One Country

Fish Eaters and Wheat Eaters

The Country was divided. All along the coasts were the fish eaters. In the mountains and in the interior were the wheat eaters. The country was so divided people couldn’t remember a time when fish eaters and wheat eaters were not at war.

There were sporadic incidents that would enflame passions on both sides.

The Wheat Eaters had recently burnt down three fish warehouses in the coastal cities. The Fish Eaters responded by polluting a few pure wheat fields with genetically engineered wheat that tasted vaguely like fish. The incidents were slowing escalating. Things were getting worse and worse

The Village

The Village of Dim was dominated by the Wheat Eaters. Fish Eaters seldom dared to raise their voices – They silently bore the brunt of excessive taxation on fish products and fish suppliers.

Norad was one of the regional leaders of the Wheat Eaters. He had even met the Grand Vizier – the chief Wheat Eater. The Grand Vizier had become more and more adamant that a civil war was needed – to end the Fish Eater nuisance once and for all. Norad had gradually begun to believe that was the only solution. He didn’t like it – However, the Fish Eaters had to go.

Norad would often stay awake at night and wonder if there were a peaceful way to throw the Fish Eaters out of his country. Perhaps tempt them to move to the Southern Islands with promises of unlimited fish and great weather. The natives there were backward and could be displaced rather easily.

The Brother

Norad’s brother Jacob returned after four years of college in one of the coastal cities. Norad had hoped that Jacob would learn the weaknesses and technologies of the Fish Eaters and help Norad in his efforts and with his political career.

A lot can change in four years.

On the third night after Jacob’s return, Norad found Jacob sneaking in a small box into the house. He thought nothing of it. The next morning Jacob had a guilty look on his face and avoided Norad throughout the day.

That night Norad didn’t think of the Civil War that faced his country. He thought of his younger brother. Perhaps he was into drugs. What else could it be?

When Jacob went out the next morning, Norad sneaked into his room. There were 3 small boxes hidden under the mattress. The third wasn’t empty – it was full of little strips of smoked fish.

The Inflection

Norad’s anger had built up all day. When Jacob walked through the door in the evening, he was ill-prepared for what happened.

As Jacob lay bleeding on the floor, their mother started crying.

Norad looked at his brother and then at his mother. At that moment something clicked. He felt his spirit float out of his body and look at the scene with a solemn sadness. Not as a wheat eater who had struck a fish eater. No, he saw himself for what he had become. A failure as a brother. A failure as a son. Someone so enflamed and engulfed by beliefs and convictions that real things had lost meaning.

He was a son first. A brother next. A man. A citizen of his country. He had let himself be defined by other things.

Norad gently helped up his brother and kissed him on the forehead. Then he held his mother’s hand and sat quietly while she cried – this time, tears of joy.

The Room Part 1

There’s a tear in the fabric.

The Chief turned with surprise. It had been seven years since a tear in the fabric. He looked at his junior questioningly.

A small village in the interior. Someone has broken through the belief mist.

The Chief felt a cold chill run up his leg. The belief mists couldn’t be broken. It was impossible. Everyone knew that. Dozens of years of advanced mind control and belief control work had gone into them. The belief mists ran across all of the country. They dictated everything. If they began to tear …

The Assassin

Anthony got the call 17 minutes after The Chief found out about the tear in the Belief Mists. He was 2 days away from Dim. He started off. The last time they had categorized an assassination as Code Red it had been for the President. It was a long time ago. That was one incredibly honest man. Hard to believe he managed to become President. He had stopped the Mind Control agencies from doing their ‘work’. He was suitably rewarded – a bullet through his neck and another through his head.

Anthony hadn’t done that one. He wasn’t even born then. Every government assassin knew about it though. Every little detail, including things that weren’t common knowledge.

Anthony was happy it was just a normal villager. He was tired of having to spend weeks planning out assassinations. A single man with no bodyguards would be a welcome change. Why on Earth was a normal villager classified as a Code Red threat?

The Village Hall

Norad had just finished speaking.

His words, unpolished as they were, had torn out more and more fragments of the Belief Mists.

