Welcome to the official website of S. Vagus

About S. Vagus

S. Vagus: Born in Jakarta, Indonesia; educated by the British, and whose formative years were spent being a lanky white kid in Asia.

Tends to be called either 'an uncomfortable ten minutes' or 'an amazing few hours'.

Possesses a weakness for dogs and fails spectacularly at small-talk.


(Click a title to learn more)


I am currently spending all of my time on the Kasmah series.


People Are Politics
(16th Mar, 2016)
Writing: Purpose
(29th Feb, 2016)
Emotive saturation
(29th Jul, 2014)


Thank You
Broken Stronger
The Worth of Words
To Rule


|Stupid Johnathan|
(13th Jul, 2014)
(11th Jul, 2014)



Mailing list

What is the Kasmah series?

This epic fantasy tale is written for readers who enjoy discovering a world, its mythos, and characters over multiple books.

If you enjoy seeing smaller threads come together to weave an entire tapestry of a story, this series is for you.

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What are Pars Kasmah novels?

All these novels are written to be self-contained, easy to read, and focus only on a small number of people and events.

While these stories take place within the world of Kasmah they are all independent of each other, and do not require you to have read any other book.

So, you should feel comfortable picking up any one of them and diving right in.

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Politics are people.

As a society we have chosen to put our power into one big pool for the betterment of all. Democrat/Republican/Communist/Socialist are just the labels we use to describe how that power is utilized. I believe in socialism because I know that if a man or woman asked me if I could please give them a meal, and I was able to provide, I sure as hell would. I can understand though that society in general doesn't work like that, they think people are taking something from someone, attacking THEIR safety!

Humans however have undergone so much change so fast that on an evolutionary scale it boggles the mind. Your parents and grandparents would have experienced true famine, war, fear of natural disasters. Their 'relief fund' was their fellow neighbor, family, and friend. As it has been ever since the first tribe of man decided it made more sense to work together than apart. For so long we have struggled to meet the first thing all humans strive for: Survival. First rule of which is 'hoard your excess', because who knows when the next disaster would strike? As a species and society we have yet to progress beyond 'HOARDING EXCESS EQUALS SAFETY', and conflate it with 'greed'. They may be close, but they are not THAT close.

Greed is not evil, just a selfish desire for more of something than is needed. Greedy people don't know when to say, "I'm full." Comedians are greedy for YOUR laughs, creative people are greedy to express and be recognized, a child is greedy for their parents affection, scientists are greedy for knowledge. Greed can also drive comedians and creatives to commit suicide, it can cause a child to never feel validated, it can send scientists mad. Greed does as much harm to those who want as those they take from.

Separate these two ideas in your mind. Greed, and hoarding excess so you feel safe. Greed is not about safety, hoarding is.

So here is the thing about socialism: It does not beget greed nor punish it, it does not wish to steal from your 'hoard of safety'; it merely tempers both of their inevitable exponential self-destruction. Because for humans there is no limit to greed or how safe we want to feel.

People who seek the power of government are only those of the most exceptional determination. Their determination might be for good or evil but that is only in hindsight where you can truly measure such things.

To those people who I feel have fought for their beliefs and those they represent; true men who have understood that dedication requires more than mere words: Thank you.
Not many know you, what you've done, or what you've been through, but when you were given power you chose to carry people on your shoulders instead of asking to be carried: The noblest endeavor.

Lee Kuan Yew (Founding father of Singapore)
The Right Honorable Tony Benn (UK)
Abraham Lincoln (USA)


I tend to break things down categorically and relatively. It is simply my method of trying to understand the topic better and how it relates to other things. Here however I just wanted to, well, write. These are supposed to be ‘rants’ after all: Unstructured constructions with only a simple guiding blueprint of a thought or feeling. You craft something from that, then whittle it away, add more words to fix up the bits now too diluted, then whittle away; ad nauseum. No different than when chefs make a ‘reduction’, where you thicken or intensify the flavor of a soup or sauce by boiling away all the water then add some more and boil that away too until you have what you want.

Now at the time of writing I know there is no fan club, nobody beyond those who I explicitly inform that it exists, to read this. So in terms of why I write at the moment it is not to communicate to a public, or a customer, or a fan. It is more to write to myself so that I know why I write; the purpose is essentially that I need to write, and I am currently the only willing and expectant audience. However maybe if I know this is out there, whether or not it is ever seen, it will bring some peace to me. Perhaps later in life, if I am blessed enough to be able to look back and read this, I’ll be able to marvel at the distance since then.

