The spider and the fly
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this, but, that would just be polite, kind even, and though I am frequently polite, I am rarely kind. Would I have lured you to my lovely lair, enticing you with words you longed to hear, caressing your fragile ego, filling your already cluttered mind with vague promises you construed as you wished to believe what you would, just to set you free willy nilly? Decidedly not, dear Reader. Look around. Would I have led you oh so gracefully to this widowless room, locking the door gently behind you (Did you drop the letter to check the door, or let it dangle, forgotten, from your hand, numb with shock or, shall I say it?, fear?) Would I have left you here awaiting what fate has in store, to dwell upon what must to you be my loathsome decor, of blood spattered walls and floor, if you had even an infinitesimal hope of seeing the dawn?
Did you drop the letter to run screaming to the door, banging your fists till they bled? Or did you simply sink to the floor a huddled heap, to weep?
However you react, know that I am licking my lips in acute anticipation. I am the spider, you are the fly.
Tonight, you die.
Listen closely, dear Reader, in the stillness of the night. As the shadows draw closer, press in, the game will begin when on an impossible wind near your ear, you'll hear my voice as I whisper your name.
A Welcome Note on the Sidetable
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. However, that is no longer a valid concern. Time doesn't move here, so there is no end. If something doesn't end, it can't be survived nor can you succumb.
I wish I could tell you that you will enjoy this, but enjoyment and pain are only experienced within the framework of Time. If experiences don't end, we cannot attach value to them. We cannot evaluate. But, perhaps not examining moments in The Endless is a blessing for those who spent their Time overanalyzing.
Now, open the closet and reach in. Anything you want to wear is there.
Meet us in the dining hall. These constructs will not always be needed; this is your soft landing.
Time is ended. Welcome to The Endless.
A Letter Found on a Headless Corpse
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. But, if I did, I would need to believe that I can survive this too. If you're reading this, I'm probably dead and you're probably lost. You may have been here for a few days, months, or even years; but, you probably know by now that you're in a trap.
But take comfort; you and I aren't the only ones marooned here. There's a whole tradition of letters to find in the forest if you go looking. I can't give you a map because, as you must have noticed, the terrain is constantly changing; but if you found my flask, then you should be able to find the plane - look for it in the trees. There are 26 letters in the glove compartment.
But now I will tell you my story in brief -
I was carried here in a storm after my boat capsized. I didn't find anyone or anything on my first day.
On the second day, I went to look for fresh water further inland and I found a small plane wreck. The pilot had lost his head, but he had been dead a long time so I thought it must have rolled off naturally; I never found it. I scavenged the wreck and found a flask, a tarp, a hatchet, a notebook, a functional compass, and a few other things which proved to be useless.
Later that day, I finally noticed that I hadn't heard or seen any birds or even insects. In fact you'll find there is no animal life of any kind here - with one possible exception, but I'll get to that later dear reader.
On the third day, I plotted a course for the mountain to find the highest ground I could and build a bonfire there. After about two days of trekking toward the the mountain, I noticed that it wasn’t getting any bigger on the horizon. I kept making my way under the canopy but every time I glimpsed the mountain ahead, it remained just as far away. I wondered if I wasn’t simply taking too many detours. But, using the pilot's compass, I had made sure to travel in a roughly straight line since I left the beach. The slight incline that I thought was leading me to the base of the mountain was continuous even though I didn't seem to be any further above sea-level when I glanced back at the ocean. At some point I gave up and began walking back to the beach. I might have known better. To date, I haven’t reached it.
So, that's the mess I'm in dear reader, and I assume you're in it too. Whatever hypothesis you've come up with is as good as mine.
But if that wasn't enough already, here's the real rub; if you haven’t noticed already, you aren’t alone on this island. The first time I found a barely legible letter which mentioned "The Beast" that "is always watching," I thought I had found my first nut-case; I wish. Oh, how I wish I was alone with the dead. But, indeed, there is some creature hiding just beyond my line of sight. I don't know how long it's been stalking me, but I first noticed its presence when I started wandering the forest at night in hopes of spotting a fire. The Beast doesn't seem to make any noise at all, but sometimes I can see its giant silhouette eclipse the stars as it passes through the gaps in the canopy. I can never catch it moving except out of the corner of my eye - you must pretend that you don't notice it.
