The Arrival

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Wanderer: Toland Smith

A submitted part of Toland's Journal.

The Ramblings of a Shattered Man.

I have been lying on a mattress for the past five days. I've been thinking about the beginning of it all recently. I slammed my head into a wall immediately upon arrival, and some poor wanderer found me half-dead on the floor a while later. I have no idea why the device propelled me with such force, but now it's broken and whatever powered the thing is completely dry. No chance of me getting back to whatever was left of The Union Zone. All I can do now is lay around waiting for my wounds to heal, although my condition has gotten much better since the initial impact. I was fading in and out of consciousness before, but now that I'm stable it feels damn good to write again.

It's eerily quiet in this newfound place. No distant screams, no wail of a siren when the sky dims — the only noise I can hear is the subtle drone that comes from the lights above me, and the distant clicks and whirrs of technology nearby. It's nice, yet I still feel that searing pain, as if I still had the mark of the Leviathan burnt into my flesh. A sign that he lurks here too, already corrupting more of us with his lies and power. A sign that he exists beyond the so called farrooms, watching over us all like some god.

It's been years since I first arrived to that place.

I had been wandering about, fighting for my life, falling so close to the jaws of death over and over again in there. A constant cycle of pain, loss, and corruption has tainted my soul. This stain has made me find something within me, for better or worse. A sort of locked box, forced open as I faced more and more challenges. I don't know what was truly set free within me, but I know what it means for me: the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowing when something awful is happening and feeling your gut wrench when that inevitable pain gets closer to you.

I know I am not alone in carrying this burden. I know others must have gone through that torment to gain something, whether they wanted it or not. We have all stared utter doom in the face and walked out, not only alive but with a sense of resolve and fortitude. But what am I supposed to contribute when I'm stuck on this damn mattress?

My newfound life in these halls is alright for the most part, recovery-wise. I'm fed through some tubes which are attached to my arm due to my broken jaw. I've been in isolation for the most part as well, save for when this little girl comes peeking into the tent. Half her face is scabbed over from some injury, but I still hear her humming when she passes by my tent; seemingly content despite her condition. She's a cheeky one, adorable — but something about her injury disturbs me. I wonder what could've been the source of this appearance, or if there is a story behind it. I know my own scarred face recounts a tale of my misgivings and faults, but what does hers signify?

Seeing people in a cheerful state like hers gives me hope that even in this burning wheel of fate, there is something that we must fight for. I long to be able to draw my arms for one last time and end this insurgency against evil, but rest and relaxation are still miles away. As long as The Leviathan lives to torment us, I cannot stop. What he takes from us will not be given back, ever. This must end, lest he reaches past these halls and finds a way to Baseline. That would be the end of it all.

I do always wonder what life in Baseline is like now. We may have nuked ourselves to death, or maybe we went out to the stars, leaving our dear earth behind. It could still be the same as always, just everyday life continuing without us. Baseline doesn't truly matter to me anymore, except for those longing thoughts that come into my mind every once in a while. This is the new world, and we must adapt to the challenges we face. We are humanity. We shall adjust and find a way to make this place ours, if only for a brief moment in time.

However, that doesn't start with some old man ranting about it on a sheet of paper. Once I can find people who need the information, I'll get to share my story. We have hope in our hearts, and while that alone won't carry us through our struggles, it's a damn start. I'll try to get up and talk to some others. Maybe even talk to that little girl. For now, I'll just recover from my blow.

Let us move on to a new dawn, off the ashes of the ones that came before us.

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