[[It's been quite a while...]]So here I am. Counting down the days. The torch still burning.
Mark told me not to think about it. Said it'd wear me down quicker if I kept track of the days. Well, I couldn't help it. I've been stuck on this [[island]] for like 30 days now. It's been quite a [[pleasant]] time.The island isn't very big. I'd say probably a few football fields put together. The strong sunlight isn't able to penetrate the heavily forested part of the island, so that's usually where I sleep. Yea, I have to sleep during the day. You'll have to get used to it. The [[night]]'s when the action is happening.
I'm kidding. I'm struggling. It hasn't been easy. Although the days in between are ample enough for recovery, the evenings still fill me with dread. To be fair, it's definitely not as bad as the first [[night]]. I mean, Mark did say this was the only [[way]], so it's not like I had a choice. When I first saw the Beast, I was terrified as all hell. I kind of just started running. You will too, trust me. The thing's a little larger than what Mark had told us. It's probably the length of two school buses haha. Anyways, keep on lighting up the the lamp posts. The more light you have, the slower it'll move, and you won't have to run as much. And trust me, you'll have to [[run]] a lot! ''"Yup."''
I kept staring at him. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't shocked or anything. Nothing really surprises me anymore (That's not really true).
"So basically, I'm dying."
''"No. You're not dying. You're fading."''
"For fuck's sake Mark what does that mean!?"
''"We're wasting time. You ain't got [[time]] kid."''
"Alright... alright... [[hold on]]"Well it's quite the wake up call. One minute you're watching some kid stealing a bucket of candie and the next minute you're arguing with a [[Maine Coon]]. For the record, that kid took the damn bucket with him! Who takes the bucket!?
[[I would]].It's funny how the world works. You know how people say "bad things happen to good people."? That's what I'm experiencing right now. I got acquainted with Mark a few years ago. He kept wondering around the dumpster behind my apartment, and ol' soft hearted me just had to bring him home. Got him all fed up and in the morning he was back on the streets. Next thing you know, the little thing came by every now and then. He'd always leave a stain of urine on the ground outside my door, so I started calling him Mark (like leaving a mark. Yea?) Anyways, he's quiet. Well, he [[was]]. The world isn't just. That's why.
The world ain't Santa Clause; Being a nice kid won't get you very far. That's how the world is. If you can get away with it, you're all good! The good kid are the ones taking the hits.
I was one of those good kids.
The one who got detention for fighting the bullie.
The one that gets alienated for speaking the truth.
The one that lost his chance because he's a nice guy (Universal Fact: Nice Guys Finish last). <----- This one is a joke.
The one cheated out of his money because he believed in the good of people.
The one that gets let down because he gave the benefit of the doubt.
If I've learned anything, it's that justice is subjective. Doing what you feel is right means nothing. Atleast, that's not how it works in the world of the living.
You know [[what apparently works]] in the world of the living? ''"You're fading."''
''"You're... disappearing from the world."''
So it turns out, there's some natural laws out there that we, as humans, still haven't quite figured out.
''"One of them is the Law of Impact. Every living thing has an Impact of Amplitudo Massa, or IAM. IAM is dynamic, it shifts between the balance of the physical world, and the void. When something, or someone, loses too much IAM to the void, they start to disappear from the world, leaving everything, even the memories of the living, behind."''
"Wait but... why? And like... like I'm just gone all of the sudden!?"
''"Because you know the [[truth->I would]]. And to your second [[question->way]]"how is this possible..."
''"You're not asking the right question."''
''"You're on the right track. Remember, ask and you shall receive."''
"That's not true."
''"Good to know you've got a clear head. We need to talk business."''
So we [[did->what apparently works]]. Some deep breathes were taken.
"So we're out here in the middle of the night for a reason right?"
''"Yes. You've got approximately 2 month before your IAM runs out at this rate. And--"''
"Hold on. WHY is it running out?"
''"Because you haven't answered the Question"''
''"Unfortunately, I can't tell you that. It's different for everyone. Everyone have their own questions to answer, but the biggest one of all? That's dependent on the individual. In your case, I ain't gonna lie, I do know the Question. But it's up to you to both identify and answer it. Telling you is meaningless."''
