This is meant to be read following “Left Behind”, but the story still works on its own.
The work day had finished.
Tahu rested his blades upon the side of the large box before him, ever so gingerly avoiding toppling the near-overflow of the plastic pieces within it. Today’s scavenging was like any other day for him; grab whatever was left of those who had perished the day before, and do not end up like them in the process. Surviving in a no man’s land had proven itself difficult even to a top dog like Tahu.
A day’s “harvest”, as he had to call it, was no simple task. It was almost taboo that people were disassembled for parts, even if they were just plastic. “Harvesting” would free up spare pieces for the folks who had lost their own, but it did not clear up the fact that the pieces were from the dead, or the dying in some cases. Tahu did not like his job, but even he knew that, under all of the moral compasses and pesky ethics, it was a needed function in society to restore the living and salvage the dead. After all, who was he to question the older generation, who lived with cracked limbs and loose joints?
Tahu grimaced at the thought of growing older. He was merely two, almost three years old. A son of the second generation, far younger than the first, whose survivors are almost a ripe seventeen years of age. Though they were of frail heritage, being born during a time where their creation was done with cheaper parts, they still survived. This is where Tahu came in, his daily threshing giving them longer lifespan should they begin breaking down.
Living long, Tahu pondered, but for what purpose. In his mind and demeanor, Tahu was wizened and almost bitter, despite being younger by more than a decade by his elders. True, his pieces had barely been scratched and he was in his prime, but Tahu was not young and foolish respectively. The outer world, lor, as the god-beings called it, had rendered him a character in two histories, and he was well-versed in it.
The first generation had a Tahu, and so did the second. He knew of both his ancestors and his current life, the stories concocted by the god-beings he knew as Riters. They devised the lives and adventures taken by the Tahus and the people who knew. Stories were almost legend and destiny of the people in his life, who were born either good or evil as they were designed to fight each other as god-beings’ playthings. Tahu had been born good.
Or so he questions. Tahu shook his head out of dizziness and realized he head been standing and staring at plastic remains for almost five minutes. He picked up his blades, rested them upon his back, and stumbled his way to a different room. This one room was one of many in the howse the plastic people lived in. Though there were many rooms and doors with all manners of plastic folks in them, they all looked toward one door in particular.
This door was labeled with a half-torn piece of paper with the letters “LIM” in black. No-one understood what it meant or what it stood for exactly. A multitude of acronyms and names were developed by the plastic people for the door, but collectively they agreed on calling it “Limbo”, since they had no idea what it lead to. All they knew was that sometimes, the door opens in a blinding flash of light, occasionally with a god-being as the actuator with little other purpose, and then closes. Some of the plastic people would enter this light when the door was open, and were never heard from again. It was center-stage of the other rooms, harboring a frontier of unknown when ajar.
Tahu walked past this grand spectacle, it being unguarded but invisibly gazed upon by the plastic people. He entered the bedroom, where he would rest himself for a little and come back home, where on some days someone would randomly dump pieces on his front yard. He hated that, but never cared to get rid of the pile.
Upon the large fluffy landscape, Tahu nestled himself between decorated blankets and clusters of dust. This was a routine for him each day, since picking up pieces of people he once knew in other rooms and sometimes even the bedroom, proved taxing. And these were just the people he was acquaintances with.
The people he held dearly were either long gone, held away from him, or mere shadows of their former self. And at the times when they died, he was given the mild privilege that they would be placed elsewhere and not be scrapped for reusing. The family of Toa he was from, his brothers and sister, were no longer available to him; they were missing or dead. It did not help that lor had ended in the outer world, and the plastic people’s, including Tahu’s, stories stagnated without meaningful ends. These things no longer existed, and Tahu would at times wish himself the same fate as them to close his bleak life.
In all of this unknowing, Tahu had volunteered to do the harvesting service in a raw trade for his family’s safety. He could not meet them in the rooms he worked, so he used to send them messages. One day, they stopped replying. He was either shunned for scavenging, they had moved elsewhere, or they were simply dead. After that time, Tahu did not know what to do with himself. He continued working for the benefit of the older people, giving them the pieces they needed while driving himself further into madness. This was where the root of his misery began; how could they peg to live on, meanwhile, he wasted away at such a young age without purpose?
Yet he still worked with these thoughts bending his mind. His life did not entirely lose purpose, however, because curiosity had grabbed hold of him. Limbo, the door he passed by each day, held an uncertainty behind it, but this was what intrigued Tahu most. Would he live his days further working around the dead, growing old and becoming the weakened people he worked for, or at least enter Limbo, where if he died, at least a goal was satiated in his life? Limbo, despite its mystery, served to be almost a beacon of blind hope in the life Tahu had been affixed to. It could have death and despair ahead, or even the answer for the family he lost, whatever it was, he would find closure.
Tahu drifted into slumber. Tomorrow, he will work again, with the next day being the same, and so on. As the days would pass, however, his interest in such arbitrary hope will grow stronger, and a purpose might return to him.