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One.

I knew of the great mysteries of the universe but had no knowledge of their actual description. I searched in fiction and non-fiction for answers about the origin of humanity and the future of our souls. My quest led me to the strangest books known to man, ones created by a man named Lovecraft. In his stories, there were explanations for the forces of evil that work in men's hearts. The crawling chaos led us through occult channels to our ultimate home in the bosom of Cthulhu and the other space gods that came to earth. In the quiet of the ocean sleeps Cthulhu, ready to be awakened by the most devout followers.

I etched a notch into the wall of my cell marking another day of detainment for my theft of some bread in the local bakery. I was sentenced to fifteen days in the local jail and a fine of fifty drooples for my crime. There were no services for homeless wanderers, with no income and no way to get food for themselves. The government was not responsible for the life of any man. I guess we as a society hadn't reached that point again since the meteor fell and destroyed most of humanity.

A man was in my other cell. I could hear him use the toilet and attempted to talk to him. I asked how long his stay would be, and only got a grunt out of him. After taking another nap and awaking quite bored, I asked if he had heard of the latest Lovecraftian movement. This finally made him speak.

"I've heard of it. We don't need religion anymore. They're a bunch of kooks," he said. "I heard Lovecraft's books were science fiction, anyway. Not to be taken literally, if you know what I mean."

"But haven't you heard of Cthulhu who sleeps in the ocean?" I asked him, incredulous of what he said.

"It's fiction. He wasn't trying to start a religion," the man said from the other cell. His voice was echoing from the hallway connecting us. "Haven't you heard of Nyarlathotep? He couldn't have existed as he is said to. None of the Gods could have. It's just a mythos Lovecraft created to scare people back in the day."

I had never even considered that Lovecraft's work could be fiction. I told him of all the stories I read about and he told me each one of them was kind of horror that Lovecraft practiced. It was supernatural horror, not to be mistaken for holy works. After hours of discussion, I could barely support any further arguments the work was religious. The man in the other cell was winning.

"But there is one thing I have seen before, which is worth mentioning," the man said. "There is a statue figurine mentioned in one of his stories. If you find that, there may be something to the myth. If the statue exists, the mythos could be real."

I thought that I must seek the statue in order to confirm my faith. But first, I had to get out of jail. Praise Cthulhu, help me.


Two.

In the arms of the ID wing, I saw doctors above me observing and smiling. They waved to us and could poke their heads through little windows to wish us well. They were so... entertaining. They were animated in their offices too, a few of whom we could see. The could host a crowd of 10 or 15 and talk to them all at once. All of the other people could do this. Groups would assemble and scatter as quickly as they had started. Further down were the drab walls, covered in patients' drawings. I looked down at my differential equation they had offered me. They knew I was intelligent, but I couldn't get it across that I needed out.

The classes were intense. We were exposed to very loud megaphones which gathered all of the psychotics, me included, into a single file line. The difficulty of this with psychotics is nearly insurmountable. We were led to classrooms led by thin military men about the basics of communication and human contact. Then, we were meant to trade classes, sticking with the original classmates. This time was a frenzy where patients switched up their classes and went to whatever pleased them, causing more than an uproar. Then, we had to take role call and have all the misplaced ones put back into the right places. This took forever and I nearly lost my mind, always being in the correct class.

When we ate, the food was a very uncommon variety I had never been exposed to. It was tremendously difficult to eat at first, because it moved. Once you got over the wiggling and jiggling, hunger wins over and you're forced to eat. I was shoveled after meal into the mess hall where we were meant to be interviewed by nurses passing through. I was asked to solve another differential equation for a pair from New Zealand. They said they thought I must have the ability required for life outside the hospital. The nurse informed them I was one of the least intelligent human beings known. I gasped in protest but I couldn't yet speak their language. Yes, I realize it would be a good thing to do, but when they talk to me I seem to understand in my head. It takes away the incentive for learning their actual speech.

I was nestled in the very heart of the psychiatric hospital, prized for my outstanding physique. There were exercises of strength that would show off my amazing new abilities. I would almost say my science was worth it except for the eerie feeling I feel like a zoo animal. I'm massive compared to the other people in the hospital. I can kick a ball further than they've seen one ever kicked. I go outside where the sun is more orange than I remember and use a motorized parasail to take visitors on trips up in the sky. But there is one thing that is always on my mind. The shape of the future people's arms is odd. It just seems off by a little bit, but there seems to be a flap of skin behind their shoulder. It's hard to notice, but I was noticing it more and more until I decided to ask.

"We're being genetically modified into birds, Samson. The human race will fly once more. And guess what?" He always wanted a response from me if he continued talking.

"What, sir?"

"We're going to be smaller than ever. That's going to make you extra huge. Can you imagine your constraints compared to us when we make it to bird size?"

