III

Genocide? Or The Only Hope For A Future?

Yesterday, The UE finished its discussions and debates attempting to find a solution to the Earth’s overpopulation problem. All 195 countries were represented at the gathering, which took place at the Millionth Street Tower. The solution proposed by a young politician here in The UE was discussed at length and voted upon by representing members of each county. The vote was 127 to 68 for affirmation of what is now being called The Polling policies. The policy states that a series of “televised lotteries” will be conducted live on dates to be determined. These lotteries will choose random citizens from every country via their citizen numbers, and those selected will perish. The UE has not stated how these, to be frank, murders will be carried out, but we cannot sit idly by and let these policies be enforced. This “solution” is mass genocide. It’s time for a call to a…

Leech’s ears rang as the piercing brakes of a white truck pulled up to the bus stop. His concentration was now broken. He was bored of that newspaper piece anyway. Just another failed revolution, he thought. 

They popped up all the time in the early days, back when motivation was an epidemic. Now it was as if people got lazy. Complacent with their surroundings. No one sought out better options or fought for what was right. Perhaps time really does heal all wounds.

The white truck waited for the two men, plumes of steam spilling out of its exhaust pipes. They both stood up from the bench and Leech walked up to the passenger side window. The glass snuck down and they exchanged words before the driver exited the vehicle and made his way around to the bed of the truck. He lifted a tarp.

“Hey,” Leech said to Crop. “I trust this guy.”

Crop examined what was underneath the tarp and looked concerned.

“We gotta lay under this for a while until he gets us up there. Up to the emerald tower.” Leech hoisted himself up into the bed, handing the driver something before he found his home underneath the grey tarp. Possibly payment of some kind. 

Crop followed suit, reluctantly.

The road to the Cloud City was a bumpy one. Trails of tread left behind from the tires stretched for miles. Once they reached the border, the muddy roads turned into damp pavement and it was smooth sailing from there. Crop watched the streetlights zooming by as their light shined through the wet tarp. Leech slept in between his fidgeting fits.

Eventually, they came to a steady stop. Crop could hear the driver and someone talking. It must have been a checkpoint. The guard must have figured he didn’t get paid enough to check anything and let them right through without an issue. It had to have been another forty miles before anything else exciting happened.

The truck came to a stop and the driver rolled down his window, gave two knuckle knocks to the outside of the door and said “This is as far as I can take ya.”

Leech rolled back the tarp and hopped out of the bed of the truck, the man watching from the rear-view mirror. 

“The city center should be a couple of miles that way, but I can’t get too deep into the city without being found out.” The man pointed out towards the front of the truck. “Here take these.” He reached back behind the seat and pulled out some nice-looking clothes. A charcoal grey suit with a white shirt for Crop, and a black suit for Leech. “These are the best I could find closest to your sizes.”

“Hey, thanks man!” Leech said. This will definitely get them in.

“You guys take care now, tell your friends if they ever need to get to The UE I’m their guy.” The man drove off.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They approached the cobblestone stairs of the city center. The muffled sounds of talking and laughter crept through the walls of the great building. Atop the stairs stood a crimson door sectioned by golden rods running vertically down the seams. The doors stood ten feet tall, dwarfing the men. 

Inside, The Drip was in full swing. Leech, desperate to get his hands on some blood, entered the place nonchalantly. He motioned with his eyes, to Crop, as if he were egging him on. The giant doors drifted open in silence as if it were someone’s sole responsibility to keep the hinges greased. Diamond chandeliers hung from the ceiling giving off a kaleidoscope shimmer to the surrounding walls originating from the lights nestled deep within the crystals. 

The Drip was just like any other big banquet, only at this one, the attendees gathered around IV bags instead of the punch bowl. Thin translucent tubes running from the metal stands into the folds of their arms. 

“Type?” said the lady behind the counter.

“Huh?” Leech said, trying to make it seem like this wasn’t his first rodeo.

“Your blood type.” She said in a tone, as if she already thought they were idiots. “That’s why you’re here, right?”

“Uh…yeah.” Leech said, scratching the back of his head in a nervous tick. “A positive.”

“And you?” She looked at Crop.

Before she could find out Crop is a mute, Leech chimed in, remembering what Crop’s was from that one time he pumped himself full of the excrement.

“He’s O positive.”

The woman wrote the blood types on a notepad and mosied her way back to the cold storage room, rolling her IV bag right along with her. The wheels squeaked and wobbled from overuse. She came back out and sat the two blood bags on the counter, rubbing her arms to get the cold off. She double checked the blood types with what Leech told her.

“Ok.” She said. “Here’s the A positive.” She handed the blood to Leech, “And here’s the O positive. You two enjoy yourselves.” 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The leather sofa absorbed Leech’s torso. Crop followed suit, engulfed in his chair as well. Leech got them all situated with the blood bags hooked up, but by now Crop was damn near a pro at hooking himself up. He’d been unhooked and re-attached more times in two days than these people had in the six months. Crop watched as some nameless beings lifeblood rolled into his flesh. Instant euphoria. A euphoria he had felt since birth, which is why Leech looked confused.

“Shit, I guess you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” He laughed, until he didn’t. He floated away into euphoria as well.

It wasn’t long before the televisions in the hall started the anticipated broadcast. The Crest began to speak, his voice amplifying over every nook and cranny of that banquet. It vibrated the very blood in their veins.

“Good evening!”
The crowd clapped. A few drunken whistles pierced Crop’s ears.

“We are brought together again on this night for the biannual Drip.”