Writing is just an action. All actions (running/painting/fighting) can serve any purpose, that’s the beauty of life. It is how a stone could be anything from something you skip on a lake to an altar priests sacrifice animals on. You have a point in the world, whether it be a noun or verb, and then you have ‘your’ perspective. It is how we as living creatures can get so much, so many DIFFERENT things, all from one simple point. Most of the times I write because I like to outdo myself or impress someone else, or wish to instill something in another, or x, y, z.

You see there is a need I have to get this ‘S. Vagus’ off the ground. I have people who I love that I wish to take care of, I have this need to be a crafter of worlds, I have a mind that explodes if it doesn’t talk to someone; it doesn’t have a middle-gear or an off-switch. Validation too. There is a LOT that happens in my mind that has to come out either verbally or scripturally for reasons both practical and (bleh) as an artist.

It is sort of amazing actually, writing that is. The amount of time I spend on a sentence is usually more than they spend going to the shops.
  • Tenses
  • Repeated syllables
  • Perspectives
  • Reader preferences
  • Social taboos
  • Me getting bored with an expression or action
  • How many characters in the sentence
  • Length of paragraph
  • Density of page
  • Syllable complexity
  • Character styles
  • Font choices
  • Kerning
  • To be honest that list could go further. This document would have probably as much deleted and added as the final product possesses. That is the thought I put into writing, but then again I am an obsessive so I put that much thought into EVERYTHING.

    People however tend to read not to know another, but to know a part of themselves ‘through’ another. Knowing that person is real or has too many real world consequences makes it harder to relate. When most people read it is an isolated relation they experience because it is more manageable, less overwhelming. Some like to be challenged and have their morals/ethics brought to light, to be beaten into someone better. Many want an escape. Being both and having to cater to both as an audience means that I can at least say the following:
    It is far more often a writer puts thought into a sentence than a reader gets from it
    That is obviously not an absolute (see: Shakespeare) but holds true for the most part (hence my use of the quantifier ‘often’).

    The above statement is not really one of pride because, well, putting that much thought into what most people discard takes a certain kind of ‘extreme sanity’. As it is for most artists. There however is that artist’s dilemma: the stress from being creative. Your body can get stressed from physical labor or repetitive movement, even if it was intentional like a workout. The mind/soul of an artist does the same thing but with their chosen medium. For myself I have tried (unsuccessfully) to calm my creative stresses with alcohol and weed, I have attempted one night stands or purely surface relationships. The only thing that seems to soothe is a lover, someone to talk to and be intimate with when my own heart is too full.

    Sadly that is an ongoing battle in my life, to find someone. As it is for most I suspect. I am intense, have a very high sex drive, and have that sort of honesty/bluntness that people say is admirable but don’t wish to have it directed at them. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to cut enough of myself away so that I can fit inside the arms of another; maybe one day I’ll have to learn.

    But writing is still my purpose. Everyone needs something where they can go, “Hey, I hope I get to do this tomorrow!” I can wish for it to be easier and for my mind to be calmed, but I don’t wish to be less than what I am. A good lover provides all of that for me. They make me able to write more, better, and with less demons.

    And this is what I like about rants and writing. I simply sat down with a feeling, and wrote. I have retyped many a thing and tried to simplify/curtail stuff that might be excessive or off-point, and I am left with what you see before you. This is what my mind constructed with words from a simple feeling that grew and spread through my mind, and hit a spot I did not intend to hit.

    What I ended up with what now feels like something I want to give to whoever my lover might be. To help them know who I am, what they mean to me, and why I need them beyond whatever sweet nothings I whisper.

    And that’s writing.

    Emotive saturation can kill your soul

    The term emotive saturation is used to describe the negative response you get when you’re exposed to something that is supposed to generate an emotional response, but because that button has been pushed so many times it ends up being irritating. It could be a story trope that makes you feel like your favorite T.V. show has become formulaic, or how your favorite artist/novelist/musician becomes bland, or how a political stance seems like the same old lip-service. It can also happen when a group of people ‘take up a cause’ and forcibly publicize it as a cultural icon to the point that it becomes irritating (See: Hipsters).

