1. Numa Tullis
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He wanted nothing more than to communicate. His self was so empty, so disconnected from everyone, it was almost like everyone around him was speaking a different language. Each word spoken was just a jumbled mess, each word made sense, but the collective was just gibberish, a nonsensical mess that just seemed to dribble out of his ear. This lack of connection was a raw, grating feeling. Almost like a goalkeeper, it made sure to separate him from everything that most people would consider being “human”. He specially hated being around people, as doing so would only just reinforce how lonely he was, and this only continued to defeat him and leave him tired and drained. He tried his best to make them like him, at first all he thought was he wanted to be accepted. And eventually he was, but this didn’t make him feel any better. They didn’t accept him, instead all they seemed to do was accept his façade, his true face still hidden by a mask.

Not all accepted him as he portrayed though, some saw through his disguise, saw through his ugly, ugly exterior. The warped sense of self that didn’t really belong to anyone. At the end of the day, he had stopped seeing himself as being human. Instead, he simply saw himself as he truly was, a shapeshifter only temporarily pretending to be human. He was a demon wrapped in human skin, long dead and even longer forgotten. He was basically just one big “reference”, pieces of different personalities stitched haphazardly together creating this disgusting amalgamation of twisted emotions and beliefs. The time to remember who he truly was had long past anyone by, that person had died long ago and all that was left was this “thing”. Too warped to be called human, but too alive to be called dead.

He rarely wanted for anything outside of his most basic needs. He ate until he was full, he slept until he wasn’t tired anymore. Both activities gave him some semblance of “meaning” and as such gave him a little joy. Partaking in more than he should simply just left the taste of agony in his mouth after the momentary joy had passed him by. It taunted him, letting him feel alive only for this feeling to fade away, to be replaced by a deep feeling of hollowness. Somedays it almost felt like his entire existence was cursed and his very being so wrong his soul had rejected that notion from the moment it was aware of this incongruity.

Not all days were as bad as others, sometimes he would feel alive, on the top of his “game” ready to face the day and to work to “better” himself. Yet, every time, he was once again met with a faceless crowd. All of them looking just as alien as the last, each glance was just as meaningless as the last, all meaning foreign to his eyes.

Each day he would wakeup and go wash his face. During this time, he would stare into the mirror and back at himself. His face looked and felt so alien to him, he no longer identified that face as his, his eyes met his own with an almost clinical look. There was no flash of recognition, no twitch of the face that would convey any emotion. His mind just as blank as it was when he splashed water onto his own face. He didn’t feel disgust anymore for what he had become. Before he was an angry man, angry about how everything was turning out, angry at his peers, angry at himself, angry at his family. But now there was no longer any presence of this anger.

This anger had left him some years ago and it formed such an angry gaping hole within himself. At first, he was happy this anger had left him, but then he soon realized how much this anger had motivated, how much this anger had fueled him to feel anything really. Everything was painted in shades of how angry he was, it served as the backdrop of this day, but just as present as it was then, its absence now was almost startling. There wasn’t much that could create this backdrop as his anger had. Now, instead of feeling shades of anger, his days were painted with shades of nothing. Somedays he felt especially like nothing, like a warm breeze floating through life. Other days he felt like a cold breeze that just as easily passed through life. He never really felt like much anymore.

Sometimes though, in some lucky moments he would be overtaken with a strong emotion, such as disgust, happiness, joy, fear, there was a whole suite of emotions that seemingly were at his disposal in these moments. Strangly absent, almost like he had spent enough for a lifetime was his feelings of sadness and anger. These moments would spring up quickly, but then just as quickly as they appeared they would disappear again like they had never existed in the first place.

It was a hollow experience, but he had come to live with it. Giving up and trying again in the next life had never really crossed his mind, but thoughts and plans for his future were also suspiciously absent also. He lived each day like it was his last, yet each day was just as unfulfilling as the last.

He had once seen a doctor about his troubles, but almost like an allergic reaction his “personality” would quickly spring up, replacing his true nature like the winter snow being melted away with the spring air. He eventually stopped bothering going; the doctors could only fix what they could consider broken. If he couldn’t be bothered to show what was broken it wasn’t their fault they couldn’t “fix him”. At the end of the day, it was all just a big excuse, and there wasn’t much he could do about that. But then again, that thought was also just another larger excuse.

Waking up on a Tuesday, his first feeling every morning was joy. It was an intoxicating feeling, something that seemed to ease his mind, but this joy just like the tide, receded back into the ocean of his consciousness almost like it was playing a game of peekaboo. What was left was just a raw, emptiness. To refer to it as an emotion would be categorically false, as it wasn’t a feeling of emptiness so much as it was just emptiness. Rubbing his eye, he sat up from his bed in his single room apartment and made his way towards the bathroom. Washing his face with a splash of cold water, he met his gaze in the mirror like he had did every day for the past four years of his life. Once again, this netted him absolutely nothing, just a waste of time in an already wasteful life.

He didn’t remember why he started doing this, there was no real reason to do it. He wasn’t looking at his face, instead he was looking into his own eyes trying to see what laid behind him. It never occurred to him how strange this really was, especially since he knew what lay behind those eyes, he was still capable of reading and understanding his own thoughts.

