Randall hadn’t always been an ardent believer in any one cause or group. He wasn’t really a leader, he was more of a follower, in fact he was more of a fringe hanger on. He never really thought he fit in anywhere. He wasn’t an athlete, he didn’t relish academics, he just simply went with the flow. Then one day while surfing the web, he came across a website that had great graphics. He began to read up on the ideas that the people who put it up were advocating. He got up the courage to sign up for one of the virtual group meetings and soon he was involved with a lot of people who seemed to be just like him. He began to connect locally and the chat host asked if anyone would like to form a local chapter of the group that was called simply THE MOVEMENT! Randall agreed to start one if someone else would help him. A girl named Jessie said she would help out. She didn’t live far from Randall so they agreed to meet at a local library. It wasn’t long until they had established a chapter and recruited nearly 50 members. They began to get directives from the head of the regional chapter and take action to help move the agenda of THE MOVEMENT forward. Gradually, the group grew and soon it went from 50 to 500, then to 5000. Randall couldn’t believe he was actually part of something. He couldn’t believe people were listening to him and looking up to him. He finally mattered, just how much he mattered he would never know until it was almost too late. 

   The ideological cleansing had begun! The day of reckoning was at hand! It had started with a few manuscripts here and there, but now it had reached a fever pitch. The mob mentality was ruling the day and Randall not one to be left out was all in. A list had been passed around at the party meeting, a list of books and magazines that were said to be unacceptable to the cause. Subversive they were called, abnormal works by depraved minds that would undermine the purity of the nation. So with a fervor of a ideological zealots, libraries were raided by members of THE MOVEMENT, universities were invaded, anything that was deemed not in line with the party doctrine was culled from existence. Massive bon fires were built, in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and so on. So great were the flames that they could be seen from outer space. Across the nations major cities and in many smaller towns shelf by shelf, class room by classroom, religious institution by religious institution the faithful went. The true believers in the new found doctrine of the people. Finally the day had come, no more divisive ideologies, one mind set, one school of thought, one way of getting things done! All knowledge would now be digitized, THE MOVEMENT was taking hold and it was here to stay!

   Randall was outside a public library in his home town not two blocks from where he used to go to school. He was overseeing the removal of books deemed unfit for consumption. As his subordinates were going through the archives and taking out hundreds of books and magazines, he decided to go into the basement of the library and see if there were anything that had been missed. Into the elevator just beyond the shelves at the back of the library, he descended alone into a well lit but musty smelling room. He stepped out of the elevator into the bright white antiseptic fluorescent light. Randall felt a bit of uneasiness as he walked into an open space. Flanked on both sides by shelves of older books, many of which had seen their better day. Not that it mattered much, as they would all soon be sifted through and reduced to ash if they didn’t meet the new standards. Before him was a table, on it were binders and bottles of glue. This was obviously where the tried to put new bindings on old books. He laughed at the utter futility of what they did here. Keeping knowledge in paper, trying to save a few musty old books that hadn’t kept up with the times. Technology was the new harbinger of knowledge. Why did you need a book when you could just go to the internet? As much as this amused Randall, he was shaken back to his senses by a ping on his phone. It was a text from Jessie, she ask 411. He responded checking up in the basement hash tag vomit emoji . She simply responded with laugh my ass off and told him to hurry up. As Randall walked past the repair table, he noticed a book laying on the edge. It’s binding had been replaced and it didn’t have a name on it. At first he didn’t really think much about it, but then he seemed to be overcome with something, as if he was outside of himself. Without thinking, he picked up the book and tucked it under his arm. He walked back to the elevator and ascended back to the main floor. He told his subordinates to go down stairs, that there were a few books that hadn’t been examined yet. With that, he simply walked out of the library and stood by while undesirable books were loaded up to be taken away for burning. No one seemed to notice the book with the dull Green cover under his arm. No one seemed to notice him, it was as if he were invisible to all that was going on and to everyone who was involved. He simply stood quietly still and waited.

   Randall was still standing in the same place when his people were finished with their culling of the library. They got into their vehicles and left leaving him standing there. Finally, Jessica came up and got his attention. She asked if he wanted a ride. As if he come out of a time warp, he snapped back into reality and said uh sure. To his bewilderment, he felt like he had lost himself. Everything was over and he had just reappeared on scene, despite the fact that he had been physically here all along, his mind had been somewhere else and he didn’t even seem to know that he was still holding the book from the basement. He got into Jessie’s car and they rode on. She got to his house and he got out without an acknowledgement . She just stared at him then drove on leaving him on the sidewalk outside his home. It was then that Randall snapped out his stupor and realized that he still had the book with him. Not caring because he was tired, he simply went into the house and put the book down on the first thing he came to. He plopped down on his couch and turned on his TV. He then fell into a sort of daze then went to sleep, into a deep sleep that would oddly enough be both enlightening and terrifying to him.