"What, you really think I'm going to let you keep me in here when you're birds?"

He detached his laser link and started laughing. The translation came through in my head, Bad Samson, Bad, but he was gibbering at twice the normal rate. Who knows what he was really saying. Probably some sort of scientific information for the nurse.


Three.

It was a digital ability that tapped into the computer code that runs 3D space. My mouth would pop to whatever size was required as long as I selected the right object. It had to be a sandwich. The break they used on mountains was a Jewish rye that made for the easiest locking on. Then, I would bite with my massive jaw, exposing the natural resources from inside the mountain. They’ve used my superpower my entire life and for a brief time, I was wanted by four governments.

It was a drab existence, going across the world to perform this silly stunt for people. I get paid well, but it’s all going into a trust for my family. They’re waiting for some accident to kill me and all the money I’ve earned be theirs. It turns out the accident was in my favor. I was going to be a giant.

When the bread dropped, I instantly noticed the earth in my digital display. The entire earth was selectable for my massive jaw to crunch on. I knew there were magic items in the earth. It was the magic items responsible for my power.

I was created from alien stones that align in the earth’s core, by the way. If I could reach them, I could control my entire body’s shape and leap across the universe. I selected the earth without another thought and made the massive gulp. The stones were mine. I could manifest anything I needed to traverse the universe. Earth was gone, I had no more ties to that sick place. There were planets with life forms everywhere. It was nothing special.

Suddenly, my new technology was getting hacked. The stones had a safety feature, programmed into them. I shrank to my normal size and gasped for atmosphere. I would die this day along with all the people of the earth.


Four.

When the massive and ceaseless radioactive tides swept across the continent, most people became a mutant. The effect of a certain kind of radiation from the space ship that crashed back on the earth was to morph the form of human beings into strange, demonic shapes. The mutants were extremely inactive, and rarely survived long, so civilization was run by the remaining few.

The expert ad manager who would ultimately have the final say on the advertisement was named Philbs Fords. His ads included a few of the following:

Neverending Daylight

The show about 24/7 surveillance. The cameras had animated characters who were meant to represent the camera operators. Objective. Fair. Always on. Neverending Daylight ran during Detroit’s mutant takeover when mutants were immediately destroyed as soon as their genes were effected. It was on repeat four hours.

Sun Drop

The epic Free Police Now campaign, designed to informationally siege the town of Faber, Washington until it could be taken over by passing swills. Produced, edited, and acted in by James Swill, the channel magnate who runs the paper mill up the road and more like it across the nation. He’d like everyone in Faber to work at the paper mill, but the police keep everyone safe. Oh, and what’s wrong with Charles?

Winter Ice Wonder Land

During the nuclear winter’s first years of cold, the government released a show about how wonderful the ice world could be. They showed animals living in ice conditions that would never survive across most of america. There were depictions of ski resorts, but no new ski resorts were ever opened. We were meant to cope by doing winter sports, but none of us really wanted the cold.

Ads like this were run for years on national television, whose programming depended on who was running the nation at the time. It was a strange world of robotic politicians and zombie-like slaves working for them, collided with suburban moms and city cops. The world above worlds, and mire above mires. The Mill.


Five.

When you die, your vision freeze frames and you're stuck watching your last sight until God judges you. I've seen the lines, it could take weeks. That's why you better die in your sleep. Imagine staring at your exploded car for days just before you're reanimated and God comes down before you. He's an understanding fellow (A bit of a Wisp) up to a point. There's the ten commandments, you know, so if you strike any of those, you're out. But he can be lenient on human crimes. There is a secret code he actually follows called the Book of Light, but I'm the only human being with a copy alive, so you probably won't get to read it before you die. I've already read it from cover to cover.

There's also a Book of Darkness for dealing with Satan, but if you check all the right marks at death you won't be seeing him, either.

Three prostitutes are stuck frozen in lusty poses. It's been about 3 weeks, but that's by far a record, and I'm not complaining this time. I hear God coming through his ethereal footsteps behind me. He taps me on the shoulder. I'm reanimated with life. The scene remains stuck.

"So you completely your pilgrimage. And you received the holy frenectomy. You check all the boxes for entry to Heaven, except one. And it almost seems like you intentionally did it so I would have a hard time accepting you."

"You know by licking a raw pig I'm not allowed into heaven! But the devil won't take me, either. Consider it the fatal loophole in the Books of Light and Darkness! Your move, God."

He split into three lights and animated a projection of my next life. Born to peasant farmers in ancient Greece... cursed from his very conception. His father had just killed a man and his pregnant wife's baby was the cause of it. Me. He was protecting my name (before I'd even been named, I'd like to point out.) It seems I would be living with a monkey on my back the entire time.

