Updated: Aug 31
Written by Krishna Shreeram
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
I don’t think I became a monster, but something did happen that night, something strange, something mystifying.
It was a dark and cold Saturday in December and the clocks were striking thirteen. Huh, strange. The night was bursting with silence, the only thing you could hear was the cold wind. I was making myself some Maggi, because you know, midnight cravings or whatever. Anyway, I got back to my room and was about to settle down in my bed when suddenly, I noticed something really strange outside.
I walked out into the balcony hesitantly and could not believe my eyes. Everything was gone. Buildings, streets, trees, cars. It was all gone. All I could see was a pitch-black void. It was like everything disappeared into oblivion, it was like staring into nothingness. It was terrifying yet somewhat astounding. I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming, but the pain from my long, sharp nails (which I regret not cutting now) convinced me otherwise. Maybe I was just seeing things? “Let me take a picture of this, that would be a good way to confirm this,” I thought to myself.
Just as I walked towards my bed to get my phone, a chill ran down my spine as I heard someone whisper my name. The cold wind brushed past my back. I stopped dead in my tracks. My body was trembling with fear. Before I could recover from this, it whispered my name again. My soul left my body. I somehow ran and jumped into my bed covering myself with my blanket and pillows. The warmth of my blanket slightly calmed me down. After a brief period of silence, I slowly peeked through the blanket, only to see an empty balcony. I told myself, “Don’t you even think about getting out of the bed, you know that’s a bad idea. After all, curiosity killed the cat.” But I couldn’t just lie there, knowing something strange is happening out there. I was getting restless.
So I gathered some courage, slowly got out of my bed, and walked into the balcony warily. I daringly looked ahead into the void and saw a black figure floating, so dark that I could hardly distinguish it from the rest of the void, its boundaries seamlessly faded into the atmosphere. It exuded an enigmatic aura and seemed to be devoid of any human characteristics. My gaze was fixed on it, I was trying to fathom what I was seeing. Then I snapped out of it as I heard his voice.
It announced, “I am the Void. Welcome to my world” in a deep voice that echoed throughout the emptiness. I asked fearfully, “Why me? Why am I here?”
It replied, “Most people fear me, but I don’t think you do, do you? I often find you leaning over the edge of your balcony and endlessly gazing into me.”
It felt like the void knew me quite well which was creepy but somewhat comforting too.
“I guess, I don’t.” I said, my voice low and uncertain.
“So, tell me what it is about me that fascinates you.” It said, floating around me.
“I simply enjoy looking into you, while the cold wind blows past me, my body slightly shivering yet my gaze undisturbed and steady.” I said with confidence as I watched the figure come closer.
“Ah, so it’s for the senseless thrill, the rush. A bit of a spark in your mundane life.” He spoke in my left ear, and a shiver ran down my spine.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.” I replied as I composed myself.
“Then why not make every second thrilling?” The outer boundaries stretched like human hands calling me for an embrace.
“How would that be?” I questioned, although I was not ready for the answer.
“By simply taking the leap. They all say they want the thrill although none brave enough to take the leap.” It said slowly, almost painfully.
“The leap? What do you mean?”
“Jump into me, into this world of an endless and boundless thrill.” It said in an inhumane voice and floated towards me.
I murmured, “That’s not brave, that’s just stupid.”
“What was that?” it suddenly dashed towards me and looked straight into my eyes.
“I was… I was just saying, it isn’t a sensible thing to do.” I repeated myself and thankfully the figure floated away and I let out a sigh of relief.
“Oh come on, let me guess, cause you think it will lead to death?”
“I mean, yeah obviously.”
“Tell me this, when you look down into me, lost in the moment, in complete fascination, do you think of death?”
“Well, no but that’s different.”
“It isn’t. Don’t avoid what you desire. Listen to the call of the great void. Don’t you want to feel the power, the power to be a part of something endless, something that scares everyone? Don’t you want to find out what lies on the other side, what lies in the Unknown?”
I stood there looking down while everything slowly faded out. After a point, I was completely oblivious, lost in the beauty of endlessness. I was on the verge, I was feeling the rush and that’s when I heard the void say, “Jump. You know you want to.”
And I don’t know what took over me. I climbed up the edge and just let my body loose. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late. I fell, tearing through the cold wind and darkness. I couldn’t feel my heart and could hear the slow crackling of my bones. After a painful fall which felt like an eternity, I hit the stone-cold ground and lost my consciousness.
The next day, the headline of the local newspaper read, “18-year-old boy commits suicide by jumping from the 13th floor without any note or any explanation whatsoever.”
“Ah, you are here. I can’t believe that you are actually here.”
“Trust me, even I can’t.”
“So how does it feel? How do you feel?”
“Calm down, I just got here.”
“True. By the way, I told you they would think of it as a suicide, didn’t I?”
“Can’t really blame them, it does look like one.”
“Wow, feels good to finally have someone here to talk to, I mean the void gets lonely too.”
“I get it. The emptiness too feels empty. Anyway, who’s next?”
“Mhmm, the next person we are visiting is currently reading the Call of the Void.”