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by Gordana Mudri
2016-01-11 11:59:24
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I can't even say if anyone remembers when the dark times started. There was no specific moment, pinpoint or a person and it looks, in some way, that we all were the cause of it. But, when it started, it began to take space very quickly. Things collapsed one by one, causing a domino effect all around the globe. Poverty, big migration, floods, fires and other natural disasters, rage and wars swamped the world. Instead of us having prevented the disaster, we just allowed things to happen. And, as it usually happens, when the people don't react on time, the power goes into the hands of darkness. And we were caught.

There was too much fear, too much hopelessness and the people were thinking that's the way it's supposed to be. Everyone tried to survive on their own way. There was no food, no water, no money, no nothing for all those who were walking in the shadows, in a hurry to reach any shelter, heads bended. We tried to be invisible on streets full of armed forces that protected a new Order, just for the chosen. And we were tortured or killed if we dared ask for some help. Even the children. Skinny, poor creatures, smeared with dirt, with no gleam in their sunken eyes, left to die.

We couldn't move around during the day, it was too dangerous; our appearance was like a lure for those heartless guys with guns who wanted to clear the streets for the Rulers. We had to have a special permission and only few of us had it, those who were working the worst of the jobs for miserable wage or for some food. It's not like we liked to be on the streets.  There was nothing for us there anymore.

gord01_400_03We were living on the edge of the city, near huge piles of garbage, surrounded with smoke and toxins that burned our eyes and skin, in a miserable scrappy sheds made of the same garbage that was slowly killing us. But those piles were our market, a source for our survival. We were digging tunnels, searching for useful things. We were like rats. And we were eating rats. It was the only concrete food for free.

I really don't know how long I lived like this. Twenty, thirty years, maybe... I stopped counting a long time ago. And I don't know how I managed to survive this long. Maybe my generation had good genes or something like that and we were resistant to all kinds of shit around us, but it was hard to witness how kids are dying of unknown or forgotten diseases. We were on the edge of extinction, and that exactly was the destiny that Rulers have planned for us. And we were just waiting.

One morning I found a message under my, so called door. It was some kind of a shock. Not just because of the conspiring feeling - and that could have been very dangerous - but because of the paper itself. Any kind of information was forbidden long time ago. There was no independent newspapers anymore, no phones without wiretapping and the internet was a long forbidden way of communication. Just old people like me still remembered how small world really was due to rapid information flying through social networks. Freedom of speech was abolished long time ago.

I was just staring at the white stranger on my dirty floor. I didn't dare to move and pick it up. I had a feeling that if I take that paper a whole force of armed monsters will swarm through my door as if they were just waiting outside for my next move. I was listening, breathless, trying to figure out if there is any strange sound outside. I'm not sure how long I waited, but my legs were stiffened and I had to move.

I picked the goddamn thing up and unfolded it. It took me a while to make out the letters. First of all, my eyes were not good anymore and it was still dark, second, I hadn’t read anything for so long that I had to recall my reading ability and third, the message was written in a fucking strange language. I recognized it but I couldn't recall the meaning of the words.  When I calmed myself down my memories awakened. A long time ago, in the time of internet, I had a friend. I never met him but we were very close and we were sharing a lot of our private or professional moments. It was a real and true friendship, stronger than any of those I've had in my real life. We promised one to another that we will meet one day. That day never came. When the New Order had shut down all free communications, we lost each other and it was impossible to leave the country. This friend did speak this language that I was looking now at this paper. I never did. I knew a few phrases but it was totally useless now. I threw myself in a search of a dictionary. I wasn't sure if it was still somewhere among the few remaining books I still had. I had burned most of my books when I was trying to warm myself during the past winters.  It was highly unlikely that I would have kept a dictionary that had no purpose, but it was there. Cluttered with a lot of other junk that unlikely had a purpose and I felt a rush of excitement. The little book was in very bad condition, faded letters and pages that were falling apart, but it was useful and I did translate the message. It was a simple message, something like - It's time for awakenin’. Send this to a friend and wait. There was no signature or any other sign that would hint a sender and I caught myself in loud swearing. What goddamn friend? I had no friends! I was living like a loner for years. I was sure that someone was fucking kidding me but I didn't know anyone else who knows this language. I wasn't sure what to do. Should I save it, burn it or maybe eat it because my stomach started to make noises. The most dangerous choice was to save it because it could have been a trap. Maybe someone is tempting me.

