In 1975 Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson published The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It remains a seminal work of conspiracy fiction. Today, The Omnivore continues a serial-fiction experiment: Illuminoimia.
Everything You're Afraid Of Is True.
We get a look at a private encrypted electronic diary by a young scion of the True Kings of the World.
We get a look at a private encrypted electronic diary by a young scion of the True Kings of the World.
Previously On Illuminoimia
|Mother, Should I Trust The Government?|
Chapter 9: Dear Diary
2013 Somewhere In Cyberspace
I am writing this down in order to speak to my readers directly in a way I might not otherwise be able to. There will be a few different audiences with access to this work so I will necessarily start with things you may already know: bear with me. By this point you will hopefully know who Professor Tim Tracer is as well as Theodore Odell--whether because you know them personally or because you have completed situational forensic analysis.
I am a member of what Tracer calls the ‘Controlling Interest’ or, colloquially, The Illuminati. If you would like to know what we call ourselves, the answer is simple: We don’t. We intentionally and religiously avoid naming ourselves. Does that strike you as humble? It isn’t--and it isn’t because we are comparing ourselves to Lord Voldemort either (Mom, Dad, it’s a muggle thing. No, you won’t get that either.). It is because we are comparing ourselves to G_d.
I’m going to stick with Tracer’s ‘Controlling Interest’ because it’s almost clever enough to work given that in our central banking incarnation we do, in fact, set interest rates as a major method of controlling our targets. I’ll also use it because while ‘Illuminati’ works well enough given its etymology, for some of my readers (the Controlling Interest ones) it would make me look like a moron.
I have a few statements to make--and I will get to them in time but I want to start with a secret--the key secret. The key secret to all the other secrets. I want to tell you about The Harrowing.
When children of The Interest are born we move from one womb to another. The world we grow up in--for several years of life--until middle teen-dom--is carefully constructed and almost wholly artificial. There is extreme security although it is invisible. We think we’re leading lives that you might describe as comfortably upper-class--but we are, truly, given everything we could ask for. We grow up believing that we are rich--and that there is truly such a thing (there isn’t: money is an illusion). We grow up believing that we are better than almost everyone. This is, to some degree true: our ancestors domesticated and bred the dog and then the horse--and then us. Our matches have been selected, carefully, for desirable traits including, most importantly, longevity and intelligence. Of course we are vain: by any reasonable standard we are all quite beautiful.
Do you hate us yet?
In my womb-world I did not think of myself as a spoiled little prince for there were forces above me--Mother and Father--and Grandfather--who was quite feared. There were peers with whom I competed--viciously--and often cruelly. Those elements were encouraged in their way on the theory that it requires a hard stone to sharpen a quality blade. I did not love my peers--although some of them (often the younger ones I did not directly compete with) I liked well enough.
No, I loved Amanda. It wasn’t her actual name--’Amanda’ means ‘She who must be loved’ and I have chosen it because I was doomed to love her.
The Controlling Interest is built on a foundation of universal laws that the first high priests of mankind knew. We learned the basis for these in our classes as though everyone knew them. Do you know there really was a Garden of Eden? It’s not what you imagine. Did you guess we are all Creationists--not that we believe that the earth is six thousand years old, no. What we know--what we remember--is that at some point mankind was switched on. We--a few of us--became aware--self-aware--in a sudden burst of reason.
We believe we were “activated” by the creator (notice the lack of capital letters) and that it was done for certain reasons in accordance with certain laws (some of the reasons had to do, it seems, with worship and sacrifice). Some of the laws were truths of the heart and the mind as much so as truths of light and gravity. The first high priests--the Hierophants--knew these laws and passed them on by word of mouth to their most trusted initiates. We have maintained some of them.
We--the majority of The Controlling Interests--are taught some of those.