    When this happens often enough a person can begin to feel like ‘wading through all the shit’ is not worthwhile. For the majority of us we do want passion in our life, and I can appreciate that not everyone has the energy or time to explore it. Energy because you’ve been advertised/lied to too aggressively and just become numb to it, or time because work seems to consume it more than ever these days (remember when people used to have time to browse a bookstore or flip through vinyls in a record store?)

    This is not me lamenting technology changing how we consume or discover art (music/illustrations/books/movies/tv) but that centralizing it to the scale we have today has had the effect of centralizing ‘you’. It is little different from razing a forest for its wood, replanting the trees, and then claiming that forest is the same it has always been.


    We are now able to consume SO much and read a thousand opinions at the drop of a hat that the human brain will happily take the shortest route to forming its own opinion, and seeing a collective response helps that. Now, reviews have always been, and will always be, the best way for anyone to discover new art, but all the opinions you read, both positive and negative, can just become a label in your mind: Angry comments on Youtube, witty quips on twitter, etc.

    Also because the content is ‘global’ it is hard to feel a ‘local’ connection to something. Any scenario that removes you from your environment, mentally or physically, can make you feel disconnected from yourself or the people around you. This is especially hard for those whose minds are still forming (children, young adults) who need to learn impulse control, to learn how to form your own opinion and identity so you can feel confident in yourself. If you don’t have a strong family or community presence helping you form, then what happens is your ability to learn is stolen from you, because your impulses could be satisfied RIGHT NOW BY CLICKING ON THIS CUTE KITTY VIDEO. When you don’t learn to at least identify and acknowledge yourself as a person or develop awareness of your impulse control, it misleads your mind into thinking ‘gratification’ is the same as ‘feeling satisfied’.

    Let me be clear though, this has less to do with the internet than human nature and its response to excess, whether it be food, entertainment, sex, power. 2,000 years of human history has shown that at all points we have all had to, either as an individual or a society, decide our own diet of these things. Either they were things to consume, or things feared we’d be consumed by.


    The examples I provide carry no personal, political, or positive/negative bias, and are there to purely prove the point that any culture at some point in time decided it’s own diet. All the things listed above are events or laws arrived at because enough people felt it best for the future of their society/culture/individual. No different than someone telling you to put down that cupcake, even though you REALLY want it.


    So with all this emotive saturation of art and entertainment affecting your mind, how can anyone learn to diet? It’s not like food where there are obvious visual signs which we inherently understand links to sex (That’s a sexy pair of abs/tits!).
    The soul and spirit of us is what gets fat and complacent; do you feel like you could just digest a dirge derived from diligence, desire, duty? I know that sentence might have felt convoluted and normally I want to write in a fashion that you can digest; please understand that does NOT mean talking down to you or my demanding that you ‘rise up’ to my expectations. However with the culture of ‘you have five seconds before I stop caring’ artists are forced to ONLY create in that fashion. That ‘flash in the pan’.

    I want to bake you the BEST fucking cake that I can, because I want you to enjoy it; a chef does not bake for himself, he bakes for ‘you’. Words are my ingredients, story and poetry are my cakes; sometimes they need vulgar language; sometimes a verbosity that may vex you, or vilify myself; sometimes I just need to get from point A to point B without any bullshit in between. I know not everyone wants a soufflé or crème brûlée all the time, usually a cookie or a cupcake will do and I love making those too.

    But if your diet is only cookies or cupcakes, then how will ‘you’ grow? I want to craft words in any and all forms because they are FUN, Phonetics! Pickles! Polemic! Programmatic perpendicular parallelograms are perfunctory pieces of positioned points, posing as precision placeholders for a product of planes!

    If that last sentence wasn’t fun for you, that’s fine! Because I am not asking you to love words, or even give a shit about them. I’m asking you to find the fun in anything because LIFE is all about finding the fun and the friends you can experience it with.

    Take. Some. Time. If you can’t, then find a person (a reviewer/personality) whose opinion you can respect and believe in. There is nothing wrong in feeling someone else’s opinion heavily influencing your own; jeez, all democracies VOTE for their representatives don’t they? You literally are giving actual power to people that could destroy your way of life if they do even a half-assed job.
    So, no, I sure as hell am not saying that critics, reviewers, or personalities (e.g. Dan Savage or the late Roger Ebert) who closely represent what you may or may not like as being YOUR choice of what to experience, as a bad thing. I’m just saying DO IT YOURSELF, or find one of them that you can rely on.

