Ten percent. That’s how it starts. Just a small percentage of your mind, which over night is taken from you . In the beginning, we didn’t even realise it was happening. They were cunning in the way that they manipulated us. You know that that little voice in your head which guides you through life, like that part of you which decides you should turn right instead of left if you become lost, or that little inkling you get when someone is lying to you? They hijacked that voice. Integrated with it. At ten percent, It’s nearly impossible to distinguish their thoughts from your own, their guidance from the decisions you make yourself. Yeah, ten percent is bearable. But it rarely stops at just ten.
At twenty percent, it becomes obvious that something just isn’t quite right. You start to think about having that extra drink, or heading to your ex boyfriends place for a quick hook up, or maybe you thought about heading to the casino to gamble away a day’s wages, but They will always stop you. Sometimes the thought disappears as quickly as it comes; what we now call The Mist. You’re left confused and disorientated, unsure of what you had been thinking just a moment before. Still, it took us a while to catch on. After all, people get confused all the time, don’t they? It’s not difficult to forget why you left the house, or why you went downstairs.
It was only when large crowds of people started aimlessly wandering the streets, that we all began to realise there was more to it. Then people started losing more of themselves, reaching thirty plus percent of their minds, and being struck down by inescapably real hallucinations. It was then that we couldn’t hide from the truth anymore. They were among us, and They could control us. If, and whenever, They wanted to.
It was a worldwide crisis, and people began to descend into panic. The government tried everything from negotiation, to threatening to instigate war against our unseen foe, but nothing worked. They were a part of us now, and how can you fight yourself? When people realised there was nothing they could do to protect themselves from the invisible force that sought to control them, they began to revolt. Some tried to turn to violence, attacking even their friends and loved ones, in some attempt to weaken the enemy.
When people’s behaviour began spiralling out of control, They implemented what we now refer to as Stage Four, or Forty Percent invasion. This was the moment They made first contact, when The Whispers came. These were not like the vague voices of ten, or even twenty percent, when they had integrated themselves into our minds, hiding behind our own internal voices. No, these quiet murmurings were… unnerving. Like voices in the dark with no point of origin, they called to us. Tried to talk people out of their behaviours, to calm them down.
When The Whispers came, in a way it did what They had intended it to do: it stopped the violence. Fear levels rose and people would lash out at thin air to try and banish the voices from their minds, but to no avail. So then people turned on themselves. People began struggling to drown out the voices with alcohol, or to stop them altogether by swallowing a bullet. But no, They wouldn’t have that either.
The sick part was, They let us think that our efforts might be successful. Right up until that last second, They would let people keep control of themselves. A finger would tighten slightly on a trigger, or someone would raise a bottle of pills to their lips, and people would get to experience the momentary feeling of calm which came from knowing they were making a decision which they had complete control over. It was only then, in that moment, that They would demonstrate what They could really do.
Fifty percent. The Pain. At this stage, they are able to light up your nerve endings as easily as switching on a light, leaving you in motionless, endless agony. You are no longer aware of your surroundings. You don’t know whether you are sitting or standing, alone or in a crowd of people, and for a moment you even forget your own name. Nothing else matters; there is only The Pain. As far as we know, in real time, They never leave you in that state for more than a few seconds, but it can feel like hours.
That is the punishment for trying to take your own life, for wanting to end the misery of not having any autonomy over your own body, your own soul.
You won’t be surprised to learn that after people experienced fifty percent once or twice, they didn’t try fighting anymore. After all, what would be the point when every attempt only landed you in a state of indescribable torment?
After we submitted to them, fully accepting their existence in our lives, we felt their presence fall back slightly. No, they didn’t leave, they were very much still there, lurking in the depths of our minds, but they loosened their hold on us. Collectively, the world fell back to effects of the ten percent. At first, we were relieved, but it didn’t take us long to learn that this was a compromise of sorts. We still had our own minds, but a part of us would always belong to Them, and it was clear They would not hesitate to take more if we betrayed the leniency they had shown us.
It seemed we had no choice but to adjust ourselves to obey their will, to make peace with living our lives in subservience to this new higher power.
So that it is exactly what we did.
To Be Continued…