Here I am, standing on a rooftop. It’s been over six thousand years since I last stepped foot on this roof. Nothing has changed since then. I was forty-five back then, my first iteration within The Game. I don’t remember some of my past lives, but I still remember how I felt standing here on the rooftop that overlooked the rest of the city.
A month prior my wife had left me. She had wanted freedom and a new life away from all the misery and strife I had apparently caused her. I just thought she needed some time to herself. When I contacted her about our future, she sent back a scathing message.
“A part of me wants you to know how much you hurt me and how angry I was at you but the truth is, it’s not worth my time. I wanted our marriage to work after I had left. I never wanted it to end, I just needed some effort from you but you made the choice not to fight for us. Now the truth is I have moved on. You treating me so badly and breaking my heart was the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I thank God for it.”
Having had six thousand years to ponder her message, I still do not understand how leaving the life we had worked so hard to gain was her way of trying to fix it. That didn’t concern me back then. I had more pressing questions sloshing around my alcohol/depression-damaged mind.
Would she come to my funeral? Would she find my suicide note and forgive me? Would she cry in sorrow or laugh with joy?
I still recall the feeling of my body impacting with the sidewalk. It was deliciously painful, but due to all the vodka and rum I’d binged on earlier that night, I felt only a percentage of the pain.
As my mind caught up to the pain my body was experiencing, I wondered if there was an afterlife in The Game. Another level if you will. Heaven or Hell. Reincarnation. Or maybe our bodies in the real world died if we died in The Game. Back then it was a mystery as to what happens when a person dies in The Game. Everyone had their theories, but none were confirmed.
As I closed my eyes for the last time, they opened back up to a brilliant light. I felt like I was being lifted up from the ground. For a brief moment I really thought I had entered Heaven and an angel was guiding my soul to the Pearly Gates.
“Are you hungry, my little one?” An angelic, yet unfamiliar, voice spoke close to my ear. As my eyes focused, I found that I was being held by an unfamiliar woman in an unfamiliar room, a nursery by the looks of it.
I tried to speak to the woman that held me, but all that came out was an infantile screech. Bewildered, I tried again, but a bottle of warm formula was shoved into my mouth.
Who was I to turn down a warm beverage?
Soon I fell asleep, comforted by that strange woman. When I woke up, I found that I was still in that room. It wasn’t a coma-induced dream. I wasn’t in a hospital bed. I was an infant. I had been reborn.
Except, I could still remember everything that I had experienced during my forty-five years of existence. I was no longer that pitiful shade of a man that committed suicide due to an alcoholic depression caused by his wife’s departure.
Thanks to a brightly colored wall decoration, I was now a baby boy named Peter.
There was one theory that stated that when a person in The Game died, their body was deleted from the system. The body in The Game was simply a pattern of numbers. It was our thoughts, our souls that were essential to The Game. The theory further stated that the memories of a person were wiped clean and then that soul was inserted into a new digital body. It made sense.
I was the exception to the rule. A glitch in the system. An abnormality. I decided in my crib that I would treat this new life as a gift. Live life to the fullest.
And I did for the most part. My second iteration in The Game didn’t last that long. My mother and I were driving to the zoo to celebrate my ninth birthday. She didn’t notice the semi that failed to stop at the intersection.
This time, I didn’t enjoy dying. There was no booze to dull the pain. I felt the impact of the semi. I felt my bones shattering. When our car stopped rolling, I was able to twist my head around to see if my mother was still alive. She was stretching her hands out to me. If the collision hadn’t shattered them, I’d have reached out to take her mangled hand.
There was a familiar smell of gasoline. Then an intense heat. The last thing I experienced before dying, for the second time, was that I could smell my own flesh burn away. Not the most pleasant death in my opinion.
There have been countless other lifetimes. I’ve been male, female, elf, dragon, even an ant-person. Most of my lives were human though. The thing about The Game is that there are multiple, almost infinite, worlds and dimensions to explore. You couldn’t possibly experience them all in one lifetime.
Trust me on that.
