‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Eighteen

Having pulled back all the water of my melted body, made it coagulate, and concentrated it so it would again form the shape of my human body, I’ve returned from across the ocean, all of me back on this island, and I’m opening my eyes. Indeed, now I not only hear, but also see, all the explosions and gunfire.

And yes, they’re even closer than ever before.

I see soldiers running up and down the street, here in front of the park and the temple where I was given that pill that seems to be augmenting my ketamine high. The soldiers, sometimes in one uniform (PLA, I think), and sometimes in another (the local army, it must be), are firing their rifles. I see two or three of them shot, falling on the road, bleeding and groaning in pain.

My eyes being a little out of focus, I’ve blinked them a few times, hoping to see more clearly. BOOM! BOOM! A few loud explosions just startled me with their flashing, blinding light in the sky. My eyes need to adjust some more to these shocks.

…and…OK, I think I know what’s going on.

Now that my movement for peace and a revolutionary overthrow of the warmongering ruling class is gaining ground, as I saw in the soldiers of the first uniform running down the street and shooting at the army of the ruling class, there have arisen others, also in uniform (the same uniform, I think), who are trying to sabotage my movement. Their traitorous actions have caused the injuries to the soldiers I see over there, my followers, lying and bleeding on the road.

This all must be David’s doing. He said before that he wants to take over my movement and ‘improve’ it, since he envies me for the love I’ve received from my comrades and growing number of followers.

Yes, David is trying to infiltrate my movement for peace and radical change, that’s what all the fighting is about! My followers, at heart, don’t want war, but David is forcing them to fight in self-defence, to discredit all that we’re struggling for!

He’s stirring up trouble in an attempt to replace me as leader. He’s sent in agent provocateurs to start fights among my followers. He has gangs and wreckers trying to break us up! We must stop him and thwart his schemes!

Is that what that white man was doing before, the one who came up to me to have me leave the island and go back home across the ocean…so David could take over?

Yes, that must have been it! Oh, it’s a good thing that I decided to stay here and send my energy over there, in watery form. Still, David is coming to get me!

BOOM! Wow, another explosion just lit up the sky and pounded on my eardrums! It was really close! Was that from David’s forces? It must have been. I think I feel…is that flaky fragments of things falling on my head and shoulders…is that ash and fragments of stone? It feels like that.

Hey, some people are coming up to me. They must be some of my new followers, for though I don’t recognize them, they are wiping the ash and tiny pieces of rock off of my clothes–how thoughtful of them. What are they saying to me? I’ll have to focus my stoned brain on their rapidly-flying Mandarin words.

“Come with us,” one of them is saying, “to a safer place…too dangerous here…Let’s go together.”

“Yes,” I say in Chinese as I get up. “Tell those soldiers on the road…to stop fighting with each other. That’s what David wants them to do. Don’t listen to David’s lies.”

As they’re taking me out of the park, I hear more gunshots, really loud ones, quite close to us. One of the men taking me has fallen back: was he shot? I’m still so high that I cannot tell.

“No more fighting!” I shout out as loud as I can to all my followers on the road. I hope my voice was loud enough to be heard over all the shooting and explosions in the sky; I also hope that my Mandarin is intelligible to them. “Stay unified! Let there be no divisions in our movement! Don’t follow David!”

“We don’t understand…[something, unclear],” one of my followers–who are helping me cross the street now–is saying. Don’t understand what? Is my drunken, stoned voice too slurred? Am I making mistakes with my Chinese? Let me attempt to piece together the unclear fragments of what I remember hearing of his Chinese: “…you..in…say…what”? No, was it, “You…again…say…what…need…hear”, or “need…stop”? Was that it?

Speaking of stopping, I’m so high, at the moment, I’m not sure if I’m walking or staying in one place.

Oh, wait! I know what he said. “We’ve stopped. No more fighting. We understand. You’ve again said what we need to hear.” That’s it! My followers aren’t being lured over to David’s side. I’ve gotten through to them. They are staying unified, no sectarian splitting of the movement. The disputes are now resolved, and my enemies–those working for David–have been defeated, kicked out of the movement, expelled, or…I’m sorry to say…killed.

The movement is safe and intact…for now, at least.

I’m on the other side of the road from the park. Where are my followers taking me?

Hey! Something just shot by my ear, fast as a bullet. It almost grazed my ear.

It flew by at lightning speed, with a loud, buzzing sound.

It must have been an insect.

I’m glad it didn’t hit me. That would have hurt.

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