A Reverie for Another Eternity
“What would you do if your reality was to fall apart?”
Two figures argued in the distance amidst the field of crimson spider lilies, the heat haze slowly distorting their figures.
Illuminated by the black sun, the boy slumped against the tree, watching.
As the boy yawned, he could see the two figures walk further into the sanguine fields out of his sight. However, from the sparse words he caught, he knew their conversation was about him but never quite understood what they truly said. Perhaps that was for the best.
His eyelids drooped as the field and figures burned in black flames, the smoke swirling around him until eventually, even the sky was blackened in a dark ink of lost remembrance.
An alarm blared through the minimalist-style room, with dust that layered the unswept steel floor and dressroom drawers.
With a routine slap, the sound stopped.
An incessant tapping from the rain could be heard; his disoriented self was brought back from a dream.
Wide awake, the adolescent attempted to recollect the remnants of his long-lost past as he laid still; it was an ever-repeating dream he’s been having for a few days now. Too tired to shrug his actual shoulders, he pretended to do so in his mind.
No use overthinking it
Takumi took a glimpse of the outside while under the covers. The darkness of the sky overshadowed the ugliness of the city with its unproportional housing cubes stacked together with wires. Overproduction of technological and chemical waste lay everywhere.
From afar, it was an amalgamation of futility this world had to offer - a testament to the little time the earth had in its lifespan.
Although the outside weather certainly complemented the dusty room, filling it with hazy uncertainty from repetitious, ordinary days.
Slowly making his way to the floor from under the covers, his feet lightly landed without making a sound.
Naked in front of a mirror he sees what would be normally assumed as an average 17-year-old guy: black crew-cut hair, slim but somewhat sharp nose, tall but skinny build covered in various scars, and cold dark brown eyes that were somewhat dulled by the morning clouds.
He was never the one to look at himself for long anyways.
After donning his black uniform and shoes, he swallowed a couple of food pills and left for the door.
Outside, the drenching downpour disguised the pungent chemical smells. The streets were polluted with small animal carcasses and abandoned weaponry from a time long ago.
A person clad in steel and glass emerged from the clogged filth below, fully equipped with a heavy-duty bag filled with trash and cleaning supplies.
“A good morning to you too, Tomi-oba. How’s cleaning been so far?”
Her frightening steel mask was lifted with the mechanical whir of cylinders and various pumps, revealing a wrinkly old woman with sharp eyes, ashy hair, and a wisened expression.
“Oh, it’s nothing compared to what you young folk’ have to look forward to. As usual, us oldies are taking time to clean what’s left of our community.”
“Thank you for your service ma’am.”
He saluted, but the old woman just shook her head.
“We’ll do what we can for you guys so y’all can do the same for us in the future.”
Her mechanical arms groaned under the weight of the debris as she cast them aside onto a slightly more organized clutter. She smirked with a sense of pride after.
Takumi looked around the grotesque scenery in hopes of finding that red flower. However, all that met him was its artificial smells, watery hellscape, and the low buzz of fried wires dangling above; it truly was a disgusting sight. He stood silently, wondering about what hopes could be made in an incongruent wasteland of inorganic carcasses where people are born for their dreams to die.
Above the wilted plants, he could see the various alien-like megastructures far beyond the reach of the clouds, elongated and stretched around the very curvature of the earth like an ouroboros, waiting to constrict and spew garbage onto the very earth it sat upon.
There was no other place for the trash to be conveniently dropped off and left forgotten in a disposable manner, and so they polluted every inch and crevice of the slums. From a generations-long ordeal, they’ve successfully stayed afloat in the sky, far out of the reach of those below. As a prerogative of their birthright, they effortlessly destroyed the very environment the meager people have tried to make habitable.
Cleaning after them was a risk Tomiko and various others took to physically maintain this harsh world. It was a task given for those who live on the ever-degrading planet: to provide proper maintenance so possible opportunities and futures could be available for future lives.
A fitting role for the miscasts of a society standing on its last legs, placing their hopes and dreams onto others to fulfill in their place. How selfish.
However, The prospects of living such a lost life weren't so bad.
Or perhaps he simply didn’t understand what the word “good” entailed.
He stifled a laugh.
It’s hilarious really. What could I even do in a world as broken as this?
Suppose that he could make a change in this world, a change so great that it’d allow for anyone to fulfill their immediate desires without work, akin to one of those gods that the people prayed to or those titans from Greek mythologies. Something that can pave a path towards the destiny of their choice.
For once in his purposeless life of simply living for the next meal, Takumi half-heartedly gave thought to how such a world could be saved.
“Oi, you there?”
