by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Consciousness came abruptly for Alph but self-awareness took time.
Between the two was survival instinct. Alph had no idea where he was, who he was (besides his name), or any concept of past except for the rapidly ticking seconds becoming memory. All he knew at the conscious moment of life, was that he was quickly experiencing death.
He “woke up” laying half submerged in a pool of wet something he couldn’t describe.
His stomach was gripping itself in knots and he didn’t know if it was due to birth or death, but he didn’t like it. He formed, he was born, but something went – was going – all wrong.
Obeying the physical impetus to do so, he vomited violently.
His vomit swirled in the pool and the swirls formed almost immediately upon leaving his mouth.
The heavier vomit strung out into the liquid and coalesced into limbs and a second head. He was puking a second body into his first and the two were forming simultaneously.
Alph’s two heads looked at each other and it wasn’t good news. The presence of the pool somehow stuck them to each other and the wall of the dark room they found themselves in.
What little the Siamese Alphs knew, was that they had to escape this prison, and they couldn’t do that in their current form. Vomiting produced themselves, so they had to repurpose what they already were into a third, independent member.
They had to make sure they didn’t botch it and create a conjoined triplet.
Alphs would need to be smart about this.
They raised themselves as high as they could stand from the pool and floor. Together they began projectile vomiting a third Alph. One that could grow without attaching itself to them.
It wasn’t easy. As the third Alph formed the two Alphs kept raising themselves higher and higher, practically crawling up the wall they were anchored to, to avoid contact.
Vomiting cannibalized their bodies. They were eating themselves from the inside out. This was exhausting torment but it would be all right in the end. Something told the two Alphs that their current incarnation was a mistake. Once they were a single Alph, they would be in a better position to …
Their brains were going, turning into dregs of spittle drooling from mindless mouths, all into a new Alph already gaining consciousness.
The new, third Alph looked upon his dripping skeletal remains. He didn’t know why he originally thought this was the method of his creation. He only did and, with that belief, he knew what he had to do before his dead old remains spoiled.
Alph rapidly devoured his emptied twin corpse until there was nothing left.
At last he was whole: whole and still hungry.
Blinking in the dark, he spied a light at the far end of the tunnel. There was no way to go but forward, as staying in the stench of his own birth didn’t seem an option.
Bent over on all fours, for there was no room to stand erect, Alph’s long limbs pulled the distance toward and behind him.
‘Forward. I’m propelling me forward,’ he thought.
Thoughts kept entering his mind without the structure of memory to support them.
‘I was made somehow.’
‘I was living … thing… once, no, man… once. I died, maybe?’
No likely; no definitely, I was killed.’
He wasn’t too clear on exactly how he was wronged, but something told him that his new birth was actually a rebirth.
‘Something or someone killed me. Something or someone brought me back.’
Self-Awareness came and with it, a primitive strategy. Alph wanted justice for what he had just experienced.
I don’t know if by random Something or intentional Someone, but…’
His neurons were quickly growing and connecting. Ganglia rapidly assembling a scaffold of memory in his still forming brain.
‘… but if Some One put me through all this disgusting birth agony,’
The mental scaffold grew in complexity.
‘…they better have good reason.’
The ganglia built upon the scaffolding, creating cross-support structure, and thinking became reasoning.
‘Yes, that someone may have *own* … their own…’
Thinking was as exhausting as moving but Alph felt certain that he had to push his mind every bit as much as his body. Some unspoken inner sense demanded – more – warned Alph, that survival depended on it.
‘… their own reasons, but… but they damn well better appeal to … to… MY sense of reason.’
The imprint on every fought for thought, however, was equity. A wrong needed righting.
‘I am the… no. I am… Alph. Alph…ah?’
It wasn’t clear on why it wanted revenge or who had vengeance coming to them, but it was already thinking of how it would be meted out.
Alphonse moved down the tunnel, toward the light. A newborn with a thirst for justice and murder on its mind.
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