DEFEAT. 005 – Postscript One

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

A city such as Pompeii is buried by volcanic ash, just as the sands of time sweep over and blanket those falling short of greatness. Pompeii had little to offer the world at large and its ruins were the source of an accidental discovery almost seventeen-hundred years after its demise.

On the other hand, time only helps mythologize those fortunate enough to have achieved legendary status. A city such as Rome, whose epic downfall has served as a warning for future generations, is still lauded for its magnificence and regarded as Città Eterna — the Eternal City.

What type of city should a man strive to be — Pompeii or Rome?

If a man chooses Pompeii, he can look forward to a life of peace and simplicity. There will be no insurmountable strife, no need to lose sleep pondering the troubles that lie ahead, and no expectations from the outside world. However, he will not affect the world he lives in. He will not matter to anyone outside of his immediate surroundings. And he will not carve an indelible place in history, save for his representation as the ordinary. The run-of-the-mill. The hum-drum.

If a man chooses Rome, he can look forward to a life of excitement and turbulence. There will be challenges, a regular call to arms against the gravest dangers imaginable, and the unfathomable burden that self-awareness brings to those on whom others rely. In spite of the adversity and corruption inherent to such an existence, this man will have the opportunity to change the world in the ways in which he sees fit. He runs the risk of setting the world afire but does so for the sake of making a difference. For better or worse, he will be remembered.

If a man chooses Pompeii, he can look forward to a quiet death in the middle of the night, burying his identity, casting doubt upon the very nature of his existence. Time heals the fatal wounds, suffocating memory as it buries it alive.

If a man chooses Rome, he can look forward to a violent death in the middle of the day, unearthing his glories, solidifying the very nature of his existence. Time magnifies the risks of the daredevil, examining the tragedy and exalting the triumph.

Your world will end – do you prefer a whimper or a bang?

– E.B.