Author’s Note:Happy New Year! Let’s start off the year with a preview of a new story. Also Go back to reading the new Prologue b/c the Prologue has changed, unless you have already read it.
Sitting outside the coffee shop, I observed around me as I listened to the the hustle and bustle of the every day crowd of the city life in Chicago downtown. It was only mid-afternoon, the hot sun beating down on my leg, making me feel a bit warm. I didn’t mind, I needed the extra vitamin D, because I don’t get out in the sun enough. Looking out into the busy street, from left to right, large numbers of stores and towering buildings stood looming overhead me, keeping majority of the sun light to a minimal.
People continually walked by as the streets were normally busy with cars. Luckily at this time, it wasn’t the rush hour, where the number of people walking and driving were exponentially a lot higher. A hot breeze blew past me, bringing oin a sweet smell of bread, tickling my nose. My stomach growled from hunger, but instead I ignored it.
The loud chatter of people continually spoke with enthusiasm outside the Cafem, and whenever the door slightly opened a blast of loud noise could be heard.This store was one of my favorite place to just relax and enjoy the day, I always like to just sit down, read a book, or even have a drink. Today I bought myself cup of cappuccino and a croissant, but it seem that was not enough. This was all I could afford at the moment, my money was running thin barely able to spend such luxurious food. This was a treat to myself for holding living through this week. No, I should correct myself. A hell-like week.
This store was one of my favorite place to just relax and enjoy the day, I always like to just sit down, read a book, or even have a drink. Today I bought myself cup of cappuccino and a croissant, but it seem that was not enough. This was all I could afford at the moment, my money was running thin barely able to spend such luxurious food. This was a treat to myself for holding living through this week. No, I should correct myself. A hell-like week.
Just thinking about what had happened made my head hurt with a painful throb and once again a migraine set in. I cringed. Closing my eyes, I tried my best to move the pain out of my mind.
“Calm down. Alexus. It’s going to be okay.” I talked to myself to quickly steady my chaotic thoughts. “Breathe.” I let out a long sigh. The pain started to thin out and disappear, leaving me relieved that it was no more.
Opening my eyes, I noticed the couple that was sitting near me looking at me strangely. I glared at them, telling them to stop staring. They hurriedly look away as if it was nothing and went back to their conversation.
Leaning backwards, I let out a pained breath of relief. I picked up the cappuccino in hand and look down. What stare back at me in the small cup of coffee was a man in his late twenties with sharp eyes, slight baby face, a small scar on his chin, and a brownish to black hair. I took a sip. Ah~ The taste of sweet coffee. This was the only coffee that I would ever drink. Straight black was to bitter and made my tongue feel dry. I was happy with what I had. It was the simple things in life that made me appreciate a little more about life.
Still six years of my life was gone in a blink of an eye. I was finally twenty-seven years old and yesterday was my birthday. Spending it alone without anyone to share it with. I didn’t have many friends up north, maybe its because I dislike the effort of making new friends, it was just too tiring though I do miss my friends down south from where I originated from.
I had moved up north away from my blood families, living with my cousin until I was twenty-five. It been two years now since I left to find my own place away from the noisy atmosphere of my relatives.
They were good people, but I felt that it was time to move on. Try something new without wasting away at doing nothing but drowning away at repetition of ringing up the money, stocking the shelf, and even cleaning the bathroom when no one was there at the gas station. Night shift was the worst and the best time to work, excluding cleaning the nasty bathroom that people seem to leave behind. Seriously do no one knows how to aim? Especially the women’s side, let’s not go any further than that, all I could say it’s a nightmare.
Finding a job this time of age was all through connections, meaning I needed to make the effort to talking to people, sometimes even kissing up to their asses. I on the other hand blanched at such thoughts, I was no people person, I have seen so many hypocritical people who have gotten the job through sheer mouth service, while their skills could be considered abysmal. Still, it’s not my place to see who gets hired or not.
Many new employees have come and gone, working where I have worked until a week ago. I had lasted six years with diligent patience until I couldn’t take it anymore. That damnable boss that didn’t know when to shut up. Ordering me around as if I’m some dog, at first it was tolerable during the first four years, he wasn’t so bad. He was actually quite nice, then the horror started the following years.
Supposedly, he went through a divorce case with his wife, and they fought over every little thing. They were often cases of him screaming at the phone during his conversation with her, and when he was done he would then dump his emotional distress and anger at us. His orders were snappish, rude, and degrading. One needed to watch out for themselves, when he became an emotional train wreck. There were just no stopping him.
Luckily for me, I didn’t get the butt end of it as much as the new employees. Everything seem to tick him off like the world just owes him for the many supposed ‘good’ deed he has done for the world and his wife.
