Trinity

Children squatting over doomed ants, playing God, that was how they made the Goatman. Tearing and twisting the screaming familiar faces to know best which ways would break best. A process-of-elimination approach to making a survivor for a post-nuclear age we all believed could come by dawn. They told us, unblinkingly, that nobody else was regretting how far we had come, insisting that we finish. But they didn't need to do much pushing. We saw the fastest way to an ending was to finish.

I know what I’m doing is wrong, was wrong, and will be wrong as long as I’m wriggling with my blood inside. After learning that we lost the heads with every lasting end to the heartbeats I understand institutional memory is impossible from within a factory for corpses. I know the first atomic bomb was born by the words "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

It was the last time mankind as a whole were masters of their own destiny. Now, in the nuclear age, we're finding new and innovative procedures for breaking down that freedom past the individual level. Moving past the taboos learned from the Bloody Forties. The forgetting problem kept winnowing down until it was only us who could follow testing with the cooperative process. Drawing the short straw, thinking about it is still making my stomach turn over.

Walking in to the last room was like the condemned to the gas chamber. Every step made the back foot to weigh on me more heavily than my conscience ever had. Was I going to be the last? After everything we had tried, would it be me who held the knowing on what would work to walk away from a mushroom cloud.

The naïveté was palpable. We didn't know what we were doing, to me, to anyone who had come before. I thought they said we were special. It was like becoming cannon fodder without the honor of an enemy combatant. They put the tubes and needles inside me and eventually I chose to stop remembering it.

Waking up was despondent agony. Failing hurt more than anything. We had nobody left to try on, so things fell apart. I don't remember how I ended up escaping. I don't even know what my name used to be. All I know is that I was in a room, then I was a hundred miles away with blood in my teeth.

Hearing them talking behind my back, saying I’m not real, just a figment of farming the imagination of darkness. It was me alone.

Making me the last one is a bitter but fitting punishment. But I still have the knowing. Even with my horns, the matted hair and braying voice, the leathery skin and iron-cold bones, I can't stop imagining if I could start trying again to make, not just rip and tear. Beyond surviving, making myself not so alone and ugly. Making myself lovable only by finding or creating some poor creature as miserable as me.

Dreaming, living, what will become of us?

I live still, wrapped in rusting chain-link bonds with a crumbling edifice keeping me dry in the waning raining days of Spring. But when the sun starts coming out again, I’ll be waiting for it to disappear back to the night. That’s when you can plan on meeting me for the first time, in the flesh.

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