"That doesn't explain anything..."
"So [[how]] do I answer the Question?"
''"Not bad, kid. You finally learned to ask the right ones."''
We've been walking for a while now. and with each step, the city grows further away in the distance. What immediately struck me was how little I could see; I never realized how dark it really was out here, without the luminating streetlights.
''"You answer the Question by facing the [[Beast]]."''
"...What does that accomplish in my situation?"
''"Well, answering the Question means you have to take some form of action. If you can defeat the Beast, you will regain the IAM from the Void."''
"I'm so lost-"
''"Look son, you're not going to understand everything so just focus on what you need to get done. Fighting the Beast isn't easy. You're stuck up there for weeks at a time so it's best we-"''
"That's what you've been doing? Those long trips?"
''"I tried negotiating for you but it... didn't work out. Still, when we get home, get a few good pounds of catnip for me will ya."''
"Hahaha. Sure."Apparently, it's this huge anaconda thing. If you can imagine a snake the size of a whale you've got the right idea.
''"The Beast connects us to the Void. It dwells inside a cavern on Mist Rock. We're headed for the island now."''
"Well what the hell is he doing with his life down there?"
''"It. No one really knows. All we know is that, as long as intelligence have existed, It has existed. No beginning, and not yet an end."''
"...And this huge ass snake is just on the middle of an Island and no one ever saw this island? What?"
''"You can never find it unless It calls out to you."''
"... You're saying... those who seek It..."
''"Yes. [[Up ahead.]]"''''"Damn son. You lift?"''
I was in shock. First by the bucket-kid, then by a talking Mark. He's been taking long trips lately, but this time he came home a little earlier than usual.
"It's only been like 2 weeks this time boy."
I joked to myself that he's probably home to hand out candy on Halloween night and didn't think much of it. Well, when a smooth, deep voice came along with those moving whiskers, one can understand my knee-jerk reaction as I [[slapped the hell out of Mark]].We were surrounded by dark trees and bushes, but as we traversed deeper into the woods, the edge of a small beach appeared. What seemed like a flat, polished rock led to a small wooden boat. A low fog hanged above the water.
''"This should be it. [[Get on]]."''
And so I did. Underneath us, what seemed like hundreds of little carps that glowed a vibrant green carried the boat off into the lake. I silently gazed at the color, admiring its transparancy and innocence.
For a while, we both layed there, wondering at the night [[sky]]. The stars looked back at us, sparkling in its mystery. Do we look the same to them? As beautiful as they are? In the city, no one ever gets to see them. But here, away from the people, they seem to have always been there, a specle of light in the obscurity of the dark, lingering in eternity.
''"They're not forever you know."''
"I wish they were."
Yea. It's what [[keeps me going->Up ahead.]] (Reminds me of that boat ride haha). There are times when I falter, when I weaken. But everytime I see them, I remembered the hope. From my experiences, life comes at you like the waves of the ocean. Sometimes, they're huge. Sometimes, they're nothing. When you're beneath the water, if all you think about is the water which engulfs you, you forget the pleasant feel of air. Yet, when we have too much room to breathe, we often forget to appreciate the simple act of just breathing.
I'm sure we've all gone thorugh our fair share of [[shit->heart]]. We headed for the unknown. From what Mark has told me, I should be terrified, trembling. But I wasn't. I... didn't feel much. As I looked forward into the fog, Mark's fluffy tail broke me into a small chuckle.
"How did a cute little kitty like you end up like this?"
''"Catnip Overdose my man. That shit's crazy."''
"... Mark... you've done this all before."
"Why did the Beast call for //you//?"
''"... For the same [[reason]] It called for You."''
''"We both seek It. We don't want anything to do with this world. That's why."''
"... Why are you helping me?"
''"Because you have catnip. This is just a return of your kindness."''
"Nah, c'mon. What's the real deal?"
''"You want the truth?"''
I nodded. Far away, the shape of an island began to emerge.
''"Because it's the right thing to do. I'm capable, so therefore I try."''
The fog started to clear. Through the shallow, muddy water, I began to see faces. [[Skulls]]. Skeletons. Upon realizing what these could be, my palms began to sweat.
"... What happened to you?"
