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A Rotting Eden
300 years after the Apocalypse came and went, the survivors join wandering gangs called Tribes in a bid for survival in a world without nations. This is the story of one man's struggle in one of the last remaining cities on Earth.
Who Am.
        Aramis felt his eyes open. The empty, unbroken darkness that slid over his street lamp-lit world as he lay dying in the street had finally been lifted away. He no longer saw that infinite darkness, that eternal nothing that engulfed him as his life bled out from his wrists. Instead, a soft, feathered gleam of pure white poured into his eyes as they slowly eased open. He expected things to come into focus, objects, landmarks, people. But they never did.

        Instead he sits up and presses a clammy hand to his forehead, droplets of sweat still clinging to his sallow, blood-drained skin. His wrist retains no telltale sign of the feeble suicide attempt. No opened wound. No gush of blood. Not even a scratch. He drops his hand back down to his side so that he may push himself up off of the floor into a full stand when he notices he feels nothing underneath him. No rain-spattered concrete stinking of rotting fish. No splintering wood of the docks where he attempted to take his life. And yet, he stands, the ethereal nothingness somehow supporting his solid form, his weight. Endless whiteness surrounds him. His eyes squint, focus, trying to separate his view into two planes. But he cannot split the whiteness he sees between ground and horizon. He looks up, looks down, and sees no distinction, no break from the endless nothing.


        "Hello?" he calls out, cupping his hands around his mouth. "Hello? Anyone there?" He gets no answer. So he begins to walk. But to where? There's nothing. He hopes to hit a hidden wall, but no such thing happens. He walks onward towards a nonexistent horizon for minutes, hours, who can tell? He tries to hum songs to himself to keep from growing nervous, from growing anxious due to the bright solitude, the madness from walking into an endless void. But eventually he gives up. He sits down, he holds his head in his hands, and tries to think...

"Where am I?"

        "You're dead," a voice answers. A voice neither male nor female: one he finds perfectly androgynous and hauntingly beautiful in its incorporeal state. Strangely, he isn't surprised by his own death. It was what he wished to accomplish anyhow, wasn't it? He wasn't even surprised that someone, or something had spoken to him. Instead, he was surprised in how callously the disembodied voice declared his newfound state of being.

        "Dead?" he asks, looking up, looking around, trying to find a source for the voice. But it's everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It has no source. It simply resonates, existing for only the instant it needs to be heard, then fading into the void again. "Is this death? Because if it is, it's really boring." "This isn't death, this is after your death," the voice answered. Strange how the voice didn't seem kind, or even have the deep rumbling of some otherworldly entity that he so imagined a spirit might have. Rather, it seemed to carry with it the air of a bored person, and as corporeal as a person standing next to him. No echo, to whisper. Just... speech. Normal speech. Normal, aside from the fact that it spoke no real language. Rather, what he heard was a series of tones and fluctuations without actual words, implied meanings based on how they sounded. Much in the same way a visitor to a foreign land might grasp the concept of what a native is trying to say merely by how he says it. "Is this Purgatory then?" Aramis asked, standing up once more and looking up into the white void. "I thought Purgatory had a lot of people in it waiting to go to Heaven?" A laugh now, from the disembodied voice. "You're a confident one, aren't you? Think you're headed to heaven?" Aramis paused. He never once gave thought to any other possibility. After death was heaven; hell never considered. "Well, where am I?" he asked again. "Dead," the voice answered. "Dead is not a place, it's a state of being," Aramis grumbled, pressing a hand to his forehead and closing his eyes in frustration. This voice was really annoying. "You're in hell then," the voice answered.

"I thought hell was supposed to be pain and agony and... fire and brimstone and whatnot."
"No, this is hell."
"There's no lake of fire."
"That's right."
"No imps and devils and... pitchforks and 'Rawr, rawr, eat your souls' and such."
"That's right."
"There's nothing here!"
"Exactly. Nothing. Nothing to enjoy. Nothing with which to be content, nothing to enjoy, no long gone friends, no mother, no father, nothing. Hell has nothing. All which you loved in life is forever gone. Here, all you have are an eternity of your own thoughts and regrets."

