David Bowie Day challenge: Choose at least five of 42 words that provided the framework for the album The Next Day and use them to inspire the story, generate a random Bowie song with this randomizer and pick at least one line of lyrics that speaks to you and pick the name of the first song the randomizer on your music library/player/provider gives and use it as the title of the story.
My elements are: Violence, Interface, Indifference, Flight, Identity as the words, these lyrics from the song If You Can See Me: From nowhere to nothing/And I go way back/Children swarm like thousands of bugs/Towards the lights the beacons above the hill/The stars to the West, the South, the North/And to the East/Now you could say I’ve got a gift of sorts/A fear of rear windows and swinging doors /A love of violence a dread of sighs/If you can see me I can see you/If you can see me I can see you and the title comes from the song Fight by All Good Things.
This story is also for this week’s sidequest, which is avoiding filter words.
Like a great horned owl, They glided over the battlefield, Their jet giving them a clear view of what was going on beneath Them: children swarming one another like two opposing colonies of Earth ants. Whoever would survive had a chance of reaching the stars on Their jet.
(The fact that seeing Their jet had always made matters worse, spurred the children to be more vicious, turned the bloodshed even more violent and macabre never even crossed Their mind.)
They had been one of those children once. At first, observing the violence They had been bred for had been fascinating to say the least, but over time They forgot who They had been down there. As the orbital station grew more deserted, the Overlords tiring of this planet, the moment They had to pull the trigger on the solar system drew closer.
(At some point They could not pinpoint, They stopped running into any other souls on the station.)
Eventually, They started to wonder if there was any point to any of the senseless violence. At first, They petitioned for stopping the war, but the Overlords brushed Them off on the basis that They were a Survivor-class citizen, one who would not even get a proper name before they Ascended their home orbit and left for the stars.
(Other Survivors They had met had left long ago, but They still stayed.)
Desperate to help others like They had not been, They tried to rescue any children They could, but swooping into the battlefield to catch someone and haul them to the jet only brought Them injuries; children who had not earned their survival were like rabid beasts, attacking anyone who was not a battle ally.
(Only much later did They learn that the War Breeds were born with a programming implant that made them single-minded about battling until the implant told them that they had become a Survivor.)
With all available options exhausted, They waited and hoped that the Overlords would see reason, but counting solar cycles turned to counting lunar cycles turned to counting stellar cycles. Then They lost track of all time, yet still the war on the planet continued. Blood soaked the ground, changed the vegetation’s coloring permanently, became crystals underneath the children’s very feet.
(When no one answered Them anymore about the system aside from confirming its continuing existence, They concluded that the Overlords no longer cared at all.)
Eventually, They no longer had any feelings regarding the violence that happened underneath them. That was when They finally pressed the button on the interface and watched as the station maneuvered away to give Them a better view of the destruction. Planets exploded, collided into one another, met their star in one last face-off.
(Even destroying a solar system’s worth of civilizations — most of which were far more advanced and civilized than the simple War Entertainment civilization They hailed from — for their Overlords did not evoke any emotions in Them.)
The station maneuvered towards the Upper Worlds, now bringing the final Survivor for their Ascension. They were met with a fanfare, a feast, a chance to choose a name for Themselves.
(After all the extravagant celebration, Their damaged implant was repaired and They remembered nothing more of where They had come from.)