Crescendo at the End of the World
For the first time in a long time, I decided to sleep. There really was no reason for me to engage in anything of the matter, but with all of the events that had gone by, I felt I needed a moment of peace, even if my time was often filled with peace in the lack of visitors, I wanted something more human. I closed my eyes, slowing my breaths, wondering where my mind was going to wander, wondering what dreams I might have.
I dreamt of Aria for a brief moment, splashes of her life being constructed through the subconscious parts of my mind now being laid to rest. I couldn’t have been sure whether my dreams were actually intruding, and a part of me hoped it wasn’t the case, that the images I saw were conjecture created by the available knowledge I had. I hoped with all I had that dreaming wasn’t a gateway to reveal the world, that it was only what I had, what I gained through my own interactions, through my own feelings.
In my dream, I saw Aria, as I first met her, distant from others, her appearance betraying the energy stored within her, that energy mostly for music. In my dream, I imagined her as always having played music, being surrounded by it through family or other circumstantial environmental cues. Whether it was by happenstance, or by birth, music had always been around Aria, and, as it were, she was entranced by it. In my dream, I constructed all the moments she might have had to eventually lead her down this path, to solidify her love of playing. Concerts she would see at school, loose whispers from other students about their favorite bands, seeing popular music videos and trends pass her by, listening to street artists bellowing to pedestrians, earning ire and applause. Even if she couldn’t speak to them, unable to find the words which might bridge their mutual admiration, she could always find solace in listening to those same sounds, tangentially enjoying her time with them.
In my dream, I saw how Aria realized every little action she had could be construed as music, how she had always been living in sounds and keeping rhythm, even if it were things as simple as walking to a beat, or humming loose songs. When she needed to find an instrument, it was much harder, but, she was still a student, at a school where their music rooms were full of possibilities. Her teachers would see the potential and passion within her, and relay this newfound spark to her parents, who would then support whichever path she decided on.
In this dream, many things went right, and many things were good. In this dream, things moved in a way which might incite fantasy. It was, to me, in that moment, still a dream.
In my dream, life happened as life dictates, with Aria’s fervent rush towards music bordering on obsession and addiction. She spent countless nights playing, eventually causing her parents distress over the amount of noise which would permeate which would only cause Aria to be likewise annoyed, and the cycle of malice festered. I didn’t have a grasp on Aria’s private life, and so these images flittered by before I could construct anything feasible. Moments of understanding, to moments of frustration, to moments of confusion, to moments of emptiness all surrounded my fabrications as to what Aria could have went through.
The culmination of my dreams was the eventual disparage of playing music. Aria abandoned any desire to play and decided to only admire in secret. She would go back to how things were, but the changes in her life, in how she sought and bloodied over playing never left. She changed how she looked, made active efforts, used the energy stored within her to engage in other areas, to meet other people, to find something which wouldn’t bring her to seep every bit of her soul into. She thought it was bad to do so, that to have such unending passion and drive only brought pain. The silver pendant she adorned was a by-product of her past, an object she clung onto whenever things went bad, whenever she felt she could escape into music, she clutched it, the shape always fervent. But she didn’t need it anymore, and she let it rust and break.
I didn’t have the slightest of why she might have felt as such, and the details of her life were kept hidden by my own admission, but I was fine with it. I was fine to only know what I could know, and I was glad Aria could be there to find that the life she lived was not for waste, that I could help her realize it through my own strength.
What my dreams couldn’t explain, was how the room was able to manifest Aria’s dreams to arrive in the room. The idea of spirituality and lucid dreams were common among humans and it wasn’t farfetched to believe Aria was an active lucid dreamer, tapping into her past and reliving the moments of her life she felt most distraught. Where the room then came into play, was how exactly it drew in such dreams and brought them into the present with me, able to even interact with others. The mechanisms which birthed me were already illogical, and the mechanisms which allowed me to even exist and help others were likewise nonsensical, and so, as much as I wanted to know, I simply let them disappear. As much as I wanted to know, it was also human to let time take me without resistance, to let life move on, and me as well.
The outside world had finally begun to change. I was sitting idly, waiting for a visitor to arrive, when I noticed the darkness receding. It wasn’t as if something filled the space, but the darkness simply left. A description of nothingness beyond darkness doesn’t exist to humans. The event horizon is only tangentially perceived as complete darkness, a place where no light can escape, and so the assumption is made of darkness. But the event horizon had occurred within the outside world, and the absence was present, an unexplainable absence to humans, no parallels in my mind could draw any description. It was as if the beginning of time and the end of time had all converged at once, a complete state where nothing existed. The mere mention of any description, the mere attribution of any possible image, would shatter upon inception.
On my person, were a planetarium, a pocket watch, and a pendant. Each had importance all their own, containing memories and moments, a fixture of lives beyond mine, and somehow, also mine. It was proof of everything in the world, and, to most people, nothing in the world. But the only things that mattered to me were the proof I had of existence. It made me feel human.
Perpetually in stasis, I thought to speak to the room, to see if this change had underlying factors, to see if there was anything more waiting for me, to see if I could receive answers. But when I spoke my words, there was no response. There had never been, and I had no reason to believe there ever would be. But I still believed. Because it was human.