I had the knowledge. Long time ago I was teaching kids but, as time passed, I gave up. You can't teach kids if you start your lessons with words as ONCE or IT WAS. It sounded like a fairy tale - Once upon a time there was... We were so far away from any fairy tale and it was so incomprehensible and irritant for the children who didn't understand what I was talking about. After all, you can't teach if you can't be an example with your own actions. And I was not. I didn't want to risk or put myself in any danger, spreading some kind of revolutionary ideas.  I was quite a coward. I wanted to live even if it was not a life at all. So, I had some knowledge and that could have been dangerous in case someone could still remember.  That someone may have accepted a shameful offer from the Rulers and he may have reported the alleged suspect for some miserable money or some other benefit. No one would check if the reports were true or not. In that case you wouldn't have a chance to prove your innocence. You would be dead.

I don't know why, but I folded a paper and I put it in my pocket.

For the next few days I was walking in a fear, checking around, watching over my shoulder, looking at faces to see if someone is looking at me in some strange way. I was waiting for the forces of the Order. Nothing happened. I was reading the message every evening and I had no clue what this message was supposed to represent. But if this wasn't some kind of a silly joke, somebody made a goddamn effort to deliver it. My lost friend was hundreds miles away and it was absolutely impossible that the message had travelled all the way. Or was it? It was obvious that something was going on and I was so damn sure it could be dangerous and forbidden.

I tried to recall all the friends I had before, especially those who knew this language, at least on this shitty way like me. It seemed to me that this was important, not just because of the language itself, which was quite unknown to most of the people and somehow kept the message safe from unwanted readers, but also because of the fact that this message obviously was supposed to connect a kind of like-minded people. The closest one I came to remember was so far that even the thought made it impossible. Still, this message was here in my hands and already had passed God knows how many miles. I had to find a way to send it further although I didn't know what the point was.

I knew exactly whom I had to ask for help. There were people among us, who were resourceful and courageous than most of the rest. They could find some things, good things, for a price of course. And they had their secret ways. I was hoping that this young man will know how to send a message. Did I trust him? Of course not, I didn't trust anyone, but I had no choice. I had to take a risk. He refused, of course and I knew he's smart. I didn't ask him for food or something useful. I asked for something dangerous and I'm sure he was thinking I was tempting him somehow. I knew exactly how he felt. He was watching me for several days from afar and I was watching him too. It was like a game of nerves and patience. We were testing each other. He finally approached me and we made a deal quite easily. He yearned for some crazy adventure and he promised that if this man is still alive he'll get a message. I didn't ask how or who will do it. It was better for both of us not to know too much. The price was huge but I didn't want to think about it. I had that feeling that I must not stop the message.

A couple of weeks later he told me that the message was delivered and instead of my payment he asked for an explanation. I couldn't tell him a lot and my story sounded childish but had an amazing impact on him. He was curious what will happen next and he was so convinced that game was not over. I had that feeling too and it was something incredible.

A few weeks later I got a new message, short one again and it was something like - Let's see what we have done. Send further and wait. And we sent it. And we were waiting, counting the days. New messages started to arrive at specified time intervals. They were some kind of guidance on what to prepare and collect. The messages were longer and I was hoping that my dictionary will endure. Most incredible of all was that the messages began to travel in both directions. It was a kind of chain, made by unknown people, connected with the same goal. Still unknown goal, but it was a communication, established after a long time of silence. And it was an amazing feeling.

My young friend and accomplice in this dangerous movement was very successful in finding the things that were mentioned in messages. We were very cautious. We couldn't allow others to find out what we are doing. We respected the instructions of the unknown one who has started us. All of that was so stressful for me, former bookworm and coward that I literally shit my pants many times but it was out of question to give up. Finally I felt I'm alive and useful.

