Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Walker Legacy: Threnody of Dreams

Excerpt from book one of the Walker Legacy: Threnody of Dreams by Don C Wilkes III:

I often find myself remembering the tales of my youth.  Stories filled with dreadful villains and valiant heroes fighting ever onward towards an honorable goal.  Though others may recall such tales shared by their elders, I fear my tales were of a different origin.  The stories I remember lacked witches and magic and mythical beasts.

Instead, the stories told to me were of simple people like you and me.  Boys and girls working hard to better themselves... one day becoming men and women who would usher in a better world.  You can become anything your heart desires, the stories said.  Dream.  Strive.  Grow.  The world is changing, things are getting better and the future is bright.

So I sat.  I waited.  I watched.

As the years progressed, I started to realize the myth behind those tales.  Opportunities suggested by the stories were few.  Hard work was rarely enough to grant a better life.  For most people, only two options existed:  exchange every waking hour of your life for very little or do very little for the same amount of gain.

I chose work.  Sometimes I question why.  I guess I was holding to the belief that it actually mattered.  A job that demanded weeks - even months - away from my family seemed reasonable to keep my family fed and secure.  Of course... the world was changing, things would get better and the future was bright.

Still I sat.  I waited.  I watched.

I felt such failure as hard work fostered my isolation.  The years spent in a futile attempt to better my home only resulted in the alienation of those I love.  I found I was laboring for the benefit of strangers.

The blame is my own.  I accept the product of my deeds.  At first I had believed that everyone had changed in my absence and I felt betrayed.  Honestly, it was I who changed.  I was the traitor.  I thought I could force the tales to become a reality.  Hard work did little to secure my livelihood.  Ah, but the world is going to change, things must get better and the future surely is bright.

I'll just sit.  I'll wait.  I'll watch.

I dwell in a home that lacks in space or privacy.  Only thin walls separate my dungeon from the meager dwellings of other families.  At night, I can hear the shouts and cries from the strangers sharing my building.

At times I wish they were the sounds of violence.  So simple it would be to call for help.  Violence would identify a victim needing aid and a villain needing punishment.  Unfortunately, the cries are of desperation.  Lack of food.  Insufficient medicine.  Fear of being cast out into the night with no means of shelter from the elements.

My heart aches to offer aid but I have nothing to give.  My body begs for food while my mind insists that I must wait.  I ignore the body's ailments... for I must choose between eating and being healthy.  I would help others... but I can't even manage to help myself.  In the morning, I will leave for work and pretend everything is fine.  Besides, the world will change, things will get better and the future is bright.

I sit.  I wait.  I watch.

Gunshots rang through the night near my home and I failed to fret.  I calmly walked towards the flashing lights.  I could see the truth from far away.  Too many lights.  Too many officials.  Someone was dead.  I felt no surprise.  No regret.  It wasn't me lying on the ground.  It was just a stranger who I assumed was deserving of death.

Oh, how wrong I had been.  A stranger, yes, as I had never met the man.  Still, he was a brother.  Strewn upon the ground where the man died was nothing but scattered bits of food.  Bread.  Meat.  Milk.  The man had stolen food without the use of a weapon... he died trying to eat.

No longer is crime an act of the greedy.  People have taken to the role of villainy in desperation.  Has our society truly gotten to the point where larceny is a survival skill?  The world has changed, but things aren't getting better and the future seemed bright.

Sit.  Wait.  Watch.

I see the masses and cringe at the blind complacency.  The rich become ever richer.  The poor and weak are ignored.  The productive are either pressed into poverty or struggle to maintain the illusion of mediocrity.  The stories had told of the poor achieving success through determination and virtue.  The stories were wrong.

I see the able-bodied bulk of society sagging under the everpresent burden to fortify a gluttonous nobility.  The strain is too great!  People have started to break.  Many have fallen to their darker urges and taken to striking against their fellows believing there is nothing to gain from fighting the powers that be.

I am not immune to these effects.  I feel myself cracking.  I lash out at those around me in frustration.  I regret my actions.  I apologize though I know it will happen again.  I will break eventually.  Beneath this veneer of insight and reason lies something stronger.  Who I am will crumble away leaving something new.

I fear the inevitable change.  Some claim I will become a hero.  Worse, some expect a prophet.  I am no prophet.  I am barely a man.  None have spoken of what I expect to emerge.  A beast.  A demon.  A monster.  It really doesn't matter, I guess.  I'll become what I must.  The world must change, things have to get better and the future is now.

I stand.  I act.  I watch no more.