As mentioned in my previous post, I hereby present the first chapter of this aspiring serial piece! Apologies for being a bit tardy in regard to the schedule, but I was away all day yesterday, and I’ve been coughing out my insides throughout most of today.
Well, anyway, without further ado, here it is: the as-of-yet-untitled collective piece I intend to work into a serial. The next instalment should arrive soon enough. For now, enjoy!
TO MY ESTEEMED READER:
That is, if indeed, anyone other than me were ever to read this, then please, let me make it so that your curiosity is satiated. First, let me assure you with my earnest sincerity that yes, the manuscript you currently behold was crafted in its entirety during the bulk of the year 2025 well within the continent of Debara, when and where the bizarre incident that befell such a large portion of this world’s populace took its full effect; nowhere else, no sooner, no later.
Furthermore, it should be stated that even though at the time of this document’s publication, some of the individuals which it refers to are still very much alive, but are very likely to have changed their names or otherwise concealed their identity (it bears mentioning that even during the events in question, some of the people involved made use of pseudonyms, their reasons for doing so left to the reader’s interpretation). As such, I must urge my reader not to pursue their acquaintance, if nothing else, out of respect for their privacy and decisions.
On an additional note: The reason I have chosen to publish that which I partook in during those fateful years rather than elaborate on a more carefully revised memoir is simple: I consider the statement of the facts to be far more valid than descriptions and recollections, which this manuscript would almost invariably degenerate into were I, or any other remnant of that time, to attempt its retelling.
Without further ado, I present the full transcript of the typewritten documents that tell the entirety of my experience.
April / 21 / 2025
The morning had been tranquil, as all mornings had been throughout the weeks since this strange affair began. Having taken that time to grow into my own routine, I started this one by rising not long after dawn. It had been a few days since I had eaten anything, and my stomach was starting to show signs of straining, so I deemed it necessary to procure a visit to the city’s innards. Though I knew this was indispensable– or at least thought it so–, I was rather reluctant to make any kind of contact with those who dwelled below.
Regardless, it wasn’t long before I deemed it best to get over with my business as soon as could be. Grabbing my bag, I began to climb my way down onto the streets. A couple hundred steps later, I emerged. Noting there was no sign of life or movement within sight or earshot, I began to make my way towards the place were I would find what I needed.
Even though that was hardly my first time navigating the city’s streets since the affair began, I couldn’t help but feel strange as I strode through the quietness. To think, that not that much long ago, these roads and bends would have been bursting with activity independently of what day of the week- or indeed, the year- it was, and that now there was no trace of the ones who used to walk there, save for phantoms and memories. But even then, this kind of sentiment could only be entertained so long before one thought about the transition from their presence to their absence, which instantly steers the whole business away from any semblance of melancholy and firmly into the realms of the bizarre.
Something I knew for certain was that everyone that remained had experienced it- how could they not have? But still, those of us that held any discernible intelligence found that we had no choice but to stop thinking about it. There were ones who continued to do so, but unsurprisingly, they had fallen into an indefinite search for answers which no doubt continued to this day. Answers of that kind, the rest of us had come to discover, are secrets that are kept by the darkest reaches of nature itself, rather than by any conscious mind. For what force other than the mysteries that surround us all could be capable of such a thing, and to do it in such a way?
But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. My dear reader (if, at some distant moment in the future, this does make it into the hands of anyone other than those of us who have, at present, managed to fully retain our conscience), I cannot imagine that you could be clueless as to the nature of what I write of, due to how impossible it has been to ignore by the entire population of this planet, but still, I must acknowledge that there are a few details that no one outside the core of the events could possibly know; details that need clarification.
For one thing, our bafflement at the events of that caused this entire ordeal to begin grew even wider when the bodies of those affected began to disappear. As if it wasn’t enough to have half of the continent’s population fall into an inexplicable, indefinite and imperturbable bout of sleep with no warning whatsoever, now they had suddenly gone missing! Let me assure you, dear reader, that everyone I know of- myself included, even if only for a time- searched absolutely everywhere our eyes and hands could reach in search of those who had fallen unconscious, but it was all to no avail. And this last bit is just a rumour (since no one in their right minds will try and confirm it), but I believe it is said that the unfortunate sleeping ones the Chaotics had managed to capture had vanished just like the rest.
Soon enough, I had arrived at my destination. The market, which had been left open through the entire incident’s duration, was not an uncommon source for much of what was needed to fulfill our worldly necessities. I frequented it when I found myself in the urgent need of nourishment (something which seldom came these days, independently of how things had been before the events began), and I knew that the Keepers did too, so in retrospect, I should have been less than surprised to find some of them prowling around the food area.
I thought it would be easier to just wait until they were done and avoid them, but at the rate they were plundering the visible supplies, I feared there would be nothing left for me to reap lest I act at once, so I saw no other choice but to advance. Sure enough, they noticed me immediately.