A new message came. It was a call for gathering and it was scheduled for two months. Although it was a long, dangerous and more likely deadly trip for a gal like me, I knew that I would rather die in some fucking ditch or a forgotten path than stay here. My young friend was ready too and his hopes were almost touchable.

With two backpacks filled things listed in the messages, we started our journey. It was a hell of a journey. Miles of hidden paths, thru forests and mud, over cold rivers and mountains, always at night, hiding ourselves from the deadly patrols. But it was also an amazing experience meeting people who have fled in the wildness, trying to build some kind of normal life. They were living in a small oases of preserved nature and they were decently fed. They helped us with food or giving us a shelter for a little and that was an amazing feeling for both of us. We were not used to the selflessness and kindness.

But the most important cognition was that they were living invisible to the Rulers.

During the journey I've caught a bad cold, I've almost died several times and I've lost a few pounds, but I did survived. After all the miles of walking we finally reached the end. It was late night but the full moon was shining.

I knew from the beginning where we are going, but now, I was looking at the place. I recognized it even though I never saw it before. I was looking at the high pillars under the moonlight, I was looking at the ruined old temple, I was looking at the cradle of the history and I felt …veneration. The remains of the former glory were still standing as a defiant reminder. We were those who failed.

We were hiding ourselves in the underbrush, listening to the sounds, waiting. Then people began to appear, slowly and unsteadily, hidden under hoods, and that was ridiculous as we were completely strangers to each other anyway. Soon, at least a hundred of suspicious strangers, most of them older, were standing on the ruins, watching sceptically at each other.

I don't know what we were expecting. A Superhero in a shiny robe or the armed guys to kill us all as the traitors of Order. But we were there looking like lost sheep when a man appeared. He looked like he has a hundred years, he was very short and he was barely walking on his trembling legs, carrying a long stick like a prophet, with a voice strong and clear.

He warmly greeted us and he was visibly glad that we made it. We were invited to begin the change. His entire speech was about us been the chosen ones, a new force; people who rejected the rules and responded to the call. And - according to his words - the time for changes had come. He answered a lot of questions and his every single word had a meaning. Grandpa didn't babble nonsense.

And then he said his last sentence, as a greeting, and I began to laugh out loud. I recalled when I heard this sentence and I laughed even more. I laughed so hard that I started to cry and I noticed some other people laughing too, but …I wasn't sure if they did laugh because they remembered this sentence too or because my laugh stimulated them. All that laugh and tears brought me a great relief. I was wiping my tears, trying to refrain myself and I was looking at people around me. A few youngsters, adventurists like my young fellow, and most of us worn old men and women who, till today, were counting the days to our death. And look at us now! We made it! We walked miles on feet, following a message from an unknown sender, we woke up our dormant bones and we united ourselves guided by an idea, all from this strange old man. And if we made all of this till now, no one could stop us. We didn't need heroes. We already were the fucking heroes!

The old man was looking at me with a friendly smile.

May the force be with you - I repeated his last sentence loud enough and I hugged the unknown man next to me.





Ne mogu tvrditi da se itko sjećao kada je počelo ovo mračno razdoblje.  Nije bilo određenog trenutka, događaja ili osobe i izgleda da smo svi bili uzrok na neki način. Ali nakon što je počelo,  sve se je odvijalo jako brzo. Stvari su se urušavale jedna za drugom, uzrokujući domino efekt diljem svijeta. Siromaštvo, velika seoba ljudi, poplave, požari i ostale prirodne katastrofe, bijes i ratovi preplavili su svijet. Umjesto da smo naslutili katastrofu, jednostavno smo dopustili da se dogodi. I kako to već biva, kad ljudi ne reagiraju na vrijeme, vlast je došla u ruke mračnim snagama. Bili smo zatečeni.