    MY ART

    ‘You’ are me, you are the human that loves and feels wonder at the world. In this rant, it is not MY words I care about, it is the words that matter to YOU that I care about. Support ‘your’ art; support what YOU feel to be beautiful; support what enriches ‘your’ soul. Not all artists want to be millionaires, and really most are just scrambling to hear literally ANYONE say, “Your art made me feel.”

    Words have lasted for two thousand years, in some form or another. I would never claim that mine would last as long, but they will stay here unchanged on this page as long as I can let them.

    All in the hopes that if you ever read them again, then maybe you will see how ‘you’ have changed and how powerful words can be. Whether story or poem.

    BEAUTY IS AGELESS (See: Helen Mirren)

    To that end I want to share a shortest snippet of a poem with you that has made me,
    and many who have already lived full lives and died,
    feel a beautiful sadness.

    Just three lines.

    I hope they speak to you,
    or that I have at least inspired you to find beauty somewhere.

    The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1854)

    “Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.”
    (31st Jul, 2013)

    Thank You

    There is no need to say ‘thank you’ to those I call friend or family;
    they saw worth in what I could achieve,
    and helped me achieve it.

    Even though you and I are strangers,
    you took the time to find worth in my work,
    and in doing so give me value as they do.

    And for that,
    there is a need for me to say:
    Thank You.

    (2nd Jul, 2015)

    Broken Stronger

    I will always want a little pain with my pleasure, a little sorrow with my joy.

    The kisses I feel to carry the fear of a bite,
    light tension when I am overwhelmed by delight.

    I will always need bitter with my sweet, because what I want to feel has to be real.

    It is a weakling who seeks only good, ignores the bad;
    what weight does happiness hold if there is no sad?

    I reject a half-life;
    Bring me your pleasure!
    Bring me your strife!

    Break me stronger,
    wrong and right.
    (1st Sep, 2013)

    The worth of words

    Fear me!
    For I have changed the course of humanity in fashions far bloodier than any weapon or war.
    Fear me!
    For the journey I will take you from what you do know, to what you do not.
    Fear me!
    For I grant powerful, and render weakness.

    love me…
    for I am the gentlest of screams, and the most violent of laughs; but neither can I do without your consent.
    love me…
    for I give shape to a world unknown, a form to your darkness, and light to see shadow and real.
    love me…
    for when found in anthology, verse, song, or curse: I am the same.

    Whether wielded or witnessed,
    whether many or few;
    my power affects all.

    Unheard or unsaid:
    I am nothing.
    Uttered or understood:
    I am everything.
    (10th Mar, 2015)

    To Rule

    Break the family.

    A mother watched her child be taken for war,
    trained to kill and force his heart cold.

    Break the man.

    A mother watched a stranger return,
    only able to remember the touch of a woman sold.

    Now you can control your land.

    Stupid Johnathan

    Hard. I hate hard things. Why use hard things?! Ow! Wheeze…. OW! Wheeze… OW, OW! Wheeze…. It’s okay. Suzy is a good sister. This makes Suzy happ—OW!

    Wheeze… wheeze… huh? Suzy fell over. I‘m sorry Suzy, I can be good! Get up!

    Suzy was playing…. She could spend the whole day playing our favorite game, now Suzy is screaming!

    Stop pushing me away Suzy, I want to help! No! Screaming is bad! SUZY IS A GOOD SISTER!

    Nnaaah! So loud! SO LOUD! Nnnnnuh! NO! NO NO NO!

    Stop it!
    Nnnuh STOP!

    Wheeze… wheeze…. Suzy is quiet now. It’s good to be quiet. Wait, why is there white stone in her head? That‘s not right. Mommy always said I have to do my best to make things right.

    Unf! I‘ll get all the bad white stone out. Suzy is nice to me, Suzy shouldn‘t have to feel bad, Suzy is a good sister.

    UNF! It’s sharp! Hurts my hands. I can‘t get more out Suzy, all the red warm keeps getting in the way.

    Oh… the red warm… red warm is bad. Red warm comes after things that feel bad. Does Suzy feel bad? Don‘t feel bad.

