I am at my breaking point, or at the very least approaching it. I cannot break now, if I do, who will take care of my sick parents. My love for my parents is the only reason why I haven't broken down yet. I am having trouble breathing, I am feeling nauseous, and I am also feeling dizzy as of late. Perhaps I am overworked and getting sick, I can't have that happen. I still need to work, I need to get some rest before I get any worse.
I laid on my bed and closed my eyes. I am eventually greeted by a familiar darkness, this time I have the ability to move. I have always heard of lucid dreams, but I never thought that I would experience one for myself.
"What would I even do in a dream?"
I can speak in this dream, but I am not sure where to go from here. I never dream of anything in general so I have no clue what to do in a lucid dream. I do not have a body, but I am conscious enough to think, feel, and act as if I was awake. It is such a surreal feeling to be able to do all of this without a body.
["I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are already dead."]
I somehow hear a male voice say this, from who knows where in this dark void.
"What, I'm sorry did you just say that? I never thought I would hear those words being said to me, but that's beside the point. Who are you? I never heard your voice before, aren't dreams supposed to be filled with people you know?"
["To answer your question I can't exactly tell you who I am, but I can tell you what I am. I am god in charge of many aspects of life. I am a god of fidelity, family, self-sacrifice, selfishness, tribulations, self-improvement, and much more.
I know this may go against your notion of common sense, but believe me, I am telling you the truth. We are in a realm beyond the confines of time, space, life, and death, the void inhabited by the gods. You are dead and I have brought you here."]
So I am to believe that I am in front of a god, and not in some sort of dream. The possibility of this being a devil masking as god is also very high, should I concede to the idea that gods can exist. Why should I trust the words of some self-proclaimed god, do they even have proof to back their claim.
["Understandable, it is always hard to convince those who remain steadfast to their beliefs regardless of the situation. To prove it to you let me show you something interesting, something near and dear to you."]
In an instant, I not only saw the lives of my parents play out from a third-person point of view, and I then experienced their lives right from their eyes. I have heard stories from my parents about their proudest moments, their heroic deeds.
Experiencing the emotions and physical sensations that went along their stories first hand, it is something that is too bizarre to accurately explain. I felt their pure joy as they helped out and saved people, I experienced their deterioration into their bedridden states and then it was over all of a sudden.
The only word I can use to describe this experience is miraculous, I have lived out the entirety of two lives in an instant, and experienced two abrupt ends to those lives. I could have easily accepted the end of my life, but to know that my parents died as well is heartbreaking. I knew they were going to die at some point due to their lung cancer. Still, it doesn't make it any easier to accept, they were good people, they deserved so much better.
["What do you say to that, do you find it easier to believe my claims? Do you need me to do more, remember, I am a god, so I naturally have complete control over the things I said I was a god of."]
A god of fidelity, family, and tribulations, I do not like the sound of those three together. Then again it is not like they are completely unrelated. `I only got through the hardest parts of life depending on the support of my family and friends. Still, I cannot say that I am unconvinced, without effort or delay he performed a miracle right before me.
"I can't say that I am unconvinced, after that painful experience. Even so what a cheap shot, using the people I care for most to demonstrate your power. A low blow for sure, but it was brutally effective and efficient in proving a point."
If he truly is a god of all of those aspects of life, then it was inevitable that he found my weakness, he can most likely sense my devotion towards my parents and friends. I also can't make any rash decisions, he has power over the concept family itself, I cannot fathom how he could possibly use that against me. The way he used my parents' life experiences against me was enough to scare me. Still, I wonder how I died, more specifically how did my parents die?
["You want to know about your death, more specifically the death of your parents right, I know this is your main concern. You three died in a gas leak, breathing in carbon monoxide while all of you were asleep. You did not die because of divine intervention, or because it served a greater purpose.
You died because that was the result of the actions you have taken, your death was preventable. If you would have taken the right precautions, you would have been able to avoid it. I did not intervene because I believe in the idea that you are a product of the decisions you have made. After you died, I brought you here to make a deal."]
So their end was unremarkable and preventable, and while they were still alive their last days were filled with pain and suffering. They were still capable of talking, and their ability to think wasn't hampered at all. They deserved some sort of closure at the very least, not an abrupt end.
Regardless of how I feel at the moment, I can't lose focus and I have to be as careful as possible. I am in front of a god, I can not fathom the full extent of a god's power, I have to assume the worst possible scenario should I offend this god. He mentioned making a deal with me, but what exactly does he want from me?
["Do you want to be a hero? Heroes to mortals are people to be idolized and to inspire them to better themselves. They are the people who have reached the pinnacle of potential, they were examples that in the face of the seemingly impossible you can always overcome it and grow. They inspire people to embody virtuous traits, and they guide those who need hope in their lives. Do you want to be someone like that?"]
I agree with that definition of a hero, that was what my parents were to me before my disillusionment with the concept. When I was a child I tried to emulate my parents' righteous attitude towards others, I wanted to be a hero like them. What child wouldn't want to be a hero?
Whenever I thought of the word hero, I thought of my parents. I did not need to look any further for any other role models in my life. Unfortunately, that wasn't how life turned out, my dreams were crushed by reality and my own experiences seeing people being generally ungrateful for the sacrifices people made to make sure they were safe.
"God please listen to me, we both know that I am not a good guy. I do not like helping others without a reason. If there is a reward involved maybe I'll consider helping. Risking my life to save strangers is something I am not capable of doing. I am a selfish person by nature, and I have tried changing. However, we both know that I haven't changed at all."
After everything I had been through with my parents, I can not be a hero, I have seen what that sacrifice earns you. I am not like my parents. I can not fathom risking my own life for strangers, out of a sense of duty and responsibility to society as a whole, or for something society considers to be the greater good.
I saw them for the humans they were, they were people who needed as much help as the people they wanted to help. I do not know when I stopped seeing them as infallible, but it was the best decision of my life.
If I am gone, who will care for my family and friends? I know for a fact that the support I give them is better than the support a stranger can offer them. I would be willing to cater to every one of their individual needs, and I would be willing to do anything to help them.
It was these thoughts that had led to my current selfish mindset to not care for the greater good and to instead prioritize those closest to me. It is sort of ironic that I inherited my parent's self-sacrificing nature, but I refuse to use it to help others like them.
["I am not asking you to be a hero that saves others, I am asking you to be a person that leads by example. Most heroes, in the beginning, follow a path that is in line with what I stand for. Yet at the very end they choose the greater good over those closest to them, by doing so they go against the rest of what I embody. I do not need that type of hero, I need someone who practices what I want to preach.
I want you to spread a creed, not a religion, one teaches both heroes and people that the greater good is not the only option available to them. I need someone like you, someone who couldn't care less about the greater good and more about the people closest to them. I want you to be the champion of everything I stand for, I do not need someone who will cast me aside for the sake of the world."]
That is a twisted take on what a hero should do, I'm pretty sure that line of reasoning is in line with how a villain acts. Yet at the same time, the idea he preaches is in line with how I currently act and think. I would not describe a person who would sacrifice the greater good for their own reasons a hero.
Yet at the same time what else could you call them if they sacrifice everything including themselves to help out someone, the only caveat being they have to have a relationship with them. The only question I have left is why does he want someone to champion his beliefs? Why me specifically.