Bilo je previše straha i beznađa i ljudi su se prepustili sudbini, misleći da tako mora biti. Svatko je pokušavao preživjeti na svoj način. Nije bilo hrane, vode, novca, nije bilo ničega za sve one koji su hodali skrivajući se u sjeni, žureći pognutih glava do bilo kakvog skrovišta. Pokušavali smo biti nevidljivi na ulicama prepunim naoružanih snaga reda koje su štitile novi Red samo za izabrane, ali svejedno su nas mučili i ubijali ako smo se odvažili tražiti bilo kakvu pomoć. Čak i djecu. Mršava, jadna stvorenja, musava od prašine, bez sjaja u upalim očima, ostavljena da umru.

gord02_400Nije bilo poželjno kretati se danju.  Bilo je previše opasno jer je naš izgled bio kao mamac za te bešćutne dečke s oružjem koji su željeli čiste ulice za Vladare. Trebali smo imati specijalnu dozvolu a samo su ju pojedinci imali, oni koji su radili najgore poslove za mizernu plaću ili za nešto hrane. Nije da smo voljeli biti na ulici. Za nas tamo i onako više nije bilo ničega.

Živjeli smo na rubu grada, u blizini ogromnih hrpa smeća, okruženi dimom i otrovima koji su nam izjedali oči i kožu, u bijednim šupama sklepanim od tog istog smeća koje nas je polako ubijalo. Ali to je smeće bilo naša tržnica, naš izvor opstanka. Kopali smo tunele u potrazi za korisnim stvarima. Bili smo kao štakori i jeli smo štakore. To je bila jedina konkretna, besplatna hrana.

Zbilja nemam pojma koliko dugo sam tako živio. Možda dvadeset, trideset godina… Davno sam prestao brojati. I nije mi jasno kako sam uspio preživjeti tako dugo. Možda moja generacija ima dobre gene ili nešto slično pa smo bili otporni na sva ta sranja oko nas, ali bilo je strašno gledati kako djeca umiru od nepoznatih ili zaboravljenih bolesti. Bili smo na rubu izumiranja, a baš to je bila sudbina koju su nam Vladari namijenili. A mi smo samo čekali.

Jednog jutra pronašao sam poruku ispod mojih, takozvanih vrata. Bio je to šok na neki način. Ne samo zbog osjećaja da se radi o nekoj zavjeri, a to je moglo biti jako opasno, nego zbog papira samog. Svaka vrsta informiranja bila je već odavno zabranjena. Nije bilo neovisnih novina ni telefona bez prisluškivača, a internet je bio davno zabranjeni način komuniciranja. Samo su se stariji ljudi kao ja sjećali kako je svijet nekada bio malen, zahvaljujući brzom protoku informacija preko društvenih mreža. Sloboda govora bila je odavno ukinuta.

Buljio sam u bijelog nepozvanog gosta na mojem prljavom podu. Nisam se usudio pomaknuti i pokupiti papirić. Imao sam osjećaj da, ako ga uzmem, cijela sila naoružanih grdosija nahrupit će kroz moja vrata, kao da su samo čekali na moj pokret. Osluškivao sam, ne dišući, pokušavajući razaznati bilo kakav neobičan zvuk izvana. Nemam pojma koliko dugo sam čekao tako nepomičan, ali noge su mi  odrvenile i morao sam se pomaknuti.

