It’s just a game – isn’t it? I felt myself start to break apart – I think it was… I don’t know how long ago now. And I keep thinking that I’m nearly there. I’ve nearly beaten it. We’re changing the world – worlds, even. And this last step might be the end of ours.
It’s just another hurdle; once more into the breach. One more boss fight, one more lucid dream, one more blaze of glory and gunfire, one more ‘once more with feeling’. The final curtain might be more final than we knew but we always knew we could win. That’s why we’ve been fighting so hard and so long, isn’t it?
But, you know… seeing my handwriting scrawl across that pillar… watching as another me resigned herself to death while another filled with fear and was swallowed into the nothing. And another her. And another and another.
And her blood on my hands. We raced up the pyramid, bare flesh and bone and our fists balled and our hearts full and we ran headlong into the hungry blades of warriors and fanatics. It’s easy to be fearless when you don’t know you’re alive. But her blood on my hands, soaking into my shirt; her warmth fast getting cold as I staggered away with her slung in my arms. More and more this feels like it’s all I have; and yet more and more fantastical by the hour.
I saw things I never could have imagined. Worlds I never knew. Ends of worlds. Time turned back and forth.
So maybe the joke is on me. Maybe this is not the dream; not the delusion I imagined it to be. Maybe the delusion has been that I had dreamed at all.
But if I’m dreaming… why not her? If I’m dreaming and I die, the story is always so; there’s a girl. And it was always her.
But if I’m dreaming… how long has it been? And am I lying alone in the dark in some world that will never be as bright or as terrible as this; and there she doesn’t love me, and there I didn’t die, and there even if I wake again the world will always be grey.
But if this isn’t a dream – if everything that’s happened has happened and the world has fallen down; and the Fifth and Pillar become as they should be and always will have been – will everything we’ve lived and loved and breathed be rewritten after all?
And will I, in some other world, awaken as I lose the threads of her; and only look fondly at her passing in the street and not remember how I loved her? And wander by the Enchanted Forest one day and see her card atop a pack and feel compelled to step inside to -- nothing. Just the smell of old books and candle wax. The promise of another life; another time.
And will I never again feel as alive as I did when I was dreaming?