Just like always his eyes just looked like nothing special, just a circular orb floating in a socket. There was no flicker of anything, no lack of something. It looked how it always looked, he never understood when people said that the eyes were the most expressive part of the body. With a sigh, he broke contact with himself and made his way to the desk situated next to his bed. It was a small desk, barely able to fit a small computer, it felt more constrained than it really was but that didn’t bother him at all. He didn’t need more space, and the smaller the room the less felt wasted. It was a simplistic lifestyle, and there wasn’t much to do within his room.

All that mattered to him though was there was his laptop and his writings contained within. He loved writing, that was really his one passion, probably the largest thing about his life. He would spend hours upon hours working upon his story. Each addition, each rendition would bring it closer and closer to how it really was.

The largest problem with his writing and something that he wouldn’t be able to change, was the fact that he never really understood the concept of motivation. He barely knew what motived himself (if there was anything motivating him at all) and the thoughts of others were just as mysterious as the morning stars. Maybe if he had a way to understand people’s motivations then he wouldn’t struggle so much with connecting with them. But nevertheless, he trooped onwards. His writing wasn’t based in fact, nor was it based in fiction. Instead, it was based on his own broken ideas of how the world worked. Just like his “personality” this meant a bunch of stereotypes and cliches were route together. He believed it was cliché, he almost took pride in how cliché it was.

Like the saying goes, there is no smoke without a fire, and cliches are cliches because they were at one point interesting and in some ways reflect how we view the world. In a similar manner, he believed the way he interpreted and used cliches showed his true face to the world. It showed how he really felt, who he really was. Even thought this was a good chance to express himself, he never felt like showing it to anyone. None of his “friends” would appreciate his writings, many of them would probably not even bother reading them but he didn’t blame them. The person he was with them wasn’t the kind of person to do those things, he lied to them just as much as they would probably lie to him saying that they had read it. Showing it to strangers online didn’t do much for him either. He didn’t do it for recognition. He wrote it to get it out of his system. Kept inside it would be kept in a loop, the story never progressing forever frustrating him in the endless silence of his life.

As such, he wrote. A couple words every now and then. Just a couple notes to himself pretty much, soon they became paragraphs, just basic summaries of galactic events. Eventually they extended even further into short stories chronologizing the events of certain people’s lives. He didn’t write how he would react; he wrote how he felt other people would react to these events. Almost like a sick pop quiz it entertained him for a time. It was never a set-in stone kind of story, in fact the totality of read more like a history textbook that might have been found from that universe.

Sometimes he wondered if he should change things to follow only one main character. Then he realized how almost silly that was. I mean, does it make sense that one person could have enough sway to change the world, much less a galaxy. These things were never so simple, instead they were usually attributed to one person in hindsight as historians found it more and more necessary to condense centuries into mere minutes. In other words, it was never really one person that changed this world, instead it was a collective who through their actions shaped the world around them. Just like that, the story was re-written to only feature one main character.

Just like the founding of Rome was attributed to Romulus (whose identity was probably closer to a fictional character based loosely on a generation or two of founders). This main character active from 300 A2A to 550 A3A was attributed to certain unexplained events.  General Luxemburg ambushed the Endaria forces waiting for him above the planet Evelon primary with a contingent of mechanized infantry. How did Luxemburg find out about the ambush? He didn’t, it was relayed to him by a rising star—Quin. Quin was also the person who led the mechanized infantry in a rout of the Endaria. Who brought about the third great awakening and moved the era from A2A to A3A? Quin of course. Who built Rome? It was Romulus of course! How long did it take him? More than a day!

His cleverness with the creation of this brought him enough joy to last a day, but by the next he was back to his same ways. He felt proud about how sloppily it was done. In other words, anyone who read it could tell that Quin was a made-up character, in the fact that there wasn’t much to him outside of his abilities to affect the outcome of events. Plainly, it simply meant that his actions were too broad, too impactful to be a real person if this was taken to be an actual textbook.

Trying to stimulate himself again, he created another character, Numa Tullus. Unlike Quin, whose role was to take the credit for anything galaxy shaking, Numa was a character who existed in only brief one sentence offhand comments. The kind where if you brought it up to your history professor, they would either be seriously impressed or confused as to who the person was. The difference was, Numa was a real person. Quin was a shoo-in for an organization or multiple movements, where Quin really did exist. He was a real person in this story, and while he never did anything so great as change the fate of a galaxy, he was a constant enough presence for his story to be recounted in a history textbook.

Leaning back in his chair, looking at the screen after editing in the final reference of Quin he was just as empty as he was when he began sowing together this tail. He didn’t feel anything special from it, but this didn’t bother him. His space textbook was done there was nothing more to right. Thinking about it, he didn’t feel content. He didn’t feel much of anything, just a weird sense of boredom. Before his mind would be racing a mile a minute, but now it seemed to be slowing down.

There was nothing on his mind, but his recognition of the fact and just general response to the world was continuing to slow down further and further. At some point he must have taken on his glasses cause his vision was beginning to become blurrier and blurrier. Thinking slowly to himself, “I must be sitting down or something…”. His mind couldn’t keep up with the multitude of signals racing through his body, it no longer registered the pain felt in his head, it no longer registered the pain in his heart. These were no longer a concern of his. He had moved on—fully moved on.

Slumping forward and slamming his head onto his computer, his last thought in this life was only a cold remark of wondering how long it would take before someone found his body….