By Anatoly Molotkov, USA (Published in Issue 10)
We were born on a planet far away. Our civilization has developed greatly over the last fifteen thousand years. Finally, a great breakthrough was achieved: the essence of each individual (commonly referred to as "soul") could now be separated from the physical body. Effectively, it meant immortality. The race of souls was thus established, only loosely connected with their former bodies. Souls could multiply. Many couples found bodiless sex to be an amazing new experience. Spiritual orgasm far surpassing any and all sensations of the physical past delivered ineffable pleasure and enlightenment.
This new way of existence inspired hearts and minds, resulting in a majestic wave of crystal art, poetry, music. The Era of the Bodies, which had ended only several years earlier, was remembered as ancient times. There was no end to rejoicing. Little did we know what terrible tragedy was in store for us!
We lost control over our bodies. Forgotten at the backstage of the new life's carnival, they gradually deteriorated. Receiving no proper nourishment, they slowly in-animated, becoming lifeless like old furniture. When we learned what had happened, it was too late. Despite all attempts, only a very slim percentage of former bodies could be recovered.
This is when we realized that our souls, free as they were, could not survive forever without bodies. We needed them to solve routine problems of our existence. We needed them to help us control the Central Thinking Device, which alone was responsible for preserving our souls intact. Devoid of any physical shape, we could no longer operate the Device itself – or the other sophisticated machinery that worked in conjunction with the Device, taking care of our energy supplies, communication – basically, all the essential components of our lives.
The situation was complicated by a grave demographic problem: the amount of souls, which had multiplied tremendously in infinite acts of bodiless sex, far exceeded the number of former bodies. For each remaining body now there was a line of ten to twenty souls, impatient to take advantage of it.
New apocalyptic philosophies and religions sprung up, all of them advocating the need to return to physical bodies. But the bodies weren't there to be found. The morale of our nation, undermined by difficulties, turned into a parody of itself; a shameless underground industry of body trafficking became the most prosperous of all. The crime world flourished, while ordinary souls had no rest, submerged in pessimistic visions of an approaching end.
It became obvious that extraordinary measures were required. Otherwise only a miracle could save us. This is when the leaders of our nation devised a plan of salvation. Both simple and elegant, it was supported by all. A solution was found.
After a planet-wide lottery, one of us was selected to initiate the mission which was later to become the Exodus for our people. I was that lucky one! I had to travel to a remote place where new bodies were available. There was no time to be wasted. After a brief period of training, I was on my way.
When I arrived on a planet called United States of America, I knew what to do. After a short acclimatization, I took possession of the body of an A. Molotkov, who seemed to be the easiest prey of all I had encountered. It happened more or less the way it had been predicted in local science fiction flicks and cheap literature. The act of soul transfer itself was painless, undetectable to an outside observer. A. Molotkov’s soul, deprived of its dwelling place, was carried away by random currents of information – it still exists somewhere, suspended in electromagnetic fields beyond perception.
A. Molotkov’s friends, observant enough to notice the change, approached me and inquired about it. Brought up in a civilization incapable of lying, I confessed to them, expressing my regrets as politely as I could. Nevertheless, they were not satisfied. A law suit was filed against me: I was charged with larceny.
Ironically, the criminal code humans had created did not include body theft. Although all parties involved knew what had happened and therefore the case seemed quite clear, the judge and the jury were stalled, unable to find a suitable solution. On the one hand, the fact of A. Molotkov's exile from his body was obvious, and I myself confirmed it. On the other hand, according to the law, from that point on I was A. Molotkov: I had retained his documents, which entitled me to his personality. Moreover, I matched his photographs, and my fingerprints were the same as his.
The trial ended successfully. A. Molotkov’s friends lost. Now I had the legal right to be him. I was determined to take full advantage of my new body. I immediately contacted Mission Control to report my victory. They informed me that new missions were being prepared and would launch shortly. I was proud to be the pathfinder whose modest efforts would help our nation overcome the crisis.
To take advantage of the time I had at my disposal, I started a little investigation of my own. It turned out that A. Molotkov had been a writer – a rather obscure one, condemned to a lack of success by his own efforts to be original. It appeared that no one on his planet was interested in his attempts to push the boundaries in literature. In other words, he was a perfect choice: unnoticeable enough and at the same time striving to be noticed, he provided me with an opportunity to realize my own creative potential. His writing skills, which, in the form of motor reflexes, had survived him, provided the basis for my own literary experiments. Before too long I had written an impressive number of short stories, a great amount of poetry, and several novels. A bright future was awaiting me.
What, you may ask, forced me to reveal the truth on these pages? After all, it would seem prudent to conceal our invasion for as long as possible…
Not anymore. At this point, our victory is inevitable. By the time I started this true story, over a thousand of our citizens had arrived on this planet. It will take a while for my confession to get published, especially considering the more than modest place A. Molotkov presently occupies in the literary hierarchy. By the time this true story is read, the majority of local population will be taken over.
Our plan is perfect, legally correct, flawless from any point of view. If the inhabitants of this planet were to protest and waged a war against us, they would fail: there is nothing they can do to the bodiless souls that we are. True, they could destroy our temporary dwellings, such as the body of A. Molotkov in which I currently reside. But if this happened to me, I could always find another body. However, I must admit that I have become quite accustomed to this one, as well as to the persona of A. Molotkov, which has proved to be very useful. I would regret having to look for another home. Hopefully our invasion will remain peaceful, just the way it has been so far.
When this manuscript is finally published (along with the other work I have created under the name of A. Molotkov), I believe that my success is guaranteed. I will utilize the wisdom of another world to contribute to the literature of this one. I'm quite sure A. Molotkov himself could not wish for a better use for his name.
Are you one of us? Are you – still – one of them? If so, your days are numbered. The future of this planet is determined. We shall value our new bodies, and never make the same mistake again. We shall stay here, in this world so far from home.
If A. Molotkov could hear me now, I would thank him for being the first to open the way.
A. Molotkov is a writer, composer, filmmaker and visual artist. His “True Stories from the Future” is the winner of the 2011 Boone’s Dock Press poetry chapbook contest. His credits also include the 2010 New Millennium Writings and 2008 Koeppel Fiction Awards, and two Pushcart nominations. Visit him at www.AMolotkov.com