The Nihilist – A Short Story

(A short story I wrote in 2012)

Hello. Is anyone is listening? I would introduce myself but I can’t remember my name anymore. I must be more than a thousand years old. No, I am not a vampire or some immortal being encountered in fiction. On the contrary, I am a severely disabled entity. I can neither see, hear, smell, taste, nor feel. I can only think. I do not possess a body. Time and space no longer have any importance in the world I occupy. I am trapped in absolute darkness and utter silence with only my thoughts to accompany me. I do not know whether I’m dead or alive. Maybe this is the afterlife. My imagination is the only means of recreation I have. I was left in this state for so long that I cannot differentiate between memories and dreams. For all I know, this is how I ended up like this:

“What seems like an eternity ago, I was born a human. I enjoyed a long and happy life in the company of others like me, in which I amassed a great fortune. Eventually, old age caught up with me and death seemed inevitable. Like most others, I did not wish to die and sought a method to prolong my lifespan. My body could not be saved and had to be discarded but recent advances in science and medicine at the time helped preserve my mind. I was told that parts of my brain, in which my consciousness resides, could be sustained for practically an infinite amount of time. Therefore, I used up all my resources to construct an impenetrable facility to safely house my brain along with the necessary resources to sustain it for several millennia.

As per my wishes, the procedure was successfully carried out. My brain was connected to the Grid, a virtual world that the internet had eventually morphed into. Even though my physical form floated around in a jar deep underground, my mind was free to virtually roam the world. This second phase of my existence was a truly delightful one. I could still communicate with all my friends and loved ones. I had access to vast amounts of information by mere thought. I had eyes and ears all over the world. In this manner, I existed for many centuries until the third World War. I am not sure of the exact details but my guess is that a nuclear explosion somehow cut off my connection to the Grid. That was the beginning of the worst phase of my existence:

Total isolation.

I hope that these memories are real. If so, at some point, the resources required to sustain my brain would run out thus freeing me from this hell of an existence. But there is this grim doubt lurking in a dark corner of my mind. What if all that was a dream? A hallucination? What if eternal isolation drove me insane? Am I schizophrenic? Did I convince myself that these stories I invented were real?

Yes. I cannot deceive myself any more. The truth is that I’ve created a web of lies around me to hide the fact that I was always alone and always will be. There is no other world. Only this desolate one. There is no light, no sound, nothing and no one. There never was. They were all merely figments of my imagination, the product of an empty consciousness left to rot for eternity. Only my mind exists. I am someone who had imagined a world around him and a life for himself in the company of other minds like him, in order to escape his solitude and explain his existence. My mind is the world. Within it, I am omnipotent and omnipresent. To imagine is to create. I am…

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