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

Chapter 99: return to the people

Her pace smoothly carrying her out of the Palace grounds, S. walks through the stately avenues of the Eastern Borough, over the Borough bridge and into the Center Borough.
It is not hard to find them. Their presence and heat create a distinct pull in the white, and S. goes for the heart of it. Though she has an inkling of what could happen is she arrives there, especially wearing the robe that for some symbolizes her absolute transgress of all limits, she is not afraid. She has lost the ability to be afraid.
Can a knife fear the moment when the stone will blunt it?
Can a sheet of paper fear the moment when scissors will cut it?
Can a cup fear the moment when it will fall and smash into a thousand pieces?
Can a thing prevent this happening?
Can a thing even think of wishing to prevent it?
S. walks. And in the rhythm of the movement, she remembers that other rhythm.
Breathing.
How again was that? Something like…
Eehmn… Her breast-cage expands slightly, but not enough.
Again.
Something also with the belly…
Eeeeeehmn…. Her belly bulges out, but the oxygen is not really entering her lungs.
It is hard to do, so many little things have to be done so multi-dimensional to get it right…
But hey! She should be able to do it; it cannot be that hard!
Anybody can do it!
Any body…
Eeeeeeeeeeeehmn….
Yes! That is better! And then… eh… pfffffff…
Hmn, still somewhat artificial, but the basics are there.
Right.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.
Step. Her feet continue making a steady rhythm; and S. does not have to look where she is going. She can even track unexpected events now, feels them building up tension in the white, holds in just enough for letting the scarce cars whip by her.
S. continues going for the center, the center of the people of STATE.
STATE has to be there, and she has to submit to them. They are the particles of STATE, as Doctor Werther had put it…
Over the rows of houses, S. can hear them. Thousands of voices echo against and over the high inner city buildings, sounding near and far at the same time.
The air holds cold water and it is already getting dark. Behind the houses, where STATE locates the large market square, there is a sudden hush, and then a loud roar. Somebody is behind the microphone, feeding the people opinions, breeding hatred from fear.
S. knows who it is, but in STATE it does not matter whom is speaking out aloud, and who is following. What matters is the fear that people have. The fear for STATE. Their fear for the Bearer. ‘It is only natural, for their species.’ S. continues to walk towards the square. There is no direct route from here to the source of the noise, she has to go around a huge block, slightly curving.
The noise gradually becomes louder and louder.
All of the sudden she is aware that the Bearer’s body is moving strangely. Apart from the rhythm of the paces, there is another rhythm. Unexpectedly, her body has regained the rhythm of breathing, without S. minding it.
It tickles faintly, but the wavelike movement is also reassuring, in a deep, almost forgotten way. In, in, in, and out, out, out. In, in, and out, out, out. In, in, in, and out, out, out.
Yes.
This is what she felt like, when she was human.
This is what she would do, when strand S. became afraid, when her whole organism wanted to flee the bomb she was carrying and preparing to use.
Breathing.
The breathing does have an ancient soothing effect.
S. does not notice the people walking alongside her.

Some people stare at her, recognizing her grey skin, the white dress from National TV. ‘What is the Bearer doing here?!’
Some think it is a joke of some suicidal kind and shake their heads at the foolhardiness of it. Some think she is here to chastise the disbelievers. Some think she is just lost.

With eyes focused inside, S. turns left and enters a side street of the main market square.
There.
There they are.
They are so many.
And they are so angry.

On the square, S. halts briefly at the impact of their collective feelings.
Someone is talking, and everybody is focused to catch what is being said up front. His voice is an ongoing wawawawawawaw for STATE. She could not care less. She continues moving forwards, pushing more and more into the crowd that gets denser as she walks forwards.

