Distance: Path 1

Path 1: The Everyone

Walking forwards, marching endlessly, and it seems like it’s been going like this forever. I seek solitude. I find refuge in this path. I find strength in the ignorance of my surroundings. I am here, and I’ve been here before. I’ve never traversed this place to a large degree, but I’m already so familiar with its functions, every detail of it stands out to me.

Tracing a line that stretches into the infinite, unsure where it will take me, or why I must follow it. A simple impulse in me demands I push forward, simply because everything is in front of me, and there is nothing behind me. There is no need in me to dwell in the empty places. My mind wants to experience new things.

I am also not the only thing that has come here, for these same reasons.

The early part of this place is hotter than where I came from. Bodies line the path, they are the stones laid before everyone. A man or woman falls, and they become part of the bedrock that creates this trail, the devils and the gods they built join them, rubble amongst the foundation. A line extends everywhere, and the bodies are like walls, so crammed close to one another they are. They hate this closeness; they hate everyone they’re stuffed up against. They try to fight their way out, and all it does is cause a surge of angry flesh to ripple like a wave set into motion by the moon.

I’m walking on a trail of broken hands and skulls. There is no grass, but instead a carpet of hair and skin, where occasionally eyeballs jut up with sorrowful or angered expressions.

Some lines end with people frantically gathering around a trough, and pushing one another out of the way so that they can drink of a foul and viscous oil. I see their eyeballs melt because of the toxins they ingest, but they keep trying to shove their way back for more. Eventually many are dissolved into husks, and eager mouths will grip them with teeth to try and bleed them of the oil that burns their bodies.

None of them seem aware that what they consume will destroy them, but I suspect that even if told, they would still lust after the fluid. So strong is their need that it doesn’t matter if they are dissolved into nothing. It’s never enough though, they will never be fulfilled.

I have only just started along this path, and already I am yelling at myself, the same things the broken bodies below me are yelling. That I will not transcend from what they are, that I will fall into this path like they have. Hands stuck in the ground try and grip at me as I make my way past, and I must be careful in each step I take. Those with any degree of freedom think they are removed from it. They are unsure which side of the cage they are on, why they should be gazing out of it. They think themselves trapped, broken arms and torsos twisted into a prison for them.

What I think keeps me from them, is how aware I am of them. I hate them, I hate that I am like them, and I try to desperately resist what they so easily give into. At least I hope this is the case. Likely many of them also think this. I have no idea why I am different. My feet tracing this path is not some divine gift I think, I am often contrite as to why I can walk it, while others are set as its foundation.

Another branch separates into an endless stream of nude and dirt covered bodies. The fat and the old are all trying to reach a feast of children, trying to pretend that the physical act of destroying them will somehow restore their horrid frames.

A wall of human flesh masks it all, but from my vantage point I see all of the terrible display. One corner is filled with fat old men of pale color, and they seem interested in the wide and sorrowful display of young females at their side of the table. They masturbate and laugh and push at one another to get a great view and to break the bones of their feast, ripping at each of them to get their fair share. At another end of the makeshift table, women sit and prey on young men like spiders. Their tongues leak out of many sides, splitting apart, and they cover the poor boys. They try their best to enshroud the little ones. I hear from far off the screams not of the children, but of them all. The boys calling out for the safety of their parents, while the females trying to eat them alive call for their fathers, and the fat old men cry out for nothing more than approval, but their noises are drowned out by the tears they’re creating, unaware that only they can make it stop.

Only one side of this horrible scene is free of people pushing and shoving at one another. They all bow in reverence to the men that stand at the top. They rest on a throne of corpses, the young killed to make way for the old to thrive. Broken backs and bleeding mouths, and they’re saying nothing. They wear the burned skins of others, fashioned into suits to try and separate themselves from the rest with fine dress and style. Grand faces perched at the top, their power and influence allowing them to get the pick of the litter. Little girls, and boys made to look like little girls. They thrive on the fear, the tears that stream down from the faces of the broken act as the greatest display in their primal gratification.

