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It moved... It needed no thoughts and had no desires. Always forward, never stopping. It didn't know about itself, nor why it should move. Sometimes it had to curve its forward motion to prevent hitting things in its path. Once in a while, it had to slow down a bit to avoid touching the others.

It didn't know that it had only started moving recently. Nor did it know that it had started as one of the first ones. Heading across a nice flat straight, it picked up some speed, for as far as it could be called speed, and headed forwards. In front of it, another grey stick figure-like presence came into view as it just came around the corner of a block. Soon it would have to slow down a bit so they wouldn't touch. It didn't know why it should not touch the others, but just like moving forward, it was as it was supposed to be. Making an awkward side motion it passed the other one and put its white stick-like foot in front of the other.

A few curves in the road further, it noticed it was going across some narrow straight with only a very small path to shamble on and a three-meter drop at either side. Seeing as fear wasn’t part of the equation, it kept moving forward although slower than before. A slight draft, the first in a long time, blew a rock off the path. The sound it made when it hit the ground was incredibly loud compared to the utter silence before. Halfway across, a soft shuffling could be heard in front of it. As it lifted its grey head it saw another, starting to walk across the path. Both were heading for a collision… the silent shadows of large ruined blocks with a regular pattern of holes in them being the only witnesses of the mighty joust about to happen. A weird sensation started to fill it, not nothing, not forward, not around… it was a feeling similar to the light just before it became bright. A red feeling… it felt…. for the first time, danger. Stopping was impossible, going back was impossible but it... NEEDED to move forward… HAD to move forward. Slowing to a crawl, it saw the other getting closer and closer, ten meters, seven meters, four meters. It had to do something.. but except for going forward what was there?

“..... m.o….v….e..!” a thought emerged from some dark deep place. And like a stone in a still lake, a ripple came from it. A bluish light, smaller than its own head, moved ever so slowly forward. It hit the other and burst apart, the other staggered from the impact and started falling backward. In an attempt to balance itself the other put its white foot back and without as much as a sound, it crumpled to the ground in a heap, slowly sliding down over the edge and plummeting to the ground below. A loud but hollow thud and snapping could be heard.

It kept moving forward slowly but something had changed.

“.....” inside it, there was something different “.......?......” what was it doing?

“.....w..hy… o… fo...ard…” a broken thought emerged inside the slow-moving grey figures head.

After a while it came again, clearer now as a semblance of order started bubbling up from deep inside it.

“why do I move forward….?... I ? what am I?” A thought, that took crossing almost an entire street in its slow and relentless pace, to complete. It was a very rewarding thought though because it was followed by many more thoughts.

When the darkness descended back upon the ruined landscape, a single, lonely looking figure could be seen at the edge of a large site with many tall broken rocks.

“I can't go forward… “ the figure thought. It had found thinking to be very helpful so far. Neither did he have to be as careful to touch the others, nor did he end up in a dead-end to crumble. Slowly turning around, so it wouldn't trip or stumble, it walked along the edge of what appeared to be the end of where it or the others could go. A few moments before it stopped it had seen another, walking in a straight line out of the area of broken rocks, and pitch over while quickly turning to dust. “I will walk around this area and see if it is all the same!” The sudden thought was many times more intricate than any the figure had had before.

Circling around the ruined area it soon noted there where broken forms of the others all around the area. “Going out means… the end?... No more thinking?... No, I will not go out. … Not going out? Perhaps I can go inside and find something different…” Having made up its mind the shambling figure took almost three cycles of darkness and light to arrive at something that was different from everything else it had seen in its short existence.

“This is different, would I end if I go there?” The figure thought as it was moving around in small circles in front of a very large square rock. Unlike all the others, it was much less worn. The sides where smooth and the current rising red light could be seen on its surfaces. At the bottom of the rock, there were multiple square black shapes. “I will make one of the others move closer...” A rebel thought emerged from the depths again. Looking around the square it saw a number of the others shambling about.

Having made up its mind the figure walked towards a small path between two of the still standing rocks, and by doing so, blocked the path of one of the others. Apart from deviating from its previous path, the other showed no other reaction whatsoever and made its way across the square. The new direction would result in the other moving near the large block in the middle of the square. Going as fast as it could, the figure moved around the other and slowed down in front of it. Being unable to follow its newly found path, the other was forced to move ever closer to the block in the middle. As soon as the other looked to be heading towards the middle of the block, the figure moved back a bit and started walking in small circles, its attention focused on the other.

Seemingly uneventful, the other passed through the black square. Waiting, the figure kept circling around, however, nothing seemed to happen. After the time it took for the sky to brighten completely, a small rumbling could be heard from the center block. The rumbling stayed at an even intensity and nothing else occurred.

“I know nothing new.. .” The figure thought. “Did it end the other?” After a while the figure moved away from the center and started circling outwards through the ruins, determined to find anything new.

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About the author

Carrarn

  • Netherlands

Bio: I am mainly a reader, but at some point, I found that I wanted to try my hand at writing something. As it goes with these ideas, it never really happened, that is until LitRPG's showed up. Something about the concept and idea greatly appealed to me, but I couldn't find that many stories I enjoyed. So back in 2018 I began writing my first novel, Nothing but Bones. I finished it half a year later and started on Minlings, which is still being written and is also a LitRPG. For the NaNoWriMo of 2019, I wrote a short story called Again and again, which is influenced by LitRPG. For NaNoWriMo of 2020 I am writing a story called Kernstalion, a full on hard system LitRPG.

As I am not a native English speaker, I expect you will find many weird mistakes, especially the phonetic pronunciation mixups. Things like, 'Look up at the sealing!' might happen.

Books:

On 16-04-2021, "Nothing But Bones2: The Chaos Rifts", released on Amazon and Kindle unlimited!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0927J2KQP

On 14 May 2020, "Nothing But Bones1: The Wasteland", released on Amazon and Kindle unlimited!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088C4YS7W/

On 10 September 2020, "Again and Again", released on Amazon and Kindle unlimited!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HKCLK97/

Stories on RR- updated 25-02-2021
Kernstalion [Two chapter releases per week]
Minglings [Hiatus]
Nothing but bones [Hiatus on RR]

Currently, Nothing but bones book 2 is free to read to my Patreons.

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