The Bearer continues blindly, bumps against people to be able to go forwards, people who turn at her angry, and then step aside. ‘What on earth is the Bearer doing here?’ ‘She is here to punish!’ ‘The light will come...’ ‘Pah, little woman, we will end you now, at last!’
Most people step away from her, as much as they can in the almost massive crowd. ‘That is the Bearer! Touch her and you die! She is not human! She is a walking power source, anger her and she will fry you!’

From above, S. sees the figure of herself, cutting a line through the thousands and thousands of people, going straight for the small dais where some tiny man is holding a microphone and looking in her direction.
Martin.

For what seems to take ages, he is silent, staring at the small head of the Bearer bobbing through the crowd. The atmosphere is changing, from righteous anger to subtle doubt and fear. He has to do something, now. He has to say the right words. Now. “People…”
‘Yes, that is it.’ The right tone, derision cutting through the many loudspeakers. “Look who is here!”
Everybody starts looking around, but only a small number can see the Bearer directly. Martin chuckles, a deep chuckle, then his voice rings out: “Well, well, well… So you think you can play us even if we are here, united!”

Now, everybody knows who is here. From deep within the assembled people, a growl wells up. ‘Thinks she can bully us into fear, now… Filthy bitch!’

‘No!’ S. thinks. She is so accustomed to her voice being generated in the heads of the people that she expects them to hear her clearly. But no one reacts on her.
‘NO! That is a lie!’ But no one hears her. No thoughts register her.

Martin’s voice is there: “She thinks we are afraid of her, after all the tricks she has pulled on us, the blinding white, the howling Symphonies…” Everywhere, people start muttering and their anger is rising.

“I do not want your fear!” S. tries to use her voice, but too much air whistles through her windpipe, not well-directed enough to move the vocal cords to sound.

People around hear her soft words deformed into a wheeze. They elbow each other, starting to imitate her. Patches of laughter peal and subside when Martin Rislers continues: “She thinks she his the only one with power here, and that we tremble before her…” With exactly the right sneer, the words come out, and freely flow into the people’s minds. In every person individually, the same basal emotion is building.

Martin has never felt like this.
He is riding a wave of emotions and he is egging it on.
He is completely in control.
He knows what to say.
He knows how to rule the people!

‘Listen to me! People! People of STATE!’ Though S. is concentrating with all her might, nobody can hear her; people shrug and laugh at her, uncomprehending. “NO!” This time, the words are there, but it is soft and rasping. Using her lungs does not help her at all. Again she starts to walk, going for Martin.

But he is not afraid of her touch. “Ah! People! She thinks she can go for me, now! Hahaha…” All around, their laughter erupts. “What will she do then, the little Bearer? All alone…”

S. discards all words, and focuses on allowing the air to whistle through her, through her throat. Gradually some sound builds.

Martin has practiced a bellowing laughter. “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! You think we will ever again listen to you?!
You little WITCH!
You forced us into submission for over a year now! You LIKE listening to our innermost thoughts, now DON’T you?! You like flashing electricity at us and scorching us, don’t you? You LOVED bombing our fine capital, didn’t you!? Using all your nice little tricks, you pulled all powers onto yourself! You liked being the one in power, didn’t you! Untouchable power! You liked us bowing and retreating from you in fear, DIDN’T YOU? You liked us piling gold on you and crying for your mercy, didn’t you!?”

People are staring transfixed at Martin. STATE hears their loud agreement, and the air tickles with their growing excitement. ‘Yes, this is how it is! Yes, finally someone is saying it aloud, what we have been thinking all this time! Yes, it is high time things are changing now! Let the bitch hear it!’
Martin’s confident and resonant voice goes on: “And what did the Bearer do with her powers? NOTHING! She sat there, wallowing in her private little obsessions, while the state was without a steering wheel, afloat! Making MUSIC, for all we care! But, sure enough, she was there when there was some moment of worship! Oh, YEAH! There she was, all pretty and bedecked with OUR gold! While we are starving and everything is going to ruins, she was there expecting to be treated like a bloody GODDESS! Like she is ruling not only US, but heaven and hell as well! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!”

