Life (short story)

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There was a spirit. The spirit was a drifter whose greatest desire was to settle down on a world. It wandered the cosmos, searching for the perfect land where it would begin it’s life. On the world it was currently observing, it saw 6 men. They grew up with very different lives, but was each looking for something that would cure their emptiness, and each had varying degrees of awareness that they were doing so. 

The first played a video-game. It was his life, and he was in it to win, because winning was all that he cared about. It was his goal.


In the game he controlled three characters, a valiant knight, a brave explorer and a skilled puppeteer who, unbeknownst to the gamer, were conscious people in their own world.


The explorer lived for adventure and discovery, and he travelled the far reaches of the world, finding just enough wonders and new lands to chart to curb his appetite, but never completely fill it.


The knight drew breath for honor and battle, and he fought many wars, winning each one, saving his people, slaying his foes, gaining glory and the respect of all, yet never putting his bloodstained blade down, nor envisioning that opportunity arising anytime in the near future.


The puppeteer loved control and power. He pulled the strings of those little dolls, and they danced to whatever tune he wanted, whenever he wanted.


The fifth man was a fool that lived on an island, ignorant of the ways and woes of that around him. He was happy in his existence, and though he sometimes wondered what lay beyond, he would soon realize that he did not care, and went back to drifting aimlessly through life.


The sixth was a great philosopher monk, who unravelled many mysteries of the world, and enlightened those who found him. He was enamored with knowledge, and he searched endlessly for the answer that would explain everything.


One day, the gamer discovered a cheat code for his game, and within a day, he had beaten it. Rather than feeling elated at finally winning though, he felt more empty than ever.


The knight stood on an empty battlefield, the bodies of every single one of his enemies lying around him. He looked as far as he could, but there was no one else to fight. He slowly let his blade fall from his hand, and he sank to his knees.


The explorer was an old man now, his once lustrous hair and beard tinged with gray, and his beautiful map-making hands shaking so hard he could not hold a pen. It did not matter though, as he had just seen the last unexplored land in the world, and his glorious ship, The Pioneer, was now retired.


The puppeteer chanced upon the great monk while walking home after his most successful show ever. The puppeteer, having heard of his brilliant insights before, asked him to depart some of his wisdom. The monk was hesitant, but the puppeteer insisted. When he told him there was a man pulling his strings, the puppeteer was crushed. He could not bear it, and he decided he wanted to cut the strings.

He wasn’t the only one. Without purpose, the gamer, the knight and the explorer all started walking, their intent clear, but their destination not. They arrived simultaneously at a foggy cliff overlooking the ocean and sharp rocks to find the fool, not knowing it was dangerous, peering over the edge. At this point, the spirit decided this was not the world, and with sigh, turned to leave. 

As it turned around however, it noticed a seventh man, of average intelligence. This man was different though, and the spirit noticed a gleam in his eye the others didn’t have. He had a wife and children, and a passion like the rest, and he had been hurt before, hurt real bad, but had gotten back up. He understood life wasn’t perfect, and he found joy where he could. The spirit felt inspired. 

It zoomed to the cliff, and stopped the men, barely catching the fool. It took a human form, knowing it could never become spirit again, and gave the fool an education. She, for the spirit took the form of a woman, told the knight of the conflicts in the East, and bought the gamer a new game. To the explorer, she described the vast regions of space, and gave him a rocket, and commanded the puppeteer to man up and take control of his destiny. There was nothing she could do for the monk, as she herself did not know the answer he pursued, and left him to his pondering. She kept watch over the seventh man for a time, as her way of thanks, but soon lost touch with him. Many years passed, and she became old. 

One day, while walking home from a brilliant puppet show at the theatre, she chanced upon an old monk and the seventh man. The monk told her it was time, and they made their way to the local bar, and had a drink and a laugh as they recounted their experiences. They then moved to the back room, and didn’t come out. Now, people all laugh and say he had a couple too many, but the bartender says that when he went in there, they were stone cold dead, but with no markings on their bodies. But that’s not the part they laugh about. No, they say that three of them, the monk especially, had peaceful, regretless smiles on their faces, as if they were completely happy and fulfilled, and were excited to see what came next.

Created: Jul 11, 2012


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