Chapter 1:

1

Undetermined


It's quite chilly today. Bookmark here

Looking around, the only immediate heat source is a small fire next to me. Unfortunately, it isn't doing nearly enough to preserve my body temperature. I'll need to find another way to keep warm.Bookmark here

Well, I guess I could just make the fire a bit bigger. As I say that, a man walks by and drops a few more sticks of wood into the pit, giving the flame a renewed chance at life. 

After a few minutes, I can feel an additional warmth flowing against my body. It helped, but still not enough. I suppose I could move a bit closer to the fire. But then I'd risk setting myself aflame. Is it a chance worth taking? Probably not. 

Though if I were to catch fire, that would solve my immediate problem. Who needs a fire when you are the fire? Chuckling at the thought, I take the joke to its natural conclusion. But my brain goes a bit further in morbid curiosity.Bookmark here

Obviously, no one would want someone to catch fire under normal circumstances. But if it were to happen, I suppose a cold-stricken group would be able to feel the great heat of a fire fueled by a human body. Provided that body doesn't decide to immediately run around in a panic to douse the flames.

Yeah, there's nothing to be said about setting yourself on fire to keep others warm. It doesn't make any sense at all.Bookmark here

As I'm pondering these thoughts, a small warmth begins growing in my chest. The butterflies in my stomach churn and the beat of my heart growls loudly. The pressure I feel in my head makes me dizzy, but in spite of it all, I feel a certain peace. Bookmark here

The man who kindled the fire is approaching me and talks with a smile, waiting for my response. I try to reply, but no words come out. Everything seems a bit out of focus, like a dream. In the background, I see a few curious onlookers attracted to the expanding flames.Bookmark here

Ahh that's right, I remember how I got into this situation. I had finally found the reason for our shared existence. I attempt to speak, but the familiar sound of my voice doesn't reach back to my ears. I try to pinch myself, but now my hands won't cooperate. Bookmark here

Cheers begin to erupt and the man beams, appearing to take great pride in the growing procession. He yells at the crowd with the vigor of a lion's roar. The crowd answers back with the same fervor, answering his call as if a single pride. Bookmark here

However, the composure and elegance of the pride is only superficial. On closer inspection, the cracks in the paint show a resemblance more similar to a cackle of hyenas.

I suppose this pride is something people need to be careful about. Too much always leads to tyranny. Too little to resentment. Bookmark here

I've tried my hardest to make this world a better place. It was my life's goal, to improve the world for our future generations. To help people live better, more enriched lives. But in the search for the truth, I found something I didn't want to see. Still, I faced it head on and hoped others would listen.Bookmark here

It seemed my intentions were lost. 

Now I'm finally being rewarded for my efforts. Perhaps it's fine to let it all go and engage in a little self-indulgence. At the very least, I can live with the satisfaction of giving it my best. 

But no.

More than anything, I wish I could accept this. To become drunk on the thought of this being a reasonable ending. Bookmark here

Instead, it will all be over. The celebrations will cease and this beginning will come to an end. For others, it will have merely been a few exciting moments in an otherwise monotonous day. For myself, the most important in my life.Bookmark here

I wonder if I will ever feel this alive again. Everyone should know a feeling like this.Bookmark here

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The sunny sky begins to darken, and rain clouds fall. A faint drizzle casts upon the land, with lofty winds glistening the air.

Nonetheless, processions have gone smoothly. Large bundles of wood are stored safely under the cover of a make-shift tent. Tables are neatly arranged showcasing a variety of appetizers and entrées aesthetically arranged by color gradient. At the end of the rainbow, a few barrels of wine are being generously tapped with the people around all laughing, cheering. All beholden to the site in front of them. Bookmark here

It's not the largest group, but large enough to attract interest of outsiders. Many continue to walk by, as though it's nothing unusual, and they would be correct. There is nothing unique about this situation. Still, for some of us, it tugs at our heart strings and causes us to briefly consider our own standing.

A man walks up next to the woman and says the necessary ceremonial words. She does not respond, but that is within expectation. He's done this many times before, the smile on his face betrays his experience. 

"For any members of the audience, speak now or forever hold your peace."

The penultimate phrase. The crowd suddenly becomes quiet. Of course, this is all within tradition. No one would dare object, nor would they have the power to do so.

Finally, turning to the woman, he says:Bookmark here

"Any last words?"

She remains quiet. And shortly afterwards, burns in a slow flame.Bookmark here

Veekeeki
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