The old woman’s grating voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Don’t forget to take Miyori with you, you hear?”
With her back turned against him, she disappeared into the pollution below once again.
On queue, a young girl with disheveled, dirty-blonde hair came tumbling down the stairs in the unit next to his own.
Well, it could’ve been worse.
Realizing that he had witnessed the entire process, she quickly got back up and brushed off the bits of dirt that got on her. Her flushed cheeks and emboldened eyes feigned innocence - as if to say that nothing truly stands in her way.
“Hiiiii, can you give me a lift again, Ta-chan?”
Her confidently stupid face irked him.
“Walk to school yourself, idiot.”
Her large, blue eyes began to water at the undeserved reprimanding.
“Doooon’t say something soooo cold...”
She continued to pout as the pair walked towards the alleyway where an abandoned hoverbike was parked.
“I’m surprised such an old thing still works.”
“Beggars can’t be choosers, especially since this was all 'thanks' to you.”
“Yeah, you only found it ‘cause of me haha.”
He had grown used to her constant beamings and jabs thanks to her escapade on that day.
Not being one to pry others’ secrets, he never really understood the situation nor the reasoning for the day it happened, only that her family was desperate to find her.
Takumi winced at the thought of having a family that cared for him as he put his hand to his chest.
Looking back, he saw her back turned and her golden cowlick flicking back and forth in a satisfactory victory.
Even beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to having a family.
Maybe I should charge her for the ride.
He quickly shook off his envy and pulled out the hoverbike that leaned against the side of the alleyway.
Proceeding to get on, he felt a heavy thump over his head as his field of vision was slightly obscured.
“Don’t forget to put on your helmet ta-chan. You have to stay safe, you know that?”
Behind him, her face wasn't visible through the darkened glass, but he knew she was serious behind that chirpy tone of hers.
Content, she wrapped her arms around his waist as he revved the engine and went soaring past the ruined buildings. The seemingly mismatched puzzles steadily left behind them.
Making their way through the jigsaw of decaying buildings and hollowed-out roadways, Takumi saw objects of various sizes burning up in the atmosphere in the distance, far from the housing cubes of slums. It miniaturized with every mile it covered, crumpling up until it finally dissipated.
So even trash isn't allowed entry on this God-forbidden earth.
"Look, look! they're dumping trash again."
She took a pause, her right index finger lightly tapping her chin as her hair flailed in the high-speed winds.
"I wonder, would the falling trash be considered as meteors? Trash meteors... hmmm."
Takumi left her question unanswered.
The garbage-ridden suburbs eventually transformed into a bustling urban city as they made their way closer to the center, where a colossal white hemisphere quickly overshadowed the puny city structures that surrounded it.
Stopping once they had reached an abandoned building in the further outskirts of the surrounding city, Takumi parks the hoverbike under the stairs with Miyori promptly following behind him.
And after a few minutes, they eventually arrived at a pearly white dome.
The gigantic dome is what connected those in the sky with those left on the ground: a haven and a place of opportunities for the misshapen individuals who were born in the wrong place and time.
Nothing much is known besides that it’s technically a city of progress funded by a joint effort from both the remaining government and the upper class to provide opportunities and living quarters for those under 21.
In the innermost part of the dome lied the academy, a school and career-maker for both the poor and the rich. A perfect trial was what this school sought to be. Hosting a competitive environment listing jobs and new innovations, it demands growth from everyone regardless of sex or status.
“Don’t forget to wait for me again, ok?!”
Once again snapped out of his thoughts, he began to open his mouth in response but was met with her back; Miyori was merrily talking on the way to their classes.
Must run in the family I suppose.
With a shrug, he walked towards his class of unit 110-d in Sector 2b.
The lessons droned on as he reviewed his history notes for the last school period, which read:
Since the 5th technological revolution, in which information and matter are now transmutable into one another, the standards for living and technology have advanced at an unprecedented rate, with state-of-the-art robots replacing menial and mediocre human labor and-
And essentially the worth of people. Since when did human life become inferior to products? Even going so far as to spread this utopian propaganda when the poorest of districts are simple dumping grounds for those who aren’t in the inner circles. How comical.
Reminiscing the now broken down scraps of heaping metal next to his assigned home, he recalled how the upper echelon used to produce robots to help out the socioeconomically poor districts. They all eventually malfunctioned and broke away under the harsher conditions in a time prior to his.
If only those from around here knew how bad it was in the outermost districts, maybe then they’d clean up after themselves for once.
Attempting to dispel the negative thoughts, he took a deep breath and glanced out the window from his seat, watching the realistic holographic trees and their leaves flutter in the computer-generated winds, soon disappearing into the nothingness from which it came.
