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svgfahmesvgJune 12, 2022svgFiction

The man who killed ‘Happiness’

The air feels toxic, but I have to breathe. Every medicine has a side effect. Perhaps, toxic things have some good sides too? Oh, what am I even saying? I think I have gone nuts. Even if that’s not the case, the rest of the world certainly has. Among all the smoke, fire, and chaos on the street, I try to run.

Thump.

I stumble onto something and fall down. What is this? A human body? More like .. dead body.

I pick myself up. This is no time to die. Haha, the bond film release was postponed, but who knew it would get canceled eventually? Everything has fallen apart since then. First came the plague. Many of us didn’t care. We thought our money would save us. But it didn’t. First, we started losing friends of friends. Then our friends started dying. In a year, a large chunk of the population of the world was wiped away. Then came the storms. The ones with broken shelters were gone in the wind. The economy has been broken for quite some time by then. When nature stopped its games, we began ours. Fights broke out for multiple causes. People started disappearing. Now nowhere is safe. There are no media left. As soon as people started understanding the propaganda machine, that was pretty much that for them. Yes, good ones died with the bad ones as well. Fire doesn’t spare anyone in the jungle. I squeeze myself in between the closing doors of the metro. Night trains are not safe. In fact, nowhere is safe anymore. The lights are dim. But I highly doubt if anybody cares. Five years ago, this train at this time would be more crowded than now, of course. But not too much. Some kid would read a book after returning from the college library late. Some corporates would brush off the dust from their fancy suit they afford to get access to high-end parties and meetings. Others would use music in their earphones. Maybe a couple could be seen drooling over each other, half drunk. Those seem like fairy tales right now. I can probably locate 3 people around me, among them, 2 of them feels like potential thugs. If they attack me on this train, I don’t think the other one would try to save me. The system might though. The train will stop and some sort of bots might intervene. They always have these at the metro. They act autonomously. To my relief, both of the men got off at the next station. Just as the doors were closing, I heard a scream. At least, I think I did. Nobody provides security in the stations anymore. The police are extinct. there are only surveillance robots. “Maybe the machines did this to us, maybe terminator did come true. Only we don’t see their leader.” I mumble to myself half-heartedly.

“That’s a good science fiction you got there in, buddy”, a voice speaks nearby. I almost jumped. Somebody is here, right beside me and I didn’t hear him coming. Probably he got in from the door on the other side when I was too busy thinking about the sound I just heard in the direction both of the previous guys were leaving. A long black overcoat and a hat, straight up chin and beard. He kinda looks like Heisenberg from the famous TV show Breaking Bad, I think. Oh, that’s why he seems so familiar to me. “Well, nobody ain’t reading or watching it,” I reply. He laughs. He laughed. I haven’t heard anybody laugh in ages. Why is he laughing?

“Yeah, strange world, without books, movies, comedies, laughter, fictions,” he says. “But for it’s worth, I think you have good a good fiction in there, buddy. A decade ago, this might actually earn great fame”. Am I dreaming? This man is trying to do chitchat with me. I haven’t done any casual gossip or chitchat since how long, I have forgotten. Everybody I know or come across is consumed by shock, grief, and what not! This guy seems relaxed. There’s an announcement. The train is almost at my destination. I try to get up. The stranger grabs my arm. “Going to someone?” he asks. “It’s none of your concern, but I don’t think anybody still has anyone left in the godforsaken place anymore”, I snap. He lets go. “Sorry about the collateral”, his last words before I exit the door.

I put out the light and pull myself on to the bed. I have been living all by myself since Elena left me a year ago. Slowly I understood that everyone who is living in this world right now has lost their kin. Even newlyweds started losing their partners randomly. Then word got out that somehow kinship can’t endure. Accidents, murders, disappearances- something would definitely happen once you make a kinship. Humans stopped doing that, mostly. Those who are still doing it, are disappearing. It can’t be a coincidence. Maybe my theory is true. Maybe the fiction is not actually a fiction, it’s reality. The AI is picking us one by one. Speaking of the fictions and coincidence, one sentence pops into my mind.

“Sorry about the collateral”

I have heard this before. I know exactly when and where. You can’t forget something like this, even after the world ends.

A few years ago when the world was still intact and normal, I was on a business trip at Kuala Lampur. After the business was done, it was time to chill. I went for my usual recreation, to a bar. There I met this strange person whom I concurred as drunk. Well, I wasn’t sober as well. But before he got me drinking the entire bottle of Whiskey, he finished his story. This man got betrayed by almost everyone he loved in life. His family betrayed him for money, his girlfriend cheated on her, and then when he became successful, she and her friends tried to sabotage him. He was obsessed with the idea of removing “happiness” from this world. “Why do you think people hurt each other? Because they want to be happy. Why people become bad? They think they can be happy by doing that. How about we remove “happiness” itself from this world?” To be honest, I was really happy after the successful meetings. So I was enjoying his tale of probable revenge. He poured me another peg and I asked, “but how do you remove happiness?” He wasn’t drinking. “Well, it’s like an evolution, it’s challenging, but once you start the process, everything will follow. For example, say, if there’s a plague, and the economy falls, there can be chaos, and among the chaos, you devise a plan to destroy the very thing that made us superior over animals. Unity. Perspective. You remove someone’s motivation to return home, he doesn’t necessarily return home anymore.”

The air conditioner must be malfunctioning. I am sweating even in 18-degree celsius. Could it really be? Now that I remember, the fiction that man had told me years ago in that bar, mostly did take place for real over the past few years. Was he some kind of a future teller, or what?

He was a damn good storyteller. I finished the entire bottle of 24 years old whiskey by the time he was finished. I was laughing abruptly. He paused. “It’s easy to create chaos. Do you want to see?” he asked me. I nodded, “Sure, Prophet,” I smirked. He took the empty bottle in his hand and threw it towards the shelf full of bottles. The sound of shattered glass echoed across the bar filled with people. I couldn’t believe what just happened. He reached out to the table beside ours and grabbed their bottle and threw it towards the direction of another shelf. Then he just left me there. “Sorry about the collateral”, was his last words before the black overcoat flapped away from me. The people in the bar thought he was my buddy and I was confronted, harassed, and attacked until they verified the footage from the camera. Before that, it was absolute chaos. I don’t know how he managed to run away. But now I remember the rest of the story clearly.

Could it be? It seems like he got his revenge. Happiness is missing from the world, somehow. His wish has come true. Did I meet him today in the metro? That would be a gigantic coincidence.

Wait does it matter? I guess not.

Probably he really killed happiness to make himself happy. Probably he didn’t. It doesn’t matter to me.

Nothing matters anymore.

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svgThe man who killed the world

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