Writing Archives

What Is The Price You Must Pay In Order To Live?

Sunday, September 25, 2016
“I can’t do this. I just can’t,” she says with a sad sigh, shaking her head. “There has to be another way. A better way. A way that- that doesn’t involve doing something like this.”

A harsh, mocking laugh greets her words. She turns around to see a man dressed all in black leaning against a wall, looking steadily at her with dark, dark eyes. There was a look in them that she couldn’t quite comprehend.

dark, depressing themes, philosophical musings, short story, writing, invisible, insignificant, non-conformist
“You,” she exclaims. “What do you want? Stop laughing at me.”

“I can’t help it,” the man responds. “You are much too amusing. Really, saying things like that. There is no other way. I should think you’d know that by now.”

“No.” She shakes her head again. “It can’t be. I mean, is that really all that I can do? Is that really what I should do? You want me to just lie and pretend that I like what’s going on?

"You want me to do these things just to be accepted, just to be popular, just to stop being so invisible and insignificant? But I just can’t do it. I can’t compromise my ideals like that or the things that I believe in. I have much higher standards than that.”

The man laughs again, though it is somehow less mocking this time. “I told you, you don’t have a choice, not if you want to be popular and accepted, not if you want people to like you and love you, not if you want fame, fortune, power. To get all those things and more, this is what you must do. Nothing else will help you.”

She bit her lip, suddenly looking defiant. Her eyes blaze with a passion that draws the man to look at her again. “No,” she says with much conviction. “You’re wrong. Humans, people aren’t like that. Not all of them, anyway. There are nice ones with integrity and ideals and standards and beliefs similar to mine. There are those that are noble and good and kind.”

The man sighs and refrains from laughing. “What fantasy world do you live in?” His words sound harsh, but his tone is gentle. “None of what you say exists. Listen to me, this is the truth: everyone thinks only of themselves. If you can’t conform to what everyone thinks is right, to the standards that everyone else adheres to, then you will lose. You will undoubtedly suffer and you will get nothing. So, it’s better to just do as the others do. Don’t think about it too much. Soon, you’ll get used to all this.”

She looks down, hair falling across her face, hiding it from the world. Her eyes glisten with unshed tears that she refuses to let fall. “Doesn’t anyone feel guilty about what they’re doing?” she asks in a quiet voice, sounding so weary and defeated.

“Guilt? What is that? People don’t know the meaning of that word. Guilt means nothing at all.” In a lighter tone, he adds, “Look, people just want to live. They just want to survive. Can you blame them for that? You understand, don’t you? You want to live too.”

“Yes. I do want to live.”

“Then you know what you must do.”

She frowns, hesitating, deliberating until she finally makes a choice. The man smiles sadly, the strange look in his eyes intensifying and she thinks she finally understands what that look is supposed to be and what it means.

- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by CoDLia (CC:BY-SA) from deviantArt
- The 2 figures in this image are meant to represent the 2 characters in this short story
- YouTube video features a song entitled “Invisible” by Hunter Hayes and it speaks of people who are different, who don’t conform to the standards

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