"If you turn to me in the next life, the weight will be lifted and I will accept you into heaven. If you turn to the devil, the weight will pull you down to hell. And if you try to escape judgment again, I'll just have to let you keep staring at your death frame until the end of time! Lunch, please!" His little wispy bodies disappeared and I was pushed forward into darkness.


Six.

“I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, no.”

“Lulu, we wanted you to see this. We heard about your allergy to silver which is why you can’t eat corporate dinner over at Jim and Mary’s.”

“I um, oh, no.”

“We found an aluminum backed mirror that we’d like ye to have. It should show your reflection nice. Give yourself a look at yourself, now.

In fact, Lulu already had given herself a look, gagging at the sight. She was holding in her stomach when she looked again, with flesh strips dripping from her forehead and clumped hair. The most gruesome sight she had seen or thought of in a while was her own face.


Seven.

There was a loophole in their plan to save the humans. While they protected the largest internet from attack, they forgot to include the smaller internets that cropped up in fringe societies like the ever- freaky North Korea. Their psycho information club kept it at just under 15 total websites in the entire country. We had tenuous links to the network from our underwater city in Atlantis.

After tapping into the underwater cables, our God program reinforced the security against DDoS attacks and spam emails. Then, we transferred the human race to an outcome where they survive using the fifth dimension. It was a one-time surgery meant to save the timeline of the human race.

It seems we needed more. The North Koreans somehow learned of our special future where humans survive, and wanted to be the survivors, themselves. Instead of the planet, it looked like we were going to save this nutjob underworlder. We had to destroy it.

Our blimps carried beasts and bombs across the sky to the South Korean border with North Korea. Completely ignoring the demilitarized requirements, we bombed the fuck out of the entire bridge. It was non-lethal variant of something like tear gas, but made with octopus ink. Then we crash landed and made our demands with oil spattered over everything. We used a mega phone.

"I am the fish from the lost city of Atlantis. I came to order North Korea to stand down from their leadership role at Pyongyang. Please do consider that we will simply destroy you if you do not stand down. Thank you." We shot the attacking mob and lifted off, flying into the North Korean continent from the height of the clouds. Fighter jets came at us with missiles, but we corrected their path to meet an explosive end on the ground. Even the jet planes went down. We took our whale bombs and geo-nuked the roads we found on the way to the Peaceful city. The whale's rotten demise was a valued contribution to the war effort. Their corpses couldn't have humanely been used any other way.

When we finally got to the abandoned capital, we dropped off our bubble entertainment ring. It was a giant water bubble suspended by gravity for playing underwater sports and holding a crowd of around 90,000 people. It was a huge coliseum for the people of North Korea, meant to be leveraged against their government. The water spaces inside the dome was free. The People's Republic had no power inside water facilities at that location.

We stocked it with the first supply of food, and gave a microspeech to the people of the country before leaving. "It's up to you to keep the snack stands full of nachos and chips."

We were getting earthsickness and needed to go back underwater. We chose to go to a site on the North Atlantic by traveling across all of Asia. We held up holographic signs announcing our victory over North Korea. Our strategy could never fail.


Eight.

Everything. The suits, the sinks, the space station itself were all intact. Not bothered by any roving pirates or curious passerby, the little room appeared just as they left it. Immediately her dress comes off and she velcros it behind the seat. His space suit was partially removable at the waist, so he unstrapped it. The AC needed to be set, but this was otherwise perfect. They sweat it out for twenty minutes before retreating to the back of the space ship where there was a shower to cool off.

In the shower, they continued their procreation activity until the water came off. He dried her off and they swept through the ship to the piloting area. It was a room for standing, not sitting, in order to fly the ship. A voice computer was meant to intercept your commands and fulfill them. "Computer, dim lights."

"Dimming. You know, not very many people are awake at this hour. Just thought you should know. Your friendly AI companion." As terrible as the voice was, it did nothing to ruin the mood for the lovers. They sat in the pilot's computer bay while the computer quietly defended their privacy, as it was programmed to do.

"Nobody's coming, guys. You probably have just a little bit longer. I'm not looking at what you're doing, by the way. I was made by AI Factory G+, who protect privacy of the user, not violate it. I'm definitely not looking, until I detect you've retrieved your clothes. Thank you, your friendly AI companion.

"The robot's freaking. Maybe I should tell it who we are."

"No, it's cute. It reminds me of the first time we robbed this place, when we couldn't get it to the main menu," said Gerald.

"Oh, Gerald. That was so romantic. We almost never found the goop farm." She pulled some goop into her mouth with her hands. "We, mmph, almost didn't have any, ooomph, goop."

The space ship was located a certain distance from its star that goop grew there with unending consistency. When the two visited, they used the goop as food, lube, woob, and foob, often all at the same time. It's a bit hard to understand, which is why we switch back to the two lovers.