Nearly half the villagers had begun to realize what he meant. A young man walked over to his father, who he hadn’t talked to for eight years, and hugged him. The smell of fish drowned by the love that coursed through him. He saw his father for what he really was – His Father. A Good Man.

The Room Part 2

The Grand Vizier stood silently. Next to him was a women dressed all in red. She had a brooch with a fish symbol on it. They called her the Governess. She led the Fish People. The President did her bidding.

In public the Grand Vizier and the Governess were at each other’s throats. In private, in the Mind Control HQ, they were … something quite different.

She turned to the Vizier and spoke. Her voice had the chill of dead corpses in it.

It’s spreading. How can one man create so many tears in the fabric. We might lose the entire village.

The Village

Outside the Village Hall, people were talking. Their minds free of the Fish and Wheat that had kept them captive for so long.

They saw each other for what they really were – one people, one country. Norad’s words still rang in their heads.

We are not Fish Eaters or Wheat Eaters. We are one people. We are one country.

The Death

Anthony, the finest assassin to ever walk amongst the Wheat Eaters, moved like a shadow into Norad’s room.

He was taken aback to see Norad sitting on his bed looking at him.

I could sense you enter the house.

Anthony fought down his sense of panic and took out his gun. He had wanted to use the knife, but the gun would have to do. As he raised it up and pointed it at Norad a spade cracked into his skull and sent him clattering to the floor. He was making a lot of noise for an assassin.

Jacob looked at Anthony. Brothers. They were brothers. They might be dead soon, but it would be as brothers.

The Room Part 3

You know we don’t have any other option.

The Grand Vizier bristled at her voice. All these years and he still couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that came over him whenever she spoke.

The plane was on its way.

11,875 people were going to die. The 3,455 who lived in the 7 villages affected by the belief disease (that’s what they called it – admitting there were tears in the belief mists was too dangerous). Villages around them that might have been affected.

All would be dead within minutes.

It was good they had control over the Internet and the Phone Networks. Word of mouth was the only danger left.

The Pilot

The Pilot was a good pilot. He wasn’t a Wheat Eater. He wasn’t a Fish Eater. He was a vegetarian who had grown up in a coastal city.

They had his mind firmly in their grip. They had promised him – he would be a hero. Immortal.

A dangerous belief disease was spreading among the populace in an isolated interior community. A threat to the very existence of this country.

He was to end the threat.

When he was a few miles away from the target spot, he felt a strange clarity wash through him. All he could think of was how beautiful everything was. The little villages below were quaint and perfect in their own way. A belief disease. It was going to spoil everything. He wished there were some other way. He really did. He felt tears stream down his face as he got closer.

He pressed the button. Nothing happened. He pressed it again. Nothing. A mechanical failure.

He heard the instructions and they didn’t quite make sense.

Fly the plane into the ground and explode the bomb that way? General, did I hear you correctly?

The shouting on the other end got louder. Yes, it seems he had heard the General correctly.

He thought of his son and daughter. He had to do it for them. He turned the plane around in a circle and then he started the dive

The End

Norad stood and watched the plane circle and then dive towards his village.

He had expected that. They would end it. Free thinking people were too dangerous.

He smiled as he thought of all the phone calls and emails and messages that were going out. All it takes, is for one person to believe. Then it spreads and can’t be stopped. He didn’t know everything was controlled. Every single thing was controlled. No one would ever get to know.

Norad stood and kept smiling as the heat of the crash tore through him and incinerated every last part of him.

The Room Part 4

It’s done. We’re safe now.

The Governess had a big smile on her beautifully cruel face.

The Grand Vizier was still at a loss for words. Every day he realized more and more that he wasn’t cut out for this. The Chief, he had been the Chief so long no one even knew his name, was silent too.

The President was missing. He would give a speech later, once the Governess had taught him what to say and how to say it.

A young soldier rushed in. The Chief turned to him and that sense, the one that warns you something is very, very wrong, kicked in. The Chief stiffened.

There was a break. The Internet barriers failed for a few minutes. There are tears in the Belief Mists spreading all along the coasts now.


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