War stood behind Eros at the edge of a steep cliff on the side of a
mountain.  Eros sat on the edge, her beautiful legs dangling into the
air, kicking gently back and forth.  She was pretending to not really
be listening to War, but she really was intently focused on what he
was saying.  War was intently focused on what he was saying, too.  He
sounded like a crazy person.  He was really on a roll.  He was ranting
about humans again.  How they had no respect for the old ways.  Eros
thought to herself, they have no respect for the new ways either.
They have no respect for anything anymore.  She didn't interrupt War's
tirade.  She just sat there, pretending not to listen, kicking her
legs slowly back and forth.

War was heated.  He was stomping around in circles breathing heavily
and cussing as only War can.  They were waiting for someone to come up
the mountainside.  Eros had already spotted the human in the far
distance.  War didn't even really care about any of this.  He was
ranting like a madman, but Eros thought to herself, he has a point.
War kicked a tuft of dead grass and a bit of dirt flew over the edge
of the cliff.  He looked up and saw the human in the distance, making
its way up the long dirt road at what seemed like a snail's pace.  He
started cussing about just being kept waiting.  Eros told him to be
patient and it would work out better.

Eros commented to him she believed the human was actually running, at
least jogging, it was impressive for a human to be moving so quickly
uphill.  War shielded his eyes against the dusk sun and tried to see
for himself.  He asked Eros finally, what made her think so.  The
human looked like a tiny doll in the distance, without much detail at
all that War could discern.  Eros looked up at War, smiling only
slightly.  War said he wished she wouldn't try to seduce him like he
was some lowly human.  Eros snorted a little at that, but she was
still the epitome of feminine beauty.  She said to War to look at the
area around the tiny human.  War looked again.  The human was indeed
kicking up a fair amount of dust.  War said he saw Eros's point.  Eros
said to him again to be patient, this human would satisfy both of


Geert was sure he was losing it.  Well, he'd been sure he was slowly
losing it.  He'd been losing it for years really, then it had all
burst like a bubble.  One day he just decided, and said to himself,
Geert, who cares?  No one ever notices anyone else anyway.  No one is
going to care between whether you sit silently stewing, losing your
mind over nothing, completely miserable, or just pull yourself up by
your groty bootstraps and decide you're going to be happy even if you
are crazy.

Geert had taken up jogging on a whim.  A beautiful woman had been
jogging past him, and that's when it had hit him.  He had enough sense
not to obviously just chase her down, no.  Geert had a bit of sense
for a crazy man.  He didn't immediately take off after this beautiful
woman as she ran by him, but he did, in that moment, make a firm
decision to take up jogging himself.  He never saw that particular
woman again, like a character briefly introduced in the story of his
life for some effect or another, then dropped again, like the author
had only needed her for a brief moment.  Geert shook his head like a
confused, wet dog.  Sweat rolled off his brow.

He was jogging uphill.  This time he was finally sure of himself.  He
was jogging uphill along a dirt road, slowly getting steeper up the
side of a mountain.  He felt absolutely sure this time he was pointed
toward his karmic destiny.  He had this really creepy friend who told
him all about karmic destiny.  The dude had told him, Geert, if you
sit long enough thinking about who you are, where you come from, you
will know all of your own secrets, more than you ever wanted to know.
His friend had gotten up off the couch after saying this and casually
thrown a poor, defenseless box turtle out of the 5th story window.
The dude was not a good guy.  Geert hadn't been sure what to make of
that.  He said dude, you said you were raising them for soup or
something.  That's inhumane.  The dude had cackled hysterically,

Geert made a choice about that guy, a little more in his prefrontal
cortex.  He basically stopped talking to that guy.  He did, however,
spend quite a lot of time thinking about his karmic destiny.  Whatever
that meant.  That part had made a lot of sense to him.  Geert had
thought long and hard about his karmic destiny, looking up how to
meditate, and sitting for up to an hour at a time, clearing his mind
and thinking about himself, who he even was, and his karmic destiny.

