When life ends, what comes of the ripples left behind?
|Chapter 2: A will to live
Death... It wasn't all that pleasant. Though it wasn't much less pleasant than being alive, it didn't have any particular perks that Roland could note.
What did it mean to be alive in the first place? He had a job, he had a family once, and he had a routine which he adhered to religiously. But what did it actually mean to live? In his endeavor into the afterlife, he hadn't been able to fathom exactly what the whole purpose of life was. In his experience, life wasn't such a wonderful thing to begin with. Well, it was at one time, but that time had passed. To be born into a world of hardship, poverty, destruction, and hatred was not what anyone would desire. At least in death, he could find some peace to the many plagues that feasted upon the world.
He recalled the plagues of egypt. At one time, it had been the known world, though it had grown exponentially in size since those times, the plagues never left. Though boils and sores weren't the plagues that had currently ravaged humanity. They still ravaged nonetheless. War, famine, hatred, disease, deprivation, degredation, poverty, and at the top of all of it, humanity itself was a plague. One which ravaged itself since it had crawled out of the slime some half-million years ago.
If that was life, then there was no reason to live in the first place other than to suffer the fact that it was unavoidable. If that was life... he wanted no part of it. He had been there and done it, the only thing it did was take away the only pleasures he had; his wife and daughter. Life itself was a monstrosity - an abomination.
"Do you just plan to spend the rest of your eternity standing there staring at those two rocks in the ground," Michael asked, blankly staring off into the stagnant sunset.
"What if I do?"
"Then I'd say you're a lost cause," he replied, turning away from him.
Michael knew better than that, for Roland needed something, anything that would change his mind. It was there; right in front of him, but he had to help himself to it.
"I've been a lost cause for a long time Michael."
Shaking his head, he could clearly see that Roland was a deeply troubled individual. He didn't believe in god; he didn't believe in anything. Though, he couldn't blame him.
"Therein lies the problem Roland," Michael said, "You believe yourself to be so lost in this world. You're searching so hard for reasons to detest everything that you are and were, so naturally you're finding them."
"What are you saying," he asked, turning away from the tombstones.
"None of those reasons are good enough."
They weren't good enough? Good enough for who, some spirit that happened across him in his residual existence? They were plenty good enough for him, for he did detest everything. Not just himself, but everything. There was no reason not to. Nothing good came of anything, so why try to make the best of it?
"Roland, let me tell you something."
"I'm all ears," he replied, though it was mostly a lie.
"There's more to life than meets the eye. You people, in all your wisdom and knowledge, have developed ways to answer some of the world's most impossible questions. Yet so many of you end up here, asking themselves why everything comes down to this. You're all looking for this complex answer, which you assume is complex simply because you think it has to be. The truth is, it really is just that simple. Not everything is in the books you've read."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean," Roland asked, as he trudged away from him.
Following close at his heels, Michael was quick to reply, "You still think you're life ended when you died. If it had ended, you wouldn't be here."
He couldn't take it anymore, he was tired of the lectures.
"My life ended when your god took my family from me!"
"Roland, life doesn't end. It didn't end with your family, and it didn't end with you."
Spinning to face him, Roland clenched his fists trying desperately to hold in his rage.
"Sometimes life does end Michael."
Michael shut his eyes, sometimes it could be so frustrating to change someone's mind.
"Life is the most powerful force in all the world," he said to the angered man, "It will never cease to exist as long as there is a will to live. Despite everything you've been through, can you honestly say that it's better to be dead than be alive?"
"Perhaps it's better to have never lived at all," Roland replied, marching off in frustration.
Michael stood amidst the intangible mass of sorrow unsure of the man who once called himself Roland. There was so much about him that hated life, but there was even more about him that craved for it. Perhaps he hadn't found his reason for life. Sad as it sounded, he knew that it happened all too often in that place. A place which Roland did not belong.
He watched as he stomped away in the distance wonderring what he could say to bring him back to life. Well, in a sense that would at least make him feel like he had a life. Alive in spirit, for the body wasn't all that important.
"You've got your work cut out for you."
The deep echoing voice startled him, as he spun to face its source. In front of him the very air seemed to condense into something tangible. As the whirling mists began to take shape, he could make out the figure of a stout man sillhoetted within the vapors.
"He's complicated," he said.
Michael nodded, "He is, but I won't give up on him."
As the mists dissipated, the man stepped forward. In the dull light of the hazy sun, Michael recognized him. It was Samael.
"That's very courteous of you Michael, but you realize we can't wait forever."
He couldn't believe it. Someone stuck in eternity with him, telling him that he couldn't wait forever. Forever was the only thing they had.
"It's going to take me some time Samael, he's not ready to see."
Samael nodded, "I understand that my brother, but I have laws that I must abide by."
"So do I! Don't tell me about the laws, I was there when they were first created."
"Calm yourself," he replied, "I'm just reminding you that this is not the way we normally do things."
Michael shook his head in frustration, "I know that, but I have to help him. I can clearly see a fire within him. It's nearly quenched, but it is still there. Samael, if I don't do this, you know what will happen. He doesn't deserve that."
"That may be the case, but if he can't accept this, I must carry out the law."
"I understand," Michael replied, turning away.
"Why not allow me to speak with him," Samael asked, taking his place beside his brother.
Michael was silent. Roland wasn't ready for that, and he knew it.
"Not yet Samael."
"Then I'll give you seven days Michael. After that you know I can't wait any longer."