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The Lighthouse Signal

Message In A Bottle

People who’ve traveled far out there, alone and afraid, hungry and beaten down in the emptiness and desolation that is all that remains of what we used to be, often come across our little hamlet here and are astounded at our endurance, our fortitude.  More than once, we’ve been asked by wild-eyed, half-crazed, road weary vagabonds barely clinging with bone-thin claws to shredded scraps of humanity, their dignity a long-forgotten casualty of exile, if they’ve actually died, and this is Heaven.  I always find that one a bit amusing, but, I’ve never been quite that far gone in the vast nothingness since the beginning of this mess, so, I can’t say what being out in it long-term does to a once healthy mind.

Wanderers marvel in wonder, how did we create this patch of paradise?

Well, that’s the disaster goggles talking, let me assure you.  Paradise, we are not, I can promise you that.  But what we could be is home for some, if you’re looking for one.

If you’re going to stay here, though, you’re going to work for it.  We eat what we kill, we use what we find, we reap the fruit of our lands from the sweat of our brow, and no one shares in the harvest who didn’t bring something to it.   Whether you’re a hunter, gatherer, farmer, or friend... there is a need for it all.  But if you’re weak, don’t despair, and don’t sell yourself short.  You are stronger than you know, even now, and there’s something inside you just waiting to flourish.

If you’re looking to understand how we got here, though, we can’t help you with that.  We don’t have all the answers.  In fact, we may not have any more answers than you do; there are still plenty of questions to go around, even here.

Yet, I suppose there may be something of a “secret” to what we’ve achieved in this place.

If you want to know the most important thing about survival, I can tell you firsthand, it won’t be found in your books.  There is a greater education today in just knowing what one should or shouldn't pick up off the ground than in the whole library of our species.  But, it’s actually not that complicated, really, and I’ll let you in on it, so maybe it won’t stay a secret, and maybe it’ll spread around the globe, and maybe humans can once again become the masters of this planet.

The truth is quite simple; simpler than you'd even guess.

It’s us.

ALL of us.  People.

We’re the real power behind preventing our own extinction.  Whether you were important before that great world shattering event, or you thought you were nobody, none of that matters anymore.  You can be somebody now.  You ARE somebody.  We all are.  We’re all that matters in this world at this point.

Respect each other.  Look out for one another.  Conceive a world that provides for every man to forge a pathway to his own feeling of self-worth, and create a sense of community, so that everyone within it knows the measure of his weight, the value of his contribution to maintaining your common ground.  Every one of us has God-given talents.  Some might be as yet unaware of what they may be capable, but by pulling together, by seeing the best in your fellow man, you can help one another to find the treasure in each of you.

If you’ve come across this message, I pray that it has not become the last relic of a long forgotten race, but can still be a beacon of promise for the future... our future.  As long as I can still write, I will drop letters such as these along our shores to be swept out by the tides and carried on the waves into every corner of oblivion, in the hope that there are still good people out there, trying to find their way, trying to make sense of this now God-forsaken world in which find ourselves.

This is an invitation.

You can try to get to us, if it makes sense to do so, though I can’t know into what holes of darkness our message has been taken, or how far it has traveled, but I hope it has found you.  I don’t know where you are, how long you’ve been there, or in what state of being might be your condition.  Seeking to cross paths, yours and ours, may not be a practical pursuit for you.  And yet, our fates are still intertwined, even if we never meet.  Even if the journey should prove too daunting, don’t let the distance stop you from surviving.  Take heart, and take note of what we have done here, in this, our haven of hope, that you may never see.  You, too, can do this, wherever you may be.  You can survive.  However bleak the day may seem, you are not alone.

If you can't come to us, come back to mankind.

Build a working community of your own.

If enough people out there like you can band together and learn to get it right this time, maybe places like ours might not seem so unbelievable, might become less extraordinary, and could even set us out on the path to establishing a network for trade, communication, and commerce, or, perhaps, in time — if we dare to dream it — to restoring a global society.  I know it will be a long hard road ahead of us all, but, it doesn't have to be impossible, and it isn't, if you don’t give up.  Put one foot in front of the other, and live to see another dawn tomorrow, and another after that, for as long as you can.

Somewhere in this world, there are people out there in the wilderness, just like you, alone and afraid, tired, aching, and hungry, and they need you.  Don’t let them down.  Fight to survive.  Fight to find each other.  And make something of yourselves, together, for all of our sakes.

If this new world has taught us anything, it’s that we aren’t much better than animals.  Though, we are pack animals, after all, and it’s only as a functioning pack that we will survive this.  And we CAN survive.  But we will have to learn to do in this time what we couldn’t in our own... we MUST, once and for all, set our differences aside, and come together, as people... as HUMANS.

History may well record that this moment was the turning point for all mankind.  Will the entirety of our race finally give in to his animalistic nature and become little more than a feral, witless creature, driven by instinct and desire?  Or, when faced with the array of his emotional compass, will he give in to merely the hopelessness of his sentience, and, in desperation to ease his suffering, lay down in defeat and die, only to blink out of existence for all time?  Or will he finally conquer his selfish and petty ways, and become more than he ever dreamed could be possible?

The time to decide is now... the choice is yours.

If, after countless millennia of evolution, after the near total failure of our once great civilization, we can finally, at last, learn to truly live as one, then, and only then, can we ever truly live.

