What comes after death?
Is there truly a god waiting to judge me? Forgive me? Punish me?
Those who lived by the gun, died by the gun.
Again, I pondered in this blank space. I couldn't feel my body, I couldn't move, I didn't even know whether I was breathing or not. In this vast desolate place, I was all alone just like how I lived my life. I was only accompanied by my unpleasant thoughts as if embarking on a thorny memory lane.
I have no idea how much time has passed but all I ever knew was that I was conscious. Is this where the "I think therefore I am" statement comes in? But if you're only conscious but not able to take action, then maybe even plants and inanimate beings had consciousness but no freedom, just like how I am now.
Now that I’m here, I can vaguely even remember those days when I was alive, the cruel thing about it was when you get a taste of what it’s like living in a peaceful environment— not tied down with any societal norms and politics— and then suddenly you got plunged into this cesspit of hell filled with chaos — then you would be able to see how vicious humanity can be.
It was as if morality and ethics had been thrown out of the window, and everybody was only in it for themselves. The value of human existence seemed to have degraded in this world.
That's when I realized: We were all selfish and disgusting creatures.
I've learned it the hard way, no empathy can make you through the day, it would only serve as a weakness that would eventually be used against you.
I remember the first person I killed during my time serving as a soldier. It was a woman, 4 years older than me, who was unluckily chosen to be a practice target. I remembered her eyes were red from weeping and her pleading to at least spare her. I didn't know the details as to why she was picked but in the end, she was tied to a post, shamefully stripped naked for everyone to see.
At that time, I was uncomfortably horrified by how animalistic my peers were and I saw them had their way with her until I shot her dead. I was in a state of shock, I couldn't move a muscle, my eyes were glued to the revolting scene. Frankly, I was scared. I have hidden my gender due to the fact that I was scared that I would end up like her if I get caught.
They obviously got angry at me due to the fact that they got interrupted. I told them it was an accidental misfire and they left me off the hook after getting beaten blue.
I was angered. I thought it was an act of mercy, a humane deed. I should have shot her before they even degraded her, or I shouldn't have meddled with them and left. The sad reality was that you don't get rewarded whether what you've done was for the betterment of the person because they won't see it that way. She was going to be dead sooner or later, so why bother helping?
My first direct kill made me reflect a lot about how I question my morality. It started as a warped sense of justice, convincing myself I was in the right for ending their misery.
After all, living was a misery. The world was filled with endless human suffering.
It was a justifiable cause. I got used to it after killing a few people, it calmed my state of mind knowing that I've ended their suffering.
It was the perfect excuse to continue living as a soldier.
And yet the paradoxical nature of humanity had never ceased to amaze me. A festering hate for this perfect soldier and for everyone. Slowly, the growing unshakable burden of my actions due to the primal instinct of survival and security ate away at my conscience.
Yes, people would do anything to survive. I had cheated, exploited, and sacrificed, and yet seeing those prisoners— Jem— who were all so happy despite the horrid conditions. They protected each other even if it meant it would just bring them even more pain.
I was obsessed with something I was deprived of. It was a surreal sight to see hope in the bleakest depths of hell.
But hope cannot be reflected in the eyes of a hollow puppet for it’s been disqualified as a human being, that’s what I am. A leash for an inept animal, conditioned to hunt and kill. Even if my brother was alive, we were nonetheless disposable.
It was a tough world out there. No one truly has the right to live and people have to fight to earn your existence in that world.
I didn't want to become my brother who had succumbed to his values, but perhaps, that's what saved him the suffering in the end. A pitiful, bleeding heart is what I call him. He did not kill and rape people. Perhaps it was a man’s biggest dream to remain relevant till his death, to give his life meaning. He was blindsided by a personal quest of heroism, to pursue the unreachable heights of noble morality that he only left his poor little sister alone in the world before he tossed himself to the fire as a courageous act of sacrifice.
Funnily enough, it only brought more pain— more suffering. A pointless, unnecessary action. His sacrifice did not resolve anything. His heroism bore no fruit and only resulted in a meaningless conclusion.
And just like that, he only proved to me that in this world, kindness was pointless. He only placed a cursed feeling of unease and loss as if I had lost my blissful ignorance. Perhaps because we were raised differently that I have dreaded this feeling. The feeling of having my actions gnawing on my mind.
Thankfully, I had already paid the price for my choices, and in the end, I was emotionally wasted and dead. But is one person’s death and misery enough of a vengeance for all those they’ve hurt?
Gone are the days of youthful idealism, my brother.
"You're quite a reflectively boring person, aren't you? You were much more fun when you were alive."
A disembodied voice broke my reverie.
"Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do in this space? I have no body and all I see are nothing but white-" I cut myself off- only to realize that a person was accompanying me.
Across my vision, someone— something was clad in glorious light. I couldn't see their face, their gender is hidden in obscurity with the hood covering their face, and their voice and figure seemed androgynous. However, something about this person definitely set a sense of foreboding within me.
Could it be?
"Are you supposed to be…” I carefully picked my words, “.. a God?" I asked hesitantly as he responded with a curt nod.
"You could say that. Greetings! I am Saklas, here to judge your acts during your stay on Earth."