After awhile though, it gets to you. That excitement when you spawn back into a new body, a new world, a new life. It all starts to fade. Now I know why The Game erases your memories after you die. Having thousands of years worth in experiences and memories starts to drive you crazy. Even the human brain has its limits. Naturally, over the course of six thousand years I’ve started to forget some of these lifetimes. Which is why I’ve started this blog. I can share with the rest of The Game my knowledge and if I need to remember something, it’s right here for me to find again. No one will even believe what they’re reading so it’s the perfect place to put my memories. They all think this is fiction.
It’s quite frustrating trying to convince your friends and family that you are an immortal being stuck in a never-ending loop of new lives.
In my most recent past life, I decided to try and make my mother, at that time, understand my secret. It didn’t go well. She was on the verge of calling a doctor so that I can undergo therapy. Been there, done that. It doesn’t help. We were shouting at each other, things escalated. I had taken a pair of scissors and pressed them up against my throat.
“See you in a few years,” I had said. Then I slit my own throat.
I know what you’re going to say. It was a horrible thing to do. I get that. But what you have to understand is that I’ve lived for six thousand years. I’ve grown a bit alien when it comes to other people’s feelings.
It took me almost forty years to find her again. When I spawned again, I set out to find my past mother and tell her “I told you so.” I didn’t mean for it to take forty years though. Turns out I spawned pretty far away from where my past life had lived.
By the time I found her she was in a nursing home. I approached her not knowing if she’d remember our discussion. One of the nurses pointed her out to me and I walked straight up to her. She was facing away from me in a wheelchair looking out the window to the field of pink roses that were growing like weeds. Before I could reach her though, another nurse stopped me.
“You’re wasting your time honey. She’s far away from here. If you know what I mean.”
“What’s wrong with her?” I had asked.
“When she was younger, she suffered a rather traumatic event. Shortly after, she fell into a coma,” the nurse said.
“Didn’t the government pass a law that euthanized people in her condition?” I knew they had because I was the one that wrote the bill and lobbied for it to become law. The last thing I wanted was to suffer a debilitating mental disease. In 1350 AG (After Game), it became public knowledge that when people died their brains were spawned into a new body. I also had some help in proving that theory.
In 1459 AG, the governing body of The Game passed the bill arguing that since people didn’t really die in The Game, it would be inhumane to allow them to be trapped in a body suffering from Alzheimer’s or a similar mental disease. Or an unrecoverable comatose state like the one my mother was now in.
“They did, but she signed a DNE order,” the nurse said.
I looked at her vacant stare, wondering why she’d sign a Do Not Euthanize order. “Why would she do that?” I said to myself more than to the nurse.
The nurse shrugged. “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but she won’t mind. Her file stated something about her son committing suicide in front of her. She was adamant that he was going to return. Crazy huh?”
The nurse left leaving only my mother and I to look at the field of pink roses. I tried talking to her, but it didn’t do any good. She was somewhere even I couldn’t go.
After that I visited a Game Hacker that said that he could fix my glitch. For the amount of money I paid him, he better have.
“If you’re telling the truth, why would you want to throw that gift away?” he had asked me. It was a fair question. I had amassed so much wealth, power, and knowledge that I could rule this place. I could reign supreme and submit everyone and everything to my will.
“Because I want to feel again,” I told the Game Hacker. He shrugged like it was such a trivial thing to feel something. After so many lifetimes you become numb to everything. You forget how your actions impact others. You can become the villain just as easily as becoming the hero. I couldn’t let myself find out, so I hired the hacker to fix me. Now there was only one way to find out.
So here I stand on this six thousand year old rooftop. Nothing has changed in all that time. Hopefully when I step off this ledge, I’ll wake up not remembering anything. I yearn for that innocence, that sense of wonderment when you do something for the first time. I can’t wait to feel love again, even if it’s the sting of rejection. At least I’ll feel something again.
Stepping off the ledge, I commit suicide one last time. At least, the last time I can remember. Nostalgia flooded my thoughts as I hit the same pavement I hit six thousand years ago. I breathe one last time and smile as my life ends.
Hey, it’s me Jim. Leave me a comment how you want to see the next part plays out. Will the narrator spawn back into his next life with the glitch fixed or will his curse continue? You decide his fate!