LGBTQ+ Speculative Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Although I never met the man himself, I and the rest of my comrades were determined to get James Seward into power. My name is Alex Belken, and I am a Sewardist.  

Seward was the revolutionary General Secretary of the United States Communist Party, who would be the antidote to the iron fist of David Westler, the then sitting president of the United States, who created the Turning Point Party after running independent. They tried to beat us, to torture us, to enslave us, to kill us, until only they walked the lands we lived on. 

Westler was inspired by certain political leaders from World War II who persecuted those they deemed inferior. The history of those past tragedies prepared us for the worst. One of our efforts to spread Seward’s message was through a film production based on his life and mission. It was our aim to give the masses hope of a brighter future through his guidance. We had a cast and crew who were disillusioned artists from film companies that were laid off after the Great A.I. Boom took over. One of Seward’s goals as General Secretary would be to restore human involvement in artistic endeavors following our revolution. 

My comrade, Mitch Gonzalez, walked beside me with our AK-47’s in hand as we escorted the cast and crew into the studio amidst a battalion of 50 Sewardist soldiers. We all wore black clothes and hats without anything to identify us, as well as black face masks. Every time we formed together, we would greet each other by using our secret hand code with our index and middle fingers up, pinkie and index finger up, our thumb pointed to the side, and a fist, in that order. We could not allow impostors into our ranks, or else we would be internally destroyed and our efforts would all be for naught. 

“This better be a damn good movie,” Mitch whispered to me as we marched through the parking lot. “We’re literally putting our lives down for this.”

“If we survive, it’ll be the first film with actual human beings in the last five years,” I reassured him. “All those banned films I’ve watched featuring humans are motivation enough for me, Comrade Seward’s message is just icing on the cake. To see another movie being made with people—especially one aimed toward the people—is a dream come true.”

“And if we don’t make it?” he said. 

“Then it would be an honor serving and protecting these people,” I said. 

“You’re definitely more determined than me. I just wanna blow these Westler bastards up instead of being put back in the camps again,” he said. 

Westler launched a campaign to imprison all people of Latino descent in concentration camps two years into his presidency, which started at the Mexican border until more and more camps were built in the southern half of the country. LGBTQIA+ individuals were added later as well. Many lost their lives in the camps, including Mitch’s family. After he was rescued by Sewardist forces (who made sure to eliminate every guard at the camp), Mitch was determined to kill all the Westlers he could. It wasn’t like he had anything left to lose. 

We reached the door of the studio. It was abandoned, as A.I. eliminated nearly all film jobs in Hollywood. As the battalion commander, I announced my next steps to everyone. 

“Comrades, Attention!” I yelled. All the soldiers stood with their feet shoulder width apart and their rifles facing diagonally down and faced me. 

“My recon teams inside the studio informed me that the coast is clear. We will film at least three scenes of this movie. Once we’re inside, I want four soldiers to guard each door, which there are three of. 20 will surround the actors and crew, 10 will cover the set, and eight will accompany me wherever I go. There may be Westlers on their way, but regardless if they are or not, I want your eyes sharp and your ears open. We have four snipers on the roof who will alert me of any intruders. The Westlers like to start by scoping out the areas with drones, which our snipers will blow out of the sky. If that happens, be ready for anything. To the film crew and performers, we thank you for being here and we will do everything in our power to keep you all safe. Your art will inspire the people and change lives. It will give people hope. It is an honor to be here and protect you. I think my comrades can agree.”

I then raised my fist, and the others mimicked it. 

“To Liberation!” I cried.

“To Liberation!” the others shouted in unison. 

We all filed into the studio which looked like a warehouse with greenscreens littered about. The first scene they would shoot was a pivotal speech from Seward. As the cast and crew arranged the set before shooting the scene, we divided into our ranks. A battle with the Westlers was imminent. No matter where we went, they followed. They would not stop until we were all eradicated. To them, we were not human beings.

As a gay journalist, I was a target of the regime since Westler took office after his successful second insurrection. I was never in the camps, as friends of mine always kept me hidden until I joined the Seward Revolutionary Army (SRA), but from what I was told, LGBTQIA+ individuals had their own sections where they received “special” torture. Whatever that was, I sure as hell wasn’t ready to find out. The survivors I spoke to spared me the details, likely for good reason.

These actors’ lives were at stake, but they volunteered. Many of them were camp survivors, as  intellectuals and artists who didn’t align with Westler’s dictations of art were often kidnapped. Even if it was their last film, they thought it was worth trying to spread the message of a better path to the uninformed through art. Seward focused on reaching youth the most, as they were the most resistant to Westler’s rule. Most of our troops were 17-40 years old.

I watched as the actor, Nicholas Colt, spoke with a bravado that sounded just like Seward himself. He animated his arms to be stiff as branches from a tree that wouldn’t break.

“How is it possible that we give healthcare only to the wealthy? How is it that doctoral degrees are only accessible to the wealthy?” Colt boomed. “Everyone deserves the chance to pursue the job they wish without financial confines. That is why after Westler is brought to his knees, we will make healthcare a right, not a privilege, to all who reside in the United States. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have an equal say in how this country is run through a democratic centralist system. You will be able to recall elected officials at any time through voting, and decisions will be made from the bottom, that is the workers and their families, up to the vanguard party.”

