I loathe the chaos.
It is that odious commotion that inhabits the chasm between a weary blink and a sudden, startled inhale. It is the fractured dominoes of staccato syllables clattering against each other as they emerge from the lips of the cacophonic chorus. The puppeteer weaving the strings of time and memory.
I am kettled in this nebulous haze, trapped by the overwhelming cacophony of the city. The monolithic towers of glass and steel form the immutable boundaries of my cage.
And yet, I yearn for it. I cradle this chaos in my palm and watch as it shifts and dances through my fingers. I press its sharp edges against my temples, allowing its razor-sharp tendrils to cleave through my mind like a pickaxe.
*To be human is to embrace chaos. To tame it, control it.*
Those were the words of the old man, the stranger who sent me down this path. He nestled that scrap within my skull and abandoned me to wander this labyrinth on my own.
_The artefact,_ he whispered, studying me with his hypnotic gaze, _it is everything you seek._
Fool that I was, I took his words as gospel, sought solace in the certainty they offered me. I believed I could make sense of this world.
*To be human is to embark on an odyssey.*
An odyssey down a circuitous rabbit hole, crevices that streaked along the seams of reality.
My pilgrimage took me into the murky depths of humanity’s last vestiges—dens of iniquity where broken souls laid crumpled, hapless victims to their own voracious desires. There, I found only twisted reflections of myself, fragments held hostage by the same delusion that plagued me for so long. They too were searching for meaning in the chaos.
*To be human is to hold a mirror to the sun.*
I found that sun—I glimpsed upon it by mere accident. A dream splayed out on a cracked screen, glitching and flickering like a moth caught in a spider’s web.
My heart raced, an electric current jolting through every fibre of my existence. The hook was baited and my fate sealed.
Nestled within the jagged maw of the city, I found myself standing before an abandoned warehouse. A gnarled tree thrust its skeletal limbs towards the heavens; a wire-wrapped fence encircled the crumbling edifice like a gangrenous embrace.
A lone light blinked feebly above the entrance, casting spectral shadows that danced and writhed in the gloom. I pressed my trembling hand on the door, its rusted hinges groaning in protest.
Menace leaked from every decrepit corner, whispered in my ear as I crossed the threshold. The silence was heavier here, more deliberate—an oppressive force that drained what little resilience I had left.
My eyes strained to pierce the tenebrous veil before me, a nameless dread pulsing beneath my skin. And then, as if summoned by my thoughts alone, the artefact appeared before me.
Glimmers of ethereal light pirouetted gracefully across its surface. The mysterious relic seemed to breathe, inhaling the nothingness that surrounded it, exhaling a luminous radiance that formed constellations upon the dust-laden floor.
I dared not move, feared that even the slightest shift would shatter the fragile balance between perception and madness. With every breath I took, reality coiled around me like a serpent.
_This was the end._
And just when the last thread of my sanity was about to snap, her voice sliced through the miasma.
*To be human is to create. To destroy. To rebuild.*
I turned to find an enigmatic figure at my side, her eyes ablaze with the same fire that had consumed me from the moment I began this journey. She held a truth I had failed to grasp, a clarity that didn’t exist within the crevices of the chaos.
*To be human is to uncover the oneness that unites us all.*
The true artefact wasn’t this nebulous relic—the artefact was me, and her, and every other soul clinging to hope in the midst of the darkness.
*To be human is to be alive.*
My heart skipped a beat as I finally understood. I didn’t need to make sense of the chaos. I didn’t need validation to exist within it. Instead, I found solace in accepting my role as part of the very chaos itself.