Gideon had lunch with his family or friends, food was too much and he later went to bed. Only to wake up and find himself in a different place and time, next to him was a note …
He woke up to find himself in a house surrounded by photos on the walls of himself and people that he does not know. The photos displayed various occasions; some are in formal wear in some office, few in a park, a couple of shots from Paris with people looking friendly. He knew none of them and that baffled him!
Next to the note, he found a gun, a key and a pen, so he decided to take the key, he walked into one the rooms, he look carefully at the photos trying to examine them, he still could not believe who would go through all the trouble of faking an entire life for him it would be a complete mystery. He looked around for a moment and as he walked he reached a door.
He began touching it, making sure it is real, in some way he was examining the laws of physics around it to confirm that he is not in a dream, then after carefully listening for a while and making sure that there is no sound coming from the other side, he opened it
The door opened swinging to the inside as a flight of stairs begins to appear at his feet, they seem to lead downwards, there’s a faint light coming from below. He already knew what was in the room behind him, but this was new! That’s why he decided to go down the stairs and in his mind a thought of “To hell with this mess, let’s see what is down there”
He climbed further down, the light getting slightly brighter, it would seem the room below is some sort of study room, with two bookshelves positioned on the left and right of the room. He found a pair of glasses and an open book on a desk at the far end of the room, he wondered if the glasses are his?? And asked himself if he should try them on? Would he be able to see?? What is that book on the desk? Such questions roamed his mind
He finally decided to try them on, and suddenly the surroundings look clearer and sharper. He could not recall that his eyesight was that bad! He scratched the side of his head in wonder, the feeling of wrinkles on his face struck him, it was a feeling he’d never thought he’d experience so soon! Since perhaps a sleep away he was in his 30s! He pondered to himself ‘I was not wrinkled yet last time I checked!’. He began checking the book, it was titled “the dawn of man” and on the margins, he could see his familiar doodling lines ..
He touched his face feeling the wrinkles still feeling amazed, and looked at half empty glass of wine where he could clearly see his own reflection. It was as if he’d have been thrown 40 years into the future of some sort! Right in the middle of the book he found an envelope on which he found hand writing which he was very familiar with, of course he should be!! It’s his!!!! It read ‘Beast of Man’ he tried to remember, or figure out what it could mean but to no avail, he was very curious and wondering if he should open the letter or discard it and search the book.
The envelope was already open so he decided to inspect it, he slid his hand inside and pulled out a small card out of it. It was a carefully made, matt ivory card, beautifully lined up with minimalistic shapes around the edges, waves and swirls in black ink. A few words were written on the card that read “eat or be eaten. whichever way, you have already lost”
But what does it mean? Who was this Letter for?? Puzzles filled his mind. A sound of a door opening comes from upstairs
He looked backwards and waited for a second. Expecting someone to come down the stairs. Yet no one comes. He climbed up again, only to find the room has shifted. Dust piling up over the nightstands and only the gun remains on the pillow. On the dust, he could see some words written by a finger over the heavy layers of dust “will it be today?”
Loaded with only one bullet. He carefully took the gun and pulled its cartridge out. He could see a carving on the side of the cartridge “the last”.
He loaded the cartridge back in, took the gun and got out of the house. He saw a green vast plain, standing there hearing faint voices echoing, ‘ you are the last but also the beginning ‘
It made no sense to him, he sat on the grass. trying to put a timeline of the events to understand .. there are always gaps and only fragments of memories. He closed his eyes, shook his head, he was starting to doubt his sanity…
Sitting on the grass a fair wind blew through his hair as the voice slowly got a bit louder, ‘follow us ‘ , ‘ follow the echo’ , tempted to discover and afraid of what awaits , his hand gripped tightly to the gun. looking around unable to put a face to the voice, he became more convinced that he’s not delusional mumbling to himself ‘it would seem I’m not mad after all, however this is insane!’. That’s all he understood up until that inexplicable second. But anger began to overtake him, lacking information and trying to understand something that he couldn’t possibly piece together. He stood up and shouted as loud as he could ” WHERE? Follow Where?? There is nothing but plain grass till the horizon?”
A path of cobbled stone begins to appear before his feet, and the voice responds as calm as it came the first time ‘ follow the path ‘
He looked at the path, that entire surreal situation he’s in, no explanation, no reason. Anger still expressed on his face, he always hated those who tried to force situations on him. So, he decided to stop this charade and sat right where he was standing, with the gun in his lap, and shouted out “Fuck this, I am not playing, whoever you are. I am not going anywhere. You show yourself or don’t! One way or another this has to end!”
The path continued to unfold in front of him, ‘ follow the path and you shall learn, and perhaps find your answers stranger ‘ Along the sides of the path small torches of blue fire began to appear giving the path a blue aura to it, and he could hear a metal sound coming from a not so far distance, but distant enough to not be visible.
Stubborn and angry, he holds his ground, refusing to budge he laid his head on the grass, many thoughts ran through his mind at that moment but the one that tempted him the most was the idea of getting back inside to the weird house and checking that book!