''"Things that happen to everyone, everywhere. Injustice. My partner was killed in a collision. My daughter suffered and died from an incurable disease. You know, the usual."''
"... I'm sorry."
''"I've come to accept it."''
"But you didn't fade! You defeated the Beast!"
''"In a way, I did. But like I said, everyone must answer to their own [[Question]], their own Beast."''"Has anyone... ever beaten the Beast before?"
Mark looked away. He kept staring ahead.
''"No. But there have been those who survived the encounter."''
I kept staring into the water.
"They all... failed."
"You slayed the Beast?"
''"No. It can't be slayed."''
"So I'm headed to an island to kill a giant ass snake so I can somehow comeback from the Void and keep living, and now you're telling me It can't be killed!? Then what is even the point!? Why even [[try]]!?"''"Because. That is the only thing left to do. The only thing anyone can do. //Try//."''
"You can't just say that!" Anger took ahold of me. "Look at what's left of the people beneath us! They tried didn't they!?"
Mark was unfazed. His sharp eyes locked onto mine, but silence was his response.
"People try all the time, but that's not how the world works."
"There are people on the other side of the world, dying before they're even born! Loved ones lost because of the crime of another! People suffering for the sins they never commited! It's illogical!"
''"Believe me, I get it."'' Mark was holding his temper.
"People try all the time! But your hands get bitten when you give too much, your feet tears up because of the weight of your convictions, your heart torn apart because they wanted something else. I'm telling you! Someone, something, is always there, to break you down. No one gives a damn about justice--"
''"[[You do]]!!"''I do. But it always seemed like I was the only one. That's how I feel. I care so much... I wanted to do so much for the world. But the way it treats me... It let me down.
I looked away. The island looked menacing in the night. Plus I had tears in my eyes.
The emptiness kept growing as despair overcame me. I looked to the stars, but the sky was black.
"What if I fail?"
''"The Beast will get you. You'll be devoured into the Void."''
"Where the hell is Jesus when you need h--"
''"What is the difference!? You're gone either way! Might as well take the right way out."''Mark broke out, ''"Look son, it's always come to this. Nothing is fair. You try every day to avoid misfortune, thinking you've done it right this time but when you turn around, bam! Luck has left you to die and you're down in the fetal position, crying in anger, cursing the world for all kinds of shit that just happens for seemingly no reason. It breaks you down a little bit each time and one day you feel like you can't stand up anymore to walk this endless tunnel, you feel like it's meaningless to hold on to empty hope, but you know there's no other way! Everyone asks for an ounce of justice, everyone asks for a bit of mercy, but when they find none, they lose their own. That's when they start to forget, that someone must carry the torch in the dark, and they must not look away from the abyss, no matter how desperate it may be."''
Come on... Just one star. One is all it takes to light up the sky. Our boat scrapped the sand as it beached.
''"Will you carry the torch?"''
[[???->It's been quite a while...]]
''"The Beast will try to devour you. Once midnight strikes, you're gonna have to keep moving for around 2 hours."''
Ofcourse it's running. My highschool Mile time was 9 minutes. It's been years since I've ran.
''"But the trick is to keep on lighting up all the lamp posts. There are 20 lamp posts throughout the island. The more light there is, the slower the Beast."''
"Why is that--"
''"Don't ask. All you ahve to do, is avoid the Beast while keeping most of the lamps lit. It's going to extinguish the lamps, so you'll have to keep lighting them up. If it really comes down to it, and you only have your torch, it's going to be a test of courage. You'll have to aim the torch at its head, and run straight at him. Remember, light upclose screws with his movements. It'll stun him a little. Atleast, usually it does."''
"I'm ready to die sir."
''"Good. Keep that attitude up for around a month. You'll pass off the torch then."''
"In all honesty I wasn't joking."
''"Even better. Remember, look towards [[stars->sky]] in the sky."''"It's gonna be rough buddy. But I made it, you're going to make it. Just remember, don't lose yourself. When you do, look at the torch. There doesn't have to be another source of light, because one is more than enough to illuminate the dark."
"Well then, will you hold the torch?"
[[If you're not ready, I can always tell you more about what happened!->Maine Coon]]