Have faith, friend.  From this point forward, the world will be whatever you choose for it to be.

We'll be here, pulling for you.

May God help us all.

LJ Idol | Season 9 • Week 13 - Topic: OPEN
This post has been brought to you by an association with the online writing community forum, LJ IDOL.

The work here represents one half of the collaborative effort put forth by "KarmasMinion," the creative team of KarmaSoup and Mamas_Minion.

Minion and I have collaborated together for Idol entries on a couple of prior occasions, but this is our first intersection of the same story, in two different parts.  We took the concept of “OPEN” literally, and this is what we chose to do with it.
Be sure to check out his portion, part one of this piece, the backstory of our brave new world from the primary character’s perspective on this theme:


If you have enjoyed this entry, please feel free to speak your piece, share the love, and pass it on...
                                       ...and, as always, thanks for stopping by.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. I just love that you've struck a balance between life-affirming and the horror of a man-made apocalypse. I especially loved this gorgeous gem - If you can't come to us, come back to mankind.

You two could write a novel.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 12:13 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm sure he will be pleased to know someone thinks so. His original intent for this week was to write a "How to Survive the Apocalypse" step-by-step letter for posterity, but he found himself struggling with how to go about it... he just didn't know where to start. When we discussed it (easy for us to do on a regular weekly basis, as we live together), I realized that he had a good feel for the backstory that needed to be told, but just didn't know how to put that into the format he wanted, so I encouraged him to scrap the format idea, and just tell the story. Once he latched onto that idea, the story, simplistic enough, told itself. From there, me being the one more inclined towards emotionally charged writing, I could create something similar to what he'd initially had in mind. It's not a step by step how to, exactly... I'll leave that to the "For Dummies" writers, however, it is something more of an impassioned plea. I'm happy it works for you! :)

Edited at 2014-07-02 12:15 am (UTC)
Jul. 2nd, 2014 06:10 am (UTC)
I love the hope in this, the sense of encouragement and desire to inspire.

You are stronger than you know, even now, and there’s something inside you just waiting to flourish.
Such a wonderful attitude, so different from most post-apocalyptic or other desperate situations where you have to prove your worth to a community before you can join it.

I really enjoyed both halves of this intersection!
Jul. 2nd, 2014 06:17 am (UTC)
Thanks! I figured post-apocalyptic is fairly commonplace these days (mostly because I believe that's how our society feels about the world we live in), but, one that shows hope for the future, trust in people, that's not so common, so I was happy to show another side. Humans have to survive, and they're only ever going to be able to do so if they can overcome themselves. Glad they both worked for you.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 06:55 am (UTC)
Ah! this is so beautiful! I loved the message you passed through this.The words are encouraging and inspiring...many favorites lines in the entry and i am taking it home..:) Thank you for such a lovely read..:) off to read Mamas_minion's entry now. *hugs*
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:10 am (UTC)
I was hoping that the message would mean more than just for this fictional story... there is truth here, for all of us, post-apocalyptic or not. I'm glad you felt that in it.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:34 am (UTC)
This, I think, is rather how things would go, in the event of an apocalypse that people live through -- people grouping together for safety, and those would be the communities that survived.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:48 am (UTC)
I think so, too. I think the worst in us would certainly come out in many places, that we'd degrade into anarchy, but, you're right, I don't think those places would thrive. Of course, even a nirvana would eventually become too big for its britches, and before you know it (as in, many many centuries later), we might have to learn those lessons all over again, but there's something to be said for occasionally needing to hit the "reset" button. Thanks for seeing that here.
Jul. 4th, 2014 07:25 am (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:10 am (UTC)
It took me some time, even after reading the words, to understand that this referred to a literal apocalypse. So much of what is said here applies to the here and now (i.e. the fact that people are the only tool that can, with certainly, lead to the survival of people). I feel like we've been inundated with bad news in the U.S., such as shootings, icky Supreme Court rulings, losing to Belgium; and here in the Middle East, bombings, war, slavery, and corruption are incessant.

Something about your piece really shone through, like a light of sanity and hope. Thank you.

Also, I love the term "disaster goggles." I could write an equally long comment about that term...
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
I bet you could, considering some of what you've seen. Thanks for seeing the universality in this.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
This was so lovely and full of hope. I really enjoyed it.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hope was the intent... and faith, and promise... so rarely seen in writing on dystopia... Thanks!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:18 am (UTC)
I love the optimism in this piece and the hope for mankind.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad it hit the mark for you.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
So neat to read the two pieces working together :)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! We hadn't originally planned to work together this week, but he had a good idea, then got totally stuck with it, so I gave him some suggestions, which ended up in a collaboration, since it's more in my voice to achieve what he wanted. Between the two of us, we about got it done.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
This was a very thoughtful piece. I loved its message.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Disappointed I didn't get to read yours this week, but happy to see you stopping in on your week off. Glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to more of your madness next week! ;)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
I really love the direction you took our concept in with this speech talking about building community and togetherness and how with it hunmanity can survive to see a brighter day. This was a great uplifting call to arms speech and I appreciate the sentiments you put into this and the over all keep your head up and believe in humanity and togetherness feel of it.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks... not quite the "how to manual" that you wanted... but, between the two of us, I believe we more or less accomplish the same end result. Glad you're pleased with how they came out.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
I am very pleased with how they came out.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 11:58 pm (UTC)
Jul. 4th, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! :)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )