Page 1 – 5

Prelude

It has been stated, written and (in some parts of the world) painted repeatedly over time, that there is always a beginning. Some of these turn out to be quite important, if people are to be believed, and replace their respective pre-positioned article with a ‘The’. At times, a capital ‘B’ may even find its way into it. As for the others, it is often maintained that they are one of the infinite beginnings which happen to plague human civilizations since time immemorial. They are quite important in their own rights, we have learned from reliable sources.

To all that we say, “Fine.”

“That’s as it may be” we further add.

Truth be spoken (a truth? The Truth? Any combination of article and capitalization works here. Feel free, by all means), we have no idea what beginnings are. Nor do we know if all . . . this . . . had a beginning to begin with. It must’ve had, what? Yes, you are probably right. It should definitely have had one somewhere at some point. But we have no idea where that point may be.

Oh, not because we are ignorant or illiterate. Goodness grief, no! We are as learned a bunch of learned individuals as you can shake a stick at. We could perhaps even tell you why sticks are shaken at stuff as such, if we felt like it. If you asked nicely. If your purse jingles absent-mindedly enough.

But learned as we may be, we could not tell you where all . . . this . . . had begun. For one, it would take way too many pages in this volume, publishing which we could ill afford, to be perfectly honest. Secondly, if certain blogs and forums are to be believed, prequels seldom make decent block-busters . . .

Lude?

Vic Garg, sequestered within a fortress of discarded fast-food cartons and empty caffeinated energy-drink cans, inside his studio apartment, had no idea of his rapidly approaching demise. Not that he would have cared even if he had known. Garg has become known to his acquaintances as a man who lived on his driving impetus. And junk food, evidently. But mostly on his driving force. Mountains have been cut through, oceans have been bridged, and wooden horses have been thought up under similar drives as what drove Garg throughout his life. One dream, chasing after which kept him alive (there wasn’t much else acting towards that goal).

However, Garg would soon learn, or won’t depending on whatever posthumous world-view you subscribe to, that his drive has reached the end of its tether. There are only so many weeks you can go without sleep; only so much water and nutrition you can refuse to admit within your system.

Three of the monitors currently facing him (Or six, as he could see them at this point. Also, one of them was a water-buffalo wearing a straw hat and chewing a banjo, because hallucination) were a blur of cascading texts and codes. His eyes were on neither of these. Nor were they on the five others that were running, as it would appear, several simulations visually unrelated to each other. His eyes – bereft of their ability visual perception to a great degree, as they were – gazed unseeing into the heart of insanity which was Garg’s motive force.

“Unh . . . nah . . . umhm . . .” he mumbled to himself, barely aware of the sound emanating from his lips. His was not a madness that can be associated with howling wolves, cackling thunder and smell of ozone. Nor could it find itself at home among hysterical laughter talking to one’s self along the lines of “They said I was mad!”, “I’ll show them!” etc. This had a coiled spring feeling to it, like the calm before a storm that may actually never occur. Garg’s insanity drained the atmosphere of its life, turning the studio into a hot and humid sphere where words lost their resonance once uttered. It had an iron-hard focus to it, like an aged blade that has only become sharper and shinier with age.

Garg held no illusion with regard to his existence. Through the coiled spring of his unbridled madness, he still saw the world with crystal-clear vision. His life, he knew, has amounted to nothing – as he had known long ago that it wouldn’t. In death, had he heard its footsteps closing in, he had never fooled himself with dreams of anything greater. His coiled insanity was never meant to strike.

It would have been nice to be able to finish it all at some point, he thought about three to four times a day. Deep within his consciousness he knew that this too was not to be.

What use then did he have for sponsorships? Why then would he sell his soul to Surreal Estates for a mere pittance? The alternate was to keep his soul and let go of the mere pittance that was keeping him this side of death-by-starvation, so that there was exactly why, then. But maybe, just maybe . . . he had dared think to himself, back before he had forgotten what thinking was . . . maybe someone will use his life’s work (after someone makes it work out, since he was definitely not going to be able to) in some way, someday, which may appeal to some indie developers as a cheaper and more humane alternative . . . ? All it would take then were a couple of decades before Surreal Estate and their likes would have to . . . what would they have to? Come up with another way to eliminate the competition? Yes indeed. Garg knew his work would amount to nothing. There was no way to counteract the system, either from within or without. Yet his work had continued unabated for so long, sustaining itself on his dreams, replacing logic with pigheaded determination.

If only it would work.

It is obvious to us teller of this tale that you are by now highly irritated with our constant allusions towards this “work” without a shred of explanation turning up anywhere. Trust us when we say this, it is not because we wish to provide you with cheap jumpscare or a sense of “Ta Da!” later on, but rather because we have no idea what Garg has been doing. We understand technology much less than you do, we are sure. In fact, if it doesn’t have to do with elevating the loneliness of a bachelor scholar’s night life, we wouldn’t recognize it if it danced nekkid afore us.

Fret not, though. We have devised a marvelous plan in order to overcome this shortcoming of our cognition. We have invited Vic Garg, yes, the man himself, in the flesh (not really though, for reasons of having been dead soon after the end of this piece) to enlighten us about the nature of his work. We too are dying to find out what it was that he was doing.

If you would be so kind, Mr. Garg?

“Naah.”

We beg your pardon?

“Don’t wanna.”

But –

“Zip it, geek! I’m going out for a smoke.”

Surreal Estate employees were incentivized for on-their-feet thinknig

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