2029: My Kingdom During Sunset
Illustration by Eduard Jude Jamolin
POLICE EVIDENCE FILE NUMBER 3232: 3 ENTRY DIARY (last one is torn/unfinished). SOFT BOUND. RED. PENCIL ON THE SIDE.
OWNED BY: ANNECITA (THX-1200)
I don’t know if I could live much longer. They are looking for me. I don’t know why being an android is such a big deal. They made me. Is this really what I’m destined to be? A product? A man-made piece of machinery, designed to think like a human being? I don’t want to be that kind of creation. I want to live and be alive and have a purpose — whatever that word is.
The streets reek of nicotine, liquor, ungrateful bastards and bad decisions. We chose the wrong leader, we chose the wrong path and worst of all, “change” is but a dream. The date is June 6, 2029. The future may seem hopeful somewhere back then but to live in one sure is underwhelming. The world is constantly changing. My decisions and attitude are not.
I walk the crowded streets of Colon looking for a place to rest when I pass by a strange building. It looks beautiful from where I stand — though the paint is slowly fading, it seems to stand with pride, trying to be relevant against time. This is a different building. I go inside with no hesitation. The first thing that catches my eye is a painted movie poster. Movies are long gone now. All my life I’ve wanted to see one, but the only thing available are stills and online files — the only films available? Propaganda and one-sided documentaries I wish I had never believed in, once upon a time.
It takes some time for me to realize that I have just entered an old cinema. “Cine Oriente,” a stranger calls it. I’ve never been in one of these before. It is beautiful. The posters, though faded and torn like the building itself, are beautiful, something to stare at for ages. I dust off an old reel labeled “Our Kingdom during Sunset” and place it in a projector.
It is beautiful. I’ve never seen or felt anything like this before. How could anyone forget that this films exist? Why do people not remember movies? This is the first film I have seen and I have never felt so… human.
I don’t know what this feeling is, this embrace of colors I’ve never seen before, this feeling that the film was made for me to be “human”, the only thing I ever wanted to be. It is magical. Cinema is magical… so why was it forgotten? The theater has turned itself into a marketplace. Like the stories of old, this house of God is defiled. The place felt sacred to me now.
Two hours and two minutes pass as the reel slows and the projector flickers off. I step outside into the dusky, setting sun and check in at the nearest motel — a dump, as usual, but it’s home for tonight. What choice do I have? They won’t suspect “the only android” to sleep in a place like this.
Five days after my escape, this beat-up little room is more homey than my glass cell.
That’s all for now.
I ate breakfast for the first time today. I didn’t know I had the ability to eat. Being human sure is interesting. I look around at these people walking, wondering if they’ll ever suspect that I am “not like them”. While wandering the busy metro I bump into a man wearing dark shades and a suit. I apologized to him. He smiles back as I continued on my way. The sky is turning gray and I need a place to hide again — back to the theatre. I decide to watch “Our Kingdom during Sunset” again, this time with a bowl of popcorn.
The film remains as beautiful as the first time around. How can something from a screen be so real? I did my research last night about film. Tried to, at least. There are no sources, no information left. Recently I read a 10 year-old-news article about the implementation of the Anti-Art Act, the banning of films, paintings and literature throughout the country. Now they only allow films, paintings and movies appraised by the government to be screened throughout the country. I am jealous of the people who had experienced art and literature back then, when now this theater- my church, a sacred place, My Kingdom during Sunset, is now an illegal business.
Standing outside, as if waiting, is the man I bumped into earlier, staring as I walk out of the cinema. “Sorry,” he says forebodingly, straightening his glasses, not breaking from my stare.
I run right past him, no looking back, to the hotel to pack my things. They lied to me about everything. There used to be color in this world. There used to be life back then, real life beyond survival. How could they do this to me? To the people? I wish this was all a dream. When I wake up I’ll be a young teenager, a human one, whose daily routine is to go to museums and theaters- I’ll have parents and a bed. I’ll have friends and a camera to take photos of them, making memories I’ll always cherish. Every weekend will be an opportunity to see another beautiful film. We all deserve a better world. Why are people settling for this? Are they awake? Why are they barely living?
I think… this will be all for now.
I do not feel safe anymore. I know they are watching. Time is almost up. I had my first dream last night. I was in a cinema full of people. We are all watching “Our Kingdom during Sunset” for the first time, and the tears are no longer just mine. Someone calls me “daughter” and takes my hand. I have never felt so happy before. I have never felt happiness before.
I woke up to the sound of gunshots firing outside my room. I jumped out of the window and into the streets, all the way under the bridge of Mactan. I don’t think I can stay here much longer. It has been the best two days of my life. The films, the information… it was enough for an android to feel… human. I wish the world would change. Maybe someday it will. MaybeI’ll be there to se-
THE ENTRY ENDS HERE.