The rock, still hurtling, reaches a point of pause, and Those Who Were Made Complacent fall upon The Unbroken in a fashion akin to universal terrors. Be storm, be angels, be fire and brimstone, all know to fear the descent of the heavens.
The Complacent are shown the strength of the faithful who do not fear death. They are herded and trapped like animals. Without insight, without foresight, without collaboration, without corroboration. Without the ability to see they are indeed no more than animals.
The leader of the pack makes an appearance. And like an animal, her control is challenged by the newcomers. Believing they have put on a flashy display, they proceed by following her anyway.
Danger close, danger close.
Green skies telling of a need for escape. Then down, as always, further down, to the unfiltered canal of discharge and excess; finally resting in a space named Charlie.
With brevity the leader explains her struggles.
Danger too close for comfort.
Recall the unforgiving captain who gathered The Complacent. She asks if this is his godsend. She acts as if she needs one. Lost: one forward operating base. Lost: one communications tower. Lost: 350 people in the last hour. Lost: any semblance of composure.
The enemy, it seems, has found theirs, and those that remain of the original Complacents see the opportunity that has presented itself in the deaths of others.
A discussion, a departure, and the discovery of a new world awaits them in the new day.
But let them be named:
One is The Bad Man, happy to kill, and overconfident in his abilities.
One is The Clever Man, equally happy, but quick to anger.
One is The Pathetic Man, tactless, unobservant, and far too trusting.
One remains the unnamed man, whom the author rarely speaks of.
It begins in a rich, aromatic environment, the very air of the place heavy with reject and depression. See the greed in the eyes of the patrons. Their restless demeanours speak stronger words than their lips can attempt to utter. It wouldn’t be difficult to lose oneself here, which is why it’s so necessary to leave.
It continues in an environment that would be called kitsch anywhere. Things are not so forward here. One would have them leave, one would have them stay. Two would have a private conversation. One would consider subtlety, but forget true selfishness in the interest of thinking lowly of others. He is The Bad Man.
The others disperse, looking for a means to sustain themselves.
Evening falls, and The Bad Man displays his goods. Less complacent than usual, the others show their distrust, put up their safeguards, and make their insistencies. They have seen the necessity of learning.
So it is decided they will travel from Charlie to Sorrow.
A gilded knife accompanies them briefly, offering assistance for no more than the reaffirmation of his abilities. How intriguing. He wields such knowledgeability and tact, but hides behind the guise of a baser language. The only one who chooses to listen to him carefully can hear the promise of death in his voice.
Their sorrow inevitably, eventually, begets Solace. Their progress is marked by increasing amounts of disorder. One would jeopardize the lives of others for his own foolishness and incapability. He is The Pathetic Man. If not for the selfishness of three others, his life would be lost.
But not missed.
When finally they have reached their destination, their faithful companion shows one final display of aptitude, then takes his leave of them.
And will be missed.
Then down, as always, further down, to the remaining dredges of a faithful community. For four hours each of them engaged with the cacophony of his own mind.
But then a most distinct symphony:
First joviality, from those who have embraced carelessness.
Then anger, an effective approach when animals are cornered.
Then fear, commonplace among lesser men.
Then terror, a familiar companion to an unexpected death.
Oh happy day! …that is all cast aside when the same, never ending overconfidence decides to throw it all away.