rating: +9+x

"Knock knock" It was heard at the door. Soon after, an impatient Dr. Reach would slam the door open. The guest had arrived a bit more unpunctual than he should and expected.

"Hi, uh, Reach?"

"The one and only, boy, come through the door. You can tell that you are coming in a hurry, and with this heat, it cannot go well in any way. "

"Sure, sure. Sorry for being late, I had some setbacks, you know." Ekane replied as he took off his jacket covering him and hung it on a coat rack near the entrance of the house.

The decoration of the aforementioned was quite modern, not with anomalous technology or anything similar, but it did have that typical style of houses that are recently built, being minimalist and being quite clean, you could feel a slight smell of perfume around the place even. It was nice, but it also gave him a nostalgic feeling.

"You always come back to the father's house" He thought to himself.

"Don't worry, just leave your stuff in your room, it's at the end of the hall, on the left." Reach told him calmly as he walked off to the kitchen.

"And, by the way, come to the terrace when you are done."

"Sure, have more people come?"

"Yes, Blanca and some others, Andrés had come a few moments ago, but an unforeseen event arose and he returned to Site-34."

"I see."

Dr. Ekane went to his room while looking at the others, some were a bit messy and others almost empty. However, one room caught his eye, the door was ajar. But he passed by and kept going, until he finally reached his own.

And he opened the door

It looked like a normal room, and within seconds he left his stuff lying around. Somehow managing to leave the room in a mess, order was not his thing in those circumstances, he was just looking to relax, although inside he was wondering if everything was in order at Site-34, as well as wondering if everything was fine at Site-15, of course.

Anyway, once he was done he just left the room. He went through all of them again until he reached that room with the door ajar. Curiosity got the better of him and he opened it up a bit more. And he noticed that that specific room was an absolute chaos, and for some reason it had many cobwebs, too many, in addition to logos that he could not identify, but that at the same time were familiar to him.

After that he simply closed the door carefully and continued on his way to the terrace. He was visibly nervous, but he began to take a slow breath so as not to give himself away. And then he came.

The view from the terrace revealed a rather ambiguous landscape, it seemed similar to what a Van Gogh painting would be. Ekane simply looked at the long table that stretched across the terrace and saw the other guests, among whom were Blanca, as Reach mentioned, sitting at one of the two ends of the table, facing each other. Reach; the researcher Belaltar Masias, better known simply as Belasias, sitting on the left side of Reach, Lucrecio Orontius, whose bitter face was the same as always, sitting on the left side of the table; he just hoped he wasn't talking about politics this time, and lastly, Marcus, whose bored face was overly pronounced, the latter standing next to Blanca.

"Woah, only four?" Ekane said as he took a seat on the right side of the table, near Reach.

"No! Wait! Don't sit there!" exclaimed Blanca.

Ekane looked in his seat and saw a spider on the chair, it gave him a little bit… imposing aura, so he just sat on the chair next to her.

"And as you can see, no, we are not just four, but five instead." Lucrecio said dryly.

"I've already noticed that."

There was silence for a few moments, but then Belasias broke the ice.

"How is everything going at Site-34?"

"They've been waiting for years for you to come back, they're still hopeful after the surprise visit you made, but I suppose you're still on leave, right?"

"Yup, I don't know how long I should extend it though."

"The promised messiah does not return to the wastelands, does he?" Lucrecio responded to Belasias's comment.

"It's not that, it just takes a long break for these things; take some time."

"Belasias, don't take more time or in the end you'll be like, old-fashioned and behind. Fuck… The sound of the piano keeps haunting me to this day."

"You never forget the first anomaly, Marcus." Blanca replied.

"I guess, thank you, although it doesn't really comfort me." Marcus said, slightly embarrassed.

"I say, we're not here to share depressions, for God's sake, let's relax a bit with that. Van-Leeuwed, has something of great importance happened?"

"Not that I know of, and if something had happened, only the top officials know, I can only see that beautiful "[REDACTED]", you know how it works. I also received a promotion but it is nothing quite special, just more paperwork and more obligations, although that doesn't really make me unhappy, it's not as bad as they usually paint it. "

"I see… Congratulations then" said Reach

Wait, there was food?

