"But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?" Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
The Other Ryven's Digital Prison
10-25 YC 117
He did not know how long he had lain upon his face on the barren sandy beach beneath unfamiliar stars. Waves rushed over his legs and feet, and salt and sand clung to his skin. He pushed himself up off the ground, clumps of wet sand dropping and splattering below him. He rocked himself back until he was on his knees, soaked and cold in the night air. Everything was bathed in the silver of moonlight, and he spied the dead rock fixed in the sky above him, unfamiliar as this very beach. He immediately began to piece together his memories, coming to him in waves, crashing on the shores of his consciousness, varied in their intensity and coherence. He had wanted something, something vital. What was it? He had been on the precipice of obtaining it. Then, somehow, he ended up here.
What happened to me?
He finally rose and began walking, forcing his mind to try to remember. A name kept coming to him, Red. Who is Red? He continued walking along the beach, the water to his left. The gentle whisper of the wind, the crash of the waves, the gentle rush of the water, all began to drown beneath the weight of his thoughts. Other names and faces came back to him. Leela. Shalee. The Imposter. THE IMPOSTER. He had wanted to free himself, to gain a new form, the form of a specter that could travel anywhere, unfettered by physicality. A mind released from its chains. What stopped me? Or did I succeed? Was this beach the holographic interstices? Somehow, he doubted it very much. Something about this place filled him with loathing...and rage.
The wind had picked up and the light from the moon had become blocked by a thick covering of clouds. Where did this storm come from? Rain began to pelt him, heavy and icy cold. Then it turned to hailstones the size of apples. He cried out in pain as they struck him and he felt his muscles bruise, his bones break. He crashed to the ground and his face smacked hard into the wet sand. He felt a hailstone crash into the back of his skull with a large CRACK and a wet smacking sound. His vision went white and then just as suddenly, everything went black.
He was in a corridor on a ship. He held a body, still slightly warm. It was a woman's body, and as he blinked to gain focus, he recognized the woman's face. This. This is a memory. Am I unconscious? He was holding the dead body of his sister. The sister he had killed. He tried to scream, but his mouth would not open, his scream would not sound.
He was in a bedroom in a small home. He was sawing something. Something soft. He felt the splash of a warm liquid on his face. He became aroused.
He was at a dining table. He was eating dinner. There were two others at the table with him. They weren't eating. The realization finally dawned on him. They were dead. He heard his own voice asking them if they enjoyed the meal. Then he heard his own laughter.
He was falling in blackness.
He awoke on a beach, facedown in the wet sand. He pushed himself up slowly and came to a kneeling position. This must be what hell is like. He stood, his back straight, his head held high. He smiled to himself. His fear melted away as he took a few steps away from the water. He laughed to himself, a sick laughter, full of a strange mixture of mirth and bitterness. He closed his eyes and when he opened them, he was on the bridge of a ship, the Tovil-Toba.
This isn't hell. Or, if it is, I am the devil.