The shrieks of the orgy are a mask that I can pierce through though. I do not see children being grabbed at. I see dirt and stones and twigs. I see mud and pathetic people trying to hold onto it. The frames of the youth they clutch don’t cry, they don’t feel guilty, and that drives them all insane. Instead they laugh, they prod at them, bite at them, and they’re not even there. So often does this display shift, that it appears from this far away to be like a living wave of anguish.

Not even a significant display, all around me horrors a dozen times worse play out endlessly. I’m left to wonder why it is all perpetuated. There is no terrible force lashing at them, demanding they act as they do. Part of me begins to worry that this might actually be a paradise for the types of people I abhor. Perhaps that is why I have not been ground into the path below me? This is not a place of refuge for me.

Indeed, all it serves to do is remind me how many lives are wasted upon the earth. In my youth, I questioned all around me. I had grown up in the harsh places the world wished to gloss over, I had seen the faces people hide from others, their intentions laid out, devoid of intent or reason. People merely acted, and paid no heed to consequence or understanding.

From the people that birthed children whilst still acting like children, to those that subsisted on the ignorance of others. It was all the same to me. Horrible people that never did anything to stop what they were doing.

I spent so much of my time hating them. No one ever did a damn thing to make anything better. And now I’m here, suffocating in their presence once again. No matter what direction I turn, I see the ill deeds of others play out endlessly, always caught between amusement and horror by the onlookers and those partaking of whatever it is they are after.

These were all but tiny displays for this place though. As I reach closer, I see the desperation grow.

One of the more grand displays comes upon me. On one side, many people eagerly rush to fill a void, and from that void, a hand emerges made up of the bodies willing to conform. It reaches out, and is trying to grasp at a brilliant figure above them all. The radiance of the thing stands in stark contrast to the rest of this pathetic existence, but no matter how many bodies are added to the hand, it fails to reach at this being. People fall from this thing, and plummet to the soil below. They create a broken circle that surrounds the hand in a symbolic fashion. The figure above, genderless and toneless, smiles at them all, and waves, and they think it an amazing gift, and do not see that it is mocking them. They made it, and they want it.

On the other side, another hand is created, but what is dangled above it is less tangible than salvation. Instead, it is a shifting thing that turns itself into the visage of what they each crave unfairly. What it looks like to my eyes points out that I still share some link with these beasts, and seeing them all reach for it makes me sick to my stomach. But that isn’t what they see…

These hands shift and turn like in a trance, and a grand thing stands between them, controlling them, lashing out when they grow too tall, or too bold. He has two mouths opposite each other, and as he stands in the middle of this display, each mouth whispers different things to each of the grotesque hands. The rest of his face is covered with eyes, and a crown made of teeth-like spikes juts from his head. His skin shifts and convulses in a lustful way. All before him are left for wanting, and all are removed of his sight, that they are unaware of this beast. His manipulations cause amusement to an array of mighty beings standing around, watching and laughing.

Another area is much like this spot, some terrible display meant for the amusement of other things. I see creatures with a giant eye at the center of their mass, the rest of them are arms and legs of loose rock held aloft by nothing. Parts of them seem to constantly flake off and evaporate upwards. They gather various people, broken and mournful, and they bring them to a pit. In this pit there is a great wolf, ravenous and angry. One of the watchful creatures throws a man into the pit, and the man cowers in front of the wolf.

It is not long before the beast has ripped the man to shreds, and his cries for safety are soon nothing but blood filled gurgling. The creatures observing this are not doing so for their own amusement though. They seem intrigued, as though they are conducting some kind of study. Next, they bring a woman forward, and they outfit her with metal before throwing her in with the wolf.

This person manages to survive longer, but she does not defend herself well. The best she manages is to slap her arms against the wolf as it tries to get around her protective coverings. The beast still wins.

Next they bring another man to the front, and give him a single weapon, one that I can’t quite recognize. He is dropped into the pit, and though shaken, he points his weapon at the beast, and before the wolf can even approach him, its midsection explodes. The creature pants for a few moments, and closes its eyes. The man cheers, thinking himself mighty. When the observing creatures retrieve him, they do not share his enthusiasm. One reaches it rocky hand towards the man, and crushes his head within an instant.

