Installment One of my Brave New World Novel
|February 2, 2012||Posted by Anthony Horvath under All Projects, Horvath Blog, Horvath Projects, The Blog|
The genesis of this novella in progress was a short story I wrote a few years back. I never felt satisfied with it, feeling it needed a longer treatment. I have already begun work on that treatment. The opening sequence is below. To check out the short story and some other tidbits, go here.
Rasputin ground his heel into Smitty’s face. He felt the cheek bone give way slightly as it rolled underneath his foot and he wondered if he had broken it. Crimson rivulets of blood flowed from Smitty’s mouth, nose, and eyes. Smitty gurgled a protest. Rasputin stepped harder.
“This is the end, Smitty, you see?” Rasputin snarled in contempt. Everything that Rasputin had said for decades bristled with contempt. And why not? Here was another weak willed animal that couldn’t survive in the wild. As such, the animal didn’t deserve the courtesy of the false pretense of equality. Rasputin felt this way about Smitty. He felt that way about everyone.
Smitty choked on blood and pain.
Rasputin continued, “You’re the last of your kind, my friend. Extinction. You are without heirs. I did this to you. You deserved it though, didn’t you? If you hadn’t, it wouldn’t have happened. You could have stopped it. You didn’t. Now die.”
Rasputin began stomping on Smitty’s skull with his good leg. The thudding and cracking sounds threatened almost to unnerve Rasputin but he mastered his disgust. Smitty wouldn’t die so Rasputin turned his attention instead to Smitty’s slippery scarlet neck. At last there was a snapping noise followed by silence: no more gasping for breath, no more scratching for escape, no more kicking, no more contortions. Smitty was dead.
Rasputin chortled and switched to his weak leg for a moment, giving one last triumphant kick to Smitty’s broken façade. This almost proved to be Rasputin’s undoing as his other foot went out from underneath him in the greasy blood and Rasputin fell unceremoniously to the ground. His head bounced off of the cement floor. For a moment, Rasputin lay there, stunned.
Had he undone himself in the very moment of his final victory? Had he driven his last rivals to extinction only to bring himself to the same fate? Something like panic clutched at his throat but he strove madly to control it.
“I’m not dead,” Rasputin comforted himself. “I can feel Smitty’s blood soaking through my clothes. A dead man can’t feel wetness.”
“I’ve never been dead before. How do I know what dead men can or cannot feel?” Rasputin challenged himself.
“Nonsense,” he answered. “We are the sum of the biological processes active at any given moment inside of our brain. ‘Wetness’ is a concept that is real only insofar as one’s mental apparatus says so. The sensory input from my back is only real insofar as I have a brain that can match that input with the concept. I think I can feel Smitty’s blood, therefore I am.”
Having won the debate, Rasputin leaned over on his elbow (wet again!) in order to sit up. From there he struggled to stand up. He almost slipped and fell again but he caught his balance just in time. When at last he was aright, Smitty’s blood was all over Rasputin’s palms, arms, legs, and after he went reaching for the lump on the back of his head, it was on his own face, too. In short, Rasputin was drenched in blood from head to toe. This drove him into reflection.
“I am the new man!” he smiled. “With me I am well pleased!” With that, Rasputin spit on Smitty’s corpse and then he turned- carefully- and exited the garage.
This is how it came to pass that Rasputin had officially completed his conquest of the world. He was the last man alive. There were no other humans anywhere else on the planet. Of course, Rasputin did not think of himself as a human anymore, just as he didn’t think of those he had exterminated as humans.
Knowing full well the blasphemy, Rasputin shouted to the sky with barbaric glee, “I am the Last Adam!”
He closed his eyes and reflected on how far he had come.
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