Then this past month everything went downhill. His temper was usually short, but this month it was a lot shorter. The verbal abuse seem to accumulate to the point where I have seen the young females burst out crying in the middle of work. I believe, he has a hate mentality to all the females that seem to get hired.
Either way, the douche of a boss really stepped up his hate game. Once he was done with her, he moved onto another, then another, eventually coming to me. There was a certain point where I replied back with just as much sarcastic tone of voice to his comments, eventually even singing a mantra in my head to not spike out of control out of pure anger. For once, I thought I had reached a whole new level of enlightenment, trying my best to not let his words bother me and peacefully move through my day. I needed the money and I bore with it till I couldn’t take it anymore.
The whole thing wasn’t worth it. The stress, the anger, and the emotional drain of being put down as if I’m some kind of piece of shit, hell no. No one, I mean no one gets to disrespect me. I snapped and shouted in pure anger and stress, nose-to-nose, to the point where my spit covered half of his face. I made quite a spectacle to the point where everyone was watching.
On that day, I walked out from my job. Low pay plus accumulated stress that made me start having migraines, nope, definitely not worth my time. Still, even though I been searching for a new job this past month, nothing came up for me to take. This was a whole another stress in itself, especially because the monthly rent was coming up, plus the utilities, and the car payment. I was still knocking down the student loans that I have accumulated for college. There were so many things that I have to pay for, but so little money that I have made.
My goals in life have changed in the middle of college, I thought the path of a lawyer wasn’t the path for me anymore. It just wasn’t my thing, the numerous laws, the clients, dealing with the headaches and stress. I knew that this wasn’t my passion in life anymore, and refinding it was already difficult.
Especially this late in life, trying to find a purpose in life was a challenge, because I was dealing with everyday problems called life. I sighed as I took another sip. This past one month I felt as if I accumulated more stress than my whole year combined. Strangely, I been having minor discomfort in my chest with the obnoxious migraines. I didn’t think much of it and kept, pushing through. I placed the cup of coffee down, and leaned back, allowing myself to just enjoy the moment.
“Did you hear about what’s been happening on the news?” An elderly woman’s voice spoke out loudly, catching my attention.
“Are you talking about the Ouroboros?” A man with a deep husky voice spoke to lady. I got the feeling that he was her son.
“Yea, another one was just founded three days ago. I seriously swear it’s the beginning of the apocalypse. I tell you, each one of them are monsters.”
“Mom, what are you saying. You know that sounds like a complete lie. Just because they found a new type of people doesn’t mean they are monsters.”
She snorted at what her son said, “You don’t understand. Evolution of mankind doesn’t just happen with a snap of a finger in under three years. Their abnormal I tell you.”
Her son sighed. “Mom, you’re being too old school here. Who knows, maybe in ten years half the population of humanity would evolve into an Ouroboros.”
“Highly unlikely, to be able to have some kind of genetic mutation is a sign of a genetic deficit. There’s been reports that states that they are not stable in the mind. What was it,” she thought it over for a moment, “a handful of them have already commit murder. What was the reason again? They were killing demons and saving humanity? These crackpot fools needs to be sent to the insane asylum or jail where they belong.”
“True, there have been increasing cases of them killing someone. That in itself is a problem, but on their genetic level, they are far superior to the older generation of humans. If the scientist can break through their genome, the older generation can benefit this as a whole. No more do we need to worry about diseases to possibly even turning old. How would you like that mom? Never aging and staying young forever?”
The mother thought it over for a moment. “It’s not too bad…I guess, but to use them as guinea pigs, isn’t something I like to hear about. It goes against my morals.”
“Mom, you just called them monsters. Now they are human in your eyes?” He chuckled at what his mother had said.
“Well….they were once human.”
“Mom, you need to choose. Either send them to jail or possibly get their genetic code cracked, in which case their saving a lot of lives. Possibly even getting you younger until you die.”
“I’m not so sure about this.”
“Well, just think about it for a moment before you decide. There never a rush on something this important.”
“I guess you’re right. Still, why did they give it them that name? Ouroboros. I never ever could figure it out.”
“That’s simple really. The reason why they were called an Ouroboros was because the first Ouroboros called himself that. He said that supposedly there is some kind of a primal energy or a sleeping snake ‘coiled’ at the base of the spine, waiting to be ‘awaken’ for the purpose of reaching an spiritual enlightenment. From his resurrection, he reached that first stage of enlightenment and eventually changed to what he is today.”
“That sounds a bit fantastical don’t you think?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not sure, but after that more Ouroboros started to appear with the similar features, though one has to wonder, what he says might have possibilities. I have to wonder why they have a high level of aggression. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“To me, it sounds like humanity took a step backwards instead of forward.”
“Mentally, maybe. Physically, no.”
