I awoke in a cold-sweat from a nightmare that my poor, much put upon soul lay trapped inside a broken, catatonic body frozen inside a bunker in an inner-city ghetto of the early 21st century. For all the wealth of that civilisation it seemed a limited, tortured life, not able to realise anywhere near it's true potential, as if weighed down by chains or crippled by a deformity. What was that fuckwit's problem? I felt great relief to be alive in the year 2107 where the world, for all it's devastation, was boundless and open for my exploration, and perhaps there was even a kingdom for me to win.
My darling dog, Butch, lay snuggled beside me, his two heads snorting and grunting at the smell of alien beasties in the vicinity while I revelled at the garish beauty of this desolate world. Staring up into the heavens above I gloried in the countless sparkling stars, they took my breath away with their mystery, some flying fast like fire-flies often directly overhead and I wishfully thought of them as guardian angels guiding my progress. It was when I could relax by my campfire that I accessed my hard-won augmentation, the chip embedded within my brain containing a whole library of knowledge that flashed up at will on the white-light screen of my mind's eye. It deciphered any and every symbol for me and so I learnt the history of humanity from it's origins in the primeval mud, the sciences and comparative philosophies were mine to consider and imbibe, I looked at the world with a lucid intelligence, my eyes sharp, my joy keen, for this wasted environment now had the potential to be my playground and not my tomb.
The red gold flames of dawn soon lit the horizon and Butch leapt up as a herd of giant kangaroos approached, chewing upon anything that looked like fodder. He barked and snapped at their heels while they tried to kick and punch in pugilistic bad temper. I swept up my camping gear and thrust it into my backpack as the huge creatures stomped about nearby, with Butch leaping in and out of their mammoth legs and barking vociferously. These were dangerous animals when riled, one could be flattened to mush under their hopping stampede, and I had to thrust my spear into several biting snouts that loomed at me from the twilight shadows to keep them at a distance. We gradually backed away from the huge kangaroos' battle-dance and jogged off thru the tumble-down ruins and great mounds of garbage over which they could not climb to pursue us.
After some miles of running I found a shelter where I could take rest and refreshment and as I swigged water from my canteen I glanced at the devices twinkling and beeping on the end of the gold cables that flowed from the back of my head and swept over my shoulder like a long, metallic pony-tail. This unasked for gift from the hideous Rat society I now considered to be a tremendous boon for not only was my intelligence increased and senses enhanced but several of the gadgets were measuring devices that from a distance warned of approaching radio-active hotspots, noxious gases and bio-hazard debris, and with Butch's ability to sniff out polluted water and poisoned foodstuffs, we were thus able to keep danger, disease and disaster at bay, making our way thru the mire of this endless human holocaust safely, my awareness of the Universe so complete I felt a veritable god striding thru his domain.
Butch sniffed at the hot winds and barked excitedly, disappearing into the desolate muck with me chasing after, curious as to what he was after. We came to a large clearing in the heaps of debris at the centre of which was a pool of water fed by that miracle of miracles, a fresh-water spring. The water of the pool itself was fouled by a brown stain for sitting on it's edge and scrubbing himself clean of much built-up grime was an apparition that shone luminously in the sunshine, a beautiful blond boy, as gorgeous as an angel from the magazines of the old-times that I had poured over for hours when hiding from my disapproving Tribe. I could not help but gaze spellbound upon his nakedness and did not see one blemish or deformity marring his physical perfection as he scoured his golden skin, humming a tune and innocent of my spying.
Butch was avidly lapping at the water that bubbled from a rocky crevice above the pool proving it to be untainted and so I strode over to the small waterfall to quench my thirst and fill my canteen while the blond boy fell back in surprise and grabbed up a short spear lying nearby to hold it threateningly towards my heart. He shouted in a garbled language demanding me to leave, my chipped brain deciphered the gobbledy-gook and I replied in soothing tones, laughing and assuring him I was no danger but merely needed to refresh myself and, besides, there was no way he could fight off me and my two-headed dog, so he'd better trust me. He smiled on understanding my entreaties, perhaps thinking I was some distant cousin and, laying aside his weapon, he continued to bathe. He rinsed globs of muck from his blonde dreadlocks, watching my every movement as I quickly disrobed from my rags and entered the cool water, splashing the scum away and blissfully sloshing off the filth that had built up all over my body from a lifetime of scrabbling in the mire.
