Chapter 3: This is a typical demise
Death, what is described as the ultimate climax of one's life, the accumulation of one soul's worth of existence. And then dismissed in a singular motion. For Joseph, the zero in his life had been multiplied far too soon. Accomplishments, what had needed to be and values of progression were all stripped from him at that exact moment, the moment that Destiny had finally materialized in the world of the unknowing.
The tale that was determined oh not so long ago,
Was it Unfairness that had influenced it?
Or was it,
The structured flow of the universe?
Perhaps descending into chaos wasn't the best way to approach a new death. Then again, spending a few hours in hell wasn't the best way to make one an almighty critic of all things either.
Granted that a few hours had indeed passed.
At dire moments like this, the human brain tends to over exaggerate the relativeness of time, pulling strings on reality so that a simulation of slowness would be created. Creating mere blemishes in imperfect cracks.
Survivors of Earthquakes have been reported to feel the passing of time less strongly than others during their wait for rescue. A painstaking hour of dread to them is only but a mere minute to us.
Similarly, Joseph is experiencing this very phenomenon. Thoughts of despair, helplessness, sorrow, and regret latched themselves on his fragile human skin, accompanied by the pungent smell of roses and perfume.
Truly, death was every bit as merciless as they described it to be.
If not for the fact that his body rendered itself immobile, the first course of action would be to cover his nose with what little remained of his jacket, and then to commit suicide-seppuku glorified style.
But Joseph had kept forgetting the obvious, didn't he? He was dead. And killing himself again wouldn't grant him any favours either.
The ghastly spirits on the other hand, floated around and urged him to continue with the "killing thing", their voice sweet and sound like that of mothers, and movements graceful like the wind.
For a brief moment, Joseph had actually considered doing it, then pushed aside the thought, his immunity to sweet talk preventing it from penetrating any further.
"Joseph, you have to finish your work." The voices uttered words from memory. "We have a platonic relationship you and I…"
The lines were uttered from his father's mouth, and Joseph remembered sighing at that statement, and what liberty he has used with words. And he sighed again.
"What are you planning to do now? Say something like: 'If you inflict endless pain upon yourself, I can live again...' in order to guilt trip me into suffering for eternity?"
The resultant words came out as expected, and the spirits frowned.
"Darn, you are a persistent one aren't you?"
Death clawed out and spoke through his minions.
"Your emotions are erratic yet well controlled. Fear covers you like clothing and yet your disgust of the superficial permeates through that barrier."
The Skeleton appeared in front of Joseph as if to disprove the above hypothesis, and Joseph felt the frightening presence, the King of Hell forced to frown once more.
"Even as you look at my face, all you did was 'feel'?"
The unpleasantness of the situation turned Death sour.
"You are not even manipulating reality, you are not even making your point. And yet you know the difference between 'feel' and 'enter', and yet you understand this reality right away. You are a pathetic human being who knows nothing of the concept this world operates on, and yet, you freaking know this possibility, accepted this unlike the rest."
The repetition of words indicated lack of expression from Death and his summarised what he wanted to say.
"You are not a Distorter, get this in your head and suffer for all eternity."
The serious look in that non existent face made Joseph laugh, and the response was causal.
"Gotcha." The silence drove home the message. "All the information I could extract from you, I got them all."
The tone used drove Death mad, and he lunged close to destroy the source of annoyance.
The glow of Ingress threatened to erase.
"Wouldn't do that if I were you."
The concept of power scaling moved Death back, and he became fed up with Joseph. Cursed at his limited capabilities.
"Bah, I'm done with this."
The Skeleton disappeared from Death's being.
"You people make me sick."
The direct statement held no impact whatsoever, so darkness enshrouded Death and made a cool cloak, the epic performance making Joseph applaud.
"Nice build up to yer o' dramatic exit."
The many demons and portals that emerged further proved Joseph's point.
"So long, manipulator of souls."
And with a blinding flash of light, Death dispersed from his realm, and the booming voice that resounded was one of a narrator.
"Kukukukuku..." Death said out his last words. "Don't think that you can get away with offending Death. Remember, this is my domain. And unless you are able to, you are not getting out."
The spirits that once formed Death dissolved and went on to bother other targets, the countless humans falling from the sky proving to be adequate playthings for them.
Joseph lamented at the thought of desolation, then rebutted that statement, thought again and found it futile.
Ah, why am I even doing this?
The matter at hand seemed troublesome now.
The "struggle" thing is pointless really. I mean, I could just accept death, move on, explore the place a bit, abuse not ever finishing in a single sentence because liberty and all…
The grounded phantoms wandering on the flat land turned and looked at him blankly, and waved in motion for him to join.