"And how have your investigations gone, Ekane?" Blanca asked the young man kindly.

"Not very good; actually, I'd appreciate not talking about it, most of them are failures."

"It's not like you can succeed in that midden either." Lucrecio added quickly.

The spider next to Ekane jumped a bit.

"Yes, yes, Lucrecio, whatever you say, become the thinking philosopher elsewhere."

Ekane looked under him, and saw his plate of food, it was… Spaghetti Bolognese, but with a lot of powdered cheese; actually, is that even cheese?

"Well, it's not like we go in looking for glory either, Ekane."

Van-Leeuwed simply ate, swallowed, and indeed, it did not taste like cheese, it tasted way more artificial.

"Reach, no one here believes that. After a while you want to be someone in the Foundation; you did it, I'm only here passing through."

Everyone laughed at that comment.

"Boy, I think you're taking the situation in a way that you shouldn't." Marcus said.

Ekane just stared with a confused face. He tried to sip his glass of water, and he realized that it tasted too sweet.

"Why do you say that?"

They all got up from their chairs and walked to the end of the terrace, and they encouraged Ekane to do the same, and he obeyed.

As he approached, his head tingled. And when he finally reached out and leaned out to look, it increased.




The researcher could see a construction nearby; this was what his office essentially is, it lacking a roof, but this was not what dismayed him, what did was what was in his chair, being basically him, but there was something different this time, he wasn't working, he wasn't doing anything, he was just lying on the chair, while he seemed to have… a collapse?

"Shit." Ekane said as he gritted his teeth.

"Don't worry, sooner or later it happens, you can't have that lifestyle forever or be in one place forever. Efficiency is important, but…" Blanca replied.

"There is always a limit, there are paths that should not be taken if you don't want to stop losing things in your life."

Van-Leeuwed looked around to find out who said that, realizing in the moment that at the edge of the balcony was the spider that he had seen previously, he was not sure, but he could swear it was she who was speaking.

"I also tell you that there is no point in fighting so much to be recognized; after all, we do not know if an End of the World Scenario will doom us in the next week, or if at some point the servers will crash and we will end up exposed." Marcus continued.

Lucrecio just nodded at what Marcus said.

"Beyond that, if being recognized in something you fight for every day needs these things, believe me it's not worth it." Belasias pronounced himself saying those words in a somewhat gentle tone.

"And well, it is not necessary to abandon everything, just take it a little more calmly, do not try to do what others did in a period of 10 years when you have 3 or 4 inside, it is not proportional. Besides that, sometimes you should take breaks and leave time for other matters. Like… Flangerson, you were dating him, don't you?"

"Yes." Ekane said dryly as he leaned his full weight to the curb, the talk was consuming him. And their mention of Flangerson didn't make it any better.

"And now I feel like garbage, I may not get out of this and if I don't…"

Van-Leeuwed was silent for a minute, and everyone looked at him expectantly.

"That's the bad part of letting what you appreciate consume you, you leave what you love most behind as well."

Ekane was silent for a few more seconds and suddenly he climbed onto the edge of the balcony. The rest watched what he was doing carefully.

"I won't ask what this place is, because there is no need. You are all missing."

Ekane looked back, and saw that the figures were gone, only the spider remained beside him. And he looked at her with a certain grace on her face; a broken grace, of course.

"I suppose I should have listened to you from the beginning. It's not and will not be a good idea to follow your steps." Ekane said as he sighed and his heart raced.

"I told you, sitting on the straw throne is not a good idea."

The landscape was now cloudy, and it looked like a storm was coming.

"I hope that some generic entity of all the existing ones helps me to get out of this one, if not, I'll be screwed."

And then he jumped into what was now only a dark void. Falling, falling and falling incessantly. Praying within himself that he would be able to return, for those he appreciated and appreciated him, for Site-35, for Site-34, and most of all, for Flangerson. And as he fell, he noticed a detail.

"Didn't that spider have seven legs?"

But by that time, for some reason, he felt his eyes go blinding, and how all the darkness became just a blurry white color, so that when his eyes got used to it, it would become a white on a painted ceiling. And he started to hear something.

"Beep, beep, beep."

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