He was driven crazy by the world around him.  Geert had a bad disorder
centered in the minds of some of these people around him.  People who
would throw a poor defenseless turtle right out of a window on a whim,
cackling hysterically about it.  Evil people.  Geert had no other
choice but to go completely insane himself.

Earlier in the day he had wandered up to the local university.  Pretty
aimlessly, he had just felt drawn there.  Geert had attended this very
same school, studying computer science.  Geert had been one of the
more impressive students at that time even.  He felt like it didn't
mean all that much anyway.  Some of his classmates would graduate, he
eventually graduated himself, no one could tell them apart.  He stood
out among those classmates because they would graduate not knowing how
to turn the thing off and on again.  Geert hadn't been the very best
in his class, but he had been at the upper end.  The school had a
rather bad reputation for computer science, sadly.  No one could tell
all the graduates apart, and so many had been shuffled though and had
graduated unable to do much of anything at all, that everyone ended up
with either a reputation as a nitwit or a complete nutjob.

One day in school they had all piled in a bus, the whole department,
off to a bright opportunity, something or other.  Some career
planning, some internships, something.  Geert couldn't even remember
now.  Something had gone terribly wrong.  Geert strained to remember.
Something had gone terribly wrong on that short trip on that bus to
some career guidance event.  He couldn't even remember.  He had some
kind of trauma about that, he was sure.  Something awful must have
happened, something truly awful, so awful he couldn't even remember.

He had ended up with a job programming at a small local company.  One
of the employees seemed to pull all the weight of the company.  Geert
could have helped him, he actually knew a thing or two.  He wasn't as
good as the other employee who kept the entire company afloat, perhaps
by far.  He wasn't sure what he even did there, what was his job
description, anyway?  He struggled to remember what had all happened.
Most of the other employees didn't do much.  They didn't even know
how.  Geert had figured, he guessed, that's what they did for a job,
something like that.  He felt bad thinking back on that.  That poor
employee who worked so hard had been left with all of the work, an
entire small company's work load.  He was sure he could have helped
the poor fellow more than that.

Geert had been thinking absentmindedly about all these things, not
really paying attention to where he was going or the world around him,
and had ended up on the marble stairs of his old stomping grounds, the
university.  A college girl walked past in a purple backpack, and
Geert momentarily forgot himself.  Who was he, anyway?  He practically
screamed at her, "nice backpack!" He wasn't sure why he had shouted
that.  She was startled by it.  He had to work on his skills at
complimenting women.  He was sick of being miserable, though.  He
would master these kinds of social skills and be happy after all.  Why

He began to feel more and more out of place, sitting on those marble
steps.  He wasn't out of breath, he was just sitting there.  He wasn't
doing anything wrong in any conventional sense.  His thinking was all
screwed up though, and he was slowly losing awareness of that fact.
He was thinking back on something he had learned at that university
about berries.  He vaguely recalled something about almost all
compound berries in that area being edible, about which fungi in the
area were completely safe to eat, which were marginally safe to eat in
small amounts, various facts about root vegetables and plants native
to that area swirled around in his mind.  He got up to continue
jogging, and jogged all the way out of town, finding himself before he
knew it halfway up a mountainside.


War frowned beside Eros.  He had relaxed a bit by now, they had been
sitting watching the poor human as it jogged, impressively for a
human, up the dirt road.  Eros looked over at War, as beautiful as
only the epitome of feminine beauty can be.  Inside she hated the idea
of War being satisfied with anything.  Human beings were wonderful
little creatures in her opinion.  War just tended to wreck everything.
He was only ever satisfied when all the humans were dead in the most
awful ways.  Eros pressed her beautiful lips together in distaste.
War didn't even notice her.  Eros always pretended not to be listening
to War, but War truly, really, never listened to one word she ever

Eros felt a bit frustrated with him.  Like the humans were just toys,
little tin soldiers, had no redeeming qualities besides their own
destruction.  Eros knew what to do with a human.  War had no idea what
he was missing out on.  Eros played with her beautiful dark hair,
staring at War.  She would just stare at him until he felt her gaze.
War didn't even notice.

