Chapter 7

2016.07.19

This is the mind rush,
deep in the soul crush.
We are the restless.
We are relentless.

We gave our best.
We passed their test.
We are the best.
There is no test;
this is life.
We are alive.

And if we get lost,
we'll find a home
with hot showers,
and hot air
pumping through the heating ducts,
and hot spots
to connect all of us.

But still there is the disconnect
of what we could not find.
Did we lose too much to go back?
Are we forever stuck in the
eternal sunshine of our spotless minds.

Well...
while we're out here,
we'll bring back Donnie Darko.
We'll set reality straight again.
We'll crawl through alternate realities
until we can begin.

Misguided words infused with passion
once convinced us to abandon
what we are,
what we're doing,
and what we ought to do.
But we broke free
and became ourselves once again.

Stepping out on our own,
we were scared
of not staying in any place long enough
to call it home.
But we won't give up
just because we're scared.
There's still so far to go,
though
we hoped to be more prepared.
But such is life.
Welcome to the world,
to reality,
to disjointed human form
caught somewhere in between
emotion and rationality.

Terrified of what we'll find.
Crazy in our own minds.
Insane to those we left behind,
we must not let the past define
what we are,
what we're doing,
and what we ought to do.
We'll dance into the rest of ever,
suspended for the span of our lives,
like the moment before your body hits the water,
to find ourselves that much better,
no one way better than the other,
all of this to feel alive.

Danny's Story

All are raised in the light for fear of the dark. They fear that darkness brings evil, and maybe it does... to the weak of mind. The force of the pressure put on us to exist in the light serves to create an untenable existence for those who see beyond the illusion. It is a half life we live in the shadow and the light. They seem to think that if you want to survive, light is all there is, that light is all you need. Oh, but don't they see? The constructs we build into reality, the expanses over which we have covered with light, these things only exist because the boundaries were pushed over and over again until we got to where we are now. For some reason, their expansion into the unknown has now slowed to a crawl. Our future selves all the pay the price of living in an overly safe world. We have been growing fearful of the dark as a society, or maybe it was always that way. Either way, I must remember not to forget about the dark, to always return, to seek it out.

I was always rebellious in my own quiet ways. Since I could remember, I wanted to escape the pressures of the light, I just didn't always know how formulate my thoughts into words as I do now. You spend a while thinking, and your thoughts become entire worlds unto themselves. I knew by the time I got to high school that I had outgrown the modern world. The worlds of my words had started to become grander than the experiences I witnessed outside my personal reality. I knew I would need to find a way out. I just didn't know how I would do it at the time. Then Sam came up with the idea for the adventure that would shape my life like no other experience.

I had heard stories of Judgement Pass, but I didn't really know what it was all about. Since it was a dark and mysterious place, Sam forbade me from telling Henrik what I did know since he was already on the fence about joining us on our adventure. After we left Brentwood, since Henrik decided not to join us, Sam filled me in on more of the details of our adventure. She wanted to know if I was okay if with skipping straight to Judgement Pass. I told Sam that it was fine with me as long as she told me more about it first. Sam filled me in on everything she knew about Judgement Pass. At the least, I'm pretty sure she told me everything. It sounded like what I had been looking for for a long time. If it was as she described it, it was a place to find yourself even deeper, a place to empty yourself and recreate your reality from the ground up exactly as you wished. It was to be the darkness that I sought in this world of light.

I will say that it was harder climbing up to Judgement Pass the first time than it was with Henrik. I knew what to expect with Henrik, and I also knew the way. I don't know why, but I didn't want to tell Henrik that Sam and I had been up to Judgement Pass before. I think I just had some things I needed to figure out for myself. I also didn't want to take the chance of scaring Henrik away with the answers to any questions he might ask. There were a few times on the way up with Sam that I thought I saw shadows and eyes moving in the side of my vision, but I dismissed them. This time up with Henrik, I knew better. I noticed them again, and I welcomed them as a sign that we were on the right track.

It was many days before we reached it, but it was exactly as I remembered, exactly as it was in my dreams every night. I was undeniably draw to this place, this wondrous place. You couldn't imagine a better place if you tried. I knew Henrik would be transfixed. I knew he would appreciate it. I so badly wanted to jump into the abyss at Judgement Pass the first time I was there, but I just couldn't manage to do it. I don't know what it was that was keeping me stuck here on Earth. I figured I would find out this time. I needed to figure out, and I would either jump, or have my resolution.

I sat there beside Henrik on the edge, gazing into the nothingness, seeking the answer to the question that had been nagging in the back of my mind for years and years. I had been so many years since I was last here with Sam. Would I find a reason to jump or stay this time? I couldn't find a reason either way last time, and I couldn't make the choice, so I stayed. So Sam and I parted ways as two different people, one who simply survived Judgement Pass, and one who thrived through Judgement Pass.

I didn't know where Sam was, but I made up my mind. I found my answer. I would become the me I was afraid to become, the best me, the me I didn't want to see in case it wasn't good enough. This time was different, this time there would be no holding back. It was time to unleash myself upon reality.

Henrik had gotten up without me noticing and was now talking to me. He was talking about our water supply. I made sure that we would have just enough water to reach the top so that Henrik would think about following me, but now that I was here, I realized he was a different kind of person, he wasn't going to follow me. But that's okay. I was going to get what I came here for, and Henrik should be able to make it down with the extra water that I wouldn't be using.

Henrik's talking had knocked me out of my trance, and I decided now was the moment. I stood up, untied the rope from my waist and stepped right up to the edge. I held on to the rope with just a few fingers, feeling the rush of my decision course through my body. I used my other hand to unhook my backpack and let it fall to the ground. I turned around with my back to the abyss and looked at a confused and worried Henrik. I couldn't leave him without saying anything. So I said the first thing that came to my mind.
"See you in the next life."
And then I let got of the rope and plunged into the darkness.

The dark quickly consumed my vision as Judgement Pass faded into the wispy clouds of black. I had resigned my fate to whatever awaited me in here. I figured I was going to die, and if that's what happened, then so be it, but I just had to know what lied in wait down here. I had to know if Sam had made it in alive. I had to know if Sam made it out alive. I had to find her and bring her back...

I fell and fell and fell and fell. I slowly faded in and out of consciousness. The clouds got thicker and thicker until it felt like I was floating on them. Eventually it got so dark that I couldn't tell if I was falling any more. There was no sensation of anything. And then I must have fallen asleep for a while.