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Jacob, my friend, I hope you will forgive me. For now, I feel as if I need to write something down. So, this letter will serve as our correspondence. I want you to know that I have enjoyed my time with you on this Earth. We have shared great memories, you and I. It feels like just yesterday we sat in my living room, sheltered from the great blizzard outdoors by the cozy walls of my home. We tapped our glasses together before sipping on our hot cocoa, savoring the taste. Oh, what a wonderful time that was.

Do you remember the fields we used to play in as children? How we would see and chase the butterflies that landed on the petals of the most beautiful flowers? How we would roll around in the grass, together? From dusk till dawn, we had such splendid times, and we would go to your house, where your mother Isabelle would feed us until our stomachs were as full as could be.

Sorry, I know it is strange to start off this letter in this manner. It has been far too long since we have spent time together, that is all. After what I endured as of late, I find myself returning to much simpler times. Ah, the wonder of memory. What would I do without it?

As you're surely aware, I've recently experienced a home intrusion. Do not worry, I am safe. I was taken in and examined, and it was determined that I had not sustained any mental or physical trauma. How blessed I am. Yet, I must make a confession, dear friend. I lied to the authorities. Sure, I gave a basic story about the intrusion, and my account was given little scrutiny. As to why I lied, well... what occurred was certainly not a usual break in. The man spoke to me. He talked in strange tongues, not in the sense that he used a language I was not familiar with, but in the sense that what he spoke of, in substance, made little sense to me at the time.

I have spent quite some time thinking about what he said, and I have spent perhaps even more time wondering why I omitted his accounts from the story I gave the police. I don't exactly know why I did, perhaps a strong intuition brewed within me, and made me believe that his words were for me to hear. After all, it was my home he entered. He took nothing, made no attempts to harm me. It was clear he only desired one thing; to spread his story to me. Still, in hindsight, even that doesn't seem quite right.

I have taken it upon myself to entertain and interpret what he told me. Furthermore, I feel the need to relay such information to you as well, simply because I wish to share it. After all, who truly wants to be burdened with absurd stories alone? Though I initially wanted to keep his story to myself, time has passed, and I wish to exchange it with someone close to me. Tales are best when shared with those we care for, no?

When the stranger forced his way into my home through my front door, I froze. They say that in times of great fear, mankind, as well as all creatures, will either take flight, or fight. There is, contrary to common belief, a third option, that being to be perfectly, absolutely still. The man was raggedy, with unkempt, black hair which littered his face. It is said that the eyes are windows to the soul. If that is true, then his soul had been chipped and decayed. His pupils were not animated, no, they were dull and motionless. Red inked his sclera, such that he appeared inebriated. His fingers twitched, every so slightly, as he kept his hands to his sides. Then, he raised his right arm. He pointed at me with a long, wrinkly index finger, and softly whispered, "you... you will listen," through his parched lips.

I protested, but only momentarily. The man was huge, with hands large enough to wring out my neck if he wanted. He stood a foot above me, with a frame that was reminiscent of an oak tree. I backed away slowly, pressing myself against the wall. He approached, each footstep reverberating through the house. Then, he stopped, inches away from me. I got an up-close look at him, not that I enjoyed it. Thin strands of brown hair dangled from his scalp, where patches of skin had been torn off from what I could only presume to be many hours of scratching. He had an awful stench about him, emanating from each and every pore contained on his wretched, filthy body. Opening his mouth slightly, I was greeted with worn down gums and a plethora of teeth that were blunt, likely due to them constantly gnashing and grating against each other.

I speak of him this way not to illustrate him as a monster, but to make it clear that this individual was in a poor state of being. A part of me feared him, yet an even larger part of me felt sympathetic for his situation. I wondered what events had led him to that point. Soon, I would have my answer, for he spoke to me. He told me his story. A story of dreams, a story of impossibility. I will try my best to reiterate his tale for you, so that we may be burdened by it, together. It is like no story you have heard before.

First, the man spoke of dreams. He told me that within them, all things can be, no matter how impossible. That within the dreamscape, the mind is no longer within reality. It arrives at something more, something greater. A land without border, without limit, without end. A place where finite beings can enter, and comprehend, even if not fully. They can grasp simplified versions of things beyond us, beyond our natural capacities. Through such a simplification, we can perceive the formerly imperceivable, as it is represented. A small aspect of the nature of such things which exist beyond is made accessible to us. Such is the nature of dreams.

Within his dream, the man found himself in a peculiar place. At first, a complete darkness shadowed everything, rendering him blind. It was soon after, though, that he heard something. Though faint at first, the sound of ocean waves gradually grew louder, and louder, and louder, until they had became so violently loud he dug his fingers into his ears, attempting to deafen himself.

