I just wrote an argument (?) for my chapter that is somewhat existential (?), but I’m not sure whether it sounds unnatural or incomprehensible. I would love if someone could share their thoughts.
Suggested questions (You don’t have to answer all or any of them.):
What do you get from the conversation?
Do the replies seem illogical?
Is there anything that could be improved?
Do you need more context?
Thank you so much!
P.S. I’ll follow anyone who answers with an actual answer.
“I know!” The sudden angry cry made the girl jolt. “I know…” the boy sobbed more quietly. “I just… It’s unfair.” More tears streamed down his cheeks. “Why?” he choked. “Why do some people get to leave their parents when they’re all grown up? Why do they get to see them age happily together? Why do I have to watch my parents hurt each other, kill each other?” He swallowed. “Why does everything I love have to get corrupted? Even the few happy memories I have of them have to get tainted by bloodshed…” He snorted. “Why do some people get to die surrounded by the ones they love and with the memories of them intact? Why do I have to die alone with only the worst memories of the ones I loved the most?.. Why?”
Tuhu felt a stab in his heart. He glanced down but couldn’t find any knife or sharp object plunged in it.
The Daughter put a hand on the boy’s shoulder and patted.
“Is this karma?” the boy suddenly exclaimed after a couple of sobs. “Is this the Heavens’ punishment?”
“No, it’s not!” the girl briskly replied. The boy swallowed his sob and stared at her. “It’s a chance,” the Daughter explained.
“A chance?” he asked in disbelief.
“Yes, a chance for a new life,” she repeated, her voice more jovial. “Some people live their whole lives without seeing the things you have seen, and they die peacefully when they’re old and grey, and that’s all great… but ‘seeing’ isn’t bad either. You now know what life you want and that the life you have – or rather, you had – isn’t the life you want.”
Her gaze grew distant, and her eyes, bright. A serene smile crossed her baby face.
“I actually think that ‘seeing’ is the best gift the Heavens can give you.” She made a grand motion with her free hand. “All these people out there who live sheltered from the wind and rain, do you think they’re happy? Maybe they’re not miserable, they’re not dying from hunger and maybe not even loneliness, but do they feel free? Are they really living the lives they want? Are they satisfied with the comfort they get at the cost of their freedom?” The Daughter grabbed both of the boy’s shoulders. “Don’t you get it? The Heavens have given you a sign, a chance, the courage, the will to break free!”
“And what if they did?” He shrugged her off. “What if I know what life I want? How can I be sure that this new life for which I will throw away everything – my memories and my name – will be the life I want?”
“You can’t!” the Daughter replied lightly. “It might very well not be a life you want; you might have to go through Hell again, but it just means that there’s one less time you’ll fail.” She grinned with childish optimism, perfect white teeth showing.
“But at the cost of all my memories? The good and the bad…” He looked down. “Now that I think about it… I don’t even want to lose the bad memories…”
The Daughter cocked her head, then her eyes glinted knowingly.
“Do you not want to?” She smirked. “Or are you afraid?”
“I’m not!” the boy retorted. He seemed surprised by himself; he furtively glanced around then shyly looked down. “I just… They’re the only things I have. No matter how much it hurts to hold on to them, at least, I can be sure that they are mine, that they are ‘me’.”
The Daughter fell silent again. She stared at the ashes for so long that Tuhu thought she wouldn’t speak again.
Suddenly, she lifted her head toward the boy, her eyes darker than any obsidian and colder than the air. She spoke, with a smile as gentle as the morning light, “‘You’? Yes, who are ‘you’?” Before the boy could reply, she added, “A boy who lost his parents? A witness of the greatest mortal woes? Or a fading Ghost of the past?” At the boy’s confusion, she huffed. “Do you really think that you’re safe as long as the Ghosts don’t bite you? Your qi is being sucked out by this very forest. Little by little. You don’t realize, but you are disappearing, vanishing. Soon, you’ll possess no name, no shape, no mind… You’ll be a shell with nothing but the memories you want to cherish so much… You’ll be nothing,” she leaned closer, her face almost touching the boy’s, and whispered, “nothing at all.”
The boy shivered; Tuhu wasn’t sure whether it was due to the cold, but he was mostly certain that the whirlpool in him wasn’t.
“You’re lying,” the boy whispered. The Daughter crossed her arms.
“Then, why don’t you stay here?” She turned toward Tuhu. “Tuhu, let’s leave. Let him stay with his parents, vanish with them. I’m sure it’s exactly what his parents would want.”
The Daughter grabbed Tuhu’s hand and started leading him toward the road. They were a couple of steps away when Tuhu heard the boy scream from behind, “I know what you’re trying to say!”
The girl immediately spun around. “And am I wrong?”
The boy bit his lips.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know whether I’m wrong or what you want?”
“I don’t know… I don’t know what I want…”
“Then, do you want to disappear?”
“I… No, I don’t think so… I don’t want to disappear,” the boy murmured.
The Daughter’s eyes suddenly brightened. She put her hands on his shoulders again, making him jolt.
“Then it’s decided!” She brought her hands together. “See how simple this is?”
“You’re coming with us!” the girl cheerfully announced then grabbed his hand and dragged him across the ashes.