“People of STATE!” This is better, audible in all minds, though it does not carry like it used to. But… S. is engulfed by a sudden and intense hatred.

Martin is on top of it instantly. “WHAT is she calling us?! What is the small bitch calling us?
We are NOT the PEOPLE of STATE ANYMORE!
We DO NOT NEED the Bearer ANYMORE!”
People are shouting at her at close range, jutting fists in her face.

STATE is a raging cacophony: Martin’s scheming and his ongoing voice, so many people’s angry thoughts and frustrations, inside the square and outside, behind TVs, behinds dataFlow screens, on mobiPhones: opinions, fears, statements, clichés, raving, disputes, mongering, murmuring, doubts, envy, planning, eagerness, paralysis, diffidence, terror, tears. While on the square the group of humans starts to growl and pace within itself, in STATE, the turmoil is getting more and more intense, shredding all data to incomprehensible pieces, disregarding ancient hierarchies, meshing quantities and variables, mixing all resources. White flocks of white, white flocks of solid sound, white flocks of power, of money, of human emotions, white flocks of data, irretrievable, incoherent, dysfunctional, displaced, whirling and melting and resonating and swishing and turning and colliding and breaking and slashing and thumping and ensnaring and whispering and hissing and
This is what she feared for, what she longed for, and she cannot give up now.

Some scream in her face: “We are NOT your people ANYMORE! Shut up you dirty object!”
Some of them spit in her face.

Looking on smugly, disregarding her, Martin continues to speak: “Because you know WHAT? Do you know WHY we do not need the Bearer anymore? Do you know what the Bearer IS? What is she?
She is just some MACHINE! A MACHINE! An extension of that thing she is carrying!
That thing, designed to keep us its SLAVES!
THAT THING will tie and imprison us again and again.
That thing does not care how many people it kills!
That thing does not care about us AT ALL!
It will just continue pulling and pushing the powers, and let us die from cold, or suck away our money, or trap us in any other way!
And SHE is directing it!
She is willing it to!
She enjoys to watch us suffer! She has the arrogance to put herself above us, and SHE
is NOT EVEN
HUMAN!
She is just a thing, living off OUR energy, OUR worship, OUR NEED. A thing, an extension of that terrible THING that ought to be destroyed forever!”

People are hissing their assent. ‘Yeah! Yessssssssssss! Let’s destroy that filthy thing, finally! Let’s destroy the Filth forever. Let’s kill the killer...’

Martin catches his breath and enjoys the conclusion building. ‘Yes, this is what I have dreamt of for so long,’ then continues: “And you know WHAT? WE are the ones! We are the PEOPLE! YES we are the ones! YES WE CAN
DESTROY
THAT THING! WE will ANNIHILATE that stupid obsolete thing!”

And Martin feels and S. feels the energy surging within the people. It is true, she knows. It is all lies, she knows. But it will not be stopped. Not by her, nor by him, or by anybody. It will happen, now.

“So, PEOPLE! What do you want? WHAT DO YOU SAY? The choice is easy, isn’t it?
We want to destroy the Bearer. Let us kill and destroy the Bearer!
LET US DESTROY STATE!
It was made to hold us, and now it will be broken by us.
BY US!
DESTROY STATE! DESTROY STATE! DESTROY STATE!”
Martin does not have to voice the words anymore. The crowd is chanting them with all their might. “DESTROY STATE! DESTROY THE BEARER! DESTROY STATE!”
Shouting it makes them feel stronger.
Shouting it makes them feel that they should do it.
Shouting it makes them feel that they can.
Now.
NOW!
But still, they are afraid. STATE is known to kill anybody laying hands on it, explode into painful balls of light, electrocute, cut, attack anybody going against the Bearer. ‘Will it..?’