Eros sighed in exasperation, and got to her feet.  We need the other
kinds of love here, she thought to herself, not this guy.  Her closest
cohorts disliked War even more than she did.  Eros had of course had
to be the one matched with him.  Neither of them really thought about
it all that much.  They were just the concepts, who knew?  Humans were
always supposed to just keep doing stuff.  They needed Eros, but War?
She looked at him through narrowed eyes, thinking about it.  Who needs
this guy, anyway?

War turned around, finally.  She was a little scared of him.  He was
such a menacing fellow.  Right now he seemed quite relaxed.
Uncharacteristically relaxed for him.  The human was probably only
half an hour away from them now, jogging at a steady pace up a steeper
and steeper road.  War was impressed really, now that he could make
out a little bit of detail.  He commented to Eros proudly that the
human was male, like War.  Eros stifled a laugh, at War's expense.
War didn't even notice, turning back to watch the human as he
continued to jog up the road.


Geert wasn't even out of breath.  He kept his pace steady.  He had
been jogging for quite a while now, and he would know when he was at
his destination.  He was thinking of a few things, but mostly his mind
was clear.  The sun was setting, but he wouldn't be cold.  He was
going to just keep jogging up this mountain as night fell, it would be
enough to keep him warm.  He was thinking about berries, some class he
had been in.  An elective class outside of his major.  They had tried
so hard to be sure he would have a well-rounded education.

He was thinking about something he had learned in that class.  The
largest organism in the world was somewhere in this mountain range,
supposedly.  It was some kind of sprawling fungus, the professor had
said it covered more land than the city the university was in.  It was
one single organism, spread across more land than Geert could jog
across in a day.  He wouldn't even try to eat a fungus like that,
simply out of respect.

There were root vegetables indigenous to this area.  A lot of people
didn't even know about them.  In that class he had learned to identify
some of them, as a class they had learned about what was edible in the
area.  Geert knew biscuitroot by its small oval leaves with one line
down the center.  He knew yampa well enough to enjoy it, they had
tried it as a class, but he probably wouldn't be able to find it
himself.  The compound berries.  The professor had said almost all the
compound berries, especially in this area, were fine to eat.

Geert knew himself a little too well to really think he could survive
up here.  Not on his own, with the knowledge from one college class
he'd taken over a few weeks.  Human beings were pretty amazing in the
ways they worked together toward common goals.  Geert felt a bit bad
he hadn't helped more at that company.  He had eventually just stopped
going in to work.  He had lost his mind as a lowly employee at that
job more than anywhere else.  It had been so incredibly pointless.  He
felt bad.  It could have had a lot more meaning if he had actually
helped the guy who did everything.

He had taken up jogging around the time he had left that company.  Had
it been before, or after?  He couldn't remember.  They still sent his
paycheck for months, like they had never noticed him.  Like they had
never noticed if he was there or not anyway.  He was really still
doing the same job, right?  He felt bad about it.  There was something
he wasn't seeing here.  He continued jogging, his mind clearing again
from the swirling chaos of thoughts of berries and regret.

He jogged past fewer and fewer houses, with more and more space
between them, up the dirt road.  Steeper and steeper, up the side of
the mountain.  He kept his pace easily, he wasn't the least bit tired
yet.  He wasn't hungry, but he was dimly aware he would be, by the
time he got to wherever his destiny awaited.  He would find some
edible plant, something to eat.  It wouldn't be enough really, but he
wasn't going to die out here.  He would be extremely hungry by the
time he had jogged all the way back, but he was not by any means

He started to jog past a few trees, on the side of the mountain.  The
road was getting steep by this point.  He kept his pace, not slowing
down or speeding up.  He looked ahead, where the road started to turn.
He could see, maybe ten minutes ahead, as he continued to jog up the
road.  The road turned there, steeper and steeper, around a cliff.
Two figures stood in the dusk, silhouetted by the setting sun behind
them.  It almost seemed like they were waiting for him there.