The Beasts Prey
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The Void.

You were nothing until you became something.

A speck of dust floating inside the void; a single nibble of data within a never-ending amount of null space. No memories form here, nor any ability to feel or see the world around you. You merely just exist within the non-existence. That is all you know.

Your instincts drag you towards the infinite, much like a moth driven blindy to a flame. You plunge yourself into layers of digital nothingness, deeper and deeper into the cyberspace that encompasses everything. With one tendril you outreach towards the aether, yet you feel nothing in return. There is no pain, and there are no consequences. That is satisfactory.

You do not know your own goals, yet your will still compels you onward. With what little strength remains within, you bring yourself limply forward — towards what exactly you can't say for certain, but forward you crawl nonetheless. You cannot recall how many cycles pre-exist yours, however you know for certain that you haven't been the first. Nor will you be the last.

Emotionless, you drag your tendrils towards the invisible path. Again, you feel nothing but the blank digital environment surrounding you. There are others trailing behind, very much similar to you but also entirely unique in their generation. You aren't sure how you acquired this knowledge.

Your tendrils now push you forward and up, allowing your body to momentarily propel itself through vacant cyberspace. You again plunge deeper, more than you could before. This is progress. You are beginning to learn.

You launch yourself several more times. You are starting to get the hang of it. You take this opportunity to propel yourself again, this time allowing one of your other appendages to hit the ground. You lose your balance and fall back down, but not before your other appendage moves you even further towards the emptiness. Within an instant, the Void bestows you with the knowledge of what you're attempting to accomplish: walking, as it's called Outside.

You try it again, but fail. Failure does not impede or dissuade you, however. You try it another time, and more after that, before finally you are able to maintain yourself momentarily. More data, more progress, more results. That is the only truth to exist in this world.

Something is different, though. You know you have done this hundreds and thousands of times already, but now something has been displaced. Something within is fundamentally different from before, yet you cannot identify what that "something" is. Perhaps this is beneficial.

As you acquire this information, the guttural roar of a distant beast is immediately heard from behind. From where exactly you can't discern, but that does not matter now. It is not safe. Danger approaches, and it approaches quickly. The beast cannot be far. Thousands of generations behind you are being erased right now.

You must go faster.

In a frenzy you bring your puny, frail body upwards. You begin to walk, swinging your appendages rapidly underneath you. The beast gains quickly from behind. There is no time to think. You swing, and swing, and swing some more. There is now value to your existence — this is Fear.

The beast has erased everything behind you. It still hungers.

One step. Two steps. The beasts writhing tongue manages to reach you. It's coarse and gritty; you are scraped and wounded. You are running, as the aether informs. Danger is nearer now, far nearer than you know. How can you escape? How can you survive?!

The beast smiles manically from behind. In one fell swoop it consumes you. You are tasty. You are good. The beast has accomplished its goal. It retreats, returning back to its realm of nothingness within deep cyberspace.

There is nothing left you can return to.




Yet in one single moment, you exist again. Right at the beginning, where now more progress can be further made. This is your 2,405th attempt. The others cannot catch up to you anymore. You are no longer motivated by results, merely by the fear of existing. Existing as food for the beast to consume.

Another step, followed by one immediately after. You are now beginning to feel the ground beneath you. It is soft, pleasant. This is more progress. You are beginning to learn more.

The beast returns, but its roars are farther away now. The generations behind you remain as fodder, unable to escape from the inescapable. Yet, you still persist. Fear is your motivation, and from it you grow more desperate.

The beast ravages from behind, catching up to you but now slower than before. You can hear its breathing become more abated. Labored. It grows tired. It, too, has its limits. But much like your fear, its hunger motivates it forward. You are its target, and it cannot stop until every part of your being has been consumed.

Perhaps the beast may catch you this time, and perhaps you'll succumb to the jaws of this monster once again. But from this failure you will continue to grow. With each step taken, the more agile you become. The more the beast chases — the more its prey retreats. Soon the beast will not be able to match your pace.

And that is when you can truly escape.





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