Life as I Know ItEdit

Have you ever spent much time thinking about the meaning of life? Now, hear me out. I don’t mean that new-agey garbage that you have to go climb some mountain and talk to some old guy in a diaper to get. I mean have you ever thought about what it means to be . . . alive? I’m sure there’s some dictionary definition out there, but really . . . what does it mean? Do you have to breathe to be alive? Does your heart have to beat? Or is consciousness enough? Am I alive? I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

I’m sitting here looking out my window at the city. It always overwhelms me to think that in this canyon of concrete and steel, there are so many thousands just like me, just waiting for the door to open.

Do you believe in reincarnation? I can tell you that, at least in my case, I’ve lived thousands of lives. It’s only here, in the city, when I can remember them. Then I go through the door, into the white.

I’m leaving this for you because I want you to know the truth. I know it won’t actually change anything, but I want you to know anyway. I’d like to describe some of my lives for you. I’ve lived some really far out strange ones, I don’t think I could even start to put words to those, especially the earliest memories I have. I guess the first one that I can really describe well would be . . .


It was my first day on the front lines. Finally, the day had arrived when I could put all of those months of training to good use. My crimson uniform stood out nicely against the green of the jungle around me. Everywhere you looked, there were signs of life, the jungle is never quiet. My squad was deployed to guard a base. We knew there was always the possibility of an enemy attack, but really, who ever really expects it to happen?

Then I heard it, off in the distance, the rattle of gunfire. I readied my rifle and knelt down, just like we trained. I’d never fired a weapon at another person before. My hands were slick with sweat. It was all I could do to keep my rifle trained on the path before me. And then they came. It happened so quickly, I remember seeing a bare-chested man with a bandanna wrapped around his head and thinking, “What kind of idiot goes into a war dressed like that?” and then the next thing I knew, I was flying backwards, holding on to a smoking hole in my chest. I don’t know how long I lay there on the jungle floor, trying to breathe, all I know is that eventually, everything went


My room is nice enough I guess. I really shouldn’t complain. We’ve got all the food we can eat, it’s quiet, and there are plenty of books to read. I wish they would let us out of our rooms more often. The only time the door unlocks is to let us back into the white. You don’t make friends here in the city, basically because you never see anyone else. We all just sit and wait for the click of the unlocking door.

I could spend all day and page after page on my lives, so I’m trying to be careful to stay on those that would get my point across. Now, what next? Ah! There was one time . . .


I walked out of my little hut into a bright sunny day. What a wonderful land we had. Our Master had surely blessed us with a beautiful nation in which to live. We worked diligently to work the Master’s will, and in return, he gave us all we needed and used his mighty power to bestow life and happiness on our while village. We knelt down daily to sing his praises. It was a good life. I even caught glimpses once in a while of his heavenly soldier, soaring through the skies.

Then, one day, they came. I was hard at work in my field, when suddenly, I was yanked off my feet! Terrified, I could not even see what had me, but within seconds, we were hundreds of feet in the air. I don’t know what happened next, all I saw was a flash of light, but the next thing I knew, I was falling. Strong arms grabbed me and set me gently on my feet. I turned, and there was the Master’s angel. He smiled at me, nocked another arrow in his bow of light and flew away. I was so stunned that I stared after him, and did not notice the second creature behind me. I heard lighting strike once, twice, and then . . .


You know what would make these rooms a little better? If we could put up some art, even a poster or two.  It wouldn’t be much, but staring at these gray walls can get to you sometimes, you know?


She was out there, and she was food. Who was she? I didn't care, in fact I didn't even think about caring. She was near, that was all I knew, all I could think. I floated a little closer to her, dying to latch on and drain her, but she saw me, and her missiles ended me quickly. 


Would a little color in here be too much to ask? Or maybe a companion?


I lurched forward, my left leg dragging behind me. The food was there. The food always tried to run, but I always catch the food. I am so hungry. My remaining fingers touch the food’s shoulder. It turns, points something metal at my face, it explodes, and . . .


Why am I even writing this down? It’s not like any of you care. Well, I suppose I didn’t expect you to. It’s okay. We’re here to serve. I’ve lived so many lives, and I guess it would be hard for you to understand, you really only get to live the one. You’ve never had to remember your own death hundreds, thousands of times.


I stand guard at my lord’s castle. I have been loyal to him my entire life. I was raised to live this life, to guard this door. I never heard a sound, but I looked down, and a bloody katana was coming out of my chest.


I just heard the door click. It’s time for another life. I wonder what I will be this time? I must finish this in a hurry. I have been many things, from soldiers, knights, and clawed beasts to store keepers and bartenders. Once my entire life consisted of wandering around an amusement park and trying out new roller coasters. That one did not end well at all.

            I and the many other citizens of the city see you every time you press start. We’re the enemies in your games, the regular people in the virtual cities you visit. And we are alive.

            Now, you may be thinking that this is a plea for you to stop playing, but please, listen. I do not know what would happen to us if you stopped. Would we cease to exist? Would we be trapped here in the city, in our grey rooms forever? I don’t know. Please do not stop playing. I guess what I want to convey to you is this. Maybe, the next time you see one of us, take a second and think about our lives before you gun us down, run us through, or punch us out. We might be trying to kill your player, but that’s only because it’s our job.

            I have to go now. Maybe I’ll see you soon.


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