    But… mommy says, sometimes red warm has to come out, so nice men in white coats can make me better. Nice men in white coats can fix anything! Even people born wrong like me.

    If I make more red warm come out, maybe nice men in white coats can make her right again. I want be good brother. I want Suzy be better. I want Suzy play with me again. We can keep playing ‘Suzy beat stupid Johnathan’.

    I’ll be better next time Suzy.
    I‘ll be a good brother.
    Wake up….


    They’re screaming again. Oh god, why do they think that screaming will help?” thought Stephen. The line of protestors outside the BitsOfLife clinic looked menacing even from behind the car door window.

    He chuckled softly, and the middle-aged nurse, a woman full of stern comfort who had driven him to his final appointment, asked, “Is everything alright darling?”

    Stephen kept looking out the car window. “It’s just funny is all. I’ve been in and out of hospitals for the past year, and I could count the number of people that wanted to spend their own time with me on one hand.”

    The nurse put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. This was always the hard part of the job, but she was there to make sure he felt safe and cared for. “It’s just how some people are, they don’t mean you any ill-will. They’re just doing what they think is best for you, even if it is a little misguided.”

    Stephen turned to her. “If there were crowds of people with this much passion roaming hospitals and nursing homes, I can assure you they’d be saving a fuckload more lives.”

    The nurse wished she could have said more to make him feel better but she had seen enough pain to know that it rots the brain eventually. No matter how much love and care she wanted to plant in him, she could see in his soul that there was nowhere left for it to take root.

    Stephen turned to look out the window once more and breathed out slowly. Biting his lip and quelling his shaking hands he gripped the door handle and weakly pulled the latch. When his hand fell limp, the sound of bap from the door latch snapping back into place mocked him. He closed his eyes and thought, “For fuck’s sake. WHY did I choose to do chemo?

    As he tried to drown out the demons inside his head the sounds of the world outside grabbed his attention once more.

    “Your immortal soul—!”
    “What would the Lord—”
    “Have you ever considered—”

    The words were far from new, he’d heard them a thousand times before now; all because someone ELSE decided to turn him into some fucking media spectacle. Even though he could repeat their chants and slogans verbatim, how he wished that their words would have lost their power by now. Each line as boring as the last still left a scar, making him feel that somehow HE was wrong.

    “Do you want me to help you?” asked the nurse.

    Stephen harrumphed. “If I can’t make it to my appointment on my own, then I don’t deserve to make it.”

    The nurse however would not be so easily dissuaded, and from the years of her driving what the nursing home affectionately called ‘The Chariot’, she knew when someone’s pride was just getting in the way. She hopped out of the car and, ignoring the screaming protestors without issue, walked around to open Stephen’s door.

    She opened it just a crack and smiled warmly at the young man. “It was getting stuffy in there. Let me know when you want me to close the door so you can open it.” Stephen looked at her through the glass with a not too happy expression. She rolled her eyes. “Oh come on now. You’ve been talking about this all week, and they’re just a bunch of angry people with nothing better to do. Hell, if you want, I’ll DRIVE through these people to get you there!”

    “I can do it myself!” said Stephen, in mock anger and with a tiny smile.

    The nurse smiled sweetly back. “I know you can.” He then watched as she walked back around, got behind the wheel, and sat there all innocent-like. She really was quite lovely, he thought. It was a shame he couldn’t have gotten to know her better, but he knew that wish was simply that. A wish.

    Stephen looked out of the window one last time, sighed loudly, and said, “Come on then you bastards, let’s see if you can stop me now….”

    He pushed open the car door the rest of the way and the fresh air that wafted into his face was accompanied by a barrage of a thousand different voices. Getting out of the car unaided took some time, but it was going to happen come hell or high water. The stupid sheep could keep on bleating for all he cared now.

    “Please sir! If you would just listen to me, I’m sure—”
    “Dude! Send me an e-mail when you’re in the matrix!”

    Standing up, he felt proud. Everything hurt, but at least he was STANDING, and before him lay a clear path between him and the clinic doors. The police that were posted to make sure the crowd didn’t get out of control merely looked at him, each with their own judgment, but he was too tired. Too weak. Life had beaten him hard and spit him out, and caring about them right now just seemed so… pointless.

