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Exodia (3 May 2018)

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 We travelled the forest on a hot, sunny day. The trees had bright green leaves. They weren't very tall. It was a common forest, like the one by the road near my house, but secluded by the shore and a lot more beautiful and lively. The sunlight shone through mildly in treeless pockets. The ground was composed of dry dirt, dead leaves and branches, and rocks. The sky was bright blue with clouds few and far between. It was similar to the forest that surrounds my cousin's cottage house in rural Quebec. A body of water rested right by us like the lake next to his forest, but the land was elevated a few feet above it; the lake near my cousin's house can be accessed via a small beach or some low-level rocks. The forest is to the right of the beach.
 My cousin had once secretly set up a small mesh table and chairs in the forest. He showed me this spot of his, and the idea of it excited me. I wished for the same. I wanted my own secret spot back home, but a suburb like mine offered no place for one. I always loved secrets and the isolation they created. Later in my teenage years, my room came to be a sort of secret spot.
 But the forest I'm describing, despite all its similarities, is a different one and one with which I'm not as familiar. I didn't know I'd been near it before. Though I'd never been in the exact spot where we ended up. The spot was a treeless pocket. An evil being, whom I only remember as a cartoon little girl dressed in a witch's outfit, speaking the way a cartoon villain does, had activated something incredibly powerful. What she supposedly activated herself was of a different reality. It was Exodia, an unstoppable destructive force. A mountain of big, dark grey, imperfectly rectangular rocks, assembled in a way which facilitated the climbing to the top, laid at the middle of the spot. There were multiple layers, each consisting of multiple big rocks. But it didn't reach the height of the surrounding trees, and it wasn't too wide either. It was a natural structure. This was Exodia. Its exact nature was unknown to us. We wanted to stop it from doing irreparable damage. My friend tried his best to destroy it right then and there, but we both knew it was of no use. He tried to chip away at it with a rock. After trying again and again for a long time, he became frustrated and desperate. Foolishly, he set fire to the rocks. I told him to stop. He knew it was wrong. Now we had to run.
 We ran through the forest alongside the coast. The bright water shone through sparesly under the shade of the branches of the trees and bushes. Without taking too long, we managed to make it out of the forest and onto the small beach. This is where I had been last time. A big wooden house, like a resort, was a short ways ahead. The outside of my cousin's house differentiated itself from this area by its flat relief. We were at the bottom of a hill. A dirt road beginning from the top of the hill was paved towards where we stood. I had waited here before, for something threatening. But the place was nice. I wasn't there for long.
 The name, "Exodia", originates from the TV show and manga, Yu-Gi-Oh!. I watched the show as a kid. Its ancient Egyptian motif, with its array of gods, reincarnations, and magical "millenium items", sparked my imagination. The struggle between good and evil figures prominently; light versus darkness. The card game at its center, Duel Monsters, seems to determine so much of people's affairs. It's an ancient game holding prominent real-life power. A duel can be a matter of life and death, or just an amusing competition. The monsters become real in the shadow realm. Exodia is an all-powerful monster. It can only be summoned to the playing field if a player accumulates all five of its pieces in their hand, but it guarantees an absolute victory. Once played, nothing can stop it from directly diminishing the other player's lifepoints to zero. Exodia can be seen in the opening of the show before every episode. When the title card appears, it's looming over the lead character, Yugi, as well as the other, weaker monsters by his side. Foreshadowing things to come, it's first used during the climax of the first episode by Yugi to defeat Seto Kaiba. Against all odds, he gathers the five pieces and wins.
 I was once in a dark chasm where I saw Exodia as it was portrayed on the show, towering over me. Exodia was outside the chasm; I could only see its top half. The chasm's walls were made of dark rocks and surrounded me in a wide circle. As I looked up to Exodia, I could see that the sky was black and turbulent. The black wasn't only due to the night; it was composed entriely of black clouds, crowded with lightning. The ground beneath me was of black dirt. It was actually all more of a very dark grey. This was in high school, sometime during eighth or ninth grade, I think. I wasn't exactly scared, but I had the feeling of having experienced an important power. This memory comes back to me from time to time.
 "Exodia" isn't a real word or anything. The series' creator, Kazuki Takahashi, invented it, presumably. Its original Japanese name translates to "Sealed Exodia". It could be a reference to the book of Exodus, "from Latin exodus, from Greek exodes 'a military expedition; a solemn procession; departure; death'". In ancient Greek and Roman drama, an "exode" is the concluding part. Greek words with similar etymologies are also "exóntosi", which means "extermination", or "exontóno", which means "destroy" or "extinguish". There are a lot of words like that. A lot to do with endings.
 At my high school, our class was playing a game. We were driving small, pointy, wooden cars from one ramp to another, back and forth in a straight line, and whoever was to go back and forth the most times would be the winner. I was winning by quite a bit, but then I ran into another car and everything glitched out and I lost. I could have still won if not for the glitch. I felt that it was unfair, but it wasn't so significant to me. When class had finished, I was in the senior hall talking to Martin and Simon and maybe someone else. Martin had a new haircut; he had long, flowing bangs. It was supposed to be hip and daring. I didn't like it. We were talking about the outcome of the game. I said how I felt I had lost unfairly, but they didn't bare any mind to my complaints.