From other speeches I heard the real Seward make over the radio, he would also ensure that houseless individuals would have the right to occupy vacant homes, as homes would no longer be in the hands of private realty firms and would instead be owned by the state. As a result, everyone would have a right to housing. The same would go for food, as there would be food rations available for everyone who needed it.

I heard static from the transmission radio attached to my chest.

“Commander, I spotted a drone about 400 feet away. It’s getting closer,” Comrade Kenzler alerted me from the roof. They were on their way.

“Take the shot,” I said.

Everyone in the building heard the explosion of a sniper bullet coming from the roof. They all paused like they were in a game of Red Light, Green Light.

“One of my snipers spotted a Westler drone surveilling the area,” I announced to the group. “Platoon D, I want you to escort the cast and crew to the back room and guard them. I want all formations covering the exits. The Westlers are on their way. Get ready.”

The film staff’s panic echoed as they nearly trampled each other to traverse to the safe zone. It was like they relived the horror of what they’d experienced before the threat appeared. I was determined to make sure they would never have to face such a monster again.

My eight elite soldiers stood in front of me. Sometime later, another shot rang out from the roof. Then another. Kenzler told me they shot the driver of a pickup truck, which then swerved off the road and into another building. However, there was a convoy of 10 trucks behind him. Some of them had machine guns mounted to the truck beds, where they shot back against the snipers.

“I have a sniper down!” Kenzler blared through the radio. I anticipated they would likely shoot through the walls.

“They have machine guns mounted to their trucks. Everybody get prone!” I commanded. They all dropped to their stomachs. A hail of bullets pierced through the walls. The podium was destroyed, but nobody else was hurt. Someone with big black boots slammed the door open with his foot, revealing the sunset outside behind him. Before his foot touched the floor, one comrade shot him through the skull, who already had their pistol aimed where someone’s head would be. As he fell, others followed inside.

“Yahoo!” the Westlers shouted as a battle cry. Westlers were known to be privy to wild west films and often joined the president’s forces to act out their fantasies of killing minorities, just like their hero John Wayne did on screen. As they filed through the doors, we riddled them with 7.62x39mm and 9mm bullets. Once we reloaded, a nail grenade careened through the door. Two comrades lost their legs in the process.

More Westlers came through the other doors on the sides of the building. A cacophony of gunfire and smoke filled the studio. It would be the first time a battle took place there that wasn’t choreographed, where the people shot didn’t get back up.

I was able to down about five men wearing camo before Mitch was shot in the chest by a man with a graying mullet and sunglasses wielding a sawed-off shotgun. Because he wasted the two shots he had, I shoved my knife into his throat.

“That was for Mitch,” I whispered before I kicked his chest, with my serrated knife sliding out of his neck still in my hand.

As I ran toward the back room where the cast and crew were, I witnessed another comrade knocked to the ground by a Westler with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, who I blasted in the chest with my rifle. People were falling on both sides. The platoon protecting them were all down, and about three Westlers gained on the door. My AK bullets depleted and all I had left was my Beretta M9 sidearm. Once I pulled it out, a bone in my calf cracked. Someone had shot it. Since I fell, I managed to shoot one in the butt, which made the two others turn around. They fell to their knees clenching their genitals because that was the best place I could fire at them in the position I was in.

Another bullet impaled my right forearm. I couldn’t help but scream. The pain pushed me further, as I wanted to save my team at whatever the cost. I grabbed my pistol with my other hand and turned to lay on my back. A bald man with a snake tattoo on his face charged at me with a machete raised over his head. As he was about to swing, I fired through the top row of his teeth, which then exited out of the other side of his head. He fell beside me. A few moments later, the gunfire stopped.

“Hooray!” I heard familiar voices shout. It was over.

Comrade Panda, one of our medics, came to my aid. Her platinum blonde side part shined from the sunset under the window on the roof.

“Commander, you’re not looking so good. I’m gonna patch you up,” she said. She cleaned the wounds with isopropyl alcohol and bandaged them after she gave me a stick to chew on so I didn’t have to scream, then had others put me on a stretcher.

“Let’s take him back to the medic center. He’s wounded,” she ordered.

“Did we win?” I asked her.

“Yeah, this time we did,” she said.

About 27 comrades lost their lives, who we held a vigil for at our headquarters in an abandoned warehouse at [REDACTED] in northern California. Thanks to us, the cast and crew of the film survived.

As I recovered from my injuries, the film was completed. A few comrades wore GoPros on their helmets, in which we used some of the footage from the battle in the final film. With real combat to show what we do and to give the people hope that a better life is attainable, along with Seward’s inspiration, our recruits quadrupled in two months.

I had faith that Westler would soon realize he’s not a god, but a person just like us. Someone who has to eat just like us, use a bathroom just like us, and can die… just like us.

March 29, 2024 17:02

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.