As I try to pull myself away from this part of the trail, I see that finally the mobs of bodies are pulled away and give way to a lesser scattering of souls. Still the form of the trail remains the same, but now more specific things are emerging from it, and idiots blind to their needs are left running each time they see something they desire.

As I walk further on, there are less people than ever. However, there is an even greater array of junk for them to pacify their selves with. On screens, some are flattered to have their views of hatred validated by a talking skull in a well dressed suit, claiming that his propaganda is the way the world must spin. Some others are glued helplessly to other bright screens, projecting images of innocent young women in compromising moments, and the idiots drooling over it have some sense of security and pride as a result of it. One in particular looks out at me, and asks me if I’ve seen the person he obsesses over. He points to a blank image, and I must confess that I have no idea what he is talking about. He gazes at the screen again, and cords enter his ears and eyes, and he says that he’ll wait an eternity for “her.” I would laugh at him, but I find him a pitiable soul. A loss of hope leads one to cope in any way possible. I don’t think I should judge any soul in this phase of the trail.

In some parts, people are gathered in a circle, but they all face away from one another, and they don’t say a word. They spend their time interchanging emotions, and it seems to almost have a strange pattern to it. A woman starts to cry, and when she stops, a man across from her begins to fume in rage. When he stops, the man next to him looks terrified, and it continues around this chain of people. They don’t seem to even know they’re sitting next to anyone.

There seems an ebb and flow to this trail. At first there was such a crush of bodies that it seemed oppressive and never ending, and for a time after that, it all seemed empty and still. Now I see a large gathering in the horizon.

What finally shoots up from the helpless and scattered, are two violent groups waving bits of paper in a strange dance. Each one has the same face, and with their free hands they try to rip the faces off. The other hand is almost forced to hold the paper high, each one detailing how their souls were given to cause. The faces differ between the two groups, and are only further differentiated by where they each bleed. They are clawing at themselves, their bodies writhe, but their arms are held high with their proclamations, and their mouths all regurgitate the same well rehearsed speech.

Time does not exist, so it stands as a useless means to measure how long I have traversed this trail. I find that I am slowly being worn down though. Likely this is how other souls are added to the trail. They go as far as they can, until finally they yield, and accept their selves to be trampled underfoot. I am trying desperately to remain steadfast in my dedication to not be like them. All of the horrible displays I see are contrasted with an oddity in my eyes, as I have partaken of all of these things just as any other would. I contemplate how I am different, but the horrible truth that everyone here is trying to avoid, is that I am not. They are not different either. The weight of what they’ve done varies by morality or monetary means, but they’ve all spent an eternity running from their selves, and now they have nowhere left to go. They can avoid each other no longer.

As I stand and watch, the people with their bits of paper held high seem to fade away, and as they slowly shuffle off to one side or another, I see giant figures land upon the earth below. Machines made of bones and blood look around with careless eyes. They vomit out old faces that have been sewn onto wooden frames, the skin rotted and lifeless, left only with pained expressions upon them. Strings shoot out of the dolls and into the sky, and on each side of me this process is exactly the same.

A cry shoots out giving itself to disillusion, and the hands of those now left on the side lines reach wide as they scream for the death of progress. They accept no rogues or differing sides amongst their puppetry, and they all bite at each other to provide a meal as they enjoy the display. Each side believes they are justified, that they are right, and that idealism is a perfectly justifiable thing to measure the worth of one’s life.

Tools once made to gather and harvest, are now the means to perpetuate pointless atrocity. The land behind those whose strings were cut is populated by the living machines, and they are heartless and efficient as they watch streams of puppets fall down before them. Gazing at this display with anger, I know that I can do nothing for it. To stop it, means I must become it, and I wish for myself not to be so hypocritical. Instead I leave them to their slaughter, as those that once cheered and bit at others are now being converted. Now their faces are sewn onto the wooden dolls. The machines have come to take them, and let them fight the battles they cried for. So many use their limited freedom to clutch at anything, to prevent their selves from being gathered up by the machines. All effort to remain unaffected is in vain. Soon the process starts over again in a strange fashion, dolls spring out of the ground with bits of paper held aloft, demanding bloodshed, while the machines held aloft in the sky begin to seed the soil with soldiers and weapons.

