Today was a good day.

I said this to myself as I was reconstructing the massive building along with some of the others who were picked on this day. It was our turn to take part in this, the reconstruction of this building, and today couldn't be any more perfect. The weather was bright and sunny, for the most part, though slightly overcast. It seemed to cast a great shadow over what we were rebuilding, whenever the sun decided to show itself a little.

Yes, today was a good day.

Plenty of time must've passed on reconstruction day, because as soon as we were beginning to make some progress, we were called in for lunch break. And as soon as we were beginning to wind down, the big town bell rang inside our heads. Eventually you get used to this, the mental ringing, the sudden jolts of sounds inside your head become soft vibrations at some point.

As we gathered to eat our lunch, massive droves of people were moving in nearly uniform position to the town church building a few blocks down, in whatever way possible. It was mandatory that they go to this church for purification. Few people have any knowing of why. Fewer people bother to find out.

It wasn't long until collective noise filled the streets, full of those wanting to be purified. Any chaos among the folk quickly turned into a singular line, especially as they were closer to the church. Any newcomer would think this appalling. We knew better. I knew better. Of course, as we were stationed in reconstruction today, we were not required to attend purification. If there was any sigh of relief, it was slight, and silent. For we knew better.

"What are all these people gathered around for?" Someone asked. The person in question was a younger fellow, looking new and fresh despite being in a construction uniform. We all turned to the newcomer in shock, and then to the manager, who looked over the new worker in an old, stern look.

"What's your name?" he said to the newcomer.

"Tristan."

"Well, Tristan," the manager huffed, "You'll only hear this one time, because you're new here. Those people are heading to church, for purification."

"Purification?" Tristan was confused. "Of what?"

"Of human sin."

Tristan then looked at the large line of crowd that were making headway into the church, not yet being filled despite the masses going in. Afterwords, he again stared at the manager in confusion.

"Human sin?"

"Yep. We all got it."

"You mean, like a religion?" Tristan said as he glanced back at the crowd for a moment.

"All those people?"

"Yes," the manager said, unflinching. "But it's not a religion."

"Then what is it?"

"Purification."

"Of human sin? But why? What's so great about purification?"

At that moment, it became obvious to the group that this Tristan must be new to the purification process. The manager, unfazed, began his explanation.

"As you all know," the manager pointed to his head in gesture, "Our minds our evolving. We are now able to do things we've never thought possible. Science has allowed us to make use of our minds that would've been thought as fantasy a couple decades ago. We can take our negative thoughts and remove them."

The manager then pointed at Tristan.

"How are you feeling today, Tristan? Since they implanted you?"

Tristan looked shocked at the sudden question, but was compelled to answer.

"Well...great!" Tristan exclaimed, "The best I've ever been since I've moved here!"

"That's great," the manager smiled slightly. "And thanks to that implant, you can keep it that way. You don't have to feel a bad day in your life."

The manager's smile faded.

"But in order to keep it that way, we have to extract the negativity out of you."

"Negativity?"

"Negativity. Like shadows. And, try and you might to keep them at bay yourself, they will rise. Which is why..."

The manager then looked at the church.

"That is there. All that negativity, all those sins of humanity, is extracted there. Purification. And as for those shadows..."

The manager started to whistle as he gave a sliding gesture with his hand.

"They go to this building, the same building we're remodeling on. And they stay there. That is why this job is so important. That is the reason for purification. Now do you understand?"

"Yes sir. So we're keeping this negativity, these shadows, out."

"That's right."

Tristan still looked confused, but didn't respond with any more questions, which was good. The manager began to look at his watch.

"Alright, everyone! Back to work!"

And with that, I packed up my lunch and headed back towards the reconstruction I was working on. I stopped to look at the progress I've made, which was quite a bit. The building itself was completely white and featureless. It basically resembled a giant, white fort, with walls thick enough to keep the negativity out completely. This would make it difficult for an untrained eye to see any flaws or details, but then I noticed there was a gaping hole strangely placed beside my construct, something I never remembered seeing.

Immediately I went up and inspected this. Not only was it strange that I didn't notice it before, but I could almost swear I filled it. Questions and thoughts started to rear itself inside me, but fortunately I warded them away before they could take form. I start to head back to get my equipment when I thought I heard my name being called.

I look around to see perhaps anyone that could have hailed me. No one. Every worker was either at their station or heading there, and the manager was nowhere to be found. I supposed I'm wasting enough time, so again I started towards my equipment. I begin to climb towards my loader when within a corner of my eye I saw what seemed to be children playing near the hole. This immediately got my attention.

"Hey!" I shouted, "You can't play there!"

The children responded by staring at me, then suddenly running inside the hole, giggling with glee.