The class, which had stayed obnoxiously silent during the entire lesson, suddenly erupted as the final bell rang.
While everyone rushed to attend their extracurriculars, career speeches, and otherwise, Takumi stayed back in his seat, waiting for Miyori to come by.
Suddenly, a pair of hands covered his eyes.
“Ja-jaaaan. How’ve you been Takumi!”
“I’ve been well, Takeshi. We’ve met each other countless times after all so-”
So leave me the hell alone.
“So my mood won’t change that quickly.”
A burst of derisive laughter escapes Takeshi’s lips as he closes his face in with Takumi’s.
“A day feels like an eternity without you, my f.r.i.e.n.d.”
Suddenly a dangerous thought ran through Takumi’s head but he ignored it.
“So, Takumi, have you heard about Margedon recently”
“I’m pretty sure anyone in the dome has heard about them once or twice about now”
“Certainly, but I wanted to hear about your impressions.”
Takumi smacks away Takeshi’s hands from his face, as he turned towards a haughty expression with wavy, ultra-violet hair that hid a portion of his gleaming eyes.
“The entire industry is a farce. Their so-called entertainment is dominated by lazily done precoded software and plugins made by other people, which the apes at the company managed to discover. They use the funds solely for rendering NPCs on their over-the-top computers. Personally, the projects done by Margenon aren't worth as much as people praise them to be. Beginners' luck is all it is.”
Takumi and those living in the outer districts never truly had the chance to view or play with the said entertainment. He played it by the ear by what he overheard from his classmates during their infrequent breaks between periods.
A vein on Takeshi’s head pulses as he circled around to the front of Takumi's desk.
“Woah woah, really? You can’t just diss my dad like that man. After all, you know he is the CIO for the company right?”
I do not care.
Slamming his elbows on the front-most part of Takumi's desk, Takeshi's held up his wickedly warped face as he glared upwards while leaning foward.
“If anything, shouldn’t you be complaining about your lack of a livelihood and father figure?”
Getting up, Takumi briskly left to meet up with Miyori, who’d usually come to get him after class. He wondered if she was lagging behind her usual schedule; her usual, monotone routine that lacked any flavor or color one's life should’ve had.
She did have quite a fall this morning after all.
Takeshi grins in the distance, unmoving from his position as Takumi left through the sliding doors.
“You’ll find her in the drama room, Takumi.”
Not wanting to initiate another conversation across the hallway about how he knew her whereabouts, Takumi turns sharply and heads down to the drama room obediently.
Arriving at the classroom, he could see her back turned to him once more.
“Why didn’t you meet up with me?”
She turned back around. Her cheeks were slightly flushed in pink hues, a soft smile forming under her sparkling, expectant eyes.
“Weeeeeeeell, I kinda wanted to talk about something in private y’know?”
“Wait till we go home, yeah?”
“It's urgent so… no.”
He could feel a headache coming. He sighed at this woman.
“Well? Go on.”
“Would you mind walking around a bit with me?”
“I thought this was urgent?”
“It can wait.”
Before Takumi could get a word in, Miyori suddenly, yet softly, put her index finger upon his lips.
“I won’t take a no for an answer~”
Her devious smile and her feminine wiles were, to say the least, annoying.
Being two paces behind Miyori, they both headed towards the library, and past the bathrooms.
Miyori twirled three times before coming to a stop, her body posture suddenly turned, facing Takumi’s.
Her face, a bit red with a dabble of sweat on the right and left brows, seemed to be intensified by her unrelenting feelings of something.
Quite frankly, this whole situation took Takumi aback since this was the first time he’s seen her acting like this.
His bad feelings coalesced into genuine fear at that moment, as suddenly, with her eyes shut, she began to quiver.
“You know, I’ve always lo-”
The sentence cut short as everything blacked out.
Beginning system scan
Beginning verification phase of system scan
Verification 100% complete
Check 1 complete
Simulator privileges: 777
Authentication token: fd9d3371-4968-411f-a3ac-50baa65b0f80
Check 2 complete
System O online
Adding checksum to db
Error code 0x0082: Logical allocation of subject is incomplete
Error code 0x0023: Metaphysical manifestation is failing
Execute individual's existence? Individual can lose all memories stored previously:y/n
Monitor individual’s existence with service 196348: y/n
Bootstrapping complete. Commencing existence 27b00898355201c7ea68c78fa013eaceacd8d293af528324acae91952172b32a
The static pixels surrounding the newly-born individual disappear as he grimaced at the pain behind his head.
“Where… Am I?”