"No one can be a slave if their submission is self-willed."
Apr. 28th, 2009
A curse prompts one of Justin's first PSAs.
I'm sure all of you know what the term "common sense" refers to. Please use it.
Apr. 30th, 2009
Justin falls prey to the eventually fatal geostigma viral infection.
Should I be panicking? Should I worry about dying again? Should I drink myself unconscious to make the process of dying less painful?
Am I insane for not doing any of the above?
The first time, the fear only lasted until after the trial, and then there was nothing. Sometimes, now that I’m mostly alive again, I regret it. I think about what I could have done if none of it would have happened, or what it might have been like to have a family. I know the truth, though; none of it would have been satisfactory. I’ve thought about it a lot… how it would have been to live after Richard died, and after what we did. It wouldn’t have been living any more than this is.
I’m not worried. Not about dying. I’m more worried that the virus doesn’t die when we do, and we’ll just… revive and die again, over and over until—
I’m worried about not dying. I’ve been thinking about what it means to not exist and fearing that nonexistence without imagining the alternative… immortality. I don’t want to stay in the City for eternity, with or without this infection. It isn’t right. I should be dead, like Richard is—not here. This is unnatural.
Is it ironic that I had to talk to Death before I realized how terrifying not dying would be?
I would miss Abby, and Shilo. I’d even miss Road. Now that I really think about it, though, it would be fine if I died—permanently, I mean. They’re all alive and they’ll go home someday, and I don’t think anyone goes home with their City memories. If that’s true, I’m glad I won’t go home. If I forgot this place, and if I forgot them…
Maybe the virus degrades the body to a point where not even the City can revive it. I’ve seen corpses here that didn’t come back to life, so it’s possible. I almost hope that’s what happens. Not existing… not thinking, or worrying that someone will leave the City… I want that. It’s selfish. It’s selfish, just like suicide’s selfish. You do it for yourself. Maybe I’m selfish.
The rash hasn’t spread much visibly, although typing with my left hand is getting harder. It hurts, though—inside more than out. If it can spread to internal organs, that would make sense. The chest, the—I don’t know if it could spread to the brain. Composing my thoughts is getting progressively more difficult, but that could be a side-effect of the virus’ presence in other parts of the body. Maybe it’s not the virus and I’m going insane. I talked to Richard today—not physically, but…
May. 11th, 2009
Thoughts on monster attacks and Mothers' Day.
The hair thing and the swamp monster lived happily ever after. Good for them. Are these the 'higher ups' people talk about--the powers above the deities? If so, I don't fully understand why we haven't staged a coup.
Yesterday was the best Mother's Day I've been through. Draw what conclusions you will from that.
May. 18th, 2009
Cursed as hell and taking Capture the Flag way too seriously.
Where there is warfare, there are, inevitably, notions of good and evil. We fight for the exalted good, we oppose those who champion the detestable evil. Our adversaries, through their association with whatever noxious idea they hold, become monsters--inhuman, worthy only of extermination.
But what is good, and what is evil? There is no objective answer. The angel's good is the demon's evil, just as the demon's good is the angel's evil. We must choose which idol to worship and which to scorn; which gods to follow and which to burn. We must choose what gives us the right to fight, to destroy, to kill, and to die. In the absence of true morality--of any truth at all--we must each of us decide for ourselves... what is good, and what is evil.
Blue, red... there is nothing inherently evil in one or undeniably good in the other. Which side do you choose? What idealist agendas motivate you to engage in war? What is good, and what is evil? Which team will you align yourself with?
Will you do what is good for the whole, or will you have the strength to embrace what is good for you, as an individual?
Warfare is for the barbarian--the man who lives in a world of good and evil, red and blue. The man--the individual, self-possessed, free of all alliances--is beyond warfare. He does not die for insubstantial ideals or for the good of the crawling herd. If he dies, it is because he wills it.
If 'good' were to be applied to anything, it would be this man--this individual--who lives for himself... who owns his own soul and his own thoughts. This man can still, however, participate in the childish games of the barbarians, acting as a God among men.
He who acts in his interest and avoids true alliance wins the game, as I have.
May. 25th, 2009
A lot of almost-dying leads to a rare bout of optimism.
I've had nothing if not time to think (even if, sometimes, I wonder if I shouldn't spend less time thinking), and my thoughts inevitably turn to death.
When I was sick, I wanted to be dead--truly dead, the way Richard is. The half-life that the City gives to corpses is unnatural, and it's difficult to go on with the knowledge that, at any second, I might leave the City and go back to nothing. I wanted that nothing immediately; I wanted to avoid fear and uncertainty. Now that I'm well, I'm not sure that that's what I want.
When Cassie arrested me--back at the bluff, after Richard died--I begged her for another chance. I begged. I wanted to start over, no murder, no guilt. A clean slate. Another chance to live. She told me that it doesn't work that way... that you get one life. What you do with that life is up to you, but there are no second chances. She wouldn't give me a second chance after I saved her life. She destroyed all hope for a chance when she had me tried as an adult rather than a juvenile.
She was wrong. I thought she was right, but she wasn't. This is that second chance.