"This is the only spot in the galaxy with so much goop. We're lucky motherfuckers," she said, scooping from a huge smattering of goop on the wall. "Too bad it disintegrates under space travel conditions. We have to eat it all here, or it's wasted."

The party lasted nearly a month in earth time. Partiers stayed up nearly the whole time having orgies and online shopping sprees over and over again. This was goop fever. This was goop.


Nine.

The base was on the edge of my radar until I heard the aliens originated there. In the fifties, a U. F. O. crashed at the site of Area 51 and two of the aliens were captured. I was lucky enough to be hired on a stroke of luck. My investigations began immediately.

I asked the scientist my questions. “Are the aliens still alive? Are they aware?” They must know of the army that race threatened to destroy earth in 1980, who were only recently conquered.

The scientist shut the office door. His dirty face indicated he hadn’t bathed. This base was full of his type. “They died in the fifties. The things were your aliens’ grandfathers.”

So they were peaceful. Without getting access to classified documents, I wouldn’t know if these were the same as the cloaking aliens I fought. “Is there any evidence they viewed earth as a tourist destination?”

“Well, they had viewing devices and telescopes for spying on humans. They even watched people in their homes. If you look at it a certain way, I guess they might have been tourists,” the scientist said. “I have to end this meeting, Donovan. I hope your curiosity is satiated.”

There was sticky red tape around the alien files. I had to be employed there for 2 years before I could access them legally. A new threat emerged, the hell beasts that ruled the cloaked ones, during my stay there. They were the multi-dimensional aliens of a reptilian civilization that sent a signal to the U. S. government threatening to disintegrate the planet. The other option was placing giant, polluting mines in the highest mountains on earth. The mines would be shaped into a hexagon to perform the aliens’ task of stealing the planet’s natural orgone energy.

I was unable to resist the alien takeover of the planet, enslaving billions of human being to a reptilian alien overlord. I was holed up in an abandoned mall with my supercomputer, fighting off alien computer viruses to protect my cyborg parts when the urgent email came through reminding me that I had access to the alien files from the 1950s. I found what they dropped off in Egypt. We could use the 5-atom thick space ship to fight off the greys and protect the human race in 1986 using only our minds.


Ten.

I make adverts. It’s what I was born to do. Net worth at birth: 412.6 billion. I’m a big player in the world of marketing. I have written guides for young entrepreneurs trying to make a brand for themselves. I’ve helped giant companies sprawl their advertising slogans across the world. I’ve made catch phrases that found their way into the collective psyche. People who write about what I do say I have a deep understanding of the human psychology. That doesn’t even begin to explain it.

In the mind, there is a trigger that makes people want to buy a product. It’s this wow-factor that you have to poke and prod with advertisements until the world thinks that product is the ultimate accessory to their lives. They envy people with it, they want their own. The pure force of their willpower is astonishing, shaping entire generations to be followers of products. Cars, cigarettes, anything can be addictive with the right effect applied. I write little pieces that people read and they don’t even know what I’m doing to them. In seven hundred words I can change your views on eggs, and you won’t realize you’ve changed until you’re in a supermarket and you skip over the medium sized ones and buy jumbo. I can talk to people in any format to get my advertisements across. That’s part of my abilities. I can also design billboards and write commercial scripts and develop slogans for the world.

The easiest slogans have puns. For some hot dogs, I could write a slogan that went, “Hot diggity dog, these barbecue wieners are real winners!” and sales would double in a month. But the fun ones pick and pry at the human brain. “Sub sandwiches you’d sell your mother to an Asian dog-catcher for,” or something like that. I’m not going to give you a real slogan now because a lot of effort goes into these sorts of things, and I’m not going to sell any trade secrets for someone like you, but the point remains. Slogans are king.

I married just before retiring and my wife is in the complimentary business to my advertising, statistics. She counts the numbers and I make them rise. We’re a dynamic duo and one of Forbe’s top power couples in 2066. She knows the chances our baby will have a high net worth at birth are incredibly high. It’s just a matter of how high, at this point.

When the baby was born, my brother was attending. He was acting strange and carrying around that new calculator he’s been obsessing over. He wants me to look at it, as if it has anything I could ever need written on the display. He says it takes the psychology of advertising campaigns and spins it on its head. The advertisement is predictable in its effect on the human mind, he says, and this effect can be reversed. He’s even gone so far as publicly calling me a slave driver. He seems to think the whole world are sheep being driven by dogs in the marketing sector. Our pushing and pulling on the world economy is unethical, he says.

When my wife held our beautiful baby, my brother came in for the net worth at birth calculation. When the tragic figure ran by, he said one thing. He said, “it’s the chosen one.”

I didn’t know what to say, for once.

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