All the weeks he spent in training finally paid off. Sleeping was easy for him, it was the subconscious realm that he had no control over. He knew that he would eventually have to take decisive action over it. After all, living through each moment that comes his way could only last for so long. Like the decaying state of entropy that catches up to every being possessed with the light of life, his dilemma finally caught up to him, leaving him in a state of helplessness; a state which shifted his paradigm to a degree that could not be easily retrieved.
In order to combat his predicament, he knew that it would require more than the temporary fixes he subscribed himself to. Blessings that they were, their illuminating effects had lost their light, leading him to believe that the answers he needed belonged to a different source altogether. He kept his ear to the ground to keep track of the rumours that floated about, followed by inquisition sessions that lead him to a series of dead-ends. On an ordinary yet passing day, a bolt from the blue struck his mind-palace, lighting up his synapses in the form of a spectacle that resembled a firework show during the Festival of Lights. The answers he sought were to be found within.
Sages of the old ages discovered the boon of enlightenment through meditation and abstinence. He had already made himself comfortable with the maelstrom in his mind. Maybe, all that he needed was a compass to navigate himself towards the solutions he craved. It was decided then. All that was necessary was formal training on the subject matter, the notes of which were easily accessible. With the necessary intel gathered, he decided to take the plunge. If this didn’t work out, nothing else would.
Once the stars of the cosmos began seeping into the night sky, he found the perfect setting for the search to begin. Slowing his heartbeat down to a steady pace, he shifted his astral body into its subconscious state, entering a realm of his own making. The sight that greeted him was one he did not truly anticipate. Looking to his surroundings, he found himself staring down a passageway that seemed to extend until the end of infinity. The walls were adorned with bulbs that emitted light at lower than usual voltages; the ideal kind of light that he usually preferred. What truly concerned him were the endless number of doors that stood resolutely on both sides of the passage. How the hell is he supposed to check them all by the end of the night? Don’t panic, he repeated to himself. He was sure that if he was looking for something specific, it would distinguish himself from what stood before him. Still, he would be a liar if he told himself that he wasn’t in the least curious about what else was floating around in his head. Deep breaths, he assured himself. One step after the other is how mankind got from their homes in the caves to the exploration of the vast reaches of space. He could handle something as simple as his own subconscious. At least, that’s how he convinced himself.
Each door that he unlocked represented an aspect of his personality and memories, each being a pocket reality that thrived in its own environment. The room that held his depression at bay was occupied by a single person surrounded by a mist that attacked them through their body and psyche. He dared not go in and help the person out, lest he stay there as helpless as they were. The door after that opened up to his old room in his childhood home, occupied by a younger version of himself who embodied the very idea of innocence. He wanted to stay there and watch him grow, but he knew better than to live in the past. It was a habit he knew very well, a habit that could not continue in existence. He could tell where the aspect of his rage resided long before he approached the door. Its thunderclaps could be felt across the entire passageway, shaking the very foundations that his astral body walked upon. That pocket reality had multiple levels of security enforced upon it. Only he knew the true consequences of what would take place should he ever be inclined to let it run free. Moving on was his best alternative at that point.
After what seemed like the hundredth door, the lights started flickering, signaling the end of his time in the realm. Time was running out, and he still didn’t find the answer he needed. He started running through the passageway, stealing a glance through each pocket reality for a chance to find his answers. Desperation crawled its way into his mind; patience was not a liberty he could afford anymore. Through every corner he turned and every door he passed by, the feeling of hopelessness kept gaining strength. Right at the edge of abandonment, his vision glanced upon a bright red door standing at the end of a passageway. Dashing toward it, he moved forward with a strength like no other, his determination finally paying off. He passed through the hidden pocket reality and was taken aback by what he saw. The room was clear with no windows, occupied by a single mirror that took over the entire wall. Was this it? His own reflection was supposed to be his saviour? He cursed his own misfortune. However, on closer inspection, he discovered that the mirror showed no reflection at all.
He was staring at what seemed to be a perfect copy of his astral body, except for the fact that the reflection’s eye was pitch black while his face possessed a condescending sneer. “Who are you?”, he demanded, taken aback by what laid in front of him. “I’m what was intended to be you, but there’s no divine moral compass holding me back. I’m what you are meant to be.” the apparition replied. “Everything you believe you know about yourself, I know better. Everything you stop yourself from doing, I do it. You wanted answers that nobody else could give you? I own it all.” he proclaimed, standing as though he were ready to make a move. “What is my purpose in life? How am I supposed to keep doing the things I do without the fulfillment I desire? Is there any point to existence here?”, he asked in desperation, clinging to the hope that the answers would finally make sense. The apparition began howling with laughter, a sense of joy that sent chills through the boy’s spine. “You fool. You found the key that shifts you into this realm, but you’re not worthy of what it holds. No, you’re not prepared yet.”, the apparition stated. “Prepared yet? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Are there some kind of trials I need to subject myself to?!”, he shouted. “Now you’re finally getting it,” the apparition smirked, “The pursuit of your salvation has just begun. The world has much to show you before you reach your final stage of enlightenment. Till then, do not dare to enter my realm, unless you want me to take over your feeble vessel.” The walls around them began crumbling, indicating the end of his time. “But I don’t want enlightenment! I just want to know what my purpose in life is!”, he shouted as he could feel himself being pulled away to consciousness. For the first time since facing him, the apparition smiled genuinely and stated, “Aren’t they both the same thing?”.
Before he could say any further, as if by the power of some invisible hand, the boy was dragged away from the final pocket reality, speeding past the endless passageway until the moment he woke up to a blinding light. His body was jolted back to the physical plane of reality by his alarm. He was getting late for office, and he was all out of excuses to make up for his tardiness. What was that all about, he wondered. As if by some form of divine intervention, the calls started pouring in. In the far recesses of his mind, his apparition chuckled.
P.S: Inspired by the fictional work of Naruto Shippuden, Insidious and Star Wars.