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New York in the In-between is basically Hell-on-Earth.

Everything appears to be made from stone, just as it had in David’s earlier vision. They see Walkers openly selling drugs and causing misery in the In-between and in the real world.

The ‘Other Guy’ meets them not long after they enter the city, and acknowledges that they made it there with almost a week to spare. He greets Laurel and she flinches away from him. David cuts to the chase and demands his soul back, but the Soul Stealer tells him that he has too much to learn before-hand. Without warning a large group of Walkers separate Laurel and David and carry them off to differing areas of the grounds.

Laurel seems resigned to her fate as she’s gone though this so many times before, why should this time be any different?

David after a brief incarceration is placed in a 2x2x7 box on wheels, so that he can only stand within it. Wrought Iron bars allow him to see 3/4ths of the way around him. The Other Guy simply says the box is to protect David from himself. The Other Guy takes the occasion to explain his side more clearly.

“Let’s pretend for the moment, that you’re God.” “And really, why not? Everybody else does. People who failed Biology 101 and Basic Physics think that they can do as good a job at designing cosmologies and platypuses and comets as the maker of all things. Vanity.” “But even unskilled labor might produce a better result. At least their hearts would be in the right place.” “At least it wouldn’t be just one big tragic setup… A balloon waiting for someone to stick a pin in it and show it for the fraud it is.”

“But I digress. So. You’re God.” “How do you like it so far?”

David takes the chance to tell him how stupid he finds the situation as Walkers prance past him wearing angelic wings, as they near a large, dark stone pit.

The Other Guy continues…

“Before you is the Void. The long Pre-creation hesitation, pregnant with possibilities, waiting to be born. Waiting to be.” “But most of all… silent. The most profound silence imaginable. Not just without sound, but before sound.” “And you—“ “—you are alone.” “And really, who wants to be alone all the time? Especially since time hasn’t been invented yet.” “It’s a terrible loneliness beyond description.” “And even though you are… you cannon be… because there is no place for you to be in.” “So you create one.” “Because you’re alone.” “Because you can.” “Because is kills the time you just got around to inventing.” “Let there be light.”

A dim light fills the stone pit and reveals Walkers within brandishing various scientific achievements, inventions, and discoveries. Fossils, atomic diagrams, models of the planets… etc. The Other Guy continues on with his monologue.

“You slammed molecules together and blew them out into the void.” “Protons danced and wave-forms flickered. You ignited suns, nurtured nucleotides and exhaled proteins that would in time birth a Mozart and put knees of Flamingos on backward just for the variety and humor of it.” “As time passed – and what a handy little creation that was – you got better at it. You abandon single-celled creatures and work your way up from Protozoa to Saurians like a sculptor working his way up from a clay dog to a Mona Lisa.” “Too bad you have to hone your skills by killing all your failures. Even though they were innocent. Even though the fault was not theirs, but in your design. Because everything you create, dies.” Because press releases and pamphlets notwithstanding, you’re not perfect. If you were, you wouldn’t have done all this… all this…because you were alone.” “Because you feared the void.” “Because you had nothing better to do.” “Because you were bored.” “You even create others like yourself, but not quite as powerful, because that would be too great a threat. At least you think you created them because one day they were just there, and since you created “there” in the first place, then you must have created them, but you’ve been so busy working out this whole light-to-nutrient chlorophyll thing that you really can’t remember doing it.” “But then, neither can they.” “You tell them all you’re trying to create a better world. But if you’re as perfect as your biographers maintain, they why didn’t you get it right the first time?” “Why’d you screw up?” “Some of those around you ask just that question. You don’t like questions. Just obedience.” “But the questions continue. You try to stop them. You can’t.” “And then it’s war. A war of misery. A war about misery.” “Understand: Anyone would get bored doing nothing but designing worlds for eternity. You want to be entertained, and every author needs conflict.” “So you introduce misery into an equation predicated on what was supposed to be one simple proposition: The hope that tomorrow will be better than today.” “Have things gotten better? Are they continuing to get better? Is the promise valid? Or is the promise a lie?” “Money is not the root of all evil. Misery is. Misery starts wars, kills children, destroys souls. Misery proves the universe is uncaring and random and cruel. Misery proves that creation is a lie.”

David pointedly asks: “Even if you’re the one causing it?”

“We all cause it. You caused your share. You’ve seen that on the way here. Even with the best intentions, never meaning anyone harm… you’ve hurt people you loved and turned your back on others.” “And you’re still missing the point.” “You’re God. Everything that is, you made. So why not just leave misery out of the equation in the first place?” “It doesn’t exist naturally. Nothing does. Everything had to be created. Why go out of your way to create misery?” “That’s what this is about. That’s what the war is about.” “Removing misery from the equation.” “Removing loneliness. Removing pain. Removing guilt and longing and fear and regret.” “And removing those who would profit from it. Those who would feed it. Those who need it to feel they have a purpose.” “There is no Hell. There is no Heaven. No beyond to fear. No final exhalation of stars.” “There is only the cycle of life and death repeated infinitely.” “You come, you go, you come, you go, dying into instantaneous rebirth and birthing into inevitable death. And in all of it, your misery increases. More people, less food, more technology, less privacy.” “Bombs and Anthrax and Ebola, terror in the streets, doors locked against neighbors and anonymous crime, against community and each other. Mothers drowning their children because they can’t handle the stress of the very act of creation itself. They understand that what they bring in will know only misery so they end it, end it for themselves, for their children. They get it over with.” “Time for the children to return the favor. Time to overturn creation and start again. But how?” “You do it be accelerating the misery, revealing it for what it is, the primal flaw in creation’s design. Once there was only Lazarus, the first to fall between the cracks and be forgotten. More have come through every day, and every day that lie stands more and more revealed, the flaw in creation’s design becomes more evident, and finally everyone is on this side of the equation, not on the other side. My side. Not his side.” “And then… then it’s our turn to design a world of our own. A world without guilt, only pleasure. Without pain, only joy. Without limits. Utter absolute freedom.” “Feel the misery of the world, David Grey. For one second, I’m going to open your mind to the song of pain, the song I have been forced to hear every day and every night to the last syllable of recorded time.” “For just one fleeting second, David, feel the totality of the suffering and pain and misery of a world made deliberately flawed.” “And tell me the truth. Tell me honestly.” “Is this not a world that deserves to be put out of it’s misery?”

David experiences the pain, agony, and misery in imagery that is forced into his brain and it drives him insane.

Laurel hears David’s cry of pain and she’s knows exactly what has occurred. She looks to a couple of Walkers and they have tears in her their eyes. Prepared she is escorted to the Other Guy who says nothing so she continues on and finds David hunched over like the Walkers, he bears the marks all over his body as well and he looks at her hungrily as she pleads with him to listen and stay in the room with him.







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