        When he opens his eyes again, he sees a three small white tables before him. On the first table is a gun. On the second is a small knife. On the third, nothing. Confused by the sudden appearance of objects, Aramis turns around to see if he can find who placed them there, but all he sees behind him is a gold mirror suspended in mid air. He's much more interested in the mirror. He walks up to the mirror and immediately reels away from his reflection. He looks down at himself, hands frantically patting at the flawless skin, the pressing into the subtle dips and curves of his stomach, his chest, his face, his head. It's a trick, he thinks to himself. I didn't... do that. But as he approaches the mirror again, he sees himself picking up the gun on the table, holding it to his head, closing his eyes and pulling the trigger. Blood sprays out of the opposite side of his head in a fine mist and he collapses onto the floor. "I didn't do that!" he says aloud, waiting for the voice to respond. But he gets nothing. Instead, he looks back to the mirror and again, he sees himself walking towards the table. But this time he picks up the knife. He slits his wrist, then sinks the knife into his left side. Blood erupts from his side, his wrist, and again, he watches himself fall dead.

        "What the hell is this?!" he demands, looking away from the mirror again and up into the nothingness. "I didn't do that! I'm not doing it! That isn't me!" The voice sighed, a sound borne of boredom or perhaps frustration. "Look again and tell me that isn't you," the voice commanded. "Look again."

        Aramis frowns, slowly turning to look back into the mirror. He's lost weight. He looks almost skeletal, and his eyes are bloodshot and yellowing, with heavy, dark circles beneath them. His skin is sickly pale, with discolored blotches appearing at random places. The wounds are still visible, still bleeding: blood drips from the hole in his temple down his chin and spatters onto his chest. His wrist gushes and his side belches liquid life. Aramis stares at his reflection, horrified. "But... but that isn't me," he insists, shaking his head and backing away from the mirror. "Don't recognize yourself, do you?" the voice asks. "Neither do I."

        The mirror disappears. Aramis, unnerved, tumbles towards the empty table and leans heavily upon it. "Why are you showing me these things?" he asked. "Who are you?" Again, the voice sighed. "I just am," it answered. "What's your name?" Aramis demanded, growing frustrated with his lack of clear-cut answers. "Who the hell are you?!" "You once called me Deus," the voice replied. "Then it was Altana. Some call me The Goddess, others call me Mother Earth. I go by many different names."

        "You're God," Aramis exhaled, the air whooshing out of his lungs. His head swooned. His thoughts scattered. He was in the presence of holiness. He didn't know holiness could be so cynical. "But then... what is your name? Which is correct? All these names we give you, which one is the right one?" There was a great silence, a pregnant pause as the void around him began to shift in ways he was still unsure of. The emptiness seemed to gain weight, mass. The air grew heavier. He felt a presence beside him, although when he looked, he saw nothing. "I am," the voice continued, "Am. That is all. I existed before the very idea of names, before the concept of individuality. I was neither born, nor created. I simply am. If I were to call myself anything, that is what I would call myself. I am Am."

        "But you're not here so you can question me, Aramis. We're here because you have a problem we need to deal with. We're here because after all these years of threatening suicide, you finally pulled it off. But when you looked at yourself in that mirror, you didn't recognize what you saw as yourself. And after all these years watching you, neither do I. I don't know what happened to you, what made you change in the way you did and how quickly. When you were younger, you tripped, you fell, then you got back up again. This time, though, you tripped, you fell, and you proceeded to dig your way deeper down into the ground. You've forgotten how to get up and try again. We're going to fix that."

Bleeding Apocalypse
Community Member
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  • User Comments: [5]
    HOMGZ, A NEW ENTRY!
    I like it. It's sad... but in a kind of cool way. Sort of hopeful and stuff and stuff. Anyways, now you've totally caught my attention, and that means that you MUST update again soon!
    Love the drawings too, btw. You be good.

    comment Duelriel · Community Member · Mon Aug 13, 2007 @ 07:26am
    Teehee, butt! *pokes at it* Ahem, anyway, excuse my immature behavior. >_>
    *Snickers* Funny how he got all pissy 'bout that mirror thing.

    comment Sir Schmerz · Community Member · Mon Aug 13, 2007 @ 10:10am
    Oh, this concept of Hell is scarier than the fiery one...

    comment BallisticsJello · Community Member · Tue Aug 14, 2007 @ 12:26am
    ..

    comment Your Little Fickle Pickle · Community Member · Wed Aug 22, 2007 @ 11:09am
    Are you ever gonna update your journal again, Aramis?

    xD

    comment JellybeanUnicornUnderwear · Community Member · Sun Mar 02, 2008 @ 09:07pm
    User Comments: [5]

     
     
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