Podigao sam prokleti papirić i rastvorio ga. Trebalo mi je nekoliko trenutaka da razaberem slova. Kao prvo, oči me više nisu najbolje služile, a još je bilo mračno, drugo, nisam već dugo čitao i morao sam prizvati moje čitačke sposobnosti i treće, poruka je bila napisana na jebenom stranom jeziku. Prepoznao sam ga, ali nisam se mogao sjetiti značenja riječi.  Kad sam se malo smirio probudila su mi se sjećanja. Nekad davno, u vrijeme interneta, imao sam prijatelja. Nikad ga nisam sreo ali bili smo jak bliski i dijelili smo puno privatnih i poslovnih trenutaka. Bilo je to pravo i iskreno prijateljstvo, puno jače nego bilo koje od onih koja sam imao u stvarnom životu. Obećali smo jedno drugom da ćemo se jednog dana sigurno sresti. Taj dan nikada nije došao. Nakon što je novi poredak ugasio slobodnu komunikaciju nas dvojica smo izgubili kontakt, a bilo je nemoguće putovati izvan granica. Taj prijatelj govorio je ovim jezikom kojim je bila napisana poruka. Ja nisam. Znao sam nekoliko fraza, ali to je sad bilo skroz beskorisno.  Bacio sam se u potragu za rječnikom. Ni sam nisam bio siguran da li ga još uvijek imam među onih nekoliko preživjelih knjiga . Većinu sam spalio pokušavajući se ugrijati tijekom proteklih zima. Bilo je malo vjerojatno da bih sačuvao rječnik koji nije imao nikakvu svrhu, ali pronašao sam ga ispod gomile starudije koja baš i nije imala neku svrhu i osjetio sam čudnu navalu uzbuđenja. Knjižica je bila u jako lošem stanju. Slova su izblijedila i stranice su se raspadale ali poslužila je svrsi i preveo sam poruku. Bila je to jednostavna poruka, nešto kao – Vrijeme je za buđenje. Pošalji ovo prijatelju i čekaj. Nije bilo potpisa niti bilo kakve druge naznake pošiljatelja i ulovio sam se kako psujem na sav glas. Kojem vražjem prijatelju? Nemam prijatelja! Već godinama sam živio kao samotnjak. Bio sam siguran da se neko jebeno šali sa mnom ali nisam znao nikoga u blizini tko bi znao ovaj jezik.  Nisam bio siguran što napraviti. Spremiti, spaliti ili možda pojesti taj papirić jer mi je želudac počeo glasno zavijati od gladi. Najopasniji izbor bio je spremiti ga, jer je ovo mogla biti zamka. Možda me netko iskušavao.

Nisam bio neznalica. Nekad davno podučavao sam djecu, ali s vremenom sam odustao. Ne možeš podučavati djecu ako svaka lekcija započinje s riječima NEKAD ili BILO JE. Zvučalo je kao bajka – Nekad davno bilo je… Živjeli smo jako daleko od bilo kakve bajke i sve je bilo jako neshvatljivo i iritirajuće za djecu koja nisu shvaćala o čemu govorim. Uostalom, ne možeš podučavati djecu ako im ne možeš biti primjer vlastitim ponašanjem. Ja sigurno nisam bio. Nisam želio riskirati ili se dovesti u opasnost širenjem nekakvih revolucionarnih ideja. Bio sam poprilična kukavica. Želio sam živjeti iako je to što sam imao bio nikakav život. Dakle, imao sam neko znanje i to je moglo biti opasno ako se netko još toga sjećao. Taj netko možda je prihvatio sramotnu ponudu vlastodržaca i možda je prijavio mogućeg sumnjivca za neki mizerni novac ili neku povlasticu. Nitko i onako nije provjeravao da li je prijava utemeljena. Nije bilo šanse dokazati vlastitu nevinost. Bio si mrtav.

Ne znam zašto, ali presavinuo sam papirić i spremio ga u džep.

Sljedećih nekoliko dana hodao sam sa strahom, zvjerajući uokolo, okrećući se preko ramena, promatrajući lica ne bih li vidio da me netko čudno gleda. Čekao sam da se pojave snage reda. Ništa se nije dogodilo. Čitao sam poruku svake večeri i nisam imao pojma što je trebala predstavljati, ali ako to nije bila samo nekakva blesava šala, onda se netko vraški dobro potrudio dostaviti ju. Moj izgubljeni internet prijatelj bio je stotinama kilometara daleko i bilo je apsolutno nemoguće da je poruka prešla toliki put. Ili možda je. Bilo je očito da se nešto događa, a ja sam bio prokleto siguran da je opasno i zabranjeno.

Pokušao sam se sjetiti svih prijatelja od prije, pogotovo onih koji su se znali služiti ovim jezikom barem na ovakav idiotski način kao ja. Činilo mi se da je to jako važno, ne samo zbog jezika kao takvog, jer je bio relativno slabo poznat većini ljudi, a to je poruku držalo sigurnom od neželjenih čitača, nego zbog činjenice da je poruka očito trebala povezati neku vrstu istomišljenika. Najbliži kojeg sam se sjetio bio je toliko daleko da mi se činio kao nedostižna meta. Ali poruka je bila tu, u mojim rukama i već je prešla bogzna koliko kilometara. Morao sam naći način kako ju poslati dalje iako nisam imao pojma u koju svrhu.