I recognised the voice and offered no response.
“Charming as ever, I see,” she continued. “Well, help yourself, we’d hate to leave you hungry.”
Silently, I began to fill my bag with the nearest supplies. Taking special hurry, it took me less than a minute to take what I thought would be most important. Immediately, I turned back and began to leave.
“Tsk, tsk. Martel.” The voice came as an interruption, making me stop. “I still don’t agree with the way you’re handling things. Why should you remain all by yourself when we’re willing to help you out?”
I continued to ignore her. Not long after, I could hear a man’s voice.
“Leave it, Qar. People are defined by choices, and a choice is what you are seeing now.”
Ever apathetic, I started again with an accelerated gait until I could no longer hear whatever they were saying. Trying not to think about it, I tried to maintain that pace as I made my way back towards my dwellings.
What the girl had said was right. It was hardly the first time the Keepers had sought me out, but as I had told them before, the only sense in which I agreed with them in was in a strong hate for the Chaotics. However, rather than involving myself with their campaign against those psychopaths, I chose to stay out of the way and let the two quarrel with each other however they pleased.
That aspect of the change that followed the beginning of the incident was something I had never quite fully adapted to. Even if thinking back, it had been rather inevitable, it was still difficult to believe that there were some people that would choose to act in such a way as the Chaotics in the face of those events. I am not saying that I have any greater respect for the Keepers, but I must acknowledge that at least they have proven that they know better than to fall into the kind of madness and raving fanaticism that causes those under its influence to try to force it onto anyone they lay eyes on.
The first Chaotic attack had taken place, if memory serves correctly, about a week after the start of the incident. By that time, nearly everyone who had been left standing around these lands had a pretty clear idea of what side they were on. Some were Keepers, some Chaotics, and some were on their own side and went their own way. I was of the last kind, but Keeper nature allowed for my dwelling in what they considered to be ‘their’ territory, albeit without interfering in their affairs. Fair enough, I thought, as long as the sentiment remained mutual.
That peace, of course, went broken once the other side of the coin decided to show its ugly face. When it began, I was asleep, but being well aware of the lack of any guarantee of my safety, I had begun to learn to sharpen my senses at night. It was well into the night when I heard a crash coming from the street and scurried over to my lookout to discover a group of people engaged in battle. One side carried large board-like instruments, like shields, while the other was pelting them with some sort of incendiary concoctions. Eventually, the ones with the blazing instruments of offense grew scarce of their ammunition and were forced to retreat by the others, who had remained resilient and in fact seemed completely unaffected, even though they had not managed to avoid all of the projectiles that had been directed at them. Yes, this was also back when I was surprised by that last detail. Sure enough, the rest of the night was quiet, but that incident became burned into my memory as a testament to the problems that would follow.
Like I said, I have never particularly cared for the ‘greater cause’ of the Keepers, but they seem to have spotted something about me that they like, evidenced by the repeated occasions on which they have pleaded with me to join their ranks. And every time that happened, I offered that although the offer of shelter was appreciated, I had no need of anyone that encouraged a collective ideology. I wanted to think for myself always, and so I did. As for their actual mission, I thought it decent, and fairly noble- certainly far more agreeable than that of the savage Chaotics, which although I had not heard expressly, I could figure out myself without putting any real strain on the mind- but not enough to devote one’s entire self to.
In recollection, I find it slightly odd that the thoughts I exercised while making my way back home through the nigh-empty city’s streets were very much unlike the ones I do while constructing this record. Those times, I had instead chosen to distract myself, be it with my immediate plans for the following day, how much longer it would be until restocking my food supply was necessary once more, what measures I could take to avoid any chaos that went on below, and more ideas of that nature. It isn’t until I have chosen to sat before this machine (which bears mentioning, I acquired entirely of my own volition, stemming from an appreciation for olden writing instruments, exclusively for the making of this journal) that my philosophical spirit has been piqued.
Still, I need to remind myself that the purpose of this log is not only for my own benefit, but also for that of anyone that may emerge if things ever go back to they way they were before the incident, whether they were of those absent for its duration, or simply someone to whom approaching the core was not an option. I believe it opportune to say that although I felt somewhat fortunate to be one of the few left conscious around here, I could not help but imagine what it must have been like to be any of the thousands that were not.
Even now, I believe it is safe to say that none of us- be they Keepers, Chaotics, or Nomads like myself- have any clue as to what has become of those poor souls. Even though everyone around here seems concerned exclusively with the partaking of a struggle against whatever side opposes theirs, and some yammering of survival that becomes redundant to anyone with any kind of observational skills, I am worried that the enigma behind those who have gone missing may be what we all should really be looking for.
Yes, I dread the thought…