“Well if you say so honey.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at them. For some reason, the thought of my own mother was brought back into my mind. She was also a difficult person, denying things that didn’t fit into her ordeals, but at the same time accepting if a clear reasoning was given.
Though the whole concept of using the Ouroboros as a science experiment didn’t sit right with me, they were still human in his understanding, nothing much has changed but their high level immunity and self-repairing cells that were three times faster than a normal human.
What the man said was true, the number of aggressive Ouroboros has exponentially increased over time to the point where they were labeled as dangerous. Still, hearing about them being inhumanely treated wasn’t any of my problem. My problem was I needed to find cash fast, so far all my savings had dropped down to a couple hundred dollars and that wasn’t enough to pay for everything. Even food was eventually going to run out in the next week.
These past month, I relearned the value of food. I had completely forgotten what it was like to starve without having much to eat. Scrounging around, trying to make the most of an meal of a simple ramen by adding a couple strips of chicken or beef, if I have any of them laying around. Even then it would be considered a luxury, making it a rarity.
My eyebrows furrowed, and the swarm of stressed once again swamped me, pulling me back to the repetition mindset of ‘what do I need to do next to survive?’ So many ifs, buts, and what could’ve happened if I stayed at the job. No, I shouldn’t worry too much about such thought and instead move forward of what I could do next.
Once again, I felt a strange tingle on my right shoulder that seem to persist over time, growing and even spreading downwards on my arm and to my body. Finally a sharp pain erupted near my heart, making me clench my chest. I leaned forward, trying to lessen the pain as best as I could, but even then it just wasn’t enough. The thoughts of the past quickly dissipated and instead was replaced by how I wished that this pain would go away. Instead, the pain persisted until finally I couldn’t breathe.
My senses started to give, everything quickly turned blurry making it difficult to see. I collapsed completely onto the table, my body slowly losing the ability to even hold myself up until I fell to the side with a clatter.
Shit. Was this the end of my life? Was this all I was amount too? Dying here in the middle of the city accomplishing nothing? I haven’t even found a girlfriend in a long time, I scrunched my hands tighter on my chest, hoping to stop the pain, but instead it intensified.
People got up, looked over, wondering if I was okay. The young man who was talking to his mother ran over.
“Are you okay?!” He shook me, trying to help me get on my back and see if I would responded.
My mouth opened and closed. I honestly tried, I really did, but the pain was too intense. To mind numbing, making it difficult to even respond. All I could do was stare at his face, trying to tell him that I was not okay.
“Someone call 911! Quickly!” He shouted, searching around for anyone to do what he asked. His mother quickly responded, picking up her phone and dialed the number.
I couldn’t hold on any longer, one last pain in my chest caused me to blackout and all I saw was the man mouthing a couple of words I didn’t catch.
I floated in darkness, swimming in an endless void. For the first time in a long time, I felt dreadfully cold, almost to the point where I wondered if this was what death was like. Absolutely nothingness. Not even the stereotypical flashes of memories zipped through my mind, and instead I felt empty.
“What are you doing?”The voices in the darkness asked me. Its voice echoing endlessly. “What do you want to do with your life?”
I couldn’t help but open my eyes and search for the voice.
“Why? Why go through so much trouble?”
Whispers continually spoke with no shame, probing in my heart, looking for a reason to put me down. I knew that this darkness wanted to know why. Why do I go so far to live so hard. Instead, I could just sit down and rot, living in a world that has lost all light.
“Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know.” I replied. I look away unsure how to answer. What have I been doing with my whole life anyways? Nothing. That’s what I believed.
“Don’t you have a dream?”
“It’s alright. Why don’t you go to sleep. Let the darkness wrap you in its blanket.”
“But….I don’t want too.” My heart weep. I knew the voices were just a figment of my imagination. Just telling me to give up.
“Why do you resist me?” The voices asked over and over again. “Why do you not listen to my voice? Is it not a soothing lullaby that helps you go to sleep?”
“No, to me you are like a venom that taints me.” I replied. Even though the voice was partially right, I wanted to sleep. I wanted to stay where I was, unmoving, unable to step forward. I lost my goal. My dream. My light.
“I know you, I been with you every step of the way. From the dawn of your birth and until the end of your life.” Sweet whispers were like crack, an alluring possibility of someone there, hidden behind a dark cloud. Unable to see more than what is in front of me, it was a presence that would not disappear nor would ever go away.
“But who are you?”
Silence followed after, nobody answering my question, leaving me alone. Pondering my own thoughts, thinking over if everything was just a dream, I floated in the darkness unable to find a way out of my own hell.
“Come, we should stay in each other’s embrace to warm each other up in this dark place.”
