Chapter 1:

Sudden Death

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World

I’d like to think I lived a good life. Bookmark here

I’d like to think I lived a righteous life. Bookmark here

I’d like to believe I always did the right thing. Bookmark here

I’d like to believe I made the right choice even in situations where others did not.Bookmark here

And I’d like to curse whatever gods took it all away from me before I could reap the rewards. Bookmark here

I had lived my life the way I was taught to. The way my parents, my family, my friends, had wanted me to. At the forefront of all that was a single commandment: be kind. Bookmark here

Be honest. Help people when you can. Be loyal, towards your family and the people around you. Prioritize others at every opportunity, as far as was reasonable. Bookmark here

That was how I lived. Bookmark here

And I always strived for excellence. It wasn’t enough to just be kind. I needed to be smart, intelligent, fit. The whole package. Bookmark here

I had gotten top grades, gotten into one of the most prestigious programs at the local university, and even among much fiercer competition I had at the very least managed to maintain results that were a fair amount above average. Of course there was also how maintaining that level cost me any free time I otherwise may have had, and how it was making me stress out almost every waking moment. Bookmark here

I had made friends, I had gotten as many people as possible to like me. On the other hand, I avoided conflicts, no matter how much something was worth fighting for, and never once asked for what I personally desired. Bookmark here

I had gotten not just fit, but extremely so. Far more than any reasonable person would have deemed necessary, and if not quite at the level of a professional athlete, then at least enough so that I would have liked to believe I could have reached that kind of potential with a year or two of dedicated training. This, of course, took an awfully large amount of time to maintain, less I stagnate or worse… regress.Bookmark here

To that effort, I needed to train both extensively and intensively. A huge amount of running, as well as some lighter strength training.Bookmark here

As one aspect of that, and as part of my usual morning routine, I always went for a jog. It had taken quite a bit of effort to push myself to the point where I actually could manage to wake up early enough to have time for both a moderately long jog and a shower afterwards, not to mention all the other things I’d still need to do afterwards — have breakfast, get dressed, makeup, unmess my hair as well as I could. Bookmark here

Then came the morning jog. It felt great, a chance to wake up fully as I was exposed to the cold morning air. An opportunity to forget other things, to forget all the hard work that was always looming in the distance waiting to be done.Bookmark here

A chance to relax my mind by exerting my body. It was never more than a brief reprieve, but one I gratefully accepted. Bookmark here

I mindlessly ran along, pushing myself as much as I could, steadily trying to go faster and further.Bookmark here

Normally I would have finished the run without problems, taken a shower, and gotten ready to face the day. Bookmark here

This time I did not. It happened when I was about halfway through my planned route. Bookmark here

There was a pain in my chest. A sensation I was used to, normally brought about by reflux, something I experienced all too often. If I had any flaw that others would notice, that was more than my own regret, then that was certainly it: my own body.Bookmark here

Experiencing somewhat large amounts of reflux was, of course, one of the least significant maladies that ailed me.Bookmark here

Perhaps I was fairly fit, and perhaps my body had allowed me to get that far. But I also got sick easily, had suffered from my fair share of injuries, and was often in pain. It was not much more than a minor gripe compared to all the luxury I otherwise had bestowed upon me, but without all the effort I was putting in, I would not have ended up with an outcome superior to what the average person may expect, but rather one far inferior.Bookmark here

The only reason I even had been able to do all I had, to be able to try as hard as I had. Was that I had slowly gotten better in recent years, enough so that enough of my own effort was enough to bridge that last remaining gap. Bookmark here

It had been over a year since the last time anything serious had happened. Bookmark here

But now it was time again. Not just for the next time, but… for the last. Bookmark here

It started as no more than an innocent pain in my chest. I had to stop and cough, but it wasn’t like that kind of thing hadn’t happened before. I would usually be fine after resting for a few seconds. Bookmark here

So, not that big a deal. The only real problem was that it didn’t stop this time. The pain grew stronger, and my breath grew heavier and slowed down along with it. Bookmark here

I barely even had time to process what may have happened before I fell over.Bookmark here

Fell over, and never opened my eyes again. Bookmark here

I didn't know exactly why I died. Perhaps I had pushed myself too hard, neglected to stop and think and actually consider how much my frail body could handle. Or perhaps it was just an accident, something that I could have no means of knowing about at the time. I could just have been severely unlucky and hit my head really badly when I fell. Or maybe I had some undiagnosed condition which brought about my demise.Bookmark here

Suffice to say, there were a lot of possibilities. It was likely I would never find out the truth, but that was fine. Bookmark here

Perhaps someone else did get to find out, if someone discovered my body. However, I had been running on a small and unpopular trail. Chances were it would have taken hours for anyone to find my body. It wasn’t even entirely unrealistic that no one would ever find my corpse. Bookmark here

That was the much too short tale of how I lived doing what others told me to, and how I died having accomplished nothing of my own volition. Bookmark here

I didn’t know what happened after that. I was dead, and dead people don’t tend to know much, as a rule. Bookmark here

Perhaps people missed me, perhaps they were sad. Perhaps no one cared, and perhaps they would only miss what I could have done for them. The endless favours I kept giving even with no reward to myself, and even though I could feel how living my life for other people kept sucking my soul away one piece at a time. Bookmark here

To be honest, I didn’t really care any more. I was dead. Passed away. Whichever way you put it, I was gone, no longer part of that world. Bookmark here

I had worked hard to please other people all my life, and only in death was I granted a chance to be selfish and rest. Bookmark here

But my diligence was rewarded. Death was the end for most people. Bookmark here

For me it was not. Bookmark here

I awoke in another world mere moments after my departure from the first. Bookmark here

Greeted by darkness, which eventually faded to make way for some rather unfortunate surroundings.Bookmark here

I may have reawakened in another world, and been granted the gift of new life. A second chance to do what I truly wanted to.Bookmark here

But I was also strung up in chains, unable to move a muscle. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.