The cities are screaming, sirens sound, lights beaming into the sky, the celebrations have begun, and the cities are all in an uproar as the yearly global science fair has begun. Touring from major city to city until the big final in Rem, the capital of Hollow. Everyone flocks to their nearby city to enjoy the week-long celebration that distracts from the horror of the world they live in.
As the people flock, Anodyne sits on a nearby hill watching the lights of all the vehicles driving below and the airships flying overhead, taking the much richer inhabitants to their penthouse suits in style. He sighs, leaning back into the hillside, taking long, slow breaths; he closes his eyes to focus on the sounds of everyone cheering for the famed scientists of Hollow as they slowly emerge from the floating islands above.
His tranquility is interrupted by the sound of light footsteps approaching from behind; Anodyne turns to see who is responsible before laying back down with closed eyes.
“I usually just smite those that sneak up on me, so consider yourself lucky.”
The cloaked figure walked up to Anodyne, standing by his side, staring out into the city.
“It has been a while since we last talked, Anodyne; I miss these conversations.”
“Well, I might talk to you more if you did not stop wandering all over the world like some kind of wise nomad.”
“You are far too kind, but you can see into the minds of all in Hollow. Why not just peer into my mind and find me that way?”
“That only works for my inhabitants; I do not know what you are; you just appeared one day. My first theory was you were a deity from another universe, but you lack the energy signature. You are just you, outlying data, an unknown; that is why I can have these conversations with you.”
“Yes, it does seem whenever we do meet is at a period in time where you need help with something. Maybe I am a deity, just more powerful than any other, only appearing when I am needed the most.”
“Ha! My ego will not allow that. Besides, you could not think good of yourself even if you tried, always self-conscious, especially about your looks, Mr. mask and cloak.”
“I know my issues, and I understand what is needed to get through them; it is just taking a little longer than I initially thought; besides do you really want to bring up my old problems or your new ones?”
Anodyne sat up, opening his eyes; he hugged his legs as he watched the end of the traffic jam enter the city leaving behind a few scattered lights on the road.
“That is what my life is, a traffic jam, constant slow-moving nothing, then all of a sudden it will just empty, and I will be left with but a few fleeting lights that tend to fade into the emptiness that is the night. No matter what state I am in, I am never truly happy or sad, just in a moment of emotional limbo where nothing seems to change my mood.”
“Anodyne, you are always so focused on yourself. This is why you can’t reach happiness; your life may either be empty or filled with a slow-moving nonevents, but just like this road, if you look around, your life will improve. The road is black and white, plain not interesting, but if you look up, you can see the rolling hills and the shining lights of the city. If you take the time to look around outside of you, you may find that life is much nicer than you initially thought.”
The cloaked figure sat next to Anodyne, mimicking his sitting position,
“When your life is clogged, and you find it hard to move forward, take the time to look at your surroundings. Then when you find you have nothing, look forward to the cue of cars ahead, prepare yourself for the next clog, then maybe it will be better next time.”
“Why do you help? I torture this land. You are the nicest man alive.”
“Well, you are not torturing the land right now; you may say it is because of your pact to never attack this week each year, but you had to make that pact which means under all of you, there is the possibility you may become good.”
“So you are saying that I am good deep down?”
Minutes passed as Anodyne sat waiting for the follow-up; he sat there, dreading the thought that that was the end of his sentence.
“But you said that under all my bad, I am good.”
“No, I said there is a possibility you may become good. There is no deep down you are your actions; I believe there is possibility of change but never a deep down pure heart. If you were good deep down, you would not let yourself run around destroying the lives of the innocent.”
The cloaked figure stood back up; turning from the city, he started walking back down the hill from where he came.
“You are evil. There is nothing else to it; the only reason you do not attack the Week of Knowledge is because you are curious about their creations, nothing but selfish motivation, and if you are incapable of getting past that, you will be evil till you die. And that, that is all you will be remembered as.”
The man continued his way down the hill stopping on the edge of a path,
“I already know all of that, I know who I am, what I do is bad, and I want to be good. But I am more terrified of trying to gain their friendship and failing than I am of allowing them to hate me. I know I am broken, but I am too afraid to change.”
“It has been good, Anodyne; I look forward to seeing you again. I am trying out a new mask, so it might be a while before you see me again; I have to re-mold this one, and It takes time and looks horrible during.”
“Maybe I can visit you next time then.”
The cloaked figure walked down the path out of sight from Anodyne, leaving him alone with his thoughts. Everything that was said rolled around Anodyne’s mind, leaving him more confused than before. He pulled his knees in closer, for he knew he had no deep down that he was incapable of changing; he was going to be broken till the end.