2018-10-16 21:50 fiction flash-fiction Benjamin Brood

The Hill

When the trees came down they saw the hill wasn't a natural formation. But it was no forgotten step pyramid. And it didn't exhibit the qualities of a traditional burial mound. The measurements were eerily precise. The orientation was fascinating but created only wild perturbation for scholars and academics. It was also impenetrable. Not only to technology, but to brute force — no shovel could unearth it. A variety of ideas, or suppositions, surfaced. That it was a druidic monument made of ancient power. That it was a relic from the war, created by a secret, occult R&D division. That it was an example of peculiar formation of some rare, extruded element. Or that it was an alien craft, crashed and buried. Not surprisingly this last explanation generated the most attention. Quickly a group gathered and grew around the hill. Their camp of tents soon transformed into semi-permanent shanties, but the high security fence erected around the hill prevented them from living on it. As the climate continued to decay, driving populations out of areas where they once flourished, and as the geopolitical situation became volatile, more people wondered about the hill, and more people came to believe it was an alien object. Soon there were pilgrimages. Many waited for it to broadcast a message. Just like in '2001: A Space Odyssey' some said. Others believed the hill would open, allowing an exact number of believers inside where they would be transported instantly to a new world — presumably a better world without heat death, pollution, and rampant fascism. Another, smaller sect, believed these kinds of Hollywood scenarios were tools created by corporations to keep the population docile, and that the hill was an unknowable, irreducible alien construction without any human purpose whatsoever, at least none we could possibly understand because the beings who built it were so advanced, and so different from ourselves. But the crowds of people around the hill swelled. There were riots regularly, where the military reacted violently. Eventually, however, the pressure was too great, and after a final, bloody push, the fence was torn down and the believers, the Two-Thousand-Ones, the Transported, the People Of The Chariots, the Hollow Earthers, the Mole Men, the Panspermians, the Inflatable Gods, the Matricians, the Neo-Druids, all of them, they all swarmed onto the hill in a frenzied celebration. This was it, the time was now, the hill was theirs once again.