Znao sam točno kome se moram obratiti. Bilo je među nama ljudi koji su bili snalažljiviji i hrabriji od ostalih. Mogli su nabaviti neke stvari, dobre stvari, za određenu cijenu naravno. Imali su svoje tajne načine i nadao sam se da će taj mladi čovjek znati kako poslati poruku. Da li sam mu vjerovao? Naravno da nisam, nisam vjerovao nikome, ali nisam imao izbora. Morao sam riskirati. Mladac me je, naravno, odbio i znao sam da je pametan. Nisam ga tražio hranu ili nešto korisno. Tražio sam ga nešto opasno i siguran sam da je pomislio da ga iskušavam. Znao sam jako dobro kako se osjeća. Promatrao me je potajice nekoliko dana, a i ja njega. Bila je to igra živaca i strpljenja. Testirali smo jedan drugoga. Konačno mi  je ponovo prišao i relativno lako smo sklopili posao.  On je jednostavno čeznuo za nekakvom ludom avanturom i obećao je, ako je čovjek kojeg tražim živ, sigurno će dobiti poruku. Nisam pitao tko i kako će ju dostaviti. Bilo je bolje za obadvojicu da ne znamo previše. Dogovorena cijena bila je pozamašna, ali nisam o tome razmišljao. Imao sam osjećaj da ne smijem zaustaviti poruku.

Nekoliko tjedana kasnije obavijestio me je da je poruka isporučena, a umjesto cijene koju sam pristao platiti tražio je objašnjenje. Nisam mu mogao puno toga reći i moja je priča zvučala pomalo djetinjasto, ali i takva je očito jako utjecala na njega. Bio je znatiželjan što će biti dalje i bio je jako uvjeren da igra nije završena. I ja sam mislio isto i taj osjećaj je bio nevjerojatan.

Par tjedana kasnije dobio sam novu poruku, opet kratku i zvučala je nešto kao – Da vidimo što smo napravili. Šalji dalje i čekaj. Naravno da smo poslali dalje. A onda smo čekali i brojili dane. Nove poruke počele su stizati u pravilnim razmacima. Bile su neka vrsta uputa što pripremiti i sakupiti. Poruke su bile sve duže i nadao sam se da će moj rječnik izdržati čestu upotrebu. Najnevjerojatnija je bila činjenica da su poruke počele putovati u oba smjera. Bila je to neka vrsta lanca sastavljenog on nepoznatih ljudi, povezanih s istim ciljem. Istina, još uvijek nepoznatim ciljem, ali to je bila komunikacija uspostavljena nakon dugog vremena tišine.  Osjećaj je bio fantastičan.

Moj mladi prijatelj i suučesnik u ovim opasnim i nedozvoljenim radnjama bio je jako uspješan u pronalaženju stvari s popisa. Bili smo jako oprezni. Nismo smjeli dopustiti da drugi saznaju što radimo. Poštovali smo uputu pošiljatelja poruke, onoga koji nas je pokrenuo na ovu ludost. Sve to bilo je tako stresno za mene, nekadašnjeg knjiškog moljca i kukavicu da sam se ne jednom usrao od straha, ali nije bilo šanse da odustanem. Na kraju krajeva, konačno sam živio i bio koristan.

Stigla je nova poruka. Bio je to poziv na okupljanje i bio je zakazan za dva mjeseca. Iako je to bio dugačak, opasan i moguće smrtonosan put za osobu poput mene, znao sam da ću radije krepati u nekom jebenom jarku nego ostati ovdje. Moj mladi prijatelj bio je spreman na sve, a njegova nada je bila skoro opipljiva.