Needless to say, I've never gotten a good look at the thing and if it weren't for the regularity of the marks it leaves on the trees, I would continue to believe it was simply the shadow of my fear - if you look about half-way up the trunk of any decently large tree, chances are you'll see the marks. Besides, where do you think the pyramids of skulls come from? If you've seen them, you might think they were carefully stacked by some indigenous people; the varying orientation of the skulls is obviously intentional. But if there are indigenous people here, they're much better at hiding their presence than the Beast; there are no human artifacts to discover except for the varied items found on or near the bodies of the men and women who found themselves stranded here. And, of course, every single body I've found was missing its head.
Well, I'm running out of charcoal. I'm putting this letter in my flask because I want it to be preserved in the event of my death. If you find it on my body, don't hesitate to avail yourself of everything on it. I wish you the best of luck dear reader and I sincerely hope you find a way out of this.
P.S. Making fire is safe, but keep moving! I've never camped in one spot longer than six or seven hours. I’m not sure why the Beast doesn’t just add me to one of its piles, but I can only guess that it's interested to see what I do next.
A Soft Pat on the Hand
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this, but you won't. I know. You want to put this letter down already. You want to run away before you read the stark truth contained within these pages. The unfortunate reality is that you'll know what I've written all too well, in the end. We all will. Because... None of us is going to survive this.
Not your children. Or pets. Or even the giant sequoia tree you planted as a seedling. Sure, it might outlive the rest of us, but eventually, under some circumstance or other, it'll die. You'll die. I will die.
And frankly, that's terrifying.
But it's also kinda wonderful.
Can you imagine the low stake rubbish our lives would become otherwise?
You know, for a brief, shinning moment, we'd captured it. That phrase "You only live once." It was a hollow call that sang to the heart of us all. It was an anthem of freedom: jump. Run. Walk barefoot in the forest. Swim in the ocean. Taste the essence of life.
Before it became an excuse to eat tide pods, the heart of the sentiment was pure.
You. Only. Live. Once.
Yeah, yeah. We're not talking about your theories or beliefs here. We're talking about now. Today.
You get one.
And then it's gone.
Shit. It'd be easy to collapse under the weight of such a responsibility, wouldn't it?
So many of us do. Wasting hours scrolling, eating, loathing ourselves and everyone else on this god forsaken planet. I do it. God, how many hours of my life have I wasted playing fucking Candy Crush?
And I'm not saying we don't sometimes need to "zone out," for lack of a better term. We do.
Zoning out and checking out are two different things.
Have you checked out of your own life?
Have you signed off?
Are you content to waste one more precious, finite second doing all this shit you hate?
Screw being stuck.
Dig yourself out.
We are running out of time.
And I've seen people die. I've seen the breath of life leave their bodies in one quaking, gasping shudder. I've seen their souls clinging about the ceilings, yanking at the hair of their loved ones, desperate for one last touch. The lights flicker to the sounds of their screams: their agony at having wasted such an opportunity as life itself. And before they can touch-- hold to their loved ones one last time-- they're sucked away into the abyss. For better or worse. To the sound of heaven's trumpets or the shrieking parlor of hell.
And then I've seen the quiet peace of saying goodbye to a life well spent. The room is warm. The hearts that ache, but do not shatter fill all the world for but one moment with the sound of their pulsing love. There is light, and quiet, and a silence that does not grate, in that moment-- in that soft rush of breath. These souls do not cling about the shoulders or scream or weep. They exit our world with a soft pat on the hand of the one sitting beside their bed. And the tears that fall water flowers in a garden of memory.
I want to step quietly.
I want to know, when my time has come that I have lived and loved and held tight to the things that are truly important. I want you to know it, too.
Because, I want to tell you that you'll make it out of this alive...
But you won't.
And if death should greet me on the morrow, I would leave with a soft pat on the hand.
To Whom It May Concern,
Dear Reader, I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. But then I would have failed or succeeded in the Impossible. It would mean that you would walk away from this letter unchanged. Oh the letter would stay, the words the same, dull and lifeless. But you my friend, if I may, will have lost or gained. What it is that will have crossed you in profit or deficit, will depend entirely on your Mental Bank.
Accounts vary like that. Some take in a little something and walk away with a lot. Others find that something, and treat it all the same, like a sack of garbage to toss. Having already picked this up, and entered this far, the meter at the teller is ringing you up...
"Credit or Debit?"
Funny how those terms used to mean exactly that; now they're both in the negative:
"Credit or Debit??"
"Would you like a bag with that?"
I trust you have a healthy Mental Bank Account.
Survival Letter challenge @Flotzam
To whom it will concern
I wish I could tell you that you are going to survive this, but I cannot.
Only you can discover that.