The room became so silent that you could hear a syringe drop.

“I simmered and simmered over my paper as I prepared for this speech tonight. Now, I don’t want to get overly dramatic, but I think it needs to be said. Gratitude needs to be given. We’ve spent so much of ourselves to get where we are today. Sacrificed so much. I want to thank you. Really, I do. Because without your sacrifices we would all be like those miserable souls down there in The Byways. God bless them, but they are stubborn people. They don’t want help. I’ve tried. I tried with Family Planning and I tried with Polling, but some people are selfish. They don’t see the bigger picture.” He sighed. “Anyways, enough of the seriousness. This is a fun night! Now, enjoy yourselves and be safe. I’ll be dripping right along with you! Goodnight!”

The television faded to static before blackness.

Crop sat in a daze as blurs, of what he could only imagine were people, moved all around him. Time seemed to slow and quicken in short intervals, something Crop had never experienced. Colors shifted and combined all around him. The laughter, chatter, and noise all merged into one endless glob of almost tangible resonance. So much so that Crop involuntarily let out a yell.

“Quiet!” Crop yelled. His senses overloaded.

Leech jumped up from surprise that the thing could talk, only to be reabsorbed by the chair.

“I….” Crop stumbled over his words. Due to not knowing them or his sensory overload, either one…it didn’t matter. “I can’t take this.” He held his head in his palms. The glob of resonance dissipated, but only for a moment.

“You mean we could’ve been talking this whole time?” Leech said, almost disappointed.

Crop grunted, still shocked that he had spoken for the first time. “Did you know this would happen?” He lifted his head from his hands.

“No, but I didn’t know you’d wake up from your little nap either.”

The chatter from the crowded ballroom drowned out their conversations. They could plan a coup right there in that very room and no one would ever hear a peep. 

Leech fiddled with the needle sticking into his arm. Like a phalange, an extra limb, it was a part of him. Or at least he felt like it was a part of him. He looked at Crop and watched as he slowly peeled away the chrome from his veins. An empty man, just a body. He thought. Just a body…

“A walking blood bag.” His thoughts turned to words and Crop looked up at him as he held the bloody tubes in his fingers.

“What did you say?”

“A walking blood bag, a body.” It was like a light flipped on inside Leech’s mind and his eyes widened with the thought of great promise.

“What are you talking about?” Still holding the paraphernalia in his hands.

“You be my personal blood bag!” Leech exclaimed, like it was a normal thing to ask of someone. “Fuck this shit man.” He gestured to the squeaky stand that held his A positive slush pack. “I don’t need to come to this shit anymore, we don’t need to.”

Crop, even while calculating all of this in his mind as fast as he could, knew that Leech must have thought he was an idiot. “I…”

“I wouldn’t need to sneak in that factory anymore,” Leech spewed, before Crop could get more than a word out. “If you think about it, you’d be doing all those other crops a favor.”

“I mean,” Crop gathered his thoughts. “I don’t think that I really want to have you periodically getting off on my bodily fluids.” Crop just kind of said some shit. He didn’t know why the drip affected him the way it did…or why he all of a sudden knows what getting off means.

Leech looked disappointed to say the least, angry almost. “I broke you out of that place man, you’d still be there if it weren’t for me.”

He has a point, Crop thought to himself. “The only reason you broke me out of there was because you were there to leech blood off of me.” He said, coming to his senses.

Leech stood up among the crowd. Though, his shoulders sagged, on the inside he felt like the tallest man in the room. “Something divine led me to you. I know it. I can feel it,” He gestured around to the packed room, but no one paid Leech any mind. “I was led to you to…to set you free!”

Crop, still seated, looked up at the lunatic. The words that the man vomited were that of The Drip, that of an inhibited mind. “You came to me randomly. You even said you had been there before. It was by chance that you chose me that night.”

Leech lowered himself back into the cushioned seat. He had had his epiphany and now sought to share it with Crop on a more intimate level. They were now face to face. “Nothing is by chance, man. I was there to wake you up. Something set me on that path.”

“And you think that path leads to me being your personal blood bag? What divine being would set you, or me for that matter, on that path? I won’t do it.”

Leech rose up out of the sofa abyss, and started to walk off.

“Where are you going?”

“To take a piss!” Leech yanked the blood bag stand right along with him.

Crop watched the crowd move around him like everyone was connected as one big organism. A giant Man O’ War drifting through the figurative currents around him. He finished tidying up the siphon and joined the organism, but only long enough to return the blood bag to the lady at the front counter.

“You’re finished?” The woman said, surprised.

“Yeah, I think it’s about time I leave.”

“No one ever leaves a drop behind.” She shockingly grabbed the blood bag and took it back to the cold storage around the corner.

Crop stepped outside to wait for Leech, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Two Sentinel guards had followed him outside.

“That’s him alright.” One said while looking down at a message on his dispatch log.

Behind the Sentinels, Crop could see Leech watching from a distance. I guess it was his way, or no way. He thought.

The left Sentinel cocked back his bludgeon in the air before releasing it upon Crop’s head. The force like that of a recently unlatched catapult. Crop fell to the ground, his face smashing against the concrete. Consciousness slipping away slowly, he could still make out Leech fading into the crowd. Looking back to show a grin only a childish evil could conjure up. Then everything went black.

Published by Jacob Fite

My name is Jacob, I'm 30 years old and currently serving in the USAF. Born in Sheridan, Arkansas, USA. I love writing poetry and stories. My first completed story, The Drip can be found here on my blog.

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