One

He was the first being ever created. Therefore he was called One.

There wasn’t much amusement to be had, so One passed the time by immolating himself. He did not know death, and so would incarnate again immediately. He would then laugh a short, proud laugh and do it again.

Everything changed when One found another being. It looked much like him, only slower and duller.

One asked of him, “what are you?”

The other said, “I am man.”

One said, “I shall call you Second, for that is all you are.”

One watched Second with unease. He had grown so used to being the only being in creation, he wasn’t sure what to make of the man. Second wasn’t sure what to make of One, either. He suffered from strange maladies called hunger, thirst, and fatigue, while One remained ever-energetic and alert. To One it meant his companion got slower and stupider the longer he spent with it. He grew bored and cruel.

“I have a game,” he announced, and proceeded to bash his own head in with a rock. His death was met with alarm from Second, and a strange wailing. One had never heard an uglier sound.

He waved away Second’s bleating. “Peace, peace, I’m up.”

Second squalled and pushed him away. “But you were still! How is it you were able to get up again?”

“Oh,” One said breezily, “I can do that without even thinking about it. It must seem a little trick to you.”

With some hesitation, Second picked up the same rock One had bludgeoned himself with. With a single crack, Second lay dead at One’s feet, and One was beside himself with mirth. This lasted until the next day, when he met another other.

“What are you?” he cried.

The other said, “I am the son of man.”

One said, “Ah, that is too difficult. You were after me as well, so I will call you Second also.”

The second Second ended himself much the same as his father, and One went on his way, chuckling. But his peace did not last. Soon there were other-others, son-of-son-of-man, brother-of-son-of-man, nephew-of-son-of-brother-of-son-of-man and so forth, though he called them all Second. He tricked them all in much of the same manner of the first Second, but they kept coming. Though their deaths still brought him bottomless mirth, he began to hate the Second and long for the peace of the first day, when he had been alone.

Working fastidiously, he sought to drive man to extinction by his own hand. Though it took eons of time, one dim day he did succeed and stand alone in the wastes. The land was no longer young and green as it had been, but it was his alone. That made it good.

Then One found out something terrible. He knew loneliness. All other of man’s maladies had passed him by, but this One had gone unchecked for he had always been surrounded by man’s children. Now even the pleasure of killing himself no longer brought the joy it once had. He knew boredom again. He knew cruelty. And in his cruelty, he brought forth the only thing worse than himself.

And he told it, “You shall be called One, for you are the first.”

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