The constructs themselves are massive and featureless. They are as awe inspiring as they are intimidating. Made of the broken bodies of many, fueled by their hate and fear, but they care little for the reasons this conflict is perpetuated. For these machines to live, others must be bred to die. The very hands that have labored so intensely to craft these devices, are now unwittingly turned into their meal.

When I consider why this place is so littered with broken and dead things, I lose all sense of loss and do not mourn what has happened. Everyone was more than willing to give up their ability to choose. They wanted this, with every fiber of their being they demanded this event to play out endlessly. The only regret they all have is when they are forced to partake of the battle.

Within a very limited span, there is a field of broken dolls and dead faces looking into the sky again. The bone crafted machines start to gather the dead, and those left that want to claw their faces away are now enthralled and cheering for their victory. They haven’t the faintest idea what the word means, the blood that runs from their wounds shows this, they know it as well as I do. But I suppose none of that matters anymore. The ones demanding more will soon be the ones broken and left to rot, and a new wave of idiots will demand sacrifice, while they themselves are willing to give up nothing.

As the clanging of metal and the screams of the wounded and the angered fill the air again, I walk away, onwards down the trail.

The flow of bodies starts to lessen again, and the last remnant of people are random poles stuck in the ground. People are chained to them, and blindfolded. They say nothing; they do not weep, or even try to acknowledge anything around them. Others are perfectly still, being picked at by carrion creatures that regurgitate everything they consume. Soon though, I’m back to a still quiet, with nothing around me aside from the trampled souls that comprise the path.

Such a sharp contrast I think. Part of me says that I likely belong in this area. I am not free of sin, and I always seemed to crave separation from others. Never tried to be extreme about it, though. I saw the world around me isolate itself, and I didn’t want to watch that happen. Everyone turned away, not caring about what others had to say. Even when sitting right next to someone, it seemed far more appropriate to send them a message through some kind of device, never make eye contact, never smile, never make conversation. In a strangely ironic way, the more densely populated the world became, the less everyone interacted with one another.

The culmination of this part of the path is a very empty place, and a mighty seat of thorns rests under a fall of life giving blood. It is taller than any structure ever built by human craft, but what rests upon it is very mortal.

The mournful creature that rests upon it is an amalgamation of every soul birthed and put to rest. Its eyes are heavy, its skin charred and cut. A genderless model is bathed in the fluid that made it, but it can’t find life. It looks over a vast landscape of nothing, and stands as its ruler. A being made to govern an empty place, where all that remains is the brooding and contemplation of existence… a quandary with no answer or ending. It is the crowned ruler over nothing.

I think myself to converse with this thing, but it looks at me very knowingly, and points to its chest, and then onwards down the path. It is of me, it was for me, as it was for every being that shared life. It rejects me, and for whatever reason, that parting feels somewhat bitter and cold. It makes me look at the rest of this place with hateful eyes again, my conjecture is still ultimately pointless, but seems more profane now than ever.

The hearts that lie broken here knew better, but they are here because they refused to stop. The suffering this being emits is not one of the flesh. It is the understanding that everything that ever was, could have aspired to so much more, but did not. It is ashamed of us all, it is ashamed that we birthed it, and that we in turn birthed it. Such a being desires only that its existence be unnecessary. Everything is a part of it, that it must take pity on us should be seen as insulting. But we all knew better. I fall to my knees in front of this being, and I cry. So much about my life, about all the lives here, shattered in my mind and flooding back in again, a sense of every life that was brought into the world violently and then quietly snuffed out, my life and my death so small and insignificant in that moment that I cannot find myself.

It is their need to be by themselves, contrasted with the paradox in that they all seek a grand acceptance of life and spiritual enlightenment. They all push and shove and hate at one another, but they spend just as much time lusting over that which they do not have. I should not be avoiding their fate, and what has given me cause to be free from it does not make me remarkable in any way, shape, or form. I am of them and they of me, but the large body before me says that I must march further down this path. It almost seems as though he’s not even speaking to me, but that his words reach out much further, speaking to everything. All of those crushed underfoot, all of those that are subject to every evil that exists, eventually they must move forward from this place as well. Everyone must fade away.

