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There will always be pain. There will always be suffering.
The only difference is whether you are the one experiencing it, or the one inflicting it.
But what if you're both? What if you are hurting, and at the same time hurting someone? Is it by choice?
Or is it because you have no choice but to be?
Do you want to hurt people when you're hurting?
All normal. The rage, the anxiety, the pain. They may seem wrong, they may seem like a mistake, but they are not. They are completely normal—that is how you know you're still actually alive. That you're not just some empty husk that responds to things nonchalantly, like nothing matters.
Rage is completely normal. But what happens if the target of your rage is something, someone that could not receive it? Do you then hurt yourself?
It is normal to hurt, and it is normal to hurt someone—but what about hurting yourself?
You hurt, and therefore you want to feel it. Your heart aches, and therefore you want the rest of your body to realize it.
That is the kind of pain that will always be unexplainable—and yet billions upon billions of people feel them. They never really go away, it follows you like a shadow…growing ever stronger when you think your day grows brighter.
"Just a few more and we're out. Be careful, this thing might collapse on us and all my work will be for nothing—move that one!"
There are those that cling to life, wanting to burrow themselves out of the cave they find themselves in because they know; they know that at the end of their desperation, is hope.
"Why can't we just fucking blast our way through!? You're strong, I know you can do that!"
"And risk the entire cave collapsing? Do you want all the creatures inside this cave to rush out?"
"Aita, stop pestering him. He's already trying to help us!"
"Fuck! Rylo is dead, Milla. He… he's dead. If only this bald old man recovered sooner, he… he will still be—"
"Stop it! If you're just going to rant and complain, then join Pia and make sure that… that thing remains dead!"
"…No. I don't want to see that fucker if I don't have to. Let's just get the fuck out of here."
And then, there are those that completely do not want to see the thing that caused them to hurt. After all, for some, the best way to get rid of the hurt is to remove and forget it completely. But of course, the hurt will always be there.
And for Pia, who was tasked to watch the very same thing that caused her to hurt—it was brutal. Riley was already sliced and diced into separate pieces; his organs, completely mushed into paste.
So why? Why was she tasked to look after it by James? Was Riley still not dead after this? Pia thought her hurt will be gone as she made sure that Riley is dead, burning his remains with every breath.
His organs were completely gone; his heart was not beating, nothing. There was nothing. If Riley was still alive then what about Rylo? What about the man he had loved and has loved for more than a hundred years?
Shouldn't she be watching him instead? Maybe somewhere in the cave, he was still alive. Maybe inside the ratking's stomach, he—
And there it is, another source of the hurt. One would think it was grief, but it is not.
Grief does not hurt, it heals. Grief is proof that love is undying. What hurts you is not grief, but the thought of what could have been is now a fantasy—a chapter of your life that will never be.
And you cry.
"Ry…" And the tears that fall to the ground will be even more turbulent than a scream; your breaths and gasps, drowning out the words you wish to speak—because what was the point? The one to hear it could no longer do so.
The only thing you could really do is cradle yourself; to wrap yourself in your own arms and hide between the darkness it brings. And perhaps in that darkness, you will what you have lost.
And then, maybe… just maybe… you will feel the warmth you once sought holding you again.
But unfortunately, this is not that kind of story. Because the only thing you will really see in the darkness, is the darkness itself.
"No, it's Riley."
"…" Pia's trembling and hopeful eyes instantly became blank. The hand on her shoulders that she thought was warm was actually as cold as death; she very slowly turned her head back, only to see a pair of eyes staring at her… as well as a sinister smile that seemed to mock her entire existence.
And as soon as she opened her mouth, Riley's middle and index fingers inserted themselves inside it.
And just like that, all the pain, all the hurt, all the suffering—gone.
Death ends them all and brings you peace.
But then, it also ends the happiness, the hope, and the thought of what could be.
It all just becomes…
But it doesn't really end yet, does it?
Because as Pia's headless and neckless body drops to the ground, the pain continues and transfers to another.
Riley closed his eyes as he listened to the hurt screaming out of the lungs of Pia's friends. Pia's pain may have become nothing, but Aita and Milla's have only flourished and become stronger. Their screams, adding to the song that Riley has been writing for as long as he could remember.
It started with the scream of his mother, and it will end—it must.
Every song has an end.
And for Riley's song to end, everything must turn into nothing.
And now, as he once again sings the chorus of his song, he starts with a heavy breath.
"I apologize," Riley whispered as his feet very slowly left the ground, "But shall we start again?"
"…" James, who was already planning on ways to deal with Riley again, could really only just watch as the air around the cave started to distort. He felt a certain heat brushing past him, but it only lasted for a single breath.
He then turned to look at Riley, whose entire silhouette almost disappeared as the air around him became completely… indiscernible. He almost seemed invisible.
But then, almost in an instant, his silhouette once again became clear—and between his palms was a sphere. A sphere that released a glow that would blind any other beings.
"The others always ignore it whenever I say that sister is as strong as Aerith…" Riley then breathed out; his voice, almost silent as it was being absorbed by the sphere of light between his palms,
"…Let me prove it to you three…
… Nuclear Pavoom Baby."
Riley then suddenly stretched out his fingers, causing the sphere of light to suddenly disappear… taking along any other light along with it and surrounding the once bright cave in darkness.
James seemed to scream something, but the darkness was just… quiet.
And soon, light burst forth—turning James, Aita, Milla, and even Riley into nothing.
Somewhere lightyears and lightyears away, the Cherbi sleeps.
But then, she heard a whisper—Nuclear Pavoom Baby—it said. And so, once again it wakes up from its short slumber…
…now once again moving in a straight line toward Theran.
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