    Thirty paces, that’s all…” he thought, and took his first few steps. The first two were strong and confident, but the pain soon drained some of it away. It made him look back to the car and curse his pride for refusing the help of such a lovely lady, but when he saw her smile he knew there was little need to walk backwards. Forwards was the way. Forwards was the choice he’d made, and he would be damned if he was going to let some screaming people and his failing body get in his way.

    That resolve, which only moments ago felt as strong as stone, waned when he was three-quarters of the way to the doors.

    “You can find salvation in god’s way!”

    The collective weight of everyone’s words finally pushed down his walls, and he loudly screamed with such passion and fury, “PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!” The strength he felt from screaming made him feel alive for a brief moment, but nothing more. The people still kept on screaming; peddling their prattle of how a life ending naturally is far more ‘edifying’ and ‘spiritual’, how god should not be deceived.

    They just ignored me…” he thought to himself. “They ignored me while my body rotted away, they ignore me when I make a choice, and they ignore me when I try to be polite.” He had been battling with his mind and body for a long, long time now. Pain was a funny thing, it could make time seem so… so pliable, so flexible. Was he standing there battling with himself for seconds? Minutes? Hours? He didn’t know, but what he did know was that he’d had a lot of time to get better at it. The conclusion that helped him reach the large glass double-doors was, “I just have to ignore them too.

    Peering inside he could see the receptionist behind her desk, with what people called ‘modern art’ hanging behind her. Gah, so damned tacky. He’d have preferred sterile and stifling, at least then it would’ve been closer to the services they offered. Who would come here in their right mind and somehow be comforted by this illusion? Then again, many would say what they were coming here for was an illusion to begin with.

    A loud THUD came from behind him, and when he turned around he saw that the crowd had tipped over the heavy barriers and were making their way towards him. The few police that had kept the people behind the barriers now huddled around him; they were all that was keeping him safe.

    “What do you want?!” Stephen shouted. No response. “Please! Don’t hurt these nice officers! Just, tell me what you want!” A cacophony of replies, but none carried the sound of reason. A multitude of probing hands got closer and closer; all he had to do now, was fall through the doors, and he would be safe. Legally, inside, he would be safe.

    But, the next Stephen to walk through the crowd might not be so lucky. “I suppose I couldn’t ignore you after all.” Shutting his eyes he called on what last reserves of strength he had. “Please, body, don’t fail me now.” While the police officers were distracted by holding back the crowd, he quickly fumbled and unlatched the gun of the nearest one.

    Stephen wasn’t about to let this opportunity go to waste and let off two shots into the air, scaring everyone back. Now he had their attention. Now everyone was actually LOOKING at him. Maybe now they’d hear him. “I don’t think many people will believe I am in my right frame of mind, especially given what I just did, but I can assure you that my mind is fine.”

    As if on cue, the litany of hate continued.

    “How can you say that! You might have killed someone!”
    “Yeah! We are just peaceful protest—”

    A police officer tried to get closer in the confusion, but Stephen wasn’t finished yet.


    Everyone backed away again and looked on, horrified as blood dripped from Stephen’s left hand. “You see this?” he asked, holding up his bloody appendage. “I just shot myself in the hand. Does anyone want to take a guess how I feel about it?”

    A young voice from the crowd, filled with zeal, said, “You must feel like you have lost your way!”

    “Nothing.” The crowd was silent. “I feel NOTHING. I can’t feel anything in my left hand. A bullet has passed through it, and I’m bleeding. I feel nothing though.”

    This time an elderly woman said, “When at times we feel the most lost, the Lord—”

    “This has nothing to do with the Lord! This is not some sort of depression, some case of insanity. I can’t feel it! Look!” Stephen whacked his injured hand against the glass door, smearing blood around. “Nothing, not a damn thing. Things are going on inside me that hurt MORE than this! My body is broken; my mind though? It’s working just fine.”

    The same elderly woman said, “Surely it must be a symptom of a sick mind! We can heal that through prayer!”

    Stephen looked down at his bleeding hand, and began to laugh weakly. “So, you believe I have a sick mind? That I am somehow less than I am; unable to make intelligent decisions or arguments? That I’m no better than a psychopath?” Silence. Stephen narrowed his eyes and sought out the elderly woman. When he locked on to her the crowd parted surprisingly quickly.

