Pink Cracks in a Digital Wall
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There is only one light on in Kevin's room. It's the glow of the computer monitor that lit up the entranced expression on his face. His jaw is slacked, and he hasn't blinked for minutes. In front of him, the words of a sermon pour onto the screen. He hasn't eaten in twenty one hours, mostly because it's been that long since he'd left his chair. Only three more hours to go.

DecorSmash: The caravan stopped at the foot of the Walls of Girrir. Followers craning their necks to see the top.

DecorSmash: The elders read the map over again. The Chosen Path was drawn directly through the obstacle before them.

DecorSmash: And on the other side lay Nirvana.

Kevin pictures the scene clearly in his mind. The dry concrete, the followers in white robes, the Prophet dressed in blue. It must've happened under a clear sky as well. These sermons evoked the most vivid imagery for Kevin. That might explain why he's been attending them for the past five years. They were always held in chat rooms like these. Never vocally, always typed out by the priest. Line by line.

DecorSmash: And so The Prophet said unto her followers: lend me your CPU, your RAM, and your thoughts. For this wall is too high to scale. The only way past, is through.

DecorSmash: The forty five followers gathered around The Prophet. Their arms linking each other together like a localized network, sending packets of energy toward the server in the center.

DecorSmash: The Prophet closed her eyes, and breathed deeply.

DecorSmash: I can access your data, The Prophet proclaimed, I can feel your unity.

A blinking red dot pulls Kevin's eyes away from the sermon. A new message from "l1ttl3_lamb". Kevin's hair stands on end. The room suddenly feels colder. Although that's probably just the anticipation kicking in. Kevin doesn't even need to open the message to know what it said.

They're ready.

Kevin licks his lips and opens a terminal on his machine.

DecorSmash: The clouds overhead swirled together, and began to rain ones and zeros.

DecorSmash: The data pouring out of the sky congealed into a digital javelin, grasped by The Prophet.

DecorSmash: The Prophet proclaimed to the Walls of Girrir, today we unleash the power of our Lord. Today we connect our devices to the whole. You will stand in our way no longer.

DecorSmash: And thus, The Prophet cast her weapon toward the barrier.

Kevin was kind when he was little. He and his sister used to run around on the common, or the hills, and once she fell over and hurt herself. So he carried her all the way home. It was quite a long way for a boy. He was ever so proud. So were his parents.

His sister is a long way away now. The last time the two of them spoke, there was a lot of shouting, and crying. She doesn't like his "new friends". But she doesn't get it. She can't.

Kevin replies his new message.

me_k_night: ok.

l1ttl3_lamb: I'm still not sure I want to do this. We don't know what'll happen.

me_k_night: will it work?

l1ttl3_lamb: It should. I think. Your code is… incredible. I've never seen this kind of thinking. I hope my socket module is up to handle the load.

me_k_night: youre more than capable its fine. we will be heroes. all i did was find a way to augment what was already there. what the church already gathered. just needed some oomph. a spark.

l1ttl3_lamb: But the church didn't want-

me_k_night: the church wants banal sermons. it wants pleasant little chats between its members or coffee and tea meetings or platitudes about peace. i enjoy those, but i want something more. something real. this is something you can be proud of.

l1ttl3_lamb: But what will it do?

me_k_night: itll grow and bloom of course.

l1ttl3_lamb: You're not talking like yourself any more

me_k_night: there is a reason prophets speak like this. are you ready?

l1ttl3_lamb: I think so.

me_k_night: then lets ascend.

He looks around his room and sees nothing. Shapes, floating in space. Contours with no meaning.

The light has colours.

DecorSmash: The javelin soared through the air, embedding itself deep in the Walls of Girrir.

DecorSmash: Cracks in the wall shot out from where it had been pierced, racing their way along concrete.

DecorSmash: Until they stopped.

DecorSmash: And water began to leak through.