I ask it why I must leave, when everything about this place is so fitting for the everyone that marches within it. It shrinks away and fades for a moment, leaving only the seat and the fall of life soaking it. I look around and behind me, and realize something harsh and unnerving. As it shows itself to me again, I stand up, and my tears begin to dry as I come to find understanding once again.

It is not of everyone, it is of no one. I am a singular being, in a place of my own making. No one has ever existed here, save for me. With a great deal of confusion, I wonder why the ruler of this place points such out to me. Why does this grand figure intrude upon my thoughts? I begin to wonder why everything here exists as it does. The combined efforts of human misery taken to the extreme, and it’s meant to inspire what from me, pity, or understanding? I feel nothing for the race I have left behind. So many lost in the noise, all of them never caring to think of their impact on things, never bother to do anything but consume and move on.

I am told that my judgment is perhaps a little extreme itself, but I can’t really find compassion or forgiveness in me. On the other hand, I do not find anger or hatred filling my thoughts either. So many problems left in my wake, on a ruined rock that was once an orb of perfection, but that means so little now. All that was right with things is contrasted heavily by all that went wrong. Every smiling child set amongst the scene of explosions and violence.

There is no need for me to remain in this place.

The mighty form in front of me stands from its throne, and it begins to break apart. The blood that poured over the throne now goes upwards into something I can’t quite see, and the body of the mighty being shatters like gravity has no sway over it. It happens slowly, and it is reaching out for something as its arms fall apart.

When it is gone, I stand and look at where it sat, as now it is just a large empty monument dedicated to something that never was.

As I stand, I watch the whole of this place expand outwards infinitely, and every part of it is racing away from me, as though I am the core of existence. I do not like this. As violently as it all starts rushing away, whatever is left begins to sink down into black goo. Everything begins to vanish.

Needing no urging or guidance, I break into a sprint down the rest of the trail, the bodies and foundation now turning into strange things of diluted color. If this place is of my self, and no one else, then I do not wish to remain within it. Too much time could be spent wallowing in the sins of all mankind, and no one is a decent enough soul to rise above the filth. The path is all that exists before me, so I must follow it.

A beacon looms out distant like a star, and I would chase it just to find the end of this trail. I cannot remove myself from my sins, or the crimes of others. I can’t repent for it, I can’t make it better. It all floods into this place, for everyone, like it has for me. A unity shared through isolation. Every color that was washes away, and I see only the brightness of the trail, and the shadow of everything else. I cannot remove myself from this, and running only delays things further… but I make down the path with much haste anyways.

With some irony, or another odd feeling I can’t quite place, I realize that I was focused entirely on this part of the trail, and not what has brought me to it. Memories of what my tangible life was like stick out in my head, and I realize no place such as this has ever existed. I am somewhere beyond my old self, my body, my world. I should be nothing, like everything that sinks away around me. I am too stubborn to let this be the case though. This trail exists for a reason.

I started upon this path with my death. I begin to wonder what would happen if I were to find the end of it, or if it even has one. I am torn between an ever growing sense of self, and a fear of an endless cycle remaining unbroken. The trail feels lonely now, and like the rest I have abandoned, I almost wish I hadn’t cursed at their existence, as now my lonely thoughts drive me to places far too introspective. For whatever reason, I cannot remember how I died. I can only remember the things surrounding it. Turmoil of self and a fractured state of what I was, and the blood and tears that followed suit… though I am not sure if those things left were genuine, or merely what I would think of to be in that place. My thoughts are like a mirror in an empty room with nothing to reflect, and so I must turn inwards, away from the bad dreams and torment that everyone subjects themselves to. I must press further down this trail.

–  –  –  –  –

Let me go today and please don’t plan to follow me
I won’t be nothing hurting no one, so just let me go in peace
See I believe that I’d be justified in why I gotta leave
Repeatedly that I will see that I am finally at ease
I will be living on these roads again
Let me go in peace
Let me go in peace
Let me go in peace



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