I know that it is hard right now. That you can see yourself "getting bad" again.
All I can tell you is stay close with your friends, do not push them away. They are your friends, they are not there because they "just feel bad for you."
Your a not a box to check on a list of "types of friends you need"
I cannot tell you you will survive this,
but if you tell yourself that, maybe you can.
I wish you happier days
-A person who wished they had been told this sooner.
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. But you won't.
Well... not all of you. You can't always walk out of your battles completely intact, we're much to fragile for that. Even the strongest of stones, that which has seen the universe and everything that came before us, eventually get carved out from storms. The gentle water keeps washing them clean, beating against the exterior, shaping something that only nature might create. You should know, even the softest things, like the drops of water that fall from the heavens, can wear out your heart and penetrate your thickest skin. You are not a stone after all. You are a human, with a soul, who protect the blood that runs through your veins, even subconsciously. Yes, the storm is coming at you, and you must fight it. But here is a universal truth: where there is an external battle, an internal one brews as well.
Look inside of you, tell me where you see the bruises. Tell me if you can still see your own heart. Tell me where the scars line your skin, moving like Van Gogh's Starry Night. You tell yourself it's okay, it's okay if your hands are stained red, it's only your own blood anyway. I'm sure people look at you, in broad daylight and give you a small smile, only to say "You'll get through this." And yes, you will get through this, but not all parts of you will survive it.
There's an Arabic saying, “You want to die? Then throw yourself into the sea and you’ll see yourself fighting to survive. You do not want to kill yourself, rather you want to kill something inside of you.” So in this way, you will cut away parts of yourself. You see, my beautiful child, the horrid truth is, that in order for you to survive, you will end up sacrificing other parts of yourself.
To this day, I can look in the mirror and tell you, that I can only see the parts of me I've killed to ensure other parts of me survive. Survival is messy, not all of you will make it, but you are greater than the sum of your parts. My love, the clock will keep ticking, and your heart will still keep beating. I'll tell you another secret: survival is overrated. We've destroyed the word. You see, soldiers come out of battle and we say, "my god, it's wonderful they survived." But if you look into their eyes, it'll tell you something different, it'll tell you that they did not survive. Too many parts of themselves had been lost, cut away, stolen. They got through it, but they did not survive.
It's a curse of having strong shoulders. It's pessimistic to say, but go on, meet me in the sea and I will take your hand and we will ensure that we get through it. I can't promise survival for all of you, but I promise that the best parts of you will make it through.
Like I said, survival is overrated.
You Incorrigible Reader
Dear Reader, I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this.
For you, Reader, I forgo using my last wish to provide for my hungry family of Fannie and sixteen children, to get a job better than at the mines, and to prolong the life of my aging mother. Not to mention, freeing myself from...this nightmarish lamp....
This screen that you are reading is scored with the curse of the genie Bueligun, condemning all Readers to his lamp. I've disabled that curse, but my own hand writing this is none to steady...Bueligun is coming back, he says, to feast--
And now...now how do you feel about your curiosity, you incorrigible Reader you, whose inevitable sight of this screen has condemned me to die!!
Dear Reader, I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this,
But I cannot. There are two of you, after all, with whom death must confer.
The you that has grown from a dribbling child to the damned adult, and the you that was born of mistreatment and neglect.
You're two equal halves. Who is awarded competency, when you are both undeniably real, and the same form of fucked?
It is like having an ornery twin- they do something awful and you must amend for it, simply because you share the same coat.
You may survive. If you can live with the scratching cat with sharpened claws battering at the door of your consciousness.
Or perhaps the world will take pity, and run you down with a school bus.
Who knows, after all I am just another shade of you.
Your Struggles Are Real
I wish I could tell you that you're going to survive this. I survived, but you're not me. This is one of those particularly bad lows. One you'll always remember as a time not to go back to if you get through. The thoughts shift towards ideation. There are people who care. I promise you're not alone or unloved. Think about who would be distraught if you were gone. I urge you to try not to be critical. There is a reason even if there's no end goal. You can search for your purpose for a lifetime as long as you're here to search for it. Give yourself a chance by staying away from anything you could hurt yourself with. See a therapist if you can and need it. This is hard for you, and that's normal. I hope to see you on the other side to hear about how you survived. See you soon, my friend! I hope you'll be around to talk. You can tell me everything or nothing, whatever works for you. I'm not going to end with a cheesy empowering saying because I know how annoying those can get when you're down. It's up to you. I'll understand if this is it and I'll celebrate with you when/if you want to if it's not.