    The woman however was not the kind to be shaken by a little attention. “Everyone can be healed!”

    Stephen screamed, “That’s not what I asked! I am asking WHY, if you think I have a mental problem, that you want to SAVE me by changing my mind?”

    “Everyone can be saved!”

    “Then WHY are you here? Why aren’t you at a mental hospital trying to help those in need? Or at my nursing home, where people feel helpless? I’ve felt that way; why didn’t YOU save me then?” The elderly woman looked around; no doubt for an escape route, thought Stephen. “No! You decided to come HERE today, and TALK me out of it! I’m here, so TALK.”

    In a sanctimonious huff, she said, “I am only thinking about helping you save your immortal soul.”

    “I am CHOOSING to LIVE on in a different body, that’s all. Instead of a body with a brain, stomach and all that nonsense, I will live on in a computer. Why would that be me not ‘saving’ my soul?”

    “You will poison yourself in the eyes of the Lord by uploading your mind to a computer! It is not natural, and what soul will the Lord see if he sees one that has lived longer than its time?”

    “He will see MINE, and all the choices I made along with it. You think THIS is the most ‘evil’ thing I have done in my lifetime? Woman, I may look weak at this moment, but I’ve had the strength and desire to do things far worse than choosing life over death.”

    In a restrained holier-than-thou voice, she said, “The Lord will forgive you for those things, but not this.”

    “Fine then, will YOU?”


    “Will YOU forgive me? Right here and now, will you absolve me of all my sins? Can you love me, tend to me, ensure that I am healthy and happy?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “You want to save my soul, don’t you? That means healing me first so I can right ALL my wrongs. Not just my body, but my heart also.” He could see the look of panic on the woman’s face, but there was no stopping him now. “I tell you what. Promise to everyone here right now that you will love me unconditionally, and do everything ’I need’ to save me, and I will drop EVERYTHING and go home with you right now.”

    The woman looked at him like he was mad before mumbling something incoherent and angrily made her way out of the crowd.

    Stephen glared at those remaining, daring any and all to just try and talk back. To his surprise, a man around his age stepped forward. “Yes?” asked Stephen.

    “Does it really not hurt?” said the man, pointing at his hand.

    Stephen looked down at it. “Yeah, it doesn’t hurt.”

    “I….” The man trailed off. He tried to continue but felt too awkward with all the attention, so he too soon left.

    When it was obvious that nobody else was going to step forward, Stephen felt the weight of the nervous crowd and felt ashamed. He looked at the nervous police officers, and sheepishly said, “I’m… sorry,” as he handed back the gun. When the officer tentatively took the gun from his hand, Stephen softly pleaded, “Please don’t arrest me.” The reply he got was an understanding, but stiff, nod.

    What Stephen didn’t know was that none of the officers had wanted to be there in the first place, and sure as hell weren’t going to drag what looked like someone who could keel over any second in for processing. He’d no doubt die in custody, and then there’d be that whole mountain of paperwork. Besides, he looked harmless enough.

    Stephen still had the crowd’s attention, and for once he felt like he could actually say his piece without forcing them to listen. It might be the last time he’d ever be able to. “I’ve been asked a lot of things these past few days, and I don’t suppose there is a question that I haven’t answered already. But being asked, and being here, are two different things. So, I want to say what is on my mind. Unless someone has any further objections?”

    The silence that followed was more one of anticipation. A silence begging to be filled.

    “I am a lonely, lonely man. I see no shame in admitting that. In my life I have done many things in the name of love, and that is really all I cared about. I was… a very capable person; intelligent, strong, but I’ve done my fair share of things that would no doubt be evil in your eyes. Now, how I lived might not be the right way to live, but I don’t believe in questioning what makes you happy. I suppose the problem here is that I am not really normal; not crazy, but not normal. At least not normal enough to keep anyone around long enough to fill that hole inside of me. You see me standing with anyone here today? That hole is still there, but still I want to live in the hopes that I can fill it. Or, hey, who knows? Maybe I will fill that in someone else as a computer, and that’d be fine with me.”

    Stephen breathed in slowly to fuel his weakening body and all he could see in the crowd were expectant faces. “Why am I bothering? They won’t understand….

    “But you’ll be a computer! What about feelings?” came a young woman’s voice from the crowd.

