I was never a cynical man. I think you should know that. That isn’t to say I was an optimist, because I wasn’t. But I wasn’t cynical. I was however, totally and undeniably screwed. The type of screwed where the most sensible choice is to go out in a blaze of glory. In my case, this was literal.
In most stories, that would be the end. The protagonist makes a grand final gesture before disappearing in a backdrop of explosions and electric guitar riffs. But then there are times when, after the smoke has cleared and the ashes are swept away, the hero manages to cling on just long enough to be rescued. In most stories, this is the happy ending. In mine, this is just the beginning.
When I woke up, battered and broken in a room I’d never seen before, I was asking myself a question. “Why, when someone does something like argue doctrine or masturbate, it’s the devil’s work, but when a good man dies in a freak accident, it’s god’s work? If the devil is powerful enough to influence the world, couldn’t he kill a good man?” I’m not here to get all philosophical on you, it just happened to be what I was thinking when I woke up. I then worked out the answer, which, since I’ve already asked the question, I’ll tell you. It’s because we want to believe that there is evil, but we don’t want to think it can touch us. We want to believe that bad things don’t happen to good people without a good reason. That’s why we have Good and Evil, Yin and Yang, Chaos and Order. Heaven and Hell.
What do all of those have in common, besides being opposing forces that permeate the world? I answered this one too. There is a clear answer as to which one is better. Even if you personally prefer Chaos, you know you’re supposed to choose Order. Then I asked myself the most important question I had ever asked myself up to that point in my life.
“What the hell am I thinking about?” I whispered aloud.
The nurse sitting on the chair next to my bed sprang up. I later learned that they never expected me to say anything ever again. To this day, I’m still considered a scientific anomaly.
I passed out as the nurse ran into the hall to get my doctor. Then I remembered my question. And I remembered the answer.
There are two opposing forces in the universe, in a constant struggle for balance. But it’s not Good and Evil or Yin and Yang. It’s Inertia and Change. Whether things stay as they are or transform, for better or worse. It’s not as clear a decision as good and evil, but, trust me on this, those Inertia guys are assholes. Then again, I’m not exactly unbiased, so feel free to make up your own mind.
These two sides are at war. I mean literally, at war. They have their own home dimensions. (Dimensions isn’t exactly the right word, but science hasn’t progressed far enough to let me use the word I’d need to.) It’s not uncommon for people to accidentally stumble into these realities (still not the right word, but maybe better), but most can’t comprehend what they see. So the mind makes up a scenario, something that the brain can understand. That’s how the bases became known as Heaven and Hell.
Before you scoff and stop reading, let me assure you that this isn’t a story about God and the Devil, or of Angels and Demons. That’s just what people thought they saw. What they call heaven is actually the home reality of the aforementioned Inertia crowd. The reason people remember it as peaceful is because it is. In the sense that there is no movement. There is no time. A second lasts an eternity and an eternity flits by in an instant. When the very atoms themselves have stopped, how do you wrap your head around that?
What many call Hell is the home base for Team Change. The one thing people do get right is that it is hot there. But with the amount of energy flowing through that place, it would have to be. It is a world of supernovas, quasars, and neutrinos in thirty-two flavors. Everything that is, ever will be, and never was, occupies the same space at the same time. The human brain is like a computer, and most can’t process this amount of information. They overheat and imagine agony. This is what I saw after I crashed. Not the Hell that most people would see, the Hell that would drive most people mad. I saw it for what it was, and understood.
We’ve been fighting the Inertia for ages untold. Well, not me personally. I’ve only been involved for six years, starting with when I went down in a blaze of glory. Normally, that’s the end of a story, but in this case – Wait.I’ve already told you that part. I’d like to apologize, that happens every now and then. With so many layers of reality to keep focus on, it’s easy to lose track of time. Reality is a bit of a mindfuck that way.