Martin again takes the loudSpeaker. He had expected this fear and he knows what to do. He knows what to say, while S. is a speck surrounded by the agitated crowds. “People! Do NOT fear! STATE cannot kill you if the PEOPLE is of one mind! You have to be of ONE MIND!
You have to feel it inside you!
FEEL IT
INSIDE YOU!
Feel the CERTAINTY filling you completely!
Look at each other and see the STRENGTH that is there completely!
You KNOW you can do it!
YOU are THE ONES to FINALLY do it!
YOU will LIVE ON in HISTORY as THE ONES
WHO FINALLY RID this NATION of STATE!
YES!
PROVE IT to yourselves!
DESTROY STATE to save the nation!
DESTROY STATE to SAVE YOURSELVES!
DESTROY STATE!
DESTROY STATE!”

Again, the chant is taken over by the crowd. This time, they are more and more convinced. Their purpose is growing, and is directing their minds, tuned to one thought, to one aim. ‘Destroy STATE! Destroy the Bearer!’

S. blinks and then it engulfs her. A change of substance, that is all, but suddenly an animal fear enters her. No…
She tries to escape into the white, but there is no white anymore.
STATE is howling with the voices of the people. STATE is hissing and dissolving into flecks of white. STATE is thumping with the rage of the humans.
STATE cannot control a body of humans running amok.
STATE has no power when the particles constituting it turn against it.
Like a cancer growing, the tumult is disrupting the structures of STATE, putting them up against each other.

The people are high on hatred and they do not care for the consequences. ‘We have been sensible too long! We have been afraid for too long! We have been good for way too long! Now we will show who we are! Now we will show what we want! Now, the powers that be will finally LISTEN to us! And they will take us seriously! Martin is right! He knows what to say! If he says we can do it, we can! We have to do it NOW or we will succumb again! Let us kill STATE! Let us kill the Bearer!’
The Bearer is being pushed and shoved from side to side. Sure enough, nobody gets hurt. There is no electrocution. There are no repercussions. The people start to feel stronger and stronger. They start using their fists. They hit with more power. The people see the Bearer falter and cry for victory. ‘We will destroy the Bearer! WE will destroy STATE!’
They hit her with all their force. They hit her in the face, breaking her nose, blackening her eyes, bruising her scull. They hit her in the stomach, making her double over, then hit her on her back, her neck, her head, wherever they can hit her. When S. rises, they again hit into her stomach, hit onto STATE, making it push into her and again, she doubles over.

Martin looks on complacently. ‘I did it… This is it!’ But still he wants more. ‘That filthy thing destroyed my love, tainted my mind, limits my being,’

Someone hits the Bearer on the back of her knees and she is kneeling. People start laughing and have more room now to kick her. They are so eager that they push each other over to get to her, to be the one to hit hardest, to be the one to draw blood.

S. feels the pain. Everywhere, her body is sending out alarm signals. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, as also STATE is one boiling red dome, burning her from the inside as the people hurt her outer shell. The strands that had formed the vessel of S. disentangle and deconstruct. One moment, she is very afraid, back in the dark with hunger gnawing at her insides, the presence of danger permeating the smelly hole, then she is falling and falling and falling through endless plaster walls, the next moment she is pressing something that vibrates with the power to kill against her belly while quietly walking through a market place, then she turns regally and orders some servant with two fingers lifted, then she kisses the bloodstained faces of her comrades, then she is wading through the people of STATE, venerated like a savior, then she is confined to the endless grey oppression of the Day of Souls, then she is falling, falling, falling off the Bridge in a leaden seamless repetition, isolated, the world kept at distance by a glass bell jar, then she lies screaming, screaming, screaming for pain, as the elements that she thought formed her: her thoughts, her indifference, her courage, her emptiness, her sign of birth, her name, her appearances, her body particles, her powers, her fears, her friendships, her killings, all tidbits of information gathered in her past, all the waves of sound embodied in STATE, all data, all possession, all knowledge, all sense, all presences and absences, all pasts and possible futures, all get disintegrated in the vortex of the present pain.
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