The Many

CHAPTER 36 (The Future) – I

They were huddled outside the compound. Untold numbers of them. Ragged and rugged and bruised and brutalized. Hardened, though they might not have identified as such as they knew no other existence. They were merely alive, striving toward a goal, looking forward to tomorrow, to a promised future. Violence was on their minds, and this, again, was their default state.

This group was known broadly as The Many. They encompassed many factions, diverse and singular. Their dress and grooming and aromas and general appearance varied between subgroups, to say nothing of their disparate dialects and customs and mythologies. These were a people made up of periodically warring identities and ideologies. The previous five centuries had not been kind to The Many. Following the Great Devastation of nearly 500 years prior, the vast majority of humanity was thrust back into an existence they thought had been left behind. Those survivors – who themselves had been left behind (in more ways than one) – began to piece civilization back together.

At first, survival was the only religion. Meeting the physical body’s most basic needs was of paramount concern. And so it was for those first generations. Once some basic needs were met and foundations were set, a familiar cycle was renewed as rival cultures developed, spread, and then sought to establish dominance. Many within The Many were sacrificed. Clans and kin clashed and collided, killing, culling, cleansing, while continuously combining and coalescing.

Those cleavages remained within the group amassed outside of the compound, however, there was a greater enemy at present. A symbol of cultural evolution, of sorts. The Many had grown sufficiently in size; so much so that their inter-group squabbles were superseded by a greater threat – a greater other. For the first time in the centuries-old existence of The Many, there was a unifying bond.

The result of a decision
Similar to the splitting of a cell
Each time creates a division
Infinite realities, parallel