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ManInSunset
A short literary piece by Kevin A.M. Lewis (user:iloveflash)

This was the very first work I posted on the Writers' Lounge forum on GameSpot. If the very first sentence doesn't clue you in, I was seventeen years old and full of angst. Just wanted to shed as much rage on the page as possible. I totally surprised myself with how good it came out. To this day the only thing I'm not fond of is the title.

Enjoy.

Warning: Features some coarse language and mature themes.

To the Limits of HateEdit

This boy had not slept properly for seven weeks. The last good rest he had was at the start of the holidays, when all he could think about doing was getting some sleep. But from then, he took every night as an adventure into this or that, expecting sleep the next day. He was always rudely awakened by whatever source of noise, be it his baby sister's tears or his relatives' loud voices on the phone. It didn't upset him much until he had returned to school, when he was forced to wake up in the early hours of the morning. He slept on himself when he got home, drowning out the world and time itself.

Nothing he started ever got finished. "It seems strange we are placed on this Earth for no outstanding reason. Every purpose that man creates revolves around himself--his living self--and the world of tomorrow. But yet tomorrow he will always die. When his heart stops beating, his purpose will no longer mean anything to him. Or will it? Did man create God to give meaning to that inevitability? The belief that there is life beyond death is backed not by fact and logic, but by faith and subjectivity..." And so did the essay reach its finale, never to be finished by the sleeping boy.

Eventually, all things lost their original meaning to him. Pain was nothing more than a state of the mind; a banging of the foot was complimented with a determined limp forward. He had reached a level of Zen. He understood that nothing could be controlled in his life, that all he did was another man's bidding. If they left him in a dark and eternal pit, he would but climb out, alone, and return to the group as they traveled to the horizon. He would not say a word, because truly it did not matter what pain he felt inside.

But to the limits of the horizon... He made way to the limits of hate. A delving madness, growing and growing, 'til only blasphemy and absurdity surrounded him in searing flames and streams of unchecked emotion.

In his state of endless night, he passed by the mirror. There were no longer days for him, no such things as Monday's or Tuesday's. There were only hours. Minutes and seconds ticking idly by. That was all that mattered now, until the month came to a close. He passed by the mirror and saw his reflection with a gun to its head. It smiled at him and said "I'm free." Then it stains the glass with red. His reflection is dead.

As things ceased to deter him, as he became a protagonist without antagonism, his mind became a blank slate. Shadows crept away and illusions struggled to make him whole again. He saw buildings collapsing under the strain of dark energy balls, warriors crashing to the earth. Forgotten love and ancient secrets, world domination and condemnation, toil, strife, and mirth. He took this imagination and painted it on paper, in the form of many words. The devils moved even faster.

One day, the boy awoke to his mother's angry yell. He stared up at her, almost on the verge of tears, because once again. She told him of the stupidest thing: that he had not washed the dishes last night, and that she wished of him to do it now. She left, feeling no remorse and a little disappointed that she had not hurt his feelings as much as she had hoped, and he told his body to rise. He retreated into the back of his mind as his body did his bidding and walked to the kitchen. There were people in the house, that much he knew, but fuck them, he thought. Because it meant nothing, would change nothing, becoming nothing, was nothing...

He washed the dishes and left for his bed. The people were there again, avoiding his sleepy path. Then a voice came from behind him, mocking at his blank soul: "Have a nice day, honey." It rang through his head a few more times, so that he knew everything about that moment. The tone of mockery, the distracted movements. That moment was a joke. No, of course the people didn't care. Of course his punishment was well-deserved and unquestionable. It was with all humans. Punishment and judgement were absolute.

But this boy was not other humans. He wore clothes on his back, yes, and smiled and joked and laughed. But no one saw the depths of his soul, nor did he want them to. He befriended those of his ilk, rebelling against common knowledge and what was supposed to be common sense. And yet he acted as an equalizer, bringing them somehow back to Earth. Even though...he was not...

But. He wasn't Camus. He was not Meursault. Nor was he Sisyphus, toiling away at his rock. He was absolutely nothing. An embarrassing waste of flesh. Wandering around in his unflinching state, shaking hands with regret at every corner. He was not them. He was him. The disappointment, the annoying friend. The waste of space, the shy student. In a fight, he would be bruised and bloodied, and all would laugh at the remains of the geek. But that was not him, the geek. Nor was he the wrist-slitting child of dark clothing. The faggot of tomorrow. He was not the campus rampage, or the one destined to "snap." This boy was him, and as hate and love warred about, he was the unfounded place in society.

He returned to his bed, but of course he could not sleep. The only thought that swam about was of how insignificant everything was. Sleep, he now knew, meant nothing. The pitch-dark skin hanging under his eyes meant nothing. The aching bones, the slouch, the funny walk. No one ever knew how truly different he was, how absurdly the same. Have you sensed it yet? That thing that made him different?

At the limits of the horizon, all lept over the cliff. But the boy stood at its edge, going nowhere. Not into the world of heaven and hell, into the battle of love and hate. He stood at the limit of everything, edging along. Because he knew that if he jumped, and it was becoming ever clearer, that it would all mean nothing.

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