I loved the way she said ‘balloon’. She said it as if she were blowing bubbles. Her ecstatic ‘baugh’ sound perfectly matched with the ‘loon’ that would come out lazily. She was my star child. My link to the Heaven’s above. My essence in this void of nothingness, my shining light, my everything; and it was my task to find her.
Twenty-eight hours earlier, our humble home was ransacked by the Kami’s. The Church of Kami is a weird fucked-up religious cult that had determined that my daughter of seven years was somehow the third Messiah. I had been asleep, only for a second, I swear I only closed my eyes for a second! But that was all the time they needed. I had felt, for some time now, that we were being watched, but I figured that unintelligible paranoia was what came with the territory of being a father.
As I fell into my slumber they snuck in and threw restraints and a blindfold on me. They pushed me from my chair and I laid helplessly on my chest. I couldn’t tell how many infiltrated, but I knew immediately they weren’t coming in peace. I struggled to free myself from the cold, metallic, body-cuff, but was unable to. I screamed out to my daughter, Angelica, to hide, but I knew it was too late. I couldn’t hear her. Only the muffled shuffle of feet across my carpet as the goons moved around my house.
Suddenly everything stopped. No sounds, no breathing, no moving. Nothing. I perked my head up slightly, trying to sense something, anything. My blindfold came off and crouching down, only inches in front of my face, was Him. Black, beady, soulless eyes which sit in a ghostly pale face with equally pale hair stare back into mine. His hair falls right above his eyebrows in a fashionable bowl-cut style. His face is abnormally skinny and sucked up unnaturalistically from years of fasting and usage of the previously outlawed ‘Cure’ drug. His thin chapped lips crackle into a smile as he sees in my eyes that he is recognized, either that or he believed I recognized this situation was going to be fucked up very quickly.
“It is not nice,” He begins. His rancid breath strikes my nose and makes me grimace. An air of superiority soups from his mouth as he enunciates every syllable, seemingly letting his tongue touch every letter. His slow, monotonously high-pitched voice would be comical in any other situation though. “To hang onto and hide things that do not belong to you. You are filthy. You are the type of pestilence that panicked the Herd astray and made the Forsaken appear.”
The face of the Kami cult, Dulche-Dulche, stood to his feet and stepped back. The seemingly ageless man in a violet velour one-piece bodysuit sighed and stared at me. The eccentric man flaunts a style of clothing he claims to have worn back in the “Before Time”. His attire is always wildly colorful and attention grabbing. From leggings that turn into boots and shirts that fall down past his ankles. Most of his clothing wouldn’t fit through a normal sized door because of the angles and other protuberances his clothing often has.
Dulche-Dulche is a slender man with a mask on for God. He calls himself, and those that follow him, ‘Soldiers of the Herd.’ The ‘Herd’ being the last of humanity left after the atrocities that occurred after the second coming of the Messiah. The government disintegrated and a movement of religious ‘enlightenment’ gave birth to the Second Crusade. The wave of massacre and genocide that swept across the globe crippled the already declining population. Our world was blown to pieces. Nuclear fallout poisoned the oceans and sullied the land. Earth, now, is nothing more than a poisoned desert surrounded by an even more toxic mass of water.
Dulche-Dulche looked toward one of his men and motioned toward me. The man lifted me effortlessly and sat me back in the chair. The cold restraints tightened and dug even deeper into my skin. I winced slightly, but stared at Dulche-Dulche.
“A child with wings, the one who fell from the Bastion of Heaven,” he stepped toward me and lifted his slender leg and put his pointed heel boots on my chest. He nudged me back slightly and the chair lifted so that only the back legs are on the floor. “This child will lead us to the Third Coming of our Messiah.”
He nudged me back further and chuckled. His right hand slowly reached up to the left side of his mouth and he rubbed at his lips with his wrist, as if removing drool.
“You should thank me for not letting my Angels rip you apart. Goodbye.” Dulche-Dulche kicked me back and I fell to the floor hard. I rolled out of the chair and caught a glimpse of the men leaving.
“NO!” I screamed out to the assailants. The restraints, aptly named the ‘Python’ by its distributors, squeezed even further into my body. Breathing became difficult as I tried to exhale. I didn’t care though, I didn’t know how, but I had to get her back. I had to get my daughter.
Knowing the failsafe for the device I began to hold my breath. Because this device was made for peace-keeping and not being lethal, all one has to do is cease movement for 60 seconds and it will detach itself. Of course, complete lack of movement for a minute is much harder when your captors move you around to reset the timer.
As I sat and waited for the Python to release I began to think of a way to get my Amgelica back. I knew for a fact that Dolche-Dolche was taking her back to Heaven, but getting to Heaven, especially the journey past Heaven’s Bastion, was much easier said than done. Hell, I didn’t even know if I actually could get into Heaven. I’d heard stories from back in the days when merchants and even Hunters of Forsaken would speak of being invited to Heaven’s Bastion and seeing the entrance of Heaven. Though each account was somewhat different they all saw a heavily guarded door with “Heaven” written plainly across the door frame. Never have I heard of what goes on past those doors though.
Getting to Heaven’s Bastion would be an immense task itself. The heavily guarded military base is a mass of land lifted five miles above sea level and held there by anti-gravity technology. The Church of Kami would lead one to believe, especially the children, that it was the miraculous grace of God that lifted the land mass that ‘slowly’ rises to Heaven. When in actuality the military moved the mass of earth upwards for two reasons. With most of the Earth in ruin, the Bastion would be a military regulated Mecca in which all things must past through it to be certified as ‘pure’. Anything un-‘pure’ is illegal. This leads to the next reason in why the mass was moved upwards. The crater left behind is used as a water purifying area and pure water is heavily sought after. 98% of the water is shipped directly to the Bastion, while the rest is given out to the highest bidder in the outskirts. It’s funny, even when hell befalls Earth and its people, money still reigns supreme in man’s mind.
Though I didn’t understand the exact technology used in keeping the land afloat I knew that seven bases around the mass kept the generators for the anti-gravity machines running. The only way to reach the Bastion is by a flight machine from the Before time. These relics from the past are only flown to The Bastion and back to the Earth. The only people with the knowledge to fly the ancient machines are the elite military force named the Angels.
The Angels are funded by the Church of Kami and jointly governed by the military, though the Church really holds all of the power. The men and women of the Angels are imbued with the purest form of the adrenaline pumping drug, Cure, and have been trained to die protecting the Will of God. The Angels are faster, stronger, more reactive and almost animalistic in their approach to a fight. The first prototype Angels were used in the Second Crusade to obliterate the last standing ‘Earth government’ and turned the tide of the war in the Church’s favor.
The restraint finally unlocks and I am able to free myself. I quickly try to gather myself and move to the edge of my living room.