Once again I shouted as I darted toward the hole they escaped to. As I peeked inside, I noticed the inside of the walls were as white and featureless as the outside. I took note of this as I looked for the hidden children, but despite all effort they were nowhere to be found. Suddenly a great concern flushed toward me, and the all white walls appeared all the more intimidating. A horrible thought occurred to me just then, that perhaps it was a mind trick, or worse. My immediate reaction was to check if anyone else was noticing this, and so my head turned toward my fellow workers. To my surprise, they were all gone.

I retract from the hole in shock, finding that every worker has somehow vanished. Empty construction was all that was left. Silence. I desperately looked for any sign of life, clinging to the thought that I wasn't alone. And then faintly in my ear I heard whispers of shouting and construction, so immediately I turned to the source: The hole, which was now painted with people, of construction, of lively sounds. I dashed towards the hole in response, and just like that, the hole cracked like a mirror, and splintered away into white nothingness. At this point I realize the unthinkable, I now realize I'm trapped inside.

With this revelation, I knelt in weeping pain. I was never one to cry, and I wouldn't allow tears, but the hopelessness was there, and overwhelming. Afterword, I decided to stand and fight it, under the rationale that there must be an exit. And so I looked at my surroundings: Everywhere white, featureless. If this is what holds the negativity inside, then any color should be a sign of escape, right? I began my search.

As I wandered among the white landscape for what seemed like eternity, I began to notice just how much lack of detail there really was in this forsaken place. For instance, I keep passing through the same white walls, the same white pillars, with the same sounds of echoing white noise in the same unnatural lighting. No sign of anything but my own internal sounds and thoughts, which by this point has been blended into the prison itself, teeming into one big mass of white. There was nothing, nothing of difference about this place, nothing of identity, nothing of value. But then perhaps that's the point. For what's trapped here, it's more than a prison cell. It's literally nothing. I continue my journey across the void.

Eventually my mind must've given up, because my thoughts are now wandering too. My imagination turned to the life I've left behind before my current one. I remembered the day this place, dubbed New Eden, discovered a cure for the negative traits of humanity. I remember how excited I was to move here, in spite of my parent's and then girlfriend's skepticism. I remember when I was first introduced to the cure: A brain implant that could dissolve negative thoughts and be rid of them in a snap. Amazing, I thought. I felt absolutely amazing!

"Daniel..." A whisper then echoed to me. I ignored it, lost in myself. "Daniel...! There you are, Daniel!" I keep hearing. Why do I keep hearing my name all of a sudden? Is this where my thoughts have gone, to the madness of escape? And then I run into Tristan.

"What are you doing, Daniel?"

"Oh!" I jolt to my senses as I bumped into him. "Tristan! Am I glad to see you! What are you doing here?"

Tristan smiled and chuckled, "You went missing and the manager sent me to find you, obviously. You had us worried."

"Oh yeah?" I joked a little.

"Yeah."

"Well let's get out of here then!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, this place is creepy."

Tristan then began to lead me to an exit, except the exit didn't exist. Shocked, Tristan began to search the walls for what might be something big enough to leave out of. It was about a minute when Tristan started to panic.

"Is...there something wrong?" I ask, concerned.

Tristan panicked even more and searched even more sporadically. He started pounding the walls for any sign of an opening. Unfortunately for both of us, the walls didn't respond at all. Tristan then turned to me with a look that spelled worry, doom, and disbelief all at once.

"I could've sworn there was an exit here! What kind of place is this?!"

"I don't know!" I responded in the same tone.

Defeated, I started to look down to notice my shadow waving at me. I jumped slightly aghast, which turned into full blown disbelief and shock as the shadow got bigger, big enough to where I started running for fear of being consumed by blackness. The mass of darkness behind me turned form, and started growing a freakish human shape. And suddenly I was stuck, unable to move, either by the shadow or of my own will, I couldn't really tell. Either way, I turned to see its face.

The shadow was faceless, with hardly any detail besides its color. The only feature I could make of it was its mouth, with cheshire teeth, grinning. The shadow then proceeded to grab me, and helpless I was, like a toy. The only thing I could do was stare at it, in complete fear and hopelessness. I then turned to Tristan, who was also struggling against the black, wrapping him tight in a bondage formation. He was in complete terror as the shadow began engulfing his entire body.

"Free yourself Daniel!" Tristan screamed as we were being consumed in complete shadowy darkness.

When I came to, I was a young child. Happy, carefree, and playing with my friends. We were in my parent's house, and imagination was ours for the taking.

"I am the big, bad Bowser!" I roared as I stomped away like only a child would. My friends, would, in turn, play Mario and Luigi, and would pretend battle me. I stopped for a moment as we were play fighting, as it would be odd that I would remember this all of a sudden.

