this being the reminder of chapter 1
The fact that he had been unable to persuade anyone else to come along said more about his own self than it did about the conditions on the island. Or more about the success the nighthoppers had at keeping their existence widely unknown, than about his inability to present a convincing argument. What had happened after all? What did he mean the world had ended? We were all still here, weren't we?, they all asked. Some people actually preferred not knowing and pretended it was pretty much normal, that it was all temporary. Sure, Gato told them, just like the Dark Ages were temporary. Hell, back in the day there were people who claimed there were about 600 odd years of history missing from modern reckoning. That now there was no shortage of food was true enough, but neither was there any way out of the island. Not that anybody minded, really, for most it was all kind of like a big party, an extended holiday. For most, it seemed, being cut off from the rest of the world had been a good thing. Nowadays there was hardly anyone left that actually remembered the rest of the world. In his lifetime, the world had shrunk, and to Gato that seemed plain wrong and went against everything he'd learned as a boy.
You had to hand it to the nighthoppers, they knew what they were doing. They had an uncanny insight into human nature, even though they seemed quite past their humble human beginnings. He on the other hand obviously did not. He had been certain that there would be land nearby, or at least relatively soon. He remembered the conversation clearly, as if it had been yesterday and not twenty plus years, and the map up on the wall with all those islands trickling downward toward the southern continent.
“You could sail all the way dow to South America and never lose sight of land. Everyday a new island, a new port.”
That had been his uncle talking to his own older brother, back in the day. Both of them were long gone now and had never been heard from again. Now he was all that was left of his dry, old family tree. And he would soon expire if things continued this way. It was the end of a line of sorts, and there was a certain finality that now appealed to him, surprisingly. He was tired, exhausted, but the hadn't realized to what extent until now, as he floated recklessly on the ocean and contemplated his own doom with an odd sense of relief and deliverance. He had left because he thought he would find passage to the real world, because he felt he had to do something before he became too old to do anything about it anymore.
There were no children, no wife, no significant other, not even an extended family... only himself. There was so much more than meaning missing in his life and it had not so suddenly become untenable to continue. A lifetime of ambiguity had come to a head, if you will, and resulted in a senseless shipwreck, an aimless listing of purpose and direction. And yet, an unequivocal feeling of being par for the course, of being on the right track, of all the possible ironies. As Gato pondered these slippery abstractions he couldn't help but agree and acknowledge that righteousness and stupidity were no strangers to each other. Perhaps he was indeed exactly where he needed to be. Or better, where he deserved to be.
I started writing a novel in English. It's kind of a prequel to The 4 Books of Immortality. I just don't seem to be able to conceptualize any book that is not somehow related to the 4. It's almost as if once the 4 seeped into me, that's it, that was all there was. The 4 and then some, but all related. In a way it's good, because it really reflects life, where everything is connected. But it also frustrates me a little because then that may mean I'll never stop writing this book and it will by definition never be completed. This type of sprawl is similar to the ocean faced by the stupid protagonist in the paragraph that follows. This is from the first chapter of the novel, which is titled "As we know it". Let me know if it makes you feel like wanting to read on.
as good a reason as any
They fly toward grace.
Against the day
Stupidity. You could chalk it up to that. Another one for the history books, the latest so far in a long line of fabulously stupid undertakings. Seriously, we are talking the likes of which are seldom seen throughout the ages. Even though Gato would not really be aware of the actual magnitude of such stupidity until much, much later, when it would arguably be too late, he could already actually sense the hugeness of it, its sheer, dizzying vastness, not unlike the endless stretch of water before him.
And lunacy too, of course. I mean, he had only to look at that prolonged waterscape all around him to see how futile his enterprise was. How could he have thought that floating aimlessly about would improve anything? Who could possibly be out there, looking for random survivors? The sudden, rapidly budding nostalgia for the insanity of the island caught him off guard, which in turn only helped to increase his feeling of stupidity. Running out of water the previous evening was also playing a big role in the way his helplessness seemed so certain, so final. It overwhelmed him; the sun, the sea, the whitecaps flourishing across the surface in every direction, the harshness of the horizon and how it felt like a snare.
He realized then what a horrific irony it was to become aware of one's own stupidity just before dying, and how he had in fact hurried his own demise upon himself. Was the island really all that bad? Were the nighthoppers really that unreasonable? The world had ended after all. He knew it. Others saw it differently, but he remained steadfast in his belief. He may have been only thirteen when it happened, but he remembered plenty from the previous life to know what a drastic change it had been. He'd seen enough TV back in the day, and had been connected enough times to the Internet, to know first hand how bad things currently were. He was one of the last ones to remember the time before, and that had been enough for him to attempt, at the very least, an oceanic route of escape. It seemed almost impossible that the 'previous' world was completely gone. Something somewhere had to have survived. After all, they had, hadn't they?