Intimacy, clear through to the other side. Carcinogens, banished. We retreat behind walls of fleshy steel to make decisions. With air particles nagging at our throats and the corners of our eyes we discuss the future of our presence. Existence.

We hear the voices in the night, the breathing whispers of delusional hate. But they are sparks not catching, the embers of a flame so long dying that we could pour a bucket of purified putrid seawater on them and hear the whoosh of true extinction.

Hope is a far better tool to harness than any other, and also the most volatile.

Starting slowly is the only way to advance in a war to maintain the status quo of ten and twenty and two thousand years ago. It is your own fault; you know it, and so do we. Your voices, too shrill, too loud, too fried to speak reason. Rationalism is the only method that has pushed humanity forward. Was Newton emotional? Einstein? Darwin? Shakespeare? No. They were not. They had feelings—love, hate, jealousy, envy, distaste, discomfort, and disdain—but they didn’t let those rule them.

Unlike you.

Stay down here, ducklings. You’ll be safe. We told you this and put you underground in bunkers that sheltered and protected. Doe-eyed you trusted, fear-full you agreed, the fickle bitch hope accompanied you to your self-inflicted graves.

How much hatred must we feel in order to do this? None whatsoever, as far as we are concerned. We are a two-sided coin. The oppressor’s profile on one side, glaring and tight-lipped, nose regal but second to the eyes’ squint. The other side, the protector, is benevolent, looking straight on, expression full of mercy.

And you, the servants, won’t know your role until you already relish it.

Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad is an Israeli-American writer living in New York whose work has appeared in The Guardian, McSweeney's, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, and many more.
Ilana Masad

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