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you have made a difference

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You’ve failed

 

Bring the plans back. That’s what you were meant to do, wasn’t it? You’re not sure. You’re never sure. There is a ghost in your head that you’re meant to follow. You don’t know what it wants. You don’t know what you want except to follow them. You’re meant to follow someone except you don’t know what they want, what they’ve done, and who they are. A recipe for disaster. And now you’re here. The papers held in your hands, the edges burning and crumbling. You can still save it. You can argue it was an accident, that it’s still salvageable. Win the war. The frozen, ice-cold war that’s ingrained itself into your blood. 

 

But you remember the man. Knives at each other’s throats, yes? How long till that turns to actual knives. The end of the world. Could you swear, honestly, that anyone left on your side wouldn’t keep using it against anyone left on ours? 

 

“No,” you said, because you’ve always been honest, because you’ve been nothing but honest. No, I can’t swear, please, I don’t understand, I don’t know why I’m here, I don’t understand please just leave me alone — 

 

You scatter the papers. The table and wall behind it is already a blanket of flames, and the fire climbs up the drapes like monkeys in a tree. You watch them climb and sink down against the cabinet door, the wires open and exposed above you. You feel so old. You feel so young. You don’t want to die. What else can you do? It was always meant to be this way.  

 

The fire burns through your skin to your bones. Smoke fills your lungs and you cough, slumped against the cabinet door. The logic plate is in the wires. You can go home. Hit the buttons and enter the cage. Go wherever that machine takes you. 

 

You deserve to go home. You deserve to return to your family, you deserve to return to your life. You do not remember if you have a family. You do not remember if you have a life. Perhaps you never did. Perhaps you have always been in this facility, in that steel chair with the bands that wrapped around your wrists and head. Perhaps you were always meant to be a tool manoeuvred and sacrificed by people you don’t even know. 

 

You don’t even have a name. 

 

It’s so hot. Your bones are crumbling. You are dust, you are ash, you were dust and you will be dust again. Meaningless, expendable, insignificant. This changes nothing. They will build another teleporter. They will find another you. They will enter this facility and lose their mind and tear apart their mind following a ghost that’s them and quite not.

 

Except it will take time. Except it will make the angry man behind the desk angry, and that’s enough. Except maybe someone better, someone smarter, someone with more significance than you will find something, change something. 

 

And as you crumble, into dust and shards of bone, you let your soul fly out between your fingertips, a phoenix escaping the confines of ash and skin that is your body. You’re free , it says, you’re free. You have made a difference