I noticed his eyes widen in interest as he took in the perfection of my own physique, my bulging muscles, my skin free of lumps and warts, my limbs with all the correct digits, my healthy genitalia, and I saw him lick his lips in what I hoped was desire, for perfect physical specimens of the human animal were few and far between in this world of devastation and mutation, and I desperately needed company. I'd never had actual sex with anyone, just a bit of playing around, and my guts fluttered mysteriously and my mind clouded over with confusion. Again he smiled, gloriously, as if in invitation and I couldn't help but flop beside him and interrogate him as to the wonder of his existence.
He told me of his loving Tribe that lived a day's walk from the spring in a valley hidden by the unsurmountable ruins of several collapsed skyscrapers and of the advanced culture and profound philosophy by which they abided. At times, while he babbled on, he touched me to stress a point and it felt like a caress, my flesh flushed hot, my penis grew erect and he smiled seductively when he noticed it. But when I tried to caress him in turn he brushed aside my hand and said it would not be possible to consummate our friendship in this sexy way unless I was willing to undergo a rite of inclusion that his Tribe insisted upon.
It was no big deal he assured me, nothing dangerous like cannibalism or mutilation, just a song and dance affair in the church of their Godhead that would be over before I noticed and then we could fondle each other to our heart's content. Oh fucking Hell! There were too many dammed gods in these Wastelands, around every mildewed corner another one sprang up, as if the dregs of humanity that eked out their existence amidst all the destruction needed some crutch to lean on, some big daddy in the sky to look after them, some mumbo-jumbo to believe in in the face of the evident meaninglessness that screamed from every dust-mote of civilisation's wreckage. It seemed obvious to me that it was hysteria and herd mentality that really ruled, not spirituality, what the elders preached was good enough for the meek and dumb for it was too much effort to actually think out rationally the true underpinnings of this hard existence.
But he was mighty cute, my guts were uncontrollably aroused, I was so lonely and his promised friendship seemed so sweet, I felt to go along with his entreaties. With my augmentations I was smart enough to outwit his Tribe if they turned out to be deleterious to my wellbeing, and I had weapons to fight my way to freedom, none of which I'd need he laughingly promised me, taking me by the hand and leading me thru the mounds of dust and refuse. He cajoled me unceasingly in a soft, sing-song voice about how his Tribe was highly spiritual, his God all powerful and benign, I'd see it in a flash and I'd never want to leave their fabulous, one true Cult. Butch whined and grizzled as he trotted in our wake, sniffing at Blondies flesh and shaking his head in repulsion, and I should have taken this as a warning, but I was infatuated and being led by my dick, my computer-chipped reasoning had crashed into white-noise by my fevered desires. So on we trod, my tongue lolling as I gazed upon his luscious form.
Eventually we came to a mountain of rusted girders and huge splinters of razor-glass that seemed impossible to by-pass but Angel blithely approached a heap of molten slag and revealed a cleverly disguised doorway thru which we slunk. We squeezed thru a series of maze-like passageways to finally break out into sunshine high up on a crumbling concrete edifice with a view down into a valley hidden within the mountainous ruins and I took in a sight that stunned me in it's outlandishness. All around me shards of collapsed buildings stuck up like the jagged teeth of a dead monster and in the centre of it's open maws stood a cathedral of brown clay with one colossal spire stabbing up at the heavens. I could see human forms scurrying to and fro pushing wheelbarrows full of clay from mudheaps scattered about at the edge of what once must have been a city plaza, and returning with stacks of sunbaked bricks which others added to the cathedral structure, building extensions onto it or repairing gashes that harsh weather had rent in it's fabric.
Angel gaily skipped down a stairway built into the debris and I tentatively followed, an awful stench wafting up to me from the scene below and growing more nasty the closer we got, and Butch sneezing and snorting, shaking his two heads in irritation and occassionally stopping to let out a woeful howl. We traipsed onto the plaza and the denizens of this weird society hurried past with their burdens of clay, mumbling a greeting of respect to Angel but steadfastly avoiding my eyes, keeping their gaze fixed obsessively on the cathedral. They were covered from head to foot in the brown clay as if it were the fashion in their world and they took great pride in smearing it on every possible surface of their being. A foul stink emanated from them as they busily rushed about clutching the clay bricks preciously like religious relics and I felt horror and fear creeping up my spine as Angel led me forward.
A bell suddenly pealed sonorously from the church spire and Angel sang out joyfully how our arrival had been noticed and the congregation was rejoicing at his new recruit, a grand addition to their dwindling numbers. He led me thru the entrance of the enormous sacred edifice, all of which I noted was built from the ubiquitous clay bricks, which Butch refused to enter, remaining steadfastly outside and howling inconsolably. And in the dark interior I glimpsed a crowd of misshapen human forms genuflecting towards the imposing altar at the back of the cathedral and as one they all turned to watch my approach, grinning vacant, toothless smiles of welcome from the layers of brown muck that covered them all over. And as their malodorous stench reached me I choked and almost fainted from its noxious fumes.