I turned around, trying to find the voice. “I asked who are you? Do you know me?” Was it really just my imagination? Who was this person that knew my dark self? My loneliness that always craved to be understood.
“But you do know who I am, I been sleeping patiently this whole time. Waiting, watching, helping you through the dark times.”
I was confused. Was there someone I know? I don’t know who this voice belonged too. It did sound a bit masculine, but it still had that warm but dark tone of voice. Almost familiar that I could put my finger on it. Even still, did I really not wanted to move? That was a lie. A lie created in my heart to hide the shame of my own thoughts and my own failures.
My pain was like a small wounds stacked up over time, little-by-little unable to contain the hidden pain that seem to unwrap itself. A false mask that I put on to smile at the world, but in reality sadness damped my whole self of being. I knew that I wanted to find a purpose in this life. Why am I alive? Why do I exist and for what purpose?
This question has always stood in the back of my mind. Whispering in my ears, in my heart, in my soul, telling me….no…pushing me to walk again. To find the reason. To find a purpose that no one else can tell me, but for myself. Stumbling blindly without a directions. I look up and saw a shadow that stood, blocking my view of the bright light that I wish to go towards.
The jarring contrast between the shadow and the light, a painful stabbing that I had never felt so strongly. I knew what was in front me, almost out of my reach, but even still my feet shuffled forward towards the blinding harsh light. Each step was another dedication, a deep resolve in my heart, that I couldn’t give up. Even if it is a step, it tells me that it’s alright. I can do it. I refuse to end here.
Gritting my teeth, I fought with my instinct and my voices that screamed: sleep here with me. My other half. My soul.
“No.” A voice from my own lips escaped with a hint of repulsion to sleep.
“Why?” The voice of sweet nectar asked me questioningly. Unable to understand why I struggle. Why I push so hard against it. “Am I not enough?”
“No.” I spoke more clearly than before.
“Why not? I keep you warm by the fire of my own soul. I can wrap you in the darkness to hide you from the world that hurts you. I can even make you feel no pain at all.”
“No!” I yelled, pushing away the thoughts with volcanic force. “It is not enough!”
“Because you do not make me happy!”
“What a load of bullshit!” The voice thundering roared with such force, I took a step backwards in fear. “Is this all you can show me? Emotions? Feelings? Happiness?” It roared with rage. Thundering lightning shot forth above me in battle frenzy. “Feeling nothing is BLISS!”
“No. I do not want to feel empty. Hollow with no emotions. Pain? I accept. I shouted, because it tells me that I am alive!”
“Hahahahahahaha.” The voice laughed with a wild cackle, until finally it died down.
“After pain there is always relief and happiness waiting for me at the end.” Even though I spoke such words, I felt that this was the whole truth. Nothing just ends with sorrow, that was what I felt. No, what I believed and strive for.
The voice abruptly stopped laughing. I could tell without even seeing this being face, he or she was scowling. Maybe I did hit a nerve, I don’t know. In all honesty, I wondered where this all began.
“I will enjoy watching you struggle.” The voice spoke with a hint of smile that cracked with knowing. “Whenever you fall. I will be there. Always watching, waiting for you to return.”
I nodded. I knew that this was not the end. They were going to be more battles with the voice that I could not see, but hear in my head.
“Yea. I’ll see you again. Though next time, I’ll give you a better answer to your questions.” I replied. My lips were curling into a small smile. A small tingling in my heart told me I said the right thing. Even if I did not know all the answer to the question, I knew that it all began with myself.
A sigh of relief escaped my lips as I took another step. Yes, the step that told me that I was going somewhere. The step that reassured me as long as I was moving, I would surely find the answer. Sitting still would not tell me anything that I wanted to know. Giving up? I shook my head.
No. Such thought should be pushed out from my mind. My life had just started. Why end when I just found one of my purpose of self. This was my first step, carving a small victory, telling me I had won a small battle that would spiral upwards towards an unknown future. A marker that nothing is impossible.
The worst battle is in myself, and that small victory meant I can.
“This dream is worth it.” I replied softly with a hint of happiness. A smile spreads out across my face. The shadow that stood in front of me disappeared. Even though I look down the long path, and saw many other shadows that hinder me, I knew that I was not really alone.
The other me who has been watching, testing me, giving me dark thoughts but at the same time pushing me forward telling me not to give up, giving me a direction, a goal. A contradiction that confuses me, but even still this presence that tells me. Go.
“I promise. I’ll tell you my answers. Just wait.”
“A promise it shall be. I will always be watching and waiting for the answers that you will give me.” The voice laughed again into a whisper as it disappeared.
Once again, I was alone in the dark path that lead me somewhere.
“I can do this.” I sighed with dedication and took a step forward towards the unknown future that was waiting for me.
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