That was a truth. People die, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. Bodies are so very fragile, and humans live in a big world that is… not fragile. And that doesn’t even factor in all the additional possibilities for sudden or slow death which humans have invented and choose to surround themselves with (starting with knives and going from there). Now add supernatural powers to the mix, and things got really, really interesting. The fact that anyone was still alive at this point was a miracle, really.
Everyone dies eventually.
That was also a truth. No one, no matter how powerful, could stave off death indefinitely, even if many among the more powerful metahumans considered themselves immortal. It wasn’t just that all powers had their flaws and weaknesses. It wasn’t that metahumans seemed to be addicted to getting themselves into trouble in one way or another. In the end, what it came down to was that everyone dies. Everything breaks down eventually. Some call it Entropy, but really what it comes down to is probability. There are simply so many more ways for something to break than for it to stay whole.
Everyone dies once.
That was not a truth. Not for Legion, at least. He died all the damn time. And it was awesome. Like the best high ever. The high you could only feel once, and he felt it all the time.
Didn’t change how much dying hurt. The trauma of fading into darkness – or sometimes being catapulted into it – was not one he could really get used to, despite the high that went along with it. Actually, he was pretty sure that if it wasn’t for said high, he would have cracked soon after getting his powers, perhaps even after the very first time he died.
No one’s supposed to die more than once.
The human brain had simply not evolved to deal with that concept. It couldn’t possibly have evolved a mechanism to deal with it. After all, death was the end. There was no evolutionary advantage to someone being able to deal with their own death. In fact, and this was something Luke had thought quietly to himself, it might actually be biologically impossible to develop a real, functional coping mechanism. After all, when you die, your body stops working. There is no chance to ‘get used to it’.
He was far from being knowledgeable at psychology or biology, or whatever other subject may touch upon this, but he was pretty sure that the human brain simply could not deal with its own death.
When he’d talked with Caleb about his death wish (which really meant something completely different to him than what people would normally associate with the concept), he’d explained how the brain let out all its remaining endorphins all at once, since it was its last chance, but…
Why would it? The brain wasn’t some kind of separate, self-aware entity that could make decisions of its own. It was a machine, an incredibly complex, insanely versatile processing system that worked off of eons of built up neural patterns otherwise known as instincts. It had no desire, or purpose, save to function as part of the greater whole that was the human body.
Everything it was capable of had evolved for the sole purpose of facilitating what people knew as “the human being”. There was no reason, really, why it should release all endorphins at once, at the end. There was no purpose to it.
Unless it was supposed to be a coping mechanism for a young man who had to die repeatedly for his power to work, for his power to act.
Which meant – at this point, implied was not strong enough a word – that his brain had been… adjusted… by his power. It was a clumsy, twisted, wrong adjustment which certainly didn’t help him deal with the depression and other issues that went along with the repeated use of his power, but…
But it’s working.
He was still here. Throwing himself into danger, over and over. He could rationalise it away as helping people, using his power for the good of others, even if it was breaking him down, little by little. But in the end, he was doing this because…
Because he was high on death.
The shot took him in the head, and the world shifted backwards.
“Look out!” Kismet shouted.
Legion saw himself step forward, for the sole purpose of taking the shot to the head and keeping the progression of events consistent.
Fact was, just thinking about all the implications made by how his power seemed to work gave him a major headache. What if he reached out to prevent his past self from dying? What if there were suddenly two living Legion’s?
Jet propelled himself forward, just as Legion stepped aside to evade the blast. He clipped him, making him spin into the next blast-
“Look out!” Kismet shouted.
Legion watched as another of him stepped aside to evade the blast, and he acted with a smile on his face, the high of death still strong in his memory, even if this particular brain was not currently high on endorphins. Just the memory was intoxicating.
If this works…
Why not try it? Nothing really mattered, really, so long as he could keep dying and enjoying that high. A plan began to form in his head, but he really didn’t have the time to work it through before things moved too quickly, so he moved in place, letting himself be killed by the shot again, to buy himself a little more time to think (and another high to make this easier).
“Look out!” Kismet shouted.
Legion smiled. He stepped to the side to get out of the way and watched as a clone of himself stepped forward and received a bolt of energy to the head which flung it to the ground where it dissolved. The original turned, hefted up a chair from a nearby table, and brought it down on Jet in one motion. Jet fell to the floor, catching himself on his elbows.
“What are you doing?” Jet shouted.
“That’s not me!” Another Legion exclaimed.
Luke smiled – he’d done it. There was another ‘him’ behind him. After all, he’d been supposed to be killed by another blast taking him in the head, after being clipped by Jet.
Instead, he’d stopped Jet from getting his past (current) self killed. Yet at this point, his future self was already there, brought back by his power.
He felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck, and then darkness took him.
But not the darkness of death, the darkness he’d been expecting as his fate, yet been trying to avoid.
It was the darkness of life, and the first step taken in the life of the Deathchasing Horde.
The completely NOT CANON interlude you’ve just read is part of the Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap, 2015 Edition. The mindblowing gag post you’ve just read was written by Tieshaunn Tanner, who normally writes the story Brennus, found at https://tieshaunn.wordpress.com/ .
Underwhelming Force, who normally writes this story, was assigned to write for Psycho Gecko at https://villainousintent.wordpress.com . However, due to a screw up by myself, Alexander Hollins, they weren’t given that assignment until too late. I did write a post for PG, please go view it!
For a full list of all our April Fool’s Swappers and their stories, as well as dozens of other serial novels that will tickle your fancy, check out The Web Fiction Guide at
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