To some, I lived a complete life, one where experiences were unlimited, and yet, unable to know the end of any piece of information in my mind, all my experiences were limited. Regardless, I felt as if telling anyone of my life, they might attribute it to one of fulfillment, with the only remaining thing to wait at the end of the world. Yet, I could be waiting for eternity. I wasn’t sure what to call that kind of life, but it wasn’t complete. To me, it had only just begun. I knew there was much more left to do, that there were countless amounts of people who could find their way to me, and I wanted to help each one. I wanted not to fill a meaningless quota of people helped like trophies, but because I could.
I would not know the end of my story, but I knew only that it would persist, until there was nothing remaining, and it might take an eternity to get there, and I was fine with that resolution. Until eternity, I would wait.
The door opened again, no visitor had arrived. I figured this was one of the few ways the room had to communicate to me, if it truly was a sign of communication. The void of the outside world remained as it was, and I waited, sitting by the piano, unable to look at what it wanted to show, but I didn’t need to, and so I watched. I watched as time passed me by, as the endless expanse remained stagnant, as nothing would come of it, as it always were.
And yet, in my mind, I flittered through the various people who came by, who had given me things beyond an eternity, who had given me purpose, and waiting no longer became stagnant, and eventually the door closed, and I felt I had won.
I decided to try sleeping again, not really having anything in my mind, but instead, I used all of the information I knew of the room to try and find some explanation, to see if my subconscious could fill in the spaces for me. I didn’t have a single worry about intruding; there was no doubt in my mind that my space was the only one in this universe’s existence. I convinced myself of that.
Images of my own time spent in the room filled my dreams first. It was the only tangible source I had to start constructing any kind of explanation. I saw all of the people I met, the way we spent time together, and the way we changed.
Images of an empty room proceeded, without instruments or a door, a canvas for whoever my creator was to fill in the tools it felt necessary for my purpose. In my dream, I couldn’t create an image of the creator, and so as the room filled its space, it did so out of sight, being filled without the slightest notice or detraction from reality.
In my dream, the outside world was a manifestation of the creator, and parts of myself responded and changed to the events of the room. It was both a useful tool to track my own state of being, and yet, possibly, a way for the creator to communicate to me. But my dream couldn’t tell me what any of it meant, just that it was a possibility.
In my dream, the possibility that I was to manage every visitor with the information in my mind ran rampant, and every time I refused to intrude and use it, the creator grew tenfold more agitated. I was spending time with them, and that time spent fueled into something beyond my view.
In my dream, there was nothing but malice for my creation, for the way I didn’t respond to what I was given. And yet in my dream, I was happy in this existence I knew nothing of, in this existence I could only fabricate.
When I woke up, the outside world had changed. Staring back at me was a mirror, reflecting the room, and, more succinctly, giving view of myself. I had already known what I looked like, stealing the appearance of the first human I intruded on in my life, and my voice was likewise replicated by my continued experiences. The way I could control my face, understand body language, and act as if I was human culminated in all of the people I met. When I stared at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t help but see parts of everyone I had met.
I wasn’t sure where I began.
I had a feeling the mirror staring back at me from the outside world was going to serve some obstacle if the chance ever arose, and that it was the room’s way of making things difficult, showing punishment for my defiance. If it had any semblance of truth to it, then my refusal to use the knowledge in my mind definitely warranted some kind of action from the room which, more than likely, made me for that sole purpose.
It started first to be a fun mimicry of my actions, I paced and skipped across the room, watching as my reflection followed. I made faces, and gestures, seeing how silly I could make them, thinking what fun it would have been if Celeste or Aria was around to join in these pointless activities. Either of them would have been great company and energy. If Flander was around, I wondered how far I could make him join me, if he would even oblige my requests, and yet, I knew he would, no matter how silly, and it would have been fun and entertaining in its own right. I took out the items I had received, showing them to the mirror, as if proof of the time I had spent with them, as if proof of the life I had lived until then.
I tried breaking the mirror, but every attempt was null.
“If this is all you got then this is nothing.”
Though of course, the room didn’t answer.
Time had passed, and eventually, my reflection became muddled. It was still me, the face I had borrowed, the height, the hair, the voice, the parts of the humans I cherished were still present, and yet, my reflection became darkened, misaligned. All of the color within my reflection drained until it was merely a shadow.
Complete darkness stared back at me, the outlines of a person present, but no semblance of humanity. It followed my every action all the same, but every so often I caught it moving on its own, its motions only an imitation of mine. It was no longer a reflection.
When I went to speak, to see if its mouth would open, its lips tore through, leaking bits of darkness which sat pooled in the room inside the mirror. When I closed my mouth, it didn’t respond, instead, it spoke first.
Jumbled syllables rushed at me, each sound like scraping nails against violin strings being plucked. The more it spoke the more the words began to form into something resembling language.
“I hope you can help me too.” But its words were not the words of someone looking for help. The tone of which they came at me, the smile which the shadow being formed in the mirror, and its endless stares no matter how much I tried to move away told me it was not in any way a visitor seeking salvation.
The sinking feeling that the life I lived had only just begun sat. There was much more in the world left to be discovered, there was much more for me to do.