Angel turned to me and disclaimed unctuously, "Welcome to the Church of Shittism, we are the Shittists!" The congregation hullaballooed as one and made obeisance to Angel who in turn bowed to them and as he strode majestically down to the altar-piece each member slapped their hands upon him, leaving behind a print of brown goop so that by the time he climbed up onto the dais he was covered in the filth. I realized with horror that he must be the High-priest of this odious religion and as I retched he prostrated himself to what must have been their central icon, a huge mound of filth shaped somewhat like a man with outstretched arms, and in front of it he took a massive dump, then scooped up the filth and held it high, the sludge dripping thru his fingers. The congregation hushed and I screamed, "You've got to be shitting me!"
"Exactly!" he beamed in fervid religiosity, "Shit is God and God is Shit! From Shit all the world is born and to Shit it all will return! That is the one true law of the Universe!" "Yeay, yeay, yeay!" intoned the mob of dirty fanatics. I looked about me in revulsion and my enhanced vision took in the structure of the "church", what appeared to be statues of saints on pedestals lining the walls in niches, each with a plastic photo embedded in it's base of some early 21st century celebrity, a politician, entertainer or sports-star. The icon above was molded from brown crap in an attempt at resembling the so-called star, and I gaped in shock as I saw celebrants approach their favorite saint, release their bowels then smear the muck upon the statue, celebrity worship taken to a mad extreme. I watched disgusted as Angel plastered the massive, lumpy godhead behind him with hand-fulls of his own filth, all the while chanting, "No matter how strong, how big, how robust, all will turn to Shit. Every thing alive produces Shit, the very earth we live upon is worm Shit, even the great edifices of history decay, rot, crumble! All turns to Shit in the end. God is Shit!"
"Stop!" I screamed, "this is an abomination! You have lost your humanity in the face of all this destruction, the end of history has driven you all mad! There is no god and if there was, it would be more like the living awesome Universe of which we are a conscious part!" The crowd booed and cursed as Angel raised his arms in smug benevolence and intoned as if in prayer, "How can you deny the omni-presense of Shit? Do you not produce it all day long from the sanctity of your own body? Does not everything living produce Shit as tho it were the very purpose of life? It is so obvious, Shit is the creator and the destroyer, and the very substance of the world, God is Shit and you must bow down to It!" The maddened mob screeched and hunched over in obeisance, then started throwing the brown filth at the altar, at each other and at me.
I vomited copiously and ducked the rain of loathsome crap while mucky hands reached out to drag me forward as Angel sang, "Come and receive the the host, the body of our God!" He produced from his butt a horrid turd and held it out to me, nodding wisely and indicating I should come on down and recieve it like it was some holy benediction. Again I vomited and backed slowly out of the Church, grubby hands clawing at me and shit flying everywhere.
Then I ran for the door and leaped into the clean sunshine, sprinting back towards the path that climbed up into the mountainous ruins. Butch yelped with joy and, as the crazed religionists chased after me, he snapped at them with his two vicious jaws, keeping them at a distance so I could make good my escape. I looked back to see Angel appear in the Cathedral's entrance and call out plaintively, "Come back TeeZee, we need you! Disease is decimating my flock, the good god Shit is claiming his own and turning us to Shit, we need your healthy genome to imrove our stock so we can continue our sacred religious duties." "You morons!" I shouted in return, "you are dying by your own disgusting filthy practices. You deny science, worship ignorance and wonder why your world falls apart! You can rot in the Hell of your own making!"
With this curse still echoing behind me in the plaza I clambered up the crumbling concrete stairs and rushed off thru the labyrinth passageways, Butch leading the way, sniffing out the path of our return and soon we broke out into the known world of post-apocalyptic destruction and desolation. Any kind of freakishness would be preferable to that abomination and I ran with all my might to put the greatest distance between us.
And thus distracted I did not see the trap lying in my path, I trod upon a hidden latch and a cage sprang up to enclose me. A dart shot into my arm and, growing delirious, I glimpsed a tall, dark form come stand over me, blocking the sunlight. It looked to be part-machine, part-human, all metal carapace and shining diode eyes, gizmos whirring and blinking on every joint and surface with only slices of true flesh peeping from slits in the armoring. As I sank into unconsciousness I thought, "I'd rather be a hard, machine-like cyborg than a shitty, god-fearing religionist!"