[I decided to take a break this week from writing my story directly. Here’s a little fiction I’ve been working on. It’s part of a larger work I’ve been putting together. Except for the poetry I mix into some of my posts, this will be the first fiction I’m sharing here. Enjoy, share if you like, and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading]
He lived his life in such a way that his only regrets would be the adventures he did not pursue, the things he did not try, and the words he never spoke. His life seemed exciting to him for the many ways and times he cheated death over the years. He knew most other men would not survive the life he’s lived. Not because he was boastful or proud in a condescending way, but more in wonderment. He couldn’t understand why he was still alive after all the near misses. But certainly, no regrets.
As he contemplated his life, he fell into his own mind, searching for answers. The maze of memories was hard to navigate. He did not recognize all of the memories that were flashing through his brain. He wondered if all the memories were his. He wondered if it were possible to have someone else’s memories. He wasn’t sure if he had even really lived the life he remembered. All the countries he visited, the people that he met, the good times, the bad times, the food, the colors, the smells, the animals, the mountains, the rivers, the cultures, the wars. Were they really his memories?
He dug deeper into his mind. He didn’t like what he was finding. He started to doubt his existence. He started to believe that he wasn’t the person his memories portrayed him as. It occurred to him that he might be just be a figment of someone else’s dreams or thoughts. This bothered him. He felt used. Why would someone else create him and this exciting life just for it to be a farce? There is no pleasure in life when you find out that you don’t exist. And he knew that.
He was perplexed. He pondered his options. He wanted to find a way to escape from whatever or whomever it was that forged the memories in his mind. He wanted to prove that he existed. He wanted to stop being a pawn. None of this was helping his sanity. He knew he was losing his mind, but couldn’t help but wonder if it was real or if it was under the control of someone else. And then it hit him. What if he was the one creating his own memories that weren’t real or familiar? And where were his real memories? All of this compounded his feeling of being either artificial or insane.
He came to the only rational conclusion that made sense to him. He would have to die. He figured if he didn’t really exist it wouldn’t hurt or matter. He figured if he wasn’t really who his memories say he is, it would simply be for the best. Either way, he was certain that being dead was the solution. He no longer wanted to feel artificial or insane. The only question he had was if he died, would this work? Certainly if he were insane it would work, but he wondered if he were just someone else’s made up existence with fake memories, would that work? He wondered if the person who made him up would even know that he died. There would be only one way to find out.
So he did it. He let himself die. He ended his life by his own hand. Afterward, he just lay there. Nothing seemed to change. He tried to figure out if he were dead or alive, real or imaginary. He felt no pain or emotion. But that’s how he felt before he died. He was confused. He wasn’t sure if he had done it right, or had even done it all. But now something new was happening. He could hear a voice. He could hear a second voice. He didn’t recognize them. He couldn’t see them and he couldn’t tell what they were talking about. He wondered if they were talking about him. He wondered if they could see him. He wondered if they knew who he was.
He tried to move. This made the voices he was hearing more excited. He knew they weren’t just voices in his head, they were real. He knew they could see him, but he still couldn’t understand what they were saying. And he still didn’t know who they were. And he couldn’t see them yet, he couldn’t see anything. He was starting to regain some consciousness, but still couldn’t open his eyes. Even so, everything was becoming more clear. Most of this had been a dream. He could now remember his memories. They were all his memories, it was indisputable now. He had tried to kill himself in his reality, in his real life. He remembered. Now he couldn’t figure out why it didn’t work. His memories were real; he had in fact cheated death a number of times throughout his life. And suicide didn’t work either. There could be only one explanation. He was immortal.
He imagined that Heaven and Hell got together, sitting across a table from each other and argued which one would have to take him when he died. He guessed this meeting happened every time he was close to death, dozens of times in all. Heaven and Hell could not come to an agreement, so he was forced to live on as immortal. This made the most sense to him. Some men might think that immortality would be good. However, in his case, he still aged, he had pains that wouldn’t go away, and he most certainly lost his sanity. None of these dreadful things should come with immortality. He could find no benefit for him to be immortal. He wondered what he would have to do to be able to die like a normal man.