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  • Posted November 3, 2012 by
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    Stories from Second Life

    Ataraxia: The Search for Truth. Part One


    Chapter One: Voice from Hell

    ''What the hell just happened?'' a protagonist thought. ''Where's Honolulu airport? Where's my plane to Warsaw?''
    All the individual could sense was darkness. Blackness which was rarely - if ever - encountered in nature. The protagonist was not a squeamish type, but catatonia was not an entirely implausible option at the time. The protagonist's mind vacillated between sanity and psychosis. One side had to win - eventually.
    ''This is fucking solitary confinement!'' the protagonist exclaimed. ''What the fuck's going on here?!''
    ''You were discussing how outdated the field of English as a second language is and how it can't keep up with the modern world,'' the voice addressed the protagonist out of the blackness. ''How you could have a huge English vocabulary and speak with an American accent because of your family ties. The fact, which concurrently confused and intimidated your Polish language school employers. The fact your great-grandfather had dealings with Al Capone. Prescriptivism versus descriptivism.''
    ''Thank God!'' exclaimed the individual. ''Please, tell me what's happening? I like strange, I was part of an organization investigating the unexplained, but this bends all known rules of engagement!''
    ''A bomb went off,'' the voice asserted. ''Mark. Marek Polański. The woman you spoke with about neurolinguistics and amelioration. The woman who taught English in Japan for a year. You're not dreaming. You're not on drugs. You're not delusional. You're physically dead. Dead in Hawaii. There was bedlam. Your twenty five years of life came to an abrupt end.''
    ''How ironic,'' Mark could not help but smile. ''I was contemplating suicide. Even called Dignitas. As long as you don't own your own body, there can be no real freedom, you know? Anyway, I digress. You've a clean-cut British accent,'' the man observed.
    Desperately trying to ensure the voice would not fade away, Polański aimed to flood the interlocutor with a torrent of questions.
    ''You seem to know a lot about me... I feel like I'm at a disadvantage,'' he grimaced. ''Please, just tell me this isn't some sort of panopticon dystopia probing my mind right now.''
    ''All will be revealed,'' the voice said. ''No, you're not in any kind of new world order prison.''
    A beam of light illuminated the ground in front of Mark.
    ''The light,'' Polański slowly stretched his arms to touch the energy source. ''It doesn't blind me... nor is it warm.''
    ''It won't blind you,'' the voice said. ''It would seem your perennialists were right about the Matrix, the Brahman... oftentimes, concepts hijacked by popular culture, reduced to trifles for the masses to feast upon.''
    ''You're not a woman,'' Marek blurted out. ''Are you?''
    ''That's immaterial to this conversation,'' the voice replied. ''Your task is to describe your philosophy.''
    ''What for?'' asked Polański. ''How am I supposed to trust you? I never thought I'd say this, but... how can I be sure this isn't hell? You're evasive, to say the least! How do you even know I actually HAVE a philosophy?''
    ''I won't be playing this back-and-forth game with you,'' the voice stated. ''Once you describe your philosophy - to yourself and NOT to me - you will be able to enter the light.''
    ''What if the light is a trap?'' Mark persisted in his line of reasoning. ''There actually were people who'd said this whole tunnel deal is a trap! And why would I do that in the first place?''
    ''Stay here forever or move on,'' the voice elucidated Mark's position. ''Make your choice.''
    ''Fuck it, voice, I'm not a philosopher!'' Mark hoped his crass remark would enliven the atmosphere. ''Philosophers starve! I'm just someone on a quest for answers! Philosophers gloss over real-life issues!''
    Deafening silence.
    ''All right,'' nodded Mark. ''If I rest in pieces, as you claim, then the biggest secret ever has been revealed! Although I did record a powerful EVP when I was eighteen. At Powązki cemetery. You know Powązki? So many flickering lights, illuminating the graves.... running parallel to Halloween, you know? Just your local Slavic counterpart. A little more somber, but everything is more somber in that part of the world... just to make sure: this isn't some cosmic joke and you're still there, right?''
    ''I am,'' the voice replied. ''You are the one who's the prime - and the only - recipient of the message. I am here to make it easier for you. Imagine I am next to you, listening.''
    ''Can't you comment?'' asked Mark. ''Can't you interact? Can't you appear?''
    ''No,'' the voice replied categorically. ''Anticipating your line of reasoning: I won't explain.''
    ''One hell of a mental cul-de-sac we're having ourselves here, then!'' Mark clapped his hands. ''What's the form of this philosophical expression?''
    ''The form is entirely up to you,'' replied the voice emotionlessly.
    ''I choose thinking,'' he nodded vigorously. ''Thought patterns.''
    ''Very well,'' replied the feminine voice.
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