Krenuli smo na put s dva ruksaka natrpana stvarima s popisa. Bilo je to pakleno putovanje. Kilometri skrivenih staza kroz šume i blato, preko hladnih rijeka i planina, noću, skrivajući se od smrtonosnih patrola. Ali bilo je nevjerojatno iskustvo sretati ljude koji su pobjegli u divljinu pokušavajući izgraditi bilo kakav normalan život. Živjeli su u malim oazama očuvane prirode i bili su siti. Pomagali su nam dajući nam hranu ili sklonište i to je za nas bilo zapanjujuće. Nismo bili navikli na nesebičnost i ljubaznost.

Ali najvažnija je bila spoznaja da su bili nevidljivi za Vladare.

Tijekom putovanja navukao sam groznu prehladu, nekoliko puta sam skoro poginuo, izgubio sam nekoliko kila, ali sam preživio. Nakon stotina kilometara pješačenja konačno smo bili na cilju. Bila je kasna noć i puni mjesec.

Znao sam od početka kuda idemo, ali sada, samo sam buljio u mjesto sastanka. Prepoznao sam ga iako ga nikada prije nisam vidio uživo. Gledao sam u visoke stupove obasjane mjesečinom, gledao sam ruševine starog hrama, gledao sam kolijevku povijesti i osjetio strahopoštovanje. Ostaci nekadašnjih slavnih vremena stajali su kao prkosni podsjetnik. Mi smo bili ti koji su propali.

Skrivali smo se u šikari, osluškujući šumove i u iščekivanju. Ljudi su se počeli pojavljivati, polako i oprezno, skrivajući lica ispod kapuljača, što je bilo smiješno. Ionako nitko nije poznavao nikoga. Bili smo apsolutni stranci. Uskoro je barem stotinjak sumnjičavih stranaca stajalo na ruševinama, gledajući ispod oka jedni u druge.

Ne znam što smo očekivali, nekakvog Superheroja u blještavom odijelu ili naoružane dečke koji će nas posmicati kao izdajice poretka, ali znam da smo buljili kao izgubljene ovce kad se čovjek pojavio. Izgledao je kao da ima barem sto godina, bio je jako nizak i jedva je hodao na vidljivo drhtavim nogama.Podupirao se dugačkim štapom zbog kojeg je izgledao kao nekakav prorok, ali kad je progovorio glas mu je bio prodoran i čist.

Srdačno nas je pozdravio i bilo je očigledno da je bio jako zadovoljan što smo uspjeli stići do cilja. Bili smo pozvani započeti promjenu. Cijeli njegov govor bio je o tome kako smo izabrani s razlogom kao nova snaga, ljudi koji su se oduprli pravilima i odazvali se pozivu, a prema njegovim riječima vrijeme za promjene je upravo stiglo. Odgovorio je na mnoštvo pitanja i svaka njegova riječ imala je težinu. Djedica nije blebetao gluposti.

A onda je izgovorio zadnju rečenicu, kao pozdrav i počeo sam se glasno i nekontrolirano smijati. Sjetio sam se kad sam zadnji puta čuo tu rečenicu i i to je samo pogoršalo situaciju. Doslovno sam urlao od smijeha i istovremeno plakao. Primijetio sam da neki od ljudi oko mene također smiju, ali nisam bio siguran da li su se i oni sjetili rečenice ili su jednostavno reagirali  na moje smijanje. Sav taj smijeh i suze djelovali su kao ogromno olakšanje. Brisao sam suze pokušavajući se obuzdati i gledao sam ljude oko sebe. Osim nekoliko avanturistički raspoloženih mladaca, većina smo bili istrošeni starci koji su još do danas samo brojali dane do smrti. A gledaj nas sada! Uspjeli smo! Propješačili smo kilometre slijedeći poruku nepoznatog pošiljatelja, probudili smo uspavane kosti i ujedinili se vođeni idejom ovog čudnog starca. I ako smo sve ovo prošli i preživjeli tko nas više može zaustaviti. Nisu nama trebali nikakvi heroji. Mi već jesmo bili jebeni heroji!

Starac me je gledao i prijateljski se smješkao.

May the force be with you - ponovio sam njegovu zadnju rečenicu dovoljno glasno da me može čuti i dobro raspoložen zagrlio sam neznanca pored mene.

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