 At the university, I had entered a darkly lit room. The lights were off to make the projector's image more visible. The students were being attentive to the teacher's lecture. They sat in rows alligned from lowest to highest. I had entered from the top of the room and I was rather high up. As I always did, I wrapped myself around the gymnast bar as to flip over it onto the mattress at the bottom. This was a faster method than the stairs. However, I noticed as I had climbed the bar that the mattress was no longer there, so I stepped back to the ledge and took the stairs to the right. I left the classroom through the door at the bottom, to the left of the projection sheet.
 We had to find Florent. We figured he was an expert on this sort of thing. Florent has always had a plan for his future career. At first he wanted to work for public transport; now he plans to become a police officer. It was always obvious to everyone that he was going to be able to do whatever he sought to. And now we needed his help, but he was nowhere to be found. We searched on the second floor of Cité Collégiale where there was a big circle hole in the middle, where you could see down to the first floor, with protective railing. The right wall was all glass. The sun was shining brightly through it. I had gone to Cité Collégiale for a week on two sperate occasions, once in ninth grade and once in tenth, as part of a program called "mini-cours" where high-school students get taught for a week on some subject of their choice by university teachers. I spent both times completely isolated. Almost everyone from my school chose to go to Université d'Ottawa. All of my weeklong classmates were French kids. Everyone from my school really just speaks English, except for a few, like Florent. I would spend the breaks by myself. I would buy lunch and listen to music by a window in a public lounge where I could see the courtyard, pretty on sunny days. This was during spring, when most university kids had already finished their two semestres for the year. I'd see some every once in a while. I didn't mind to be alone. I liked it quite a bit sometimes, but the environment wasn't for me. [101 - floctranspo.png]
 I'm really not sure, but I think it was at a mall that we found William. He wasn't exactly who we were looking for, but we thought he might be of help. William also has his career plan figured out, and it is well within his capabilities to achieve. He wants to become an aerospace engineer through a program offered at military college. We asked him what he knew about Exodia and, as usual, he was happy to help us learn. He pulled out a map showing that Exodia was spreading. He then said that the way he sees it, there are only two approaches to this situation: you can either run around in circles trying to figure out a way to stop it (and it's doubtful that there is a way), worrying endlessly, or you can just let it take over when it does. We thanked him and left.
 It was evening now; the sun was setting. We decided we'd discuss the matter over supper. We ate at a Thai restaurant in the city. We had a table for two. The place seemed to be upscale. It was dimly lit and the walls were mostly purple. We discussed what we'd do next. I don't think we settled on anything.
 I spent that night at my cousin's house. This is a different cousin who lives in a house a lot like mine. It's in Quebec too, but much closer to Southern Ontario, and it's suburban. But that night, he wasn't there, as far as I know. Many people crowded the house, talking in isolated groups. They were smoking marijuana and drinking. Music was playing loud, but not loud enough to restrict conversation. I was with my friends, Jackson and Reilly, in the dining room, standing by the table. We didn't have any drugs and we weren't having too happy of a time. It was dull. We were discussing plans to acquire alcohol.
 Jackson and I were at the mall to buy alcohol. We walked into a general store like Walmart or something. We walked past the checkout lanes and stopped in the middle of the aisle at a small container made of gridded metal bars filled with a mix of miscellaneous items. We saw that there were a couple of boxed alcoholic drinks for sale, but we decided to keep looking. We made our way to what seemed to be the electronics section yet contained a drinks section right next to shelves of video games. I was very serious about making sure to get the best deal, and I was quick to find exactly what I wanted. Jackson was taking much longer. I kept asking him what he wanted to buy, but he wouldn't respond, instead distracting with dumb jokes. I humoured him at first, but then it became incessant and frustrating. He usually doesn't carry it to such an extreme. It seemed to me that he was trying to avoid buying alcohol, which I didn't want to be true because I was looking forward to drinking with him. He wouldn't budge, and so I told him that I was going to leave if he wasn't going to be serious. I left the drinks I had chosen behind and walked back to the checking area. He cought up running to me after a while. He told me that he had picked out a drink and that he was ready to go now. I was still a little mad at him, but I didn't want to lose a night of drinking and knew that we were quick to reconcile, so I went back to get my drinks. I stopped by the container in the middle of the aisle to make things quicker and because what I had chosen earlier was not much different from the boxed drinks. I couldn't find them, however, so I told Jackson to hold on and jogged away to find the electronics section again. I couldn't find it either. I had become lost somewhere in the mall.
 I stood still high up on the third floor. The hallway was long and wide, and there not being anyone else around made it seem even vaster. All along my left side, tall windows made up the entire wall, only ever seperated by sparse mullions. It reminds me of the hallway I used to walk down to get to my ninth grade English class. To my right, there was only an arcade; it was dark inside. But there were patches of faint neon colours throughout, also. The machines and parts were really so numerous that it seemed like an indistinguishable cluster of black blocks and neon. The carpet fit the motif just the same. I don't remember there being anyone inside. It might've been closed. No other stores come to mind either. I could see that the hallway turned right further up ahead and nothing past that. The hallway itself was bright from the fluorescent lights up high and the bit of natural light that came from outside. The day was gloomy. Grey clouds covered the sky and prevented light from reaching out; I could see light hid behind the clouds. The ocean laid at the mall's feet, where the jagged rocks met the basement's concrete exterior. It was lower than the parking lot. I was still much higher, and I was looking at the ocean and its waves and the sky. The waves rose and crashed harshly. It was lonely.