"Boom!" Mario then tossed a fireball at me. And then I reacted swiftly with roaring and breathing fire.

As the battle went on, I noticed a strange hum through the basement, and as if in a weird trance, I bolted on down, with Mario and Luigi following suit. I climbed on down, without a care in the world, completely free, and then I noticed my parent's arguing with my friend's in a language I couldn't quite understand. And then the game was over.

"What's going on?" I asked the parents.

All of them stared at me, blankly, as if they had nothing to say. With their absolute poker faces, They turned back toward one another and returned to arguing. Whatever language they were speaking then took a turn toward comedy, almost like gibberish. I reacted in full blown laughter. The parents then lashed out at me suddenly and without mercy.

"You think this is funny, little man?!" A friend's father complained, shocking me enough to understand both their language and tone. The mother shook her disapproving head at me. My parents defended my actions, and then the gibberish arguing returned, except it was no longer funny. And just as if the arguing would never stop, I heard a familiar, haunting phrase.

"He has autism."

And within that sentence, the entire room broke away, revealing nothing but black. Terrified, I tried to run, only to find my former friends leaving with their parents, never to be seen again.

"It's because of me, isn't it?!" I cried as my world faded again to black.

I woke to my parents yelling at me to get up, knocking on my door. Slowly getting up, I started to realize what had happened, and the slow crawl turned into a fast pace to the bathroom. I took a quick look in the mirror and gasped to see myself as a teenager. As I studied the stupid, ugly details of my teenage face, I could feel a swirling vortex of emotions pumping into me. All the angst, anxiety, fear...and hatred. Of myself. Of everyone because of myself.

"Are you getting ready for school?" My mother asked impatiently.

"Shut up! Just shut the fuck up!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

I took one last look at myself and decided. This had to end. All of it, and now. I barged open the bathroom door, pushing my mother out as I headed to the kitchen drawer with a knife and aimed it at myself. My parents then struggled to take the knife out of my hand, myself swatting them away in hate. I was about to end myself when suddenly and without warning, the knife flew away from me and disappeared.

All I could do at that moment was freeze in position, completely shocked, and at a loss on what to do next. All I could think about while frozen was that I was a monster, that I deserved to die brutally and cruelly, and that this world just took that from me. And then I broke down and cried while the ground again turned to complete darkness.

This time I opened my eyes to see myself again as an adult, only this time surrounded in complete darkness. I could hear every kind of sound then: Suffering, screaming, angst, anger, violence, laughter, all this combining against each other to form complete a complete war of chaos. But not only could I hear it, I could feel it too. Inside me. As all these negative emotions were literally pumping into me, I felt a sense of familiarity in all this chaos. Indeed, it was my chaos. I tried to keep the darkness away from me, but once again I couldn't move. I was only paralyzed in fear, helpless against this familiar darkness.

"Do you see now, Daniel?" I hear my own voice calling to me.

"You need this. You will always need this. You need me. Just look at yourself."

I looked at myself, but all that I seen was this black darkness completely swallowing me. But as all this was taking place, I realized that I now can move. I have strength. Power. I reflected the negativity back tenfold, and then suddenly exploded in a flash of white light. Silence then overcame me, and my fear turned into a sense of peace. I closed my eyes.

When I woke up, I seen that I was once again in the white void, now aware of what this place is. What it's purpose is. And why I was foolish to believe in it. This is where people get rid of their inner demons, their monsters inside. Except could you really? And why? What's so scary about monsters, anyway? I heard the sounds of chain rattling down the whiteness. And so I walked towards my destination, no longer afraid.

The sound of chains led to a chamber full of shadows, the faceless figures motioning me to mine in particular. I took a moment to study my shadow closely: It was featureless like all the others yet very familiar to me. It studied me as well with it's cheshire grin. I notice on my shadows chest a keyhole shaped wound in its heart. I instinctively reached into my pockets and found the bladed key used to lock it. I looked at the key very closely, the shadowy blood dried upon it.

"Only I can set you free?" I asked my shadow. The shadow nodded.

"Good."

I then jammed the key into my shadow's heart, and turned while it screamed in pain, smiling, laughing. I in turn smiled as I then jammed the key even harder. Hard enough to pierce through the shadow. The screaming was at its loudest, and then the smile faded.

"I'm finally free." My final words to my shadow as it faded into nothing.

With my shadow's blood on my hands, I threw it upon the white wall, and the wall broke to reveal the outside. Victorious, I stood and looked upon the sky. It was sunny, but slightly overcast, casting a shadow upon the building and me. And I was free.

Today was indeed a good day.