“Boy in the Bubble” by Simon, Paul from Graceland
It began with a bang.
I know, these things don’t tend to, but this one did.
The bomb was downtown. Hidden. In a grocery cart or baby carriage, maybe. Reports conflicted.
No one has taken “credit” for it. No one knows the why of it. There are some theories out there that the people who were running the lab it exposed set it, but those theories are incomplete at best. Why would they do it? Did they mean it to literally blow their cover or was that some kind of accident? No satisfactory answers can yet be risen.
What has been brought to Earth is something more intriguing. And a fair measure worse.
Experiments. Butchery, really. Dangerous, crazed experiments, done without seeming purpose beyond seeing if they could be done. A baby and a great ape with swapped hearts. An explosive satellite that apparently, according to notes, traveled faster than light and induced a supernova we won’t be able to observe for years and years. A variety of what can only be thought of as weapons, utilizing light to pierce, to burn, the destroy. Miracles according to the notes left behind by the scientists. Or, rather, the zealots.
And what now? It seems the baby will live. The baboon as well. The 13 people caught in the blast radius, however, will not. The others who may have eviscerated in the name of this group’s “science?” In paupers’ graves perhaps? Incinerated? Eaten? Who can say? Who will ever know?
They left behind their experiments, their notes, and bizarre shrines to the likes of Curie and Crick and Keppler.
And a boy. More of a teenager. Sealed in a perfect sphere. Translucent. Gleaming. A seemingly infinitely sustaining life support system. And there he was, perfectly still, seemingly content.
The source of our ruin.
When he opened his eyes…when he opened them, it was all over before it began. At least, so we’ve been told. An urge, dark and indistinct, seized everyone there. The emergency personnel. The survivors. The lookie loos. All of them. All at once. Those that came out of it, intact but broken in many ways, describe it as though something crawled into them. Something spoke to them in unfamiliar tongues. Stirred up feelings and sensations in them that were wholly alien and yet undeniable.
In the twelve minutes that followed, they fell upon one another in rage, in lust, in confusion.
Most survived. Nearly all. But not really. They left something of themselves behind. Brought something back with them.
And of course, what government could resist? Certainly he…this could be weaponized. And so they took him/it. Worked. Pushed. Pulled.
Then, spurred on by frustration and fear and loss of power, they rolled him out into the streets of that city. The effects were instantaneous. And lasted far longer. The city will never recover. Probably the country won’t either.
And now the boy was free. No one knows where he is. Only that, every five weeks or so, he emerges, “converts” another population center, and disappears. So we hide. In bunkers. Behind walls. With weapons drawn.
As though there were any way to stop miracles from coming. As though one could resist being forever changed by a witnessed miracle.