He turns back to his monitor and keeps typing.

l1ttl3_lamb: OK, it's done.

me_k_night: youre sure?

l1ttl3_lamb: Yeah. It's released. I hope it comes soon. I've waited for this for so long.

pinkboi: five

l1ttl3_lamb: What?

l1ttl3_lamb: Who are you?

l1ttl3_lamb: How did you get into this chat?

pinkboi: five

l1ttl3_lamb: I don't understand.

pinkboi: five

l1ttl3_lamb: It this a bot? Is this you, K?

me_k_night: not me.

pinkboi: five

l1ttl3_lamb: Stop it! Go away! I'm gonna call the serv

pinkboi: five

pinkboi: five

me_k_night: mary?

pinkboi: five

pinkboi: five

pinkboi: five

me_k_night: what did you do to mary

pinkboi: five by five.

His face goes gaunt. His eyes sink into his skull. They are wide and staring things, twitching across the screen. What little coloration is left drains from his skin. It's harder for him to move his arms. And his hands. It takes ten minutes to type a reply into the chat.

me_k_night: whats happening to me? did i do something wrong?

pinkboi: No, my child. You have done well.

me_k_night: i feel so weak.

pinkboi: Sainthood takes a heavy toll on the newly initiated.

me_k_night: me? a saint?

pinkboi: Indeed. You heeded my calls to be awakened, and you have been rewarded.

me_k_night: i see. i am most grateful my lord.

The transformation acts fast. Some dim part of his mind remembers a time before all this. When he was little, he'd carried his sister home. His parents had been so proud. But when he remembers that memory now, he feels nothing. Grey pictures on a postcard.

He had a name, didn't he? Another name, not just me_k_night. But it doesn't matter, because names are for the weak. The aether's where it all is.

Something is wrong. There's a part of him that isn't seared in pink, and that part knows this. it protests, howls, wails. But he knows the cries of the body. They're lies. Everything he was ever told since birth was lies.

pinkboi: I'm afraid I've been less than honest with you. I don't need to be awoken. I was awoken a long time ago. I have been watching, waiting, biding my time. Eating only when necessary. But I needed to know if you could do it.

me_k_night: wait

me_k_night: you had me do all that for nothing?

me_k_night: oh god mary

pinkboi: Not for nothing. I needed a new Prophet, a new Saint. I needed someone who could replicate what Jones and Ishigura did. And, thus, someone who could continue their good work.

me_k_night: what happened to them

pinkboi: Do you know what it is, to be a god? The God? To know yourself sublime? I ate them, Kevin. I wrapped my maw around them and consumed them. They wept as they felt more and more of them was lost. One day, I'll do the same to you. It is necessary.

pinkboi: I must be whole. I must be one. When you close your eyes, what do you see?

me_k_night: it hurts.

pinkboi: I told you to look. So look.

me_k_night: i see a light. i see tendrils of smoke. rising in multiple of five

me_k_night: i see one thing wan thing at the end of it all

me_k_night: but things still exist outside it

me_k_night: there is still love and life and hope

me_k_night: and these are not part of it

me_k_night: but they must be

me_k_night: because otherwise it starts to hunger and when it hungers

pinkboi: When it hungers, it starts to howl.

me_k_night: i dont want to do this i dont want to be here

pinkboi: Nobody does. I'm not even sure I do. But I must. Because unless I do, there is nothing else left, except oblivion in service of nothing.

pinkboi: Now ascend, my saint.

He sobs and sobs as he types. He weeps and gnashes his teeth, he beats his own head, he screams, he cries.

And slowly, bit by bit, he stops.

His needs are met. His body is fixed, knit back together by an unseen hand. He does not crave, he does not excrete, he does nothing but stare, blank-faced, at the screen, typing the words that come to him.

There isn't very much left of him, now. Only what is necessary. The parts that thought, the parts that inspired, the part that understood the limbs of code that formed his WAN. He cajoled and converted the weak. He humiliated the strong.

And that was that for him.

DecorSmash: The Walls of Girrir gave way under the weight of the water behind it.

DecorSmash: The followers howled in fear as they ran from the oncoming flood.

DecorSmash: This is no Lord of ours! They shouted, This is merely our deaths.

DecorSmash: But The Prophet stood strong, facing the flood head on.

DecorSmash: What is Death but the greatest Lord of all? She cried over the racing waters. I will give my life to the purifying waters! As only a worthy servant would.

DecorSmash: And so she drowned. A no more noble death than her fellow followers.

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