Or you know, I can do the typical revival thing, surpass death, do things with my sword…
Ingress was raised yet again, and nothing came out but the acceleration of free fall.
Well, "do things with my sword"
The distance to the ground grew increasingly short.
Ah, this whole power concept is a pain to figure out. Screw this, cross referencing is taking too long.
And his body took over and left only the important words.
His consciousness flashbacked to the instance of death and rewinded the familiar sensation.
The particular sensation that drove Joseph to serious mode many a times before.
It was a rare exception that time. For one, that had occurred in real life. For two, that by far had not resembled a written examination of sorts.
The presence that had shook him.
Made him freeze.
Made him unable.
Was too. Is. Terrifyingly. Overpowered.
There was nothing remarkable about the being to comment on. Average unruly hair. Clothing consisting of just standard T-shirt and short pants. Facial features peaking at only tutorial boss.
That blatant disregard.
Human life: worthless
And what was truly shocking, was the body he had on his back.
That was Joe, wasn't it?
Bruce Lee x10.
Defeated, knocked out.
The limit was pushed far too much. A clear indication of an inevitable demise. Before the blow had even struck, just a split second, Joseph had conceded. So did his mind, so did the Earth.
The environment swirled to parallel his thoughts, shifting into uneven balances of madness and rationality, colours and grey. It mimicked the nature of the unknown, the dragon turned into a puppy, and ascending towards the waterfall.
An endless loop. A first hand look at insanity. The environment had decided to present itself as such, heavily contrasting to the emptiness in Joseph's heart.
Emptiness that had repelled attachments and thinking. Emptiness that was there and not. But what was? What was this feeling that had once disappeared, and had never then?
Primal, a deep echo. Responding to the wandering of consciousness. That face, and memories. Memories of parents that stirred surprisingly, and for a while more.
Ingress too, colours resonating with scarlet, ruby, crimson. Up till this moment, the sword had never felt so heavy in Joseph's hand, like cement, like, like, power. Power that defied. Pierced the heavens.
A mind can only remain blank for so long. It is only acknowledgement that eventually frees, eventually sees. The igniting of his eyes, the burning of his soul. Joseph, finally comprehending the logic behind it all, accepted the feeling wholeheartedly, exploded his will to the cosmos.
For his lack.
And the being that had caused.
Distortions, breaks in reality. The being was.
Radiated immense power. The power to change. To influence. Joseph had understood it all, the workings of such, the anger that was directed.
The face of a familiar stranger bore into him again. Short black hair. Black eyes. Average face. Lips matching the rhythm of thought. Speaking for self.
"This choice, this decision. For everyone else, they will seek the alternative. What about you? What about the world? You are never going back, never walking on the tangible again. Is this really alright?"
"But you already know, don't you? Even if you do go back, it is not the reverse that which came from. It is another. Open gate. Your choice represents you. Makes we. Our decision. Because if any other were considered it would be-"
"Far too cliche. Wouldn't it?"
The words broke free before Joseph could structure them, and the phantoms below screamed at his resolution.
Begged him to stay.
Because if not, wouldn't their deaths had been in vain?
Ah, I think I got it now
The increasingly demands prompted Joseph to go further.
'Distortion', that word is meant to be taken literally right?
"No, No, Don't." The voices cried out, and stood unpleased. "Please. No."
But the value was too much, and Joseph held up Ingress for effect, and the clear path to future showed itself to him.
Judging from my time in here, domains like this are created to suppress power and render opponents useless. So that means…
Ingress glowed brighter with that thought and shone crimson red. The raw power flowing shamelessly.
I just require sufficient power to break through, don't I?
The power of the sword negated all, and broke through the world, and Joseph laughed at his direction. Saw how terrible of a human being he was.
I'm not going back, I'm not saving anyone. This is really for myself, right? Selfish Bastard, me. Kukuku. My heart doesn't lie. All I want to do now. Is.
The image of him flashed before Joseph's eyes, confirming his resolution.
Defeat that freakin' bastard.
The long process of breaking through made things awkward, and looking at Ingress was pretty much the only entertainment the place had to offer. And Joseph laughed again.
Hahaha, there is no free lunch in this world, is there?
The appearance of Ingress contradicted his thoughts.
But if there is, then I would be a fool not to abuse it...
And thus, with both hands still firmly gripping the handle of the sword, Joseph swung into the opening of cracks.
Forming an explosion of crimson blood.
Oh noes, I think there are still errors here, but I can't activate editor mode well enough...
So, what do you think of Joseph? Is he an apathetic bastard? Eh, not yet.
Also, if you didn't notice already, this story is written in an anarchic style of sorts. (or whatever you call it, too lazy to check) Will be seeing how far I could go with this style.