S./The Bearer of STATE - a book by Karin Arink

Chapter 32: red

After the quiet of the limo; the flaring sun, the gory colors of dark red on orange, red on yellow, red on green, slimy dark red on bright shiny red, brownish red on wood, on stone, on cloth, red turning into huge brownish pools, dark red lumps, the white of bone, the grey and brown of tissues not easily recognized, and, worse, shapes still human, half a leg protruding, an arm, a head with holes.
People hurrying to and fro, carrying bodies away, damaged bodies, bodies in pain, hampered by people clinging to the stretchers, people crying at the loss of some relative, some friend, who just a moment before was chatting to them in the April sun, and now, silent, maybe forever silent...
The screaming, the pain, the despair, the anger of the people.

Very still, the simple lines of Her Excellency’s posture show her pain, her compassion. The Secretary of STATE walks around a bit, some Police man pointing out the place where the terrorist triggered the bomb.
The dataFlow cameras take in the quiet face, her brief concerned but inaudible questions, the loss a physical imprint on her gestures, her posture, her face.

> but where is she, that bearer?’
> where is she ow?
> it was her, I tell you, she’s not to be trusted the little terrorist!
> it was she who did this,

There is no more white.
Where once she dwelt in an endless dome of white, the space moving as she moved, ever-changing, now the space is cramped and dangerous, and red, sticky red.
He was here. Matil was here.
The space smells of him, this space was made by him, a cave to lock her into his flesh, to paralyze her with his presence. Always around, but never knowable, this other one, knowing all, holding her captive and dumb. This other one, always invisible, even for STATE. The one who watches her with contempt, with hate, who hopes she might grope and touch the wire, the one who poisons her blood. The one who pushed her into this flesh, and keeps her here, locked into this body shell. This stupid body shell, this alien cage of flesh, relentlessly holding her and limiting her, a moist rusty-red cage of veins, a tangle of arteries and flecks of tissue: covering eyes with slime, filling ears with the oily thumping of blood, clamping her movements; strong, too strong to let her go.
She only wants to go, there is nothing here for her. She has not only failed but has never even had any rights to be here, has never had any rights to live, to breathe, to take in even this small space.

Irene looks around and imagines the view from above, the bright market stall’s fawns in neat lines, the rupture of red in this one place, this hole of pain.
Some people shout for her attention, kept back by nervous Policemen.
“Your Excellency! Some questions, please! Your Excellency!” She approaches, upsetting her Guards, but she calms them with a small gesture of her hand, and also the Policemen part to let Her Excellency through. She is not afraid of the press, even if they are as unaccustomed as she is to this phenomenon of free gathering of information. “Yes..?”
“Your Excellency... Where is Her Grace? Where is the Bearer of STATE at a time like this?”
“Ah...” Irene looks directly into the eyes of the daring reporter. She stares until he blinks, then says clearly: “Her Grace was so touched by the news of this terrible attack on the state, on STATE itself, I might add, that she lays wounded on the Palace.”
- “Now!” Irene whispers, and on dataFlow and NationalTV? the Bearer is shown, prostrated on the floor, a concerned Captain bending over Her Grace's face, white and still.

The broadcasting editor switches back to Her Excellency’s face, suddenly warm and human, looking dejected and real. She resumes: “This is a cowardly attack, an attack not primarily directed against the poor people who had the misfortune to walk here, the poor people who are the innocent victims of a very cruel chance... This attack is directed not against them, as you know, it is directed against STATE. Against the whole of STATE. Against everybody of this state!
This attack is a crime in the worst sense: taking the lives of bystanders who have done nothing, in order to propagate fear. The perpetrator wanted fear, our fear, and yes, he has succeeded...”
The cameras do not waver from Her Excellency’s face, as she stares at the ground for a short moment, before she resumes, again with a clear blue-eyed look into the lens: “This is a crime committed by people who still want to revert to the old times, the times in which even the asking of questions such as yours would mean a painful death. The times in which every month, every day, people were killed randomly, for pleasure, for vengeance, for fear, or for no reason at all. This act today is a direct aggression against STATE, and against all of us. It aims to break our new solidarity, our new society. We must not let anybody succeed in that!
Though yes... We suffer terribly from this unexpected blow. Yes... We are hurt in the deepest and most vulnerable spot of our being. But we will not allow this to make us cower in fear nor to persuade us to revert to old times! We will have to cry our pain and remain true to our only new course: to trust in STATE.
The Bearer of STATE will regain her powers shortly. And STATE will continue the changes in our society, the changes for the better of all of us.
We must trust in STATE!
We must remain true to STATE!
We will learn to bear our pain like Her Grace bears STATE, every day, every step. We must trust STATE!
We will bear our pain with Her Grace, the Bearer of STATE, just as she bears STATE for us. We all serve STATE. We all serve the Bearer of STATE! We all serve STATE! We all trust STATE.”

And again, the sentences become a mantra, unfolding through the various media, using dataFlow, dataNet, life wires, even the out-dated and unofficial ones like the radio.
---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE--- trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE--- trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE--- trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE--- trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---

People grieving for their lost ones now also grieve for STATE, grieve for STATE with a strange glow, a glow they had never known with the President, a glow not of fear but of something else...

Caught in the sticky red tangle, S. feels the rhythm, sneaking through the pumping of the alien blood. The blood thumps, but the words become stronger, and stronger. As the words envelop the cage, the space around the red tangle becomes a reality, becomes something she can think of. There is more than this.
She is locked in something bigger than this.
She is part of a reality larger than this...
She can sync this thumping thing and make it sing to the words, make it embody the words.
---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---trust STATE---
Stronger and bolder the words are, and the red ensnaring her becomes thinner, and thinner, and the bloody tangle unravels into a web, still holding her, but frailer and frailer. Soon the light shines in, the sunlight, the light warming this other capsule, held by a concerned Captain, this container observed by a concerned Jan.
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