Why do I find myself in danger on my vacation? I have come here to rest. I have a meal with my family but excitement surrounds us. It is a special day for the people here. A day of unadulterated violence, destruction and death.

Reporters and cameras surround us to feed viewers that hunger for bad news. Apparently the avalanche will be made safer this year. From our lunch table we can see the rocky mountain, and I mean rocky. It appears to be made by men but I understand it is a natural phenomenon. All I can see are boulders and rocks, large and small. They are piled on top of one another to form a steep gradient. The festival today is about causing the rocks to fall whilst natives of this city stand below.

There are heavy vehicles at the top of the mountain. I’m not yet sure what purpose they serve. My thoughts are suddenly interrupted with the site of a tail wagging beside me. What a cute dog. Perhaps I can pat it and give it some of my lunch.

Then the unimaginable occurs. A man takes the dog away from my side. At first I believe he is the owner. Maybe he is, but he pulls out a knife. I am horrified as he begins to skin the dog alive. The dog is in terrible pain, making only a muffled sound. I can see the cruelty of the act in its face. The action of skinning is very quick. I am appalled to see that the dog without skin is still alive – barely but suffering none the less. It lies on its stomach face to the ground. A mess of bloody gore.

The murderer lifts the skin with a great deal of satisfaction as if it is a rug that can be used or sold. Finally, he cuts the dog’s neck from the back to make sure it dies. It is not certain what he will do with its remains. I don’t want to find out.

I realise that it is dangerous to be at the foot of the mountain, but somehow I find myself there. The festival is about to begin. Why am I there? Is my family safe?

Sometimes our minds dissociate. Other times we dream. In both cases we appear to move from scene to scene without memory of how we got to where we are. It’s the same here. I wouldn’t normally be in a place in which I sense danger.

The festival begins. The heavy vehicles at the top of the mountain begin to move causing the avalanche. Soldiers surround us to keep the peace and provide a veil of safety. A few of them suddenly shoot RPGs into the rocks accelerating their demise and fall. People stay very close the incline at the bottom of the mountain letting the rocks fall over their heads to the ground. It doesn’t appear to be safe but I do the same.

Then I find out what the festival is all about – killing animals. Disturbing the mountain causes many animals to appear in the open, shattered by the violence and noise, and moving fast to seek comfort and shelter. The guns come out and there is shooting everywhere. Animals are hit with bullets and then claimed as prizes. There are mostly ducks and birds.

I have a gun too. I begin to shoot at the helpless animals having to hit them several times before they die. Some hang on to life despite my best efforts and cruelly lie struggling and bleeding on the ground. But that doesn’t matter to me anymore. All I am concerned about is claiming my prize and fighting off the competition. After all, it’s mine and no one else can have it.

I have transformed. I am one of them. I have lost myself. Who am I? I am behaving as if I am not myself. I am in a daze, not knowing who this person is and the reason for his being here and committing these horrible acts. Sometimes it is not possible to salvage yourself from what you have become, even if your present state of mind is only temporary. You burn bridges, ruin friendships and your former life is discarded.

No one will understand my actions in this case. There will be no support for me here. I have seen the line and, despite my best efforts and knowledge that I am proceeding down a dangerous path, I have crossed it.

I find that I still have a conscience. I am now very sorry for what I have done. My heart is screaming at me. I am sinking. I hate the emotion and the place it carries me to. I see the world as an unreality, a place in which it is voluntary to leave. It is no longer my cup of tea. Whether I am simply a coward, or I have merely discovered the escape route, I must be gone. I must leave this place. It is not real. Nothing is real.

Because of my actions and my feelings, I hate this place. I hate the mountain, the animals, the grass, the trees, the people, and even the breath of the humans that surround me. It is a construct, made of code in the form of atoms and sub-atomic particles. I can’t break that code. I am not Neo. I cannot escape by rising above it as the characters in ‘The Matrix’ were able to do.

My only escape is death and perhaps that was the way it has always been intended. It could be that those not aware of the construct live out their lives and cling onto life as if it were precious. I could be smarter. I may have found the answer to life – death. Perhaps life is just a mode of suffering that some give in to until their inevitable escape whereas others, like me, can find the answer immediately and fulfill their purpose without any more pain.

Smith was right when he said the purpose of all living things is to end. Put another way, the purpose of life is death.


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