With the loss of his hearing, his sight became more powerful. He saw through the shadows, and bore witness to something truly magnificent. Some thing was. It was gargantuan beyond measure, and surrounding it was a somehow larger sea, with waves that violently crashed into the body of the being. Its form was constantly shifting. The sea and the being contained all colors, many of which the man remarked as having never seen before. So too, was the sea and the body of the being composed of many unfamiliar shapes of varying sizes. The creature lacked eyes, and yet it looked upon the man.

Even though he had mutilated his own ears, the man heard something again. A deep, bellowing roar, directly transmitted to him from the creature he observed. It was screaming. The being with no voice, with no mouth, screamed, and screamed, and screamed. The volume rendered the man nauseous, and he stumbled about aimlessly, before being grabbed by the great sea and swept underneath it.

From below the surface, he saw what the sea was truly composed of. Each wave, each particle of water, was a fractal. He peered into these fractals, and he saw what he described as "all worlds". Though he was in disbelief, he soon realized that his perception of the contents of these fractals were similar to that of a story. Each and every fractal was strung together, and within these fractals sat more fractals, and even more fractals sat within those as well. He gazed into the void, and the void gazed back. He saw the worlds, the universes, the realities, all of them. They all contained the stories of those who existed within them. He only looked into these fractals for a mere moment before he resurfaced. It was then that he was once more reminded of the violent, intrusive screaming.

He clutched his head and begged for mercy, kicking his legs desperately in an attempt to stay afloat. All around him the sea of fractals exposed him to more worlds, more realities. He could hear them as well. Every voice of those who resided inside of the fractals spoke. He heard conversations between lovers, arguments between enemies. He heard pleas for mercy from innumerable victims, and the shrill cries of innumerable mothers who had lost their children. Innumerable shouts of those mutilated and maimed in war, innumerable gasps for air from those who suffer and die. All the while the creature sat in the middle of the sea, its shrieks causing the fickle fibers of the man's sanity to loosen.

The being screamed, because it could. It had no reason, no intention, no meaning. The fractals surrounded it, but it was not contained within any fractal. The man realized that the creature he observed was something without story, without purpose, and without purpose it screamed and wriggled and croaked, eternally, infinitely.

In an instant, a bright flash enveloped the area, and the man found himself awake. As I observed his appearance and heard the monotonous tone of his voice, I was left to assume that his dream was what turned him into this husk of a human. He then rambled something, over and over. He told me this world was meaningless. He told me that our stories are written, that we are nothing more than words on a page. He told me that even the thing which is beyond such things is rendered equally as meaningless, for it lacked a story. It was like a blank canvas, unwritten. Without meaning it created all, and without meaning it will cause all to cease. It just is, nothing more, nothing less.

It simply screams.

The man would continue to ramble, before withdrawing a knife from his pocket. With one swift motion, he... dragged it across his throat, falling to the ground, dead.

I assure you once again, that I am okay. Though the event was difficult to process at first, I have come to accept what has transpired. Still, I thought about what the man told me. I entertained his notions, despite their absurdity. The ideas he espoused were fascinating, that is undeniable. That we are insignificant, that our universe is no more than a story within a book, that we are not special, and many universes like ours existence. I acknowledge the possibility of it all. To which I say...

So what?

So what if it were true? So what if reality is cold and uncaring? Of what relevance is it whether we are but stories? All I truly know is what I see around me each and every day. The family I cherish, the friends I enjoy, the principles I hold myself to, and the pride I protect. These things are real to me, real to those I love. Is there anything more important than that?

Even if a being exists out there, screaming without reason or purpose, surrounded by stories upon stories, realities upon realities, I simply do not care. The truth is, that this screaming being could have simply not created the sea he's surrounded by. After all, all things it does are without purpose, without intent. We could have not been, yet we are. That is our significance. That we are, when we could not have been, is enough. Enough motivation for me to carry on, and continue living my life.

If it is "my story" to be resilient in the face of my supposed "insignificance", so be it. I will be resilient, I will stay true to my values, to my relationships. I will not abandon them. God help the stranger who entered my home, for no man should have to endure such suffering. To honor him, I will carry the burden of his story, and I hope you will join me in that, Jacob. We have been friends since childhood. For decades we have gone through thick and thin together. There is nothing we cannot overcome.

Of course, don't take the man's story too seriously, for it is a truly absurd story indeed. I only wish he could have received the help he very clearly needed. Still, things will move on, as is the nature of all this world. Change is necessary, after all. Speaking of which, we should meet up again sometime soon, my friend. It has been far too long.

Your Friend,

Tristan



Written by Icydice
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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