Prologue: Old, young, and whatever is in the middle



An old man walked the mountain path with determination. He had a smile on his face and his eyes looked forward towards the glowing sun. He would reach the top; there was no doubt about that. One might expect an old man such as this one to have trouble reaching the top of a mountain, but this was no ordinary old man. For this old man was very rich; both in mind and reality. He possessed only the finest clothing and shoes. His watch was made out of gold and his cane was made out of wood imported from Ginya. However, these possessions did not matter to the old man. What he truly valued was his fantastic successful son, his beautiful daughter, and his two genius grandchildren. This was what this old man had. The old man had lived a fulfilling life. However, not all was so perfect. Just a month ago his wife had died. She was worth more to him than even the sun which lights up the world.

As the old man continued to walk up the mountain he began to sing a song, his voice was old and he could not manage the high notes, but one could tell that he sang it very happily. The song was an old song his mother used to sing to him when he was young. It was in an old language and he never understood what it meant, but whenever he heard it he felt warm inside. His mother used to tell him that the words in the song were not important, and it was rather the way one sang it.

Eventually the old man reached the top of the mountain. It was flat and rocky, with each side being a cliff other than the side the old man walked up on. However, the man did not stop walking, even while at the top. He walked with more vigour than ever. Each step was faster and faster, his pace going past that of what an old man should be capable of. Unfortunately, the old man reached a point where there was no longer a ground to walk on. His feet hit the air and went straight through it. His body fell down the mountain; the smile on his face never fading.

The old man was not afraid as death came to him. Luckily his vision went black before he could reach the ground, probably due to the physical shock of falling. However, surprisingly after an unknown amount of time the eyes of the old man opened up again. He looked around and saw the most immense and incredible spectacle he had ever seen. It was the afterlife.

It was as if he was standing within the cosmos. There were stars and galaxies all around him. It was a sky he had never truly been able to appreciate in his previous life; he somehow felt that this sight completed him. As the old man looked around more he saw that he was standing in a line. The line consisted of all types of people and other creatures. These creatures were rather peculiar, as if they came from a different reality entirely. There were giants, dwarves, half animal human hybrids; the list went on and on. The old man was not shocked by much, but these creatures did make him very curious about where they all came from. Were there multiple realities? In his life the old man had travelled the world, gone to space, and married a wonderful woman. And yet, now the old man was wondering how little of the universe he understood or ever saw.

Suddenly the old man heard a noise.

“WAAAH! WAAAH!” a baby cried.

The old man turned around and saw a crying baby. Seeing this made him rather sad. It was clear that the baby died not long after birth. To think of a child dying before their parents was a depressing thought. Parental instincts kicked into the old man and he picked up the baby. However, even then the baby would not stop crying. Suddenly an idea appeared in the old man’s head. He began to sing the song. The song of his mother.

Somehow the second he began to sing the baby calmed down and stopped crying. For the first time the old man could properly get a look at the little baby. It was clear that the baby was a boy, however, what struck the man most about the baby were its eyes. It wasn’t that the baby’s eyes were particularly large or small, but rather that they were bright red. The eyes presented a curious intelligence. It was as if they could look straight through you.

Suddenly the old man’s daze was broken by the screams of a voice.

“NEXT!” The high pitched voice screamed.

The old man looked to see where the voice was coming from, but he saw no source of the sound. All he saw was a giant cauldron, right in front of him. Within it was a boiling mixture of red and blue liquids. The mixture looked rather ominous. However, even though the mixture was so ominous the old man had a strong urge to jump in. The blue and red attracted him, it was so inviting. There was something within his mind that made him really want to jump in. He looked at the baby in his arms and was about to put him down and jump in, but as he looked at the curious red eyes of the baby he began to have second thoughts.

I can’t leave him unattended. Can I?’ The old man thought.

In a slight moment of madness the old man jumped into the cauldron with the baby in his arms. Once again his vision went black, and once again he opened his eyes to an unfamiliar sight.

He was in a fully white room with not a door or window in sight. The baby was still in his arms. After looking around he found himself standing in front of a man. The man looked middle aged, but he had a long white beard and white hair. The middle aged man’s dark blue eyes appeared to hide endless amounts of knowledge.

“You have lived a fulfilling life.” The middle aged man said to the old man.

The old man was still too confused by his surroundings to answer.

“I will give you a choice.” The middle aged man said “Either, you can start a new life in a new world, with no recollection of your previous life, or you can go to live in paradise with your wife for eternity.”

The old man regained his senses. He looked at the middle aged man and thought about what he had asked. He knew that he had to respond, but what decision would he make? He thought of all the possibilities of a new life. He could truly live again, love again. It was an inviting proposal. But then an image of his wife appeared in his mind. The old man smiled a little bit and realised that there was no life for him without his wife, otherwise he would not have left his old world in the first place.

“I will go to paradise to live with my wife.” The old man said resoundingly.

The middle aged man smiled and within an instant the body of the old man disappeared. This left the baby and the middle aged man in the room alone.

“And where do you want to go little man?” the middle aged man asked the baby.

Unsurprisingly there was no response other than the blinking of the confused red eyes of the little baby.

“I’d say that you are deserving of a new life.” The middle aged man said “I cannot control your fate, little man, but I can give you a little advice.”

The man squatted down and put his finger up to the baby’s temple. A message was sent into the baby’s mind.

Never let your hatred overcome reason. Keep a heart of stone as your enemies whimper.

Those were the words that were transmitted into the baby’s mind. They were simple words, but they clearly meant a lot to the middle aged man, whose eyes had moistened as he performed the action.

The middle aged man picked up the baby, who had already fallen asleep.

“Goodbye little man.” The middle aged man said.

And so the baby disappeared.



References

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