I didn't see the City as another chance at first. It was a punishment... a well-deserved hell for a murderer who needed to be punished. That's how I saw it. Reading through my previous posts... it's incredible. It's incredible how much power those words she said had over me--how much power Richard still had over me. I believed them. I believed that there weren't second chances, and that Richard was the only one who could see me for who I am. I believed that everything would have been fine if I had met Lisa first, before Richard--that none of it would have happened, and I could have graduated from high school and...
And it wouldn't have worked out that way. I don't believe in fate, but I believe that what happened was inevitable. With or without Lisa, Richard and I would still have found each other. We would have murdered that woman, we would have been caught... he would have still called the cops and emptied his gun. He would have died, and I would have died. It was necessary for us to die.
I think death was the best thing to happen to either of us.
Richard wouldn't agree. He might have been content with the shallow life he was living, but eventually he would have realized what I know now--that neither of us belonged. Not as we were. We were wrong, maybe from birth, and we paid for our deformities.
I've paid my debt. I died once; now I deserve a second chance. Maybe Richard's getting a second chance, too; maybe there's something beyond the nothing that I experienced outside of the City, at least for him.
It makes less sense when I try to put it into words, but both of us are free now. We're free from our homes and our parents and a world that didn't understand. We're free from guilt, since we've both paid with our lives. Now we're free from each other. I hated it at first, but now... I don't think we helped each other. Symbiosis is not something humans should strive for.
It's Memorial Day at home. No one's going to leave flowers for me, but it's just as well. I only loved my family as much as they loved me. Richard... Richard's family probably threw hundreds of dollars away on flowers for their martyred little boy. They were convinced to the end that I had masterminded the entire murder, manipulating innocent, naive Richard into committing acts he would have never committed alone. In the end I think their lawyer was better than the one my mom hired because they cared. They needed to blame someone that wasn't their son.
What would Mr. and Mrs. Haywood think if they knew? If they had cared enough about Richard to know him when he was alive, would they have cared so much after he was dead? What would they say if they knew that each of us had been manipulating the other?
It was a game. Both of us lost because we didn't realize that it wasn't a game--it was life.
I don't miss Richard anymore. He was all I had then, and I think I was all he really had. I don't hate him, either. We were wrong, what we did was wrong, and now we're both free to right it.
I don't know what happened, but I feel like I lost part of me in the last couple of days. It wasn't any great loss--just the parts of me that I needed to lose. It's different from how I felt before I met Richard; it's not that deadened lack of emotion. I'm not as dead now as I used to be. Maybe I'm not as alive as I was when Richard and I were getting high or planning or drinking, but I'm...
What am I?
Content, maybe. I have a second chance. That chance could be taken away any second, but I have it now, and now is what matters. It's more of a chance than I ithought I had after Cassie arrested me. I have a job, and I kind of have a family. I'm not sure if I have a--but I don't know about Shilo. My judgment where emotions are concerned is fatally flawed. I've thought I loved people before, and I've been wrong.
Maybe I'll read this in a few months and wonder what I was thinking when I typed this.
We do change, after all.
Jun. 21st, 2009
Fathers' Day is inflicted upon the City.
How like my father to not make an appearance. I know it's only a curse, but--
No, maybe it's better that I'm not affected. I want to see him again, but it wouldn't really be him if it was a curse. I doubt the deities would bother transporting our fathers here; it's more like them to conjure up representations than to give us anything real.
Shilo and I talked about hating and loving someone at the same time. It's possible. I think it's easier to love and hate a person simultaneously than to fully love or hate them. My father was probably better than some (or most, from the network) I think, even though he left. If he were here, that's what I would ask him--why he left me. None of it would have happened if he would have taken me with him. ...I might hate him more than I love him. I can say that about almost everyone I knew at home.
I don't know what to do if Shilo's cursed. Letting go is hard when the City refuses to let us forget what we came from.
Aug. 12th, 2009
People are cursed to claim everything; Justin isn't affected. Cue lecture and disdain.
The human struggle for existence invariably involves property. We require food, clothing, shelter, companions... land. Wars are fought over the question of ownership for man is not a self-sustaining creature and needs other things to thrive.
But we know that the desire for ownership doesn't stop with the necessities of life. Humans are greedy creatures by nature. We want more than we have, even if what we have is more than enough to sustain us. Greed causes conflict; occasionally, if greed appears on a large scale, it causes bloodshed. Sometimes, in the desire to dominate our surroundings in the act that we know as ownership, we label other individuals as property.
There are few things more morally reprehensible than claiming ownership over another person.
The one thing that all humans, poor or rich, own is their own person. We possess ourselves from birth and have every right to stay in possession of ourselves. Denying someone the ownership of himself or herself is far worse than petty theft; it's the domination of another human... the stealing of something fundamental to sentient existence. Claiming others as property is to rob them of their selfhood.
...So stop writing on each other. It's wrong and imbecilic.
Sep. 11th, 2009
The Prison Island Sinks event. Guilt and mild insanity ensues.
We already paid for what we did. We already paid. What more do you want? Do you want me to die again?! Will that--it won't fix anything. It won't. It won't bring her back.
When I--I had no idea. You have to believe me. I never thought I'd--I had to show him.
I could have let her die, but I didn't. I saved her, and she--she didn't save me, and she killed him. We paid. I just want another chance... to start over. I haven't hurt anyone else. I wouldn't... I'm not like that. I'm not.
...What was her name?
What was her name...