    “Yeah. I know as a computer I won’t have glands and all the other squishy bits to make me ‘feel’. I’ve been told that the emotional translation software hasn’t been perfected yet, but it will be. The neurons are ’saved’, and when they’ve figured out the bugs they’ll upload it to me when I want. I’ve talked to some of the test subjects who were uploaded, and, save for some lost memories, they seem quite okay with the status quo.”

    The young woman said, “If you live for love though, what will be the point if you never feel it again?”

    Stephen shrugged. “Hah! If there is a god then no doubt that would be my divine punishment. But seriously, I can intelligently identify ‘love’, and I have torn apart my mind to try and logic it away; all I found were greater reasons to love and be loved, really.” No, no time to get distracted Stephen. Say your piece. The doors are waiting for you.

    He breathed in for strength once more. “I’ll admit that all your words here today have really made me doubt myself. Hell, I’ve only had to walk thirty paces, but dammit if you haven’t made it the hardest thirty paces of my life. I know my body is not the point, and all I ask of the world is for my mind to have some value, before it can no longer CHOOSE to impact the world. I can still do good, and I want to do good; I can’t do those things if I am dead. My body can’t help me do that anymore, maybe as a computer I can. I know one day the impact I have on this world will be rendered to little more than memories in the minds of others,” he tapped his chest, and said, “But not before I say so.”

    More questions came at him, but Stephen was tired. His body was cashing the check in now, and with a vengeance. Waving his hand weakly in front of his face, a vain attempt to wash their words away from his mind, made him only feel helpless.

    Fuck ‘em,” he thought, and turned to the door. The words got louder and louder, and he hoped to all that was good and merciful that he could pass through them.

    He looked down and grinned at his bleeding left hand; it felt fitting that his dead hand should open the door to his new life, and so he placed it against the glass, and pushed. He made a mental note that he should apologize to the staff for the mess and fuss. Try as he did, the door still wasn’t opening. He renewed his efforts with all his strength, but all that happened was his hand slipped and flopped around on the clear glass.

    In a panic he used both hands, leaned hard against the glass, and was soon sliding slowly down it. Inside, he cried, “Please, no! Open! OPEN DAMN YOU!” Fatigue gripped him and he felt dizzy. “So stupid, so dramatic. Please body! Please! I begged!” His eyelids went heavy as he fell to the ground; blurred images and muffled sounds came, and he soon felt the familiar hands of trained medical professionals trying to save his life.

    Voices came and went, but the only sentence that sung out to him was, “We only need to keep his brain wave equilibrium for—”

    Latching onto that hope he tried to scream out, “Yes! Please, please upload me! I’m still here!” Nobody could have heard him though.

    A fuzzy image came to him of a simple white wall, with some noises that soon came into focus as people talking. It was a while before he realized that time had passed. Had they done it? Was… this his new home?

    “I don’t know, I’ve never really understood why people think computers will save the day. I mean, WE are human, right? If we are all computers, then we aren’t really human anymore. Are we?”

    Stephen was too tired to turn his head. Why was he tired? He didn’t think it would be like this. Were the people he could hear those uploaded before him? Is that what being IN the system felt like?

    “Brianna, jeez, you know I don’t like talking about this shit.”

    “I’m just saying! Come on, you WORK here. BitsOfLife, where analog goes digital! You can’t tell me you’ve never thought about it!”

    Wait, what?” thought Stephen.

    “I can, and will continue to do so. It’s a paycheck; don’t question ya paycheck or they might stop comin’.”

    Brianna replied in a huff. “Fine, whatever.” Some more rustling noises close to him were heard before all he could see was black.

    “Still, it’s strange to know that I’m handling an empty human shell here. His brain is now all up in the ‘maaaaaatrix’! We should go to the main terminal and type in hello sometime.”

    Something’s wrong,” thought Stephen.

    “Yeah, you’re hilarious Donna.”

    A loud sigh. “Don’t be a cow! I was just saying that days are strange. This guy shoots himself in the hand, almost dies outside, and the doctors said it was a miracle that they were able to upload him! We basically saved him from death! Isn’t that COOL?”

    Stephen could detect a distant sensation of being moved. “Whatever. So, what crematorium is Mr. Dramatic being sent to?”

    I’m still here! You didn’t finish uploading me! I’m STILL HERE!

    “White doves.”


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