrival were there to greet him as always. “Happy New Years,” they’d say. The New Year was anything but new. To him, they were the same people only different attitudes; same problem, different time. Once the elevator stopped at his floor, a whole new wave of greetings were in motion.
What’s this, he noticed a red dot blinking in his monitor as he sat down in his cubical, have we found another prophet? “How is anyone to obey the law when they themselves don’t follow their own?” Edgar read out loud as his monitor lit up. The seventeenth floor, known as the Secret Agency Intel Division, is where they operate; setting their distress call, their traps, for whoever takes the bait. Anyone under level five were not allowed clearance to the seventeenth floor. Only those who know the secret, members of the deity, work in the seventeenth floor; gathering vital information.
With just a few clicks, Edgar read and knew everything that there is to know about their new target. Social security number, bank accounts, hospital records, family members; everything was in their disposal. Once Edgar printed his findings, he bolted to the control center where his supervisor supervised. He crossed the room, noticing his fellow brethren doing the same. Each had their own duty, their own targets to exploit.
“We got another writer,” Edgar began, “People are just never satisfied.” He placed his findings on his supervisor’s desk and continued, “It’s been a while since the last time the computer woke up. What a marvelous pool of endless wonder.” He gloated over what the computer had generated for he has had poor luck the past few months, while everyone around him kept finding new material to source.
“That’s the power of technology.” Kingston Orwell replied, his supervisor. “Never underestimate their algorithm, that’s what they’re made for.”
“Well this one sure thinks he can save the world.” He paused, “Here’s what I’ve gathered from his data; seems promising, for a dropout.”
“Promising, but we’ve found better.” Orwell questioned as he skimmed through the files. “None-the-less, we cannot let this one flourish.” Orwell set the papers handed to by Edgar aside and walked beside his desk. “Hemingway, is it?” He asked, “Let’s have a walk shall we.” Orwell and Edgar stepped into an elevator beside the bookcase and ascended up the watch tower. “No spark shall be left unnoticed. It’s a shame none will surpassed their potential.”
“They view themselves as God yet have no concept of the meaning.” Edgar answered. “People can’t handle certain information, especially the kind of information we’re attaining. It’s not that people wouldn’t understand it’s just that they don’t understand. They need people like us to help them understand. Why panic when you can let your officials take care of the problem. It’s why we’re here in the first place. To serve and protect.”
“And yet you have hoodlums and thugs criminalizing our system, exploiting every loophole, demanding every cent,” Orwell replied, fuming over the rules his predecessors created for the people to abide; but don't. A chime rang in the air as the elevator came to a stop. The doors opened to a familiar group who sat in a round table while observing their monitors. Edgar instantly recognized the people from the ceremony.
“Hemingway,” Orwell began, “Have a seat.” Edgar made his way to the only empty chair. “We have found another would be activist with a strong faith,” they smirked, “Yet dares to defy ours.” Orwell passed the folder Edgar printed down the line as they each questioned who their new victim was. “What we do is simple,” he continued, “We tag certain people who have the potential to solve our problems. Who may remember what we've forgotten. We don’t necessarily have to monitor everyone, that’s crazy. No, we only tag those who seek enlightenment because it is they who provide us with the knowledge, the tools and insight, we need to succeed.”
“We give them the motivation they need to achieve their best, we inspire them to dream bigger and they supply us with the answers.” Orwell added on a lighter note. “We get them to talk one way or the other. We entice their mind to our design. We fill their heads with tales of wonder. We give them riddles of mystery so they can solve our misery. We plant the seed and watch it grow. Everyone wins.”
“They say we are playing God,” Emma Dickens made a sudden remark; their supreme prophet who solved the algorithm, built their machine and successfully carried them to glory, “I say why play God when we have the tools to be more than just that. They say we are taking people’s chance for a better future when some of them weren't born in our country so why should their dreams come true." She paused, "Man has evolved. These people are nothing but egotistical self-absorbed narcissists who want nothing but fame and fortune handed to them on a silver platter.”
“They forget,” Orwell commented, “That it is us who decide whose future is worth investing and whose fate is for the taking. Our nation is stronger than ever, had it not been to the information we’ve attained by monitoring intellectuals. We must never forget who we are; Illiterates, watchers of Man. We were given this purpose, this cause, to build a better future; one where we get to decide whose name will go down in history. Our methods may seem radical, but we only serve for the good of mankind. We alter history as it should be told.”
“We had a system once,” Orwell continued, “Only to become corrupted by those we’ve saved. Now, we only invest in the best and we won't settle for less. I won’t have some activist stifle that design. They get in our way so we get in theirs. Though no one is getting in our way for it is us who are getting in everyone else’s.” He looked around the room, “And who will stop us? We have become too big of a risk to fail.” They each sat, gloating in their throne, silently brewing a warrant for someone’s arrest. They have all the power they need and more to make any plan come to fruition, not even their own laws can stop them.
“The question now is, what should we do with this one,” asked Al Huxley, one of their brethren. “He’s awake, we can’t let him live; he knows too much.”
“That we cannot,” Orwell replied, “And that we must do.”
“First we must show him how the universe works.” Emma answered.
“I say we kidnap him and put him in the camps with the others,” Harper Twain added, “Why wait, make him work.”
“That may work for the Chinese but it won’t silence the rest.” Emma replied.
“Let us use the laser.” Alma Wells suggested, “It’s never failed before.”
“Cancer is a slow though painful death, but no.” Orwell replied. “We’re dealing with a man of faith, let’s not forget. What better toy to break and watch as we shatter his believes. Pull his medical records and see if a certain organ is still intact. Let’s see what his God has to say about our little intervention.” Orwell instructed his clan to their positions. Their monitors ran, data scrolled as they hacked themselves into information kept safe by the same organization intended to protect.
Information was the new source of empowerment, as it has always been. By obtaining leverage gathered through their sweeps, peoples lives were now under their control. Those who oppose were oppressed. The good became puppets for the bad as they became masters of the free world. The world was evolving; power was evolving to control while the rest did nothing but watch it unfold. Don’t believe, just watch and let your officials take care of you was their motto; but what would you believe?
These aristocratic figures are anything but illiterate. This highly intelligent sophisticated secret society, that no one knows about but do, stems from generations to generations dating back to the discovery of fire. They’ve infiltrated every system, amended any constitution to fit their design. Their power holds no bounds. Judges and lawyers, bankers and doctors to generals and presidents; their members reign on top of the world for the rest to idolize and abide.Their tower stands as they watch over the heavens and beyond, exploiting every secret and foreseeing every spark. Their mark immortalized throughout the land, praised by many, symbolized by stacks of green showering over the privileged stood the test of time and time again. Their all seeing God is ever known, providing them a throne to pass on His teachings to their next of kin. The Illiterates, editors of history and watchers of man, devise a future they deem fair for in this world there are no happy endings but theirs.