   As Randall slept, he began to become restless. He felt like he was being drawn outside of himself. In his mind, he could see books flying around him. He could hear voices coming out of the books! Then he saw the book he had brought with him, it seemed to glow with a bright radiant light. He tried to reach out and take it, but he couldn’t move. Then the book flew open and a bright light sucked him in. He tried to close his eyes, but he still couldn’t get away from the blinding light. Then in one instance, he found himself standing inside a grand palace, the floors were made of fine marble and the walls were covered with ornate stones. The ceilings were vaulted and before him was a man sitting on a throne. The man was wearing fine robes and upon his head was the most spectacular crown that he had ever seen. Around the mans throne were people from all nations. In their hands they bore gifts and each person had a question. How Randall knew this, he did not know. All he knew is that he was in the presence of greatness and he felt awkward at best, and humiliated at worst. Then in one moment, the man on the throne called out his name. Randall tried to turn and flee, but he was compelled to move towards the man on the shimmering throne. Suddenly the man asked Randall, what is your question. Before Randall could speak, the man said my name is Solomon, that is what you were going to ask first? Randall was in awe and petrified at the same time. He wasn’t sure how to respond! The man who was obviously of great importance got up from his throne and approached Randall. He looked him over and rubbed his chin with his hand. He then sat back down and just looked at Randall, as if to ponder who was before him. Felling uneasy, Randall started to speak, but before he could Solomon told him, you must decide for yourself. What Randall thought, what does he mean? Then before his confusion and bewilderment could abate, the scene changed, suddenly Randall was sitting on a stone bench inside of a large open building on the top of a hill. From the place, you could see the Mediterranean sea . Around him were several other bearded individual and some not so covered with facial, but with the air of youth still about them. On another bench, set apart from the rest, sat a man in a non descript cloth robe. He was slightly balding in front, kind of portly and his beard was Gray but well groomed. He spoke to his audience with a subtle authority. Randall wanted to speak, but could only listen. Then someone from the side called out to the aged man, Socrates. The man turned to face the person to the side. They conversed, then the others seemed to fade into nothingness as if they were simply shadows. Then the man who had been called Socrates turned to Randall and asked do you know why you are here. In a state of confusion and utter fear, Randall looked at him and shook his head from side to side to indicate that he was confused . Then the man got up and walked over to Randall and placed his hand on his shoulder. He then looked into Randall’s eyes and asked him a question, do you know who you are? Then the man too faded into nothingness and Randall was left standing in a void, looking for direction but finding none. Randall then woke up with a start nearly falling into the floor. He tried to stand but felt drained of energy. He looked around and saw that he was back at home. He sat back down and couldn’t begin to fathom what had just happened. He was so disturbed that he needed to get a drink. So he got up from the couch and went to his bar. He poured himself a drink and sat back down. He was shaking so bad that he had trouble getting his drink into his mouth. He finished the drink and sat the glass down on a table beside him. He then glanced over at the book he had brought home with him. He got up and picked it up. He opened it up and inside the first page of the cover, the title written in concise lettering simply said WISDOM. Randall put the book back down and went to bed. He knew he had a lot to consider and was too tired right not to think.

   The next morning came quickly, not quickly enough for Randall. For in the night, he had dreams he could not understand. He kept seeing the book and each time a new voice would call out from it. In his dreams he was confronted by Saul of Tarsus, the Prophet Mohammad, William Shakespeare, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and many other ghost of persons long past . As he woke up, he was shaken to his core. He could barley get out of bed. When he did finally get up, he had trouble standing. He finally did get a hot shower and make something to eat. He then saw the book on the kitchen counter. He was afraid to go near it. He was unsure why, but he wanted to both burn it and read it. It was like he was addicted to it, but wanted to throw it as far away from him as possible. He sat down and stared at the book. In silence he felt like he was broken inside. He was empty and not sure where to go from here. All he knew was that he could no longer follow his current path. He could no longer be part of the MOVEMENT, not if it meant destroying anymore books.

April 30, 2021 02:53

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