Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Ambulatory Corpses of Men

Night of the living Ambulatory Corpses of Men.
Conflict comes to us in many forms. Some say that life is nothing but conflict, internal and external, intentional and entirely outside of consciousness or sentience. What does this mean? There's the conflict of a newly born baby struggling to learn the bizarre and illogical language into which it is born, without a base language for point of reference. There's the conflict of that baby requiring so many things, the requests for which it cannot put words, like "I'm tired" or "I'm hungry" or "a snake has bitten me. Extricate it and fetch the physician as swiftly as possible."

There's the conflict of living beings that struggle against the elements to survive, enduring mudslides, hurricanes, several feet of snow, the brutal and unforgiving sun, just to see one more day of scraping for food. There's the conflict of living beings in pursuit of this, while simultaneously avoiding being attacked and preyed upon by other entities who necessarily share their goals. Much higher up on the philosophical infrastructure is the concern of sentient beings who riddle themselves into intractable corners: what is my purpose here? For what do I toil so hard to survive? What right have I to take the lives of others, merely to prolong my own pointless existence? How can any person anticipate any potential reward in the Afterworld, having ramped up his own success and survival upon an immeasurable heap of corpses and carcasses? What is the nature of such an Afterworld as would reward these heinous acts? Where did I get the idea such acts are abhorrent; from what other world did I come that informed me any differently?

I could really use that cup of tea, right about now.

They will swim any distance to get you.
As for me, in my current plight, there is a conflict between my desire to remain hale and hearty, and the ambulatory corpses of men (or A.C.M., for brevity's sake) who shamble toward me from all directions, lusting exclusively for the repast of my person. There are cows, sheep, pigs, chicken and fish—once I thought I espied a hare—yet no meal will do but that which hangs on my bones.

The A.C.M. are easy enough to avoid: they cannot venture within sunlight; their rigor mortis apprehends them to a slow gait, and they are easily outrun; they may surpass small mounds and work staircases, but ladders confound them entirely. Yet there have been times when I was otherwise employed in errands that redirected my sensory faculties from a more encompassing awareness to a single focal point, not noticing the sun has gone down, not hearing their anticipatory groans of primal hunger, that I have found myself effectively surrounded by the moldering, odorous host of A.C.M.

They will gang up and surround you.
Sometimes I may fight my way out; sometimes I lose the conflict. At those times, yet more weird rules of this eerie world make themselves known. When it comes about that I die, my vision goes red, then black, and then I wake up in my regular clothing, at some variable location on the island. All of my possessions have been shed in the area of my demise, which I must then retrieve at tremendous personal risk (but how risky can this be, if I only reincarnate promptly each time?) or else they simply vanish. When first I experienced this entirely irrational chain of events, I sank to my knees and howled at the night sky in protest. I beat my fists on the soil and clawed at my hair, bellowing at the incomprehensibility of it all.

The A.C.M. found me and slew me again, and I came to nearby. This happened three more times before I mustered the wherewithal to rise, sprint beyond their reach, reclaim my possessions, then dive into the shelter of my sturdy Yankee dwelling-home.

This one is furious, much tougher,
and attacking with gunpowder somehow.
Their pertinacity is fearsome and admirable. They are slow of gait, with compromised capacity for reason, yet they accrue in numbers (they do not seem to work together with any strategy) and are formidable for all that. I watch them, blind to all but their goals, wavering neither left nor right as they march toward that which they desire. There's a lesson here somewhere, I know it.

They appear on the island as soon as the moon comes up. Sometimes they surprise me deep within the recesses of my mines, far below my stone house. Nothing about them makes any sense, excepting their singular drive to eat. To that, I may easily relate; as well, I may relate to the sheep and what it must think when it sees me rise before it, sword in hand, eyes darkened with grim resolve. One does not wish to starve to death; one does not wish to be eaten; between these, only one contender may emerge victorious, and then only for the time being. So shall it always be, I'm afraid.

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