Here is the first Secret Law: It’s true! You have a soul-mate! You might even have more than one--but good luck finding her (or him, okay). You are born with damage. You are born with original sin. Your mind is innocent--but your soul is sick. The years of our childhood, our messy, sloppy, jagged emotions, hurt us even more--all of us--no matter how good your childhood: it is an immutable law of being.
By the time we reach pubescence we are an almost-unique little ball of pain surrounded by our protections, our superstitions, and the lies we tell ourselves. We are like piebald sea urchins of hurtful spines and abscesses wounds--and that’s a saint! You are an ugly diseased piebald sea urchin. It turns out, that out there, there is always someone who will fit in--maybe more than one--and their spines and edges will actually sooth your wounds--and vice versa. It’s a law of the universe--a Secret Law.
The Hierophants were, originally, the perfect matchmakers: When you make that perfect soul-mate match, the union will be happy and and very fruitful--and you will multiply. This was a good thing for early man. It turns out, though, there are other things you can do with your soul-mate.
I met Amanda when I was about seven--when I realized there were girls that would be going through life with me and I had, at least, a mild curiosity. And oh, Amanda was wonderful: she knew what I was feeling. She healed my wounded pride just by being there. She was my quiet ally (she was not a peer--she was often invisible around us--but when I was alone--oh, boy--there she was). She had her own friends but I came first and I had no real friends save her.
We grew close and we shared the secrets of the kind young people have. Then we shared the secrets of the kind adolescents have. I had told my parents when I was seven that I would marry her. As a fifteen year old I would never voice such a thing--but I felt it in my heart. I had no doubt at all. At the age of sixteen--after our kind’s sixteenth birthday--we would go to ‘Finishing Schools.’ These were exclusive boarding schools in remote locations (little did I know at the time exactly how exclusive or exactly how remote) at the end of a great family dinner in the honor of the birthday boy.
It was a grand day--I remember playing tennis with my father--amazed at the skill and fluidity with which he moved. I saw in him a glimmer of what I hoped to become--a glimmer of a great man--dazzling in his poise, strength, intelligence, and generosity. The table was set with candles. My mother--wasn’t she proud?--was there. I’d asked for Amanda to be there as well--at the family dinner.
I knew one of my friends had had his girlfriend there. At the time I thought it might be an unusual request.
We had started with an appetizer of Steak tartare and I was starving. It was delicious and I could see the shine in my father’s eyes--a gleam I thought was pride. And then I felt sick--a sudden primal need to vomit and I was barely able to stand--staggering--before my father rose and forced a plastic bag over my head.
I was so ill I couldn’t fight--couldn’t stand--I suffocated, panicking--as I saw my mother--slim, elegant, and beautiful, across from me holding a bag over Amanda’s head as well. Slipping into unconsciousness was not exactly a mercy: I was in the grips of a panic so deep and profound I thought I was dying--and I was even more terrified that Amanda was dying as well.
I awoke under strobe lights, submerged half way in water--spread-eagled--freezing--coughing. I still could not hold anything down--it was the worst sea-sickness you can imagine: it was matched, as I fought to get my head to the surface--by my overwhelming need to breathe.
The lights strobed--seizure fast--and submerged speakers blared White Rabbit and a man with rubber surgical gloves and cheesecloth over his face forced me back down into the water and they electrified it. He did this again and again: I dislocated my shoulders. I drank water into my lungs--I vomited and he forced me under--merciless in the black room and the strobing lights.
When I came to, it was a different hell. A cold and hard one. My shoulder had been reset but I lay on a concrete floor in an icy room where sprinklers on the ceiling sprayed freezing water at random intervals with a terrible, terrible sound: a baboon's hiss, it turned out. There was a constant loop tape of a baby wailing at volumes impossible to ignore.
My back had been thrown out--I believed from the struggle--but later I felt the wrack they used--so I lay, unable to stand, crawling in agony from one side to other, trying in vain to escape the spray. Amanda and I sometimes suffered together, side-by-side. I could hear her scream weakly: we were mostly too tired to beg--and of course we knew it would have done nothing.
