How can tomorrow even exist for us if you won't fight for yourself today?

Tempest Crossing

The Grand Challenge - Chapter 7 (Reason)

The door opens ever so slightly for the Waysider.


What feels like a long time ago, there was someone I relied on. Before I stagnated into the repeating reavings that consumed everything and outputted nothing, there was someone that have light to me day, in a way that I could never expect. Her name was Grace, and for a while I had a reason to believe that tomorrow would not be so bleak.

Our initial encounter was nothing special. We had mutual friends and happened to meet upon a pretty ordinary luncheon at work. We had similar enough interests, and got to hanging out with the friend group at large from work. Slowly, I began to speak things less shallow and closer to the heart, and Grace would do likewise. I was on good terms with everyone back then, but it was all at a superficial level. We all did mundane work nobody was psyched about, but every two weeks we would have a small jolting reminder as to why we put up with it all in the form of a decent sized paycheck. A lot of us were recent college grads scraping by with every penny-pinching purchase, and comparatively now we were eating and sleeping like kings. Sometimes I wondered if I deserved the amount of currency I was conjuring considering how many other people in my peer group worked harder for less, or even globally how much harder life was and people were still scraping by. There was a nagging voice and hat came and went in the back of my head wondering if I should step out of my way to do something, but nobody in in my immediate group of work friends had the same festering thoughts. They only worried about today and the instant gratification they could conjure up - and if everyone else was doing it, why not myself as well?

But for the briefest moments, spending time with Grace in said friend group made me wonder of a future where I could invest in something that wouldn’t start and end within 24 hours. The railroad of corporate life never rewarded starving artists except for the selected few that were handpicked by lady luck herself, so it seemed foolish to even dream of being something that deviated from great success albeit mind numbing work. Grace was different - she was a wonderfully contagious ball of positive energy that dreamed of a world where everyone had the capability of creating something wonderful and unique. Her idols were not the high-eyeball per capita celebrities and social media influence of our generation, but the unsung heroes and everyday men and women working hard to make their visions of realities that could be come true. In speaking with her, I slowly started to realized within myself that, just maybe, there was something I wanted to make too. Maybe not eve something as small as a story or animated work, but something beyond myself. A dream bigger than myself, huh?…

But people like Grace weren’t someone I could keep all to myself. Just as she radiated an aura of good and hope within me, she planted that seed of positive energy not just in the work friends she interfaced with daily. , but friends of those friends, her family, her local church, and various volunteering feats. The more time she invested into her local sphere of influence, the more I could feel that I could no longer be part of her world. I had nothing to offer her after all, I was just another run of the mill guy from work. It showe4d not only in my lack of actions but her lack of appearances too. Her schedule became tighter and she spent more time doing good in her world and met with others of the same caliber as I slowly fell to the wayside. The final nail in the coffin was was a casual lunch she happened to attend, eerily similar to the first time I met. But back then we felt like equals, and here I felt like a nobody. The grace her namesake carried herself within radiated with everyone she met, and finally, I couldn’t take it anymore,

Because I realized a truth I had been hiding from myself all this time , that I was simply no one. I was the piece that did not belong. The self-fulfilling prophecy of the layman who did nothing and became no one and could save no one, not now or ever.

For a long time, I wandered through cyberspace looking for some sort of sense or meaning or stimulation or anything to try to help me remember the kind of person I wanted to become. The bonds I made in person did not last as they were superficial to begin with, and the relationships I made online came and went like the wind as they were easy come, easy go. As the days began to churn together and feel like an endless cycle with no iterations or changes, I did what I always did, and somehow ended up here in this hyper-realistic game, writhing in immense pain inside of avatar of something with its own sentient feelings and dreams, and in this moment of insanity, uncertainty, and overwhelming emotion, something clicked. A door that was once closed internally made a small creak, and just a bit of the door began to open into something unknown. Something scary and wonderful, something that was inside of me this whole time , but I had subconsciously done my best to keep the door from opening….


The monster approached ever closer, upturning everything in its wake as it looked for something, presumably me (us?). It hadn’t spotted us yet, but if the monster wouldn’t find us, its upturned mounts of garbage would either crush us by chance or upturn the terrain in a way we could not escape from easily. Putting my brain into overdrive, I frantically turned the options within myself to figure out a way out of the situation. Anim was injured and was in no position to perform great feats of acrobatics even before getting hurt. As far as I knew, Anim had no special powers and was just an ordinary girl, but something about the goddess saying “your power is something you have to discover within yourself” felt more like a cop-out answer then any real instruction on how to to survive.


The lumbering footsteps grew louder, like thunder closing in on the heels of a storm. Focusing again, I tried to get a sense of what we could utilize in the environment to get an edge on this monster, at least for evasion. The intense stench of the junkyard made this task immensely distracting, but on the massive odor of stink, I smelled a tinge of ocean breeze -

And suddenly, an idea came to me.

(Hey Anim…)

“Yeah? You have an idea out of this? You’ve been awful quiet as that… thing approaches us.”

( I do, but I have to confirm something - do you know where we are?)

Anim paused to think, then shook her head.

“A site like this in common in Tant. Our ancestors before us were very shortsighted in the way they lived with the land, and shifted once beautiful environments in sites of collected waste that would never be dissolved and instead linger forever. I half-expected this, but the Goddess sent us here to deal with this… somehow. But your guess is as good as mine. “

My hope was starting to fade, but I wanted to try something before simply rolling over and dying.

(Anim, I have an idea, but it’s a bit crazy, and it’s going to need a lot of commitment and luck from both of us.

I could feel the avatar’s body tense up as I had just promised to save it moments prior, but it steadfasted itself and replied curtly.

“Yeah, I’m with you. I still don’t know why we’re both here in this moment, but I will pray that this was per-ordained, and we will both make it through because of it.”


Dialogue & Discussion