The path stayed there lit with blue fire, the voices continued ‘ the answers you seek are intertwined with this path, follow it and your answers will be granted, abandon it and you will remain lost here forever ‘
‘I have a gun and a bullet, looks like you need me in a way, show yourself and explain or the bullet rests in my brain by the end of the day, after one last sunset’ He responded threateningly, wanting to know the answers so bad yet wants closure to this weird, whatever this might be, he couldn’t find a right naming for it, it was no dream for sure but also no reality to which he’s lived through!
The voice replied in the same tone ‘ the bullet will not set you free, a man of violence you are not, the path is your desire and answers ‘
Still laid back, he quietly thinks without moving a muscle, a bitter smile draws up on his lip at the notion of not being a man of violence, as glimpses of violent memories lay in the back of his head, gazing up quietly up at the sky, thinking this could possibly be the day he finishes everything, he puts an end to all the misery and agony and the sarcastic world he has been through.
The voice comes again ‘ the bullet you so long to think would be the solution or the golden bullet is not the answer, you may check your gun, your bullet is no more ‘
He took out the gun and inspected it and could no longer find that one last bullet, and he mumbled to himself ‘The game is never fair’. ‘You weren’t planning on giving me my freewill anyway ha!’ He took a deep breath as he slowly started stepping down the path of the cobbled stone.
He kept moving along the way, every step behind him disappeared, leaving only the steps that laid ahead.
He arrived at a large metal door with an angel on each side. Large and old 10 meters high, cold stone statues on each side of the gate. One is holding paper and stamps and the other a sword. Neutral glance drew on their faces, he could almost catch a glimpse of a smile on one, and a sarcastic righteous look on the other
The door opens and exposes a large hall with pillars to a time unknown, describing life, death, battles of good and evil, but something he’d never seen the likes before
He stood there for a moment, hesitant, and inquisitive, he reluctantly walks into the hall as the doors close after him, the voices beckon him to move forward, ‘ Come closer’
He slowly moved forward, exhausted and incapable of comprehending the mixed emotions he’s feeling right at this very moment, that ranged between fear and wonder. Deep down everything felt unreal, a part of him still believes that he is in a complex, chemically induced hallucination or so he would wish but he promises if it is so, he will nail the bastard who did it! He shifts back his focus to what is in front of him and walks to the center of the hall, feeling the strangeness of talking to a voice without a body or even a face he responded still looking around him “your game, you cannot thank me for a choice you did not allow me to make! And by the way if this is my judgment day, I got to say I am very disappointed”
The blue fire begins to gather from every direction, and centers at one point about five feet away from him and in swirl begins to concentrate , also another fire begins to appear , a red one gathering from all sides into the center of the room , it begins to take the form of a human looking man but floating in the air , his form completely made of blue and red fire , as it turns towards him and responds ‘ judgement day is far beyond our reach , we are but mere messengers , and we only tried to persuade you here to give you the choice ‘
Standing still, watching this beauty unfolds. He always found an unspeakable beauty in fire, for a moment he remembered the countless hours of his childhood where he would just sit and watch fires burning. Were these real memories or a dream and that is the reality? He shook his head trying to remain focused on the situation at hand, He then looks up and straight before the changing form lighting up the room and responds quietly “I am listening, in my land, there is always a plea to not kill the messenger, if you know what I mean, you have my attention!”
The creature beams with his eyes made of fire into your gun which heats up for an instant, then looks at him and speaks ‘In your lands we have fought many battles, and seen how you deal with messengers, however, you yourself are a messenger, In your own way, in your own form. I’ve given you back that bullet you so longed for, the one thing you considered to be your way out … But then again before I deliver my message, you have particularly gained my interest since I’ve been assigned to deliver you this message. Why do you so cherish that bullet and that death? Is it the key to your redemption?
He grinned and shook his head and laughed for a moment before looking the fire creature straight in the eyes ” Redemption? In all your righteous glory, you overestimate a bullet. there is no redemption, never has been and never will be, all there exists is a choice to end an old and pointless joke. And I learned to appreciate the privilege of a choice when given one. I am still here, missing chunks of my memory, thinking I underestimated my capacity to hallucinate, but I am still here, and I am listening! For some messed up reason or another.”
The creature responds ‘Oh you assume again mistakenly that it is I the righteous one, but I’m but the messenger, again, I took the bullet which I provided to you again just to be able to deliver my message, perhaps my methods would not be to your preferred way. Along the time you have underestimated so many things about yourself, I do not foretell the future or judge the past, I merely am given a message. Which I am to share with you’… The creature then motions a push and fire from his hands shoot towards you creating a sphere around you as it then descends into your eyes. And you begin to see words, places, people, thoughts… For a few minutes, motionless and powerless as the message descends into the depths of your soul…The creature shuts its eyes. ‘ It is now complete, I have delivered you my message…’
Dazzled and unsure about what just happened. Gideon took a moment to calm his thoughts and gain a posture of control, only to look up and find the messenger gone, and the hall back to its grand calmness, he sarcastically mumbles himself “way to impress a being, that is not even there man.” taking a moment to make sure that I am alone. I sit on the ground with this message. It was like no other message it was one not of words nor of even thoughts. Just a mere feeling that has been there since the beginning of time, while he cannot recall the events of the eons of a universe, he has a rooted feeling of its beginning. A grand and old existence that dwarfed even his missing chunks of memory.
He let his hand feel its way to the gun, it is still warm, and he contemplates the choice.
Written by : Tarek Refaat and Bishoy Beshara