I wanted to die--but I wanted--I hung on--to save Amanda. I don’t know why I felt I could but I was sure if my mother and father had sent me to this place for some transgression when I had suffered enough I would be released and then they would release poor Amanda too. After all, she could have done nothing wrong.
They alternated wounds. The sickness was constant. They allowed sleep: it was filled with nightmares--and it was no great mercy for even that was only a chance to gather strength for more horror. There was no talking--it was simply the constant pandemonium of the music and the screams. There were others being tortured. I never saw them--the only face in that dark place was Amanda’s and sometimes she would meet my eyes and that was even worse as her heart broke for me.
Sometime in the hellish strobe-lit dark I could take no more: they had broken me open like an egg and the yolk of my spirit had been poured out. They showed me The Well: it was stone. It was irregularly shaped--kind of like an oval. It was terribly black in the bottom but a bare bulb cast furtive illumination. There were dark blades of glass on the way down (none at the bottom). Shallow water--enough to keep you wet. I could see the electrical rods. They had intravenous bags of nutrients, whole blood, and harsh antibiotics. It would take a long time to die at the bottom--all of it in terrible despair, darkness, and pain.
Across from The Well was a hospital bed: warm, clean--under a dim white light and an arch--a white lit hall. Heaven. I was too weak to stand. Amanda knelt next to me, bound as well. I could hear only her unsteady breath.
“There is only one bed,” they said. Those were the only words I had heard in what felt like my life. I understood what they meant--and that it was my decision. I only wanted the pain to end--that is what any animal would require and I was an animal. So I gasped something and they carried me to the bed.
It was all very “Do it to Julia!”
They broke Amanda’s arms and legs so she writhed, helpless, her limbs like blood-flecked arms of some sea creature--and they threw her in the well where she would die for days and although there was no reason to prolong her suffering after they took me down that hall I knew there would be no mercy. None at all.
It turns out that people are right when they say that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. If you kill your soul-mate you can keep a secret. When you are Harrowed and you kill your mirror you not only can keep a secret: you will keep the secrets.
Other people? They can’t--they’ll spill. They’ll talk. This is the Second Secret Law of the universe that Hierophants learn.
So I’m going to tell you all one of my secrets. This isn’t a Secret Law. It’s just a secret. Oh, and it’s a few other people’s secret too--but I’m not too concerned about them for reasons that’ll be obvious directly. The Chapel Perilous--which is the name for the place where we are Harrowed--where my mother and father were Harrowed--and my friends, each of them with his or her soulmate were Harrowed--has been doing what it does for ages. It re-shapes us in very, very specific ways under the ‘care’ of technicians who, themselves, have been broken in other ways.
That is a lot of what we do: we break people in ways that work for us.
But nothing is perfect. I had knelt on that stone ground and looked into the deep, misshapen well (hint: it looks like a birth canal) and I saw my death or her death--square in the face and then I realized something. I had been broken, yes: I would have made that decision just like mom and dad knew I would (no one, it turns out, ever goes into the dark themselves)--so it worked … kinda.
You see the girl next to me wasn’t Amanda. I’m sure they have very good doctors at the Chapel Perilous--and I can tell you from first hand experience they know their stuff. But I know an imposter when I see one too. I don’t have to be bred for high IQ to tell you what happened; I was there. They killed Amanda--they couldn’t bring her back (at least not in one piece--there are methods) so they got some other girl and drugged her up and threw her down next to me.
I guess they figured I was Harrowed enough I couldn’t tell--and wouldn’t know. I’m sure they realized they couldn’t tell anyone they screwed up: if you worked in a place like that would you expect a bad performance review when you admitted you fumbled the scion?
I did notice it wasn’t her so I wasn’t Harrowed quite enough. The magic, such as it was, didn’t fail entirely--but it only worked half way..
I’m a Secret-Telling-Motherfucking-Machine now. Hi Mom! Hi Dad! I love you Amanda.