Thursday, 17 February 2011

Task execution

For a moment, I hesitated. Struck by what we were doing. It was the look of loss on one man's face. The silent tear rolling down his cheek. His look of determination not to fight back overwhelmed me before the cold professionalism took hold.

I was awarded the position as executioner due my past record of inhumane acts. An ability to do what is asked without raising any issues. However, this moment had shook me.

The fires began.

My kind are trying to save what's left, but we're running out of resources. The humans have dwindled to only a few million and the zombies have been making things difficult. The decision to incinerate them was made by humans, not us. We called it the resource simplification execution. The humans called it the funeral.

My brethren and I had wondered if it was right to have ever admitted that there might be a cure. That there might be some hope. The loss of a human to a bite was good for the survivor. The sudden change in the victim made them seem lost. It may have been better, rather than this hanging on, hoping, that one day, once more human, their families could be reunited. It may have been better to lie.

Whatever we do, we do for the humans, but every time we give them more information, it becomes harder to live within their morality. It was only when the humans admitted that the Earth's resources wouldn't sustain their current number that they considered the obvious course of action. The most lethal option for the zombies and the strongest chance of never curing them. The execution would save lives in the long run, unless a cure was found tomorrow, as more land could be reclaimed. It may even be possible to push back the zombies until there is less of them than there are humans.

That was then, and that was the plan. But, now I finally remember what it was like to breed. The look of anguish on a face brought it back. It's been more than a hundred thousand years since our type have reproduced. More than a hundred thousand years since we felt like we had to fight for our families. More than a hundred thousand years since we felt like we belonged, and now suddenly I feel, as the executioner, more bonded to these meat sacks, more alive than I have done in all the time my brain is able to remember.

And I've just killed all the infected children.

The humans have a word for it, the symptoms of which are obvious with them as they breathe, eat, excrete, perspire, but which has no physical side effect with us any more as our bodies have melted away leaving only the brain. Crying, it can also be accompanied by paralysis, being held by grief in some sense, and that was the one remaining symptom that could be effected by the last vestiges of organic matter that drove the self in me.

I was late for the meeting after the funeral. Mere seconds, the humans didn't notice, but my brethren did. Their astonishment obvious as they all turned their cameras on me during my arrival. I felt another feeling I had not felt in thousands of years. I felt alien.

More than a hundred thousand years after I was born, I lived.

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