Se Tenir Debout

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"Dzer."

It was a name I had heard many times before. Said by so many people, maybe even loved ones. Though the memories themselves hung in a fine balance within my head; feeling as if I could reach them if I just tried hard enough. I have not seen those memories in a very long time, centuries perhaps. All that belongs to me now is a mind filled with places people could've never imagined and my two legs.

Despite this extremely clouded memory, I still remember the last person I saw. A little nameless girl staring me in the eye and saying I was a "scary-looking guy." I see her so often that the little chuckle I would always give has faded away. But what really sticks in my head is seeing her disappear in the blink of an eye. At the time, I thought that maybe she was an entity or a really quiet kid. But now I know.

This place—The Backrooms—is empty. A once lively place, with people hoping to escape, now dead in the water. No creature, no bug, nothing exists any longer. Dead outposts that had people which I can only assume had full lives and goals, hopes, and dreams. Maybe they escaped, left me behind, tossed me away like garbage. Or maybe they're just gone, I can no longer tell.

With these centuries I've had to myself, I've tried desperately to keep hold of what memories I had while I could. I've explored places that the mind can barely comprehend—mapped that which was considered "infinite." But nothing remains unknown now. Nothing is new.

Yet, I still find comfort within these yellow halls, wandering them endlessly. The monotonous feeling of mindlessly waltzing through the place so many people had seen in this new world. The unpredictable feeling of turning a corner, as if I hadn't done it hundreds of times before. Finding remains of civilization, abandoned shelter—it's all so sobering, truly. Each step feels important to me. Who knows? Maybe I'll find an escape someday.

But in the back of my mind, I don't really believe that, do I? I know that no matter how long I endlessly wander this mind-numbing maze, I will never find peace with myself or peace with this purgatory. Hidden deep within, so many questions fill my mind. Why am I here? Who did this? Is this a punishment? These thoughts, still remain mysteries to me—a familiar, torturous feeling.

I know I despise all that surrounds me. The droning, buzzing noise of the lights that's ever-present. The moist carpet that soaks my feet. The disgusting yet memorable smell of the carpet wafting up from the ground. It all disgusts me and satisfies me so, some unnamed feeling.

Still, I stand alone in these halls that have grown old with me.


Alone… Am I truly alone? I know that those from before are long gone, yet I can feel their eyes resting upon me. I can feel them standing around me. They stare into me starkly, not in a predatory sense, more in a hope-filled gaze; like staring into the eyes of a child. With each new pair of eyes upon me, I can feel the air growing thicker.

Some unidentifiable feeling—a sixth sense of sorts—fills my body, swirling and clashing within me like the tidal waves of a restless ocean. With each crash I can feel something change; new memories, new faces, things I had long forgotten. Looking down at my body, I see it shifting, changing—sliding through different people like a slideshow.

"Dzer."

That is still my name yet it feels foreign; some thoughts tracing it to a hermit, some tracing it to a wise man. It feels as if with each new opinion on myself, I slowly become less "me." Hundreds, maybe thousands of conflicting thoughts fill my head as my body begins to flicker between people even faster. A war for dominance rages on inside my head that drowns me out with each passing moment.

Taking my eyes away from myself for a second, I see the familiar pattern of Level 0 change. It looks so similar but different at the same time. The walls crash and collide around me, the floors move, and the carpet changes. The monotonous hum buzz of lights that I held so dearly changes to a slightly higher pitch, something ear-piercing.

The vehemence of each thought in my mind grows stronger and stronger and stronger until—it's dark. I can see myself, standing. Standing amidst the lost and forgotten souls of thousands, them all pushing against my body in unison. A clear thought entered my head. Is this benevolence? Are they trying to help me? I stood, a spectator staring upon myself, no longer shifting or confused.


The lights flicker back on and I—no, we find ourselves somewhere new, somewhere… unknown.

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