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NaMiFiWriMoFo #30

This is the last numbered microfic, at least until I try to run of 30 in a month next November.


To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, fairy tales don't tell us that monsters exist. All children know intimately, innately, inherently, that monsters exist. Fairy tales tell us that monsters can be beaten. Stories provide us with a St. George to slay the dragon we know is out there.

It seems like a wonderful idea, doesn't it? I thought about that a lot. It's an easy way to feel powerful, fighting monsters. Slaying dragons. But, look - how do we know monsters when we find them? Every monster has a mother, every dragon loves something. If we reduce our foes to monsters, it becomes okay to slay them. That's why so many TV shows make the bad guys into literal monsters, demons, vampires and such these days. It's the only way the heroes can fight them without having to admit that they're doing harm. Black and white.

I watched the news every night, counting the dead. I was numb. I had run right out of tears, poured out all my sorrow and pain until I couldn't feel anything any more. Every monster is someone else's hero. St. George is the Dragon. Either everyone is a monster, or no one is.

After an eternity, I had an idea, and I went to work. It took me years to build it, and years more to make it look innocuous enough to transport. I made a dozen of them, and hid them around the world. Empathy bombs. The size of large suitcase, metal and stranger materials, bundled up with the word "GROK" painted on the side.

The bombs went off, and soldiers, terrorists, and criminals the world over suddenly Understood. They knew that they were killing real people, not blips on a screen, not dragons, not monsters, not cartoons. I thought that this would stop war, reduce crime, cut back on violence. It did, sort of. Soliders kept killing, but most of them killed themselves afterwards. The governments kept sending more people off to kill, though. that was when I realised that I was solving the wrong problem.

I set off the mother of all Empathy Bombs in the middle of the press conference, and the world wept with me as I aimed my gun at the Man in Charge and pulled the trigger.

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