176-21


This is where everything ends. Everything, from the sole iris of your eyes to the rings of unknown galaxies, gone within a fleeting second. And it's all your fault.

[010]

[I don’t assume you know.]

[This entire thing is a massive, gaping hole.]

[I was like you, thinking there would be a simple solution to it.]

[But there isn’t.]

[It’s a fucking massive, convoluted band of theories, stories, ideas, strung together into the conglomerate I’m right in the middle of, trying to make sense of and prepare for you, the reader.]

[Do you really understand how challenging it is to fix the past?]

[You know, come to think of it, I don’t really know why I took up the offering to do this. I guess a part of me felt responsible, like this person I never knew, had a project he could never finish. I wanted to carry on the dreams of a dead man.]

[And you might think to yourself, well, what does it matter? He’s dead now. You never knew him. Nobody did.]

[And to that I say I agree. This whole thing is pointless. Nothing like it has ever happened. It could be complete bullshit for all I know. Hell, it probably is.]

[But once you actually pick up the journal, laying down there on the ground of a dead forest, covered by thickets and leaves, grass smeared into its pages, and that journal details every single dream, every single ambition, every thought and memory laid down by a person’s heart, and to see it being crushed as his very fabric is torn apart by his own insanity, it just…tears at me.]

[You see, I have my own story to tell. It was late at night, I was sitting at my computer, doing whatever the hell I used to do on nights like that, when the phone rang. It was a worker at a hospital, saying that my mother had been hit by a car.]

[And the panic. The sheer panic as I drove as fast I could to see her, see what the fuck was going on. It beat and tore me. When I arrived, they told me that it would be a miracle for her to live much longer.]

[But that wasn’t the end.]

[Six months later. I still wasn’t over it. You never really get over the loss of a loved one. My fiance and I were preparing to pack up our things for the big project of moving into the house my mother lived in, as she gave the will of it to me. As I was sorting through the house, I found inside of an old chestnut drawer a diary.]

[Now, obviously, a small diary can’t hold an entire person’s story, so what I found interesting about it was that the actual entries themselves were sparse in between. The first one was when she was 12. There were some others from her teens, into her twenties, thirties, so on, until towards her death.]

[There’s simply something amazing about the written form of someone’s life that’s fascinating. It holds every little detail and nuance about someone. And finding that diary was utterly breathtaking, because it told so much about someone I thought I knew everything about.]

[So when I found that abandoned journal, it awoke that sentimental fragment dug deep within me. I couldn’t do anything about my mother, because I didn’t know what to do.]

[But I know what to do now.]

[In fact, I’m doing it this moment.]

[008]

[There’s a reason you’re here. Right now, sitting down, looking at your monitor.

What is it?]

022 - change

It’s changed.

[|]

I awoke in a harvested wheat field. Ahead of me is a stretch of forest, almost unnaturally bordered around. The sun is sitting on top of the horizon, obscured by a glow of apricot. Beneath it is the outskirts of some unknown city, dotted lights of cars gleaming. Everything has a shaded look to it; the few remains of the wheat standing up are almost completely black contrasted against the sun.

Something about this place makes me feel both relieved and breathless. I’ve been here before.

"Are we on?" mutters a voice to the side.

I gaze back towards the forest, as a man comes into view. His features are completely bathed in silhouette. He’s holding a briefcase in one hand, and a revolver in the other.

"Yeah, we’re good."

"Alright."

In the remaining brief relapse of silence, I notice that my wrists and legs are tied to a wooden chair.

"Okay, so, I’m gonna be honest with you, I’ve got no clue what’s going on. I’m just here to do my job and to stop yours." It’s got this deep, earthy tone to it, feeling so rich and yet empty.

His accomplice steps out behind him, wielding what looks like a brick.

I just sit there, dazed, not knowing what to do, when suddenly, I find myself saying something.

"Don’t give me that ‘innocent bystander’ shit. You know exactly why I made this city. You decided-"

"Hey, shut your fucking mouth. Jesus…", the accomplice barks, muttering something to the side.

I have no idea about anything I said. It just spontaneously erupted from my mouth, and yet I felt like I knew what I said was right. Like I’m taking the place of a person who knows exactly where he is.

Eventually, the accomplice turns where I can see him easier. The brick he’s carrying is a cell phone. Its display barely lights up the highlights of his face. For some reason, his face, despite any light, became oddly mesmerizing to me, like I kne

He starts dialing. Be-be-beep, be-be-beep, be-be-be-beep.

I didn’t have to be conscious to interpret those beeps and know what number he was calling.

"Alright…it’s on."

"Okay." He said it with an almost grave tone.

"I’ll tell you this now. You should feel lucky you’re even here. Because without us…"

Trailed off.

"Tell us what you heard."

I react. “What the hell do you mean, what I heard? What do you expect me to do, fucking whistle it?”

"Yeah, actually."

"Anything, really."

For some reason, this sudden feeling overwhelms me. It’s the sort of feeling you get when you encounter a car crash or see someone getting shot. It’s this feeling of finality, this feeling of happening.

I purse my lips together, and yet no matter how hard I blow, no sound comes out.

It wasn’t defiance. It wasn’t even inability.

It was deadlock.

Froze.

And then time stopped. A web of ideas flashes through my vision, each one tangible and filled with emotion and identity. I realize that my hands are free somehow. I reach out and grab one.

The note feels abrasive and worn against my skin. It’s blank on one side.

I flip it over.

Panic spawns over me, obsessively repeating, repeating, repeating, burning the inside of my chest, I feel like I’m going to die, the same note over and over again, pain strikes my hand, melting, I feel like I’m going to die, an overwhelming desire to leave, I feel like forgetting isn’t the solution because even if I did forget, I’d still be left with this urgent sense of death and desperation and anxiety and dreadful anticipation that he’ll look at me any second, I can’t lo

ook away I can’t look away I

ca

I thought about everything that I know. It’s a hard list to compile when you think about it. If you were to mentally skim over every single word, subject, idea, person, place you knew, it would take you a while.

But it didn’t take long.

It never does.

I look at the card.

Written in coarse black ink are the words:

-

"This isn’t the End.

It’s the beginning.”

-

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[ready]