One Summer's TAYle: A Crowd-Sourced Adventure (Part 2) [With Words]

What’s up my TAYple? We got two wonderful submissions from DisturbedShadow and MamaMia last mumble mumble in the beginning of our TAYle. Since we only got those two submissions, I will be finding a way to include both narratives in the story. For the time being, we will be following the protagonist that DisturbedShadow cooked up. Just an FYI, don’t feel pressured to write out fully fleshed out and detailed replies. They can be simple as “You go do the thing” or “drink a glass of water”. I can take just one or several replies and string them together into something beautiful. And now, back to it!

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As far as anyone knows, the universe is a vast and infinite expanse stretching out into non-existent boundaries. The universe is infinitely majestic as much as it is infinitely harrowing. To try and grasp the enormity of it all is beyond any human mind. There is no true understanding that in the face of this, we, as mankind, are but one impossibly small, small, small part of it all. It is not a willful ignorance of it— just an ignorance that we are born into. A simple gift given to shield us from the fact that as we toil in the day-to-day from cradle-to-grave, our influence on the universe as a whole is but a speck on the back of a mote in a flea’s eye. And, of course, to protect us from the ultimate truth of the universe.

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The universe is a jerk.

The universe has an infinite capacity to be a total d-bag or a totally cool dude. It is infinitely filled with good will and hope and other happy, fluffy things. It is also infinitely filled with spite and passive aggression. The universe can grant us the best moments of our life and also the worst. There is only balance because a bag of infinite shit weighs as much as a bag of infinite cute puppies.

The universe is a mindless, chaotic void of ups and downs smashing against each other spewing both life and un-life in all directions. As it happens, some have a predisposition for a life of mostly ups while others plummet to the downest of downs and relive the rise and fall of humanity each day.

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The universe can, and will, string together random events that culminate into something more significant. Perhaps, someone left their home just a moment too soon, and that few seconds difference led them to cross the road at the wrong time as a man juggling sharp knives skids by on a unicycle— eviscerating them instantly.

A set of small, seemingly unconnected events can lead one to lose a sock. Perhaps, over the course of a week, one sock made it into the hamper, and the mate made its way in just before laundry day. As the detergent was spread, perhaps a dram more hit this sock and altered its fate forever. The heartless and maniacal suds kept it at the surface, and dragged it to the outer reaches of the spin cycle. True tragedy struck as its lot in life was decided for it through no will of its own. There, as it moved from washer to dryer, did it find itself on the outer edges left longing for its mate. As the world went topsy-turvy for the newly cleansed cloth did it sit trapped under the outcropping of the lint catcher! Forever hidden away and lost to the careless eye. Watching helplessly as its brethren are drudged away by battered hands burnt by scalding brass buttons and zippers. In frustration is it left behind because someone didn’t take one last look inside.

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And, there, it sits. Found by another. Left sitting. Alone. Atop a washing machine packed side-by-side with so many others. It waits, but is never found. Such is life, we cry! Such is your life.

The universe has selected you, in particular, to be led down an endless path of misfortune. A fate that seems designed by many drags you against your will as each steps beat down that dirt path. This is you. This is your life now. For the time being, you are absolutely oblivious to this fact.

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The sun shines down on you and you feel invigorated. “This is what I came out here for,” you think to yourself. “I really needed this.”

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The sounds of nature surround you. A gentle wind rustles the leaves of trees that tower over you. Birds chirp away as they gorge themselves on the mangled corpses of insects. That kind of thing. You hum a tune as one should. You unscrew the lid to a thermos of hot tea and bring it to your lips. The delicious and relaxing scent masked a bevy of lies as this was probably one of the worst things you’ve tasted. It is incredibly bitter with a murky aftertaste. Likewise, the imagery of mountain spring water being clear, cool, and refreshing has been an obvious lie.

You cough and sputter and dare to question the cosmos “why me”! You walk slightly off trail to dump out the thermos. Unfortunately for you, one of your shoe laces came untied as you didn’t cinch it juuust enough to have it hold for juuust a moment longer. The lace gets caught under your foot, and you stumble forward clumsily into a rather violent slide deeper into the woods. With nothing to really grab onto, your instincts tell you to grip ever tighter on your thermos. You’ll feel stupid about this later.

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Leaves and dirt launch out in a spiral around you. You try and mark the trajectory of your descent as you whizz by trees and hope you don’t slam into any. You hear what sounds like a slight pop and a confused grumble. You gracefully land on your side at the bottom of the hill and come skidding to a stop. You sit up and brush yourself off and look back up the way you came. It looks like it would be too steep to go back up, but you have a general idea of where your cabin is and may be able to try and hike back. Alternately, you can go the other way and try and find your way back to the path you were on. You must complete your quest. You can also just wander off aimlessly in yet another direction because no one is the boss of you and you do what you want.

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Also of note, your thermos is missing.

What do you do?

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