Surprisingly, it didn't take Cole a super trippy animation sequence to get to the bottom of the hole. After the five-second mark, he had already found out that his feet had landed on some gra.s.s-covered ground.
"Now, where am I this time?"
Cole looked around him and saw a sight that while familiar, felt so distant from the current him. A lovely blue sky with puffy white clouds, expansive green fields and a city straight out of your standard sci-fi novel that wasn't a dystopia.
He had found himself near his old house although it looked a bit newer than from how he last remembered it.
Cole walked towards the house and opened it with not a single bit of caution. There was not a single bit of dust and the only thing inside was robots.
Moving boxes were being opened not by human hands but by those robot movers. Very handy but Cole heard that some people liked the novelty of doing everything themselves. But anyway, he guessed that this was probably before his family had moved in.
"Just a bit more and we'll be there."
"Do you think Cole will like it?"
"I'm sure he will."
Cole could hear the voices approaching near the door. The sounds of their melodious laughter mixed with their footsteps.
He went silent. Cole knew exactly who those voices belonged to. Well, it's not like it could be anyone else.
Cole took one step closer to the door. His footsteps felt unsteady and filled with hesitation. He had no idea why his body was acting this way. Cole's mind was clear and he didn't have any regrets towards his parents that he couldn't live with.
Cole originally wasn't that far from the door. It only took a few steps and his hand could easily open it. His hand was trembling
'Is it because it's a dream? And I can't control my self as much?'
When he opened the door, the once blue sky had darkened and now a dark blue sky filled with stars covered the horizon.
Cole's shoulders slumped and he crouched down on the ground. He covered his face in his hands and thought to himself.
'What does this part of the dream wish to show me?'
Cole fell on his back and continued to watch the sky. He put his hands on his belly as he gathered his thoughts.
'Do I secretly still care?'
Cole thought it was strange. He remembered feeling nothing when he was at the beach's sh.o.r.e just recently. His former home was an ocean away. To others, it might seem like such a far distance but it was Cole.
If he truly wanted to return to see his remaining friends and family, he would spare no expense in doing so.
He didn't care for the〈Avant Zone〉and he didn't care for the people in it. He might've cared for them then but he certainly didn't now. This fact confused him. If he really no longer wanted to go back then...
"Why did my hands tremble?"
Cole had no answer. And the sky he was looking at certainly didn't have one either. Why did he feel so confused with himself today? He felt like not a single thing he did was in line with his own personality.
He let out a sigh. Cole then all of a sudden found it funny. He remembered a time when he believed that he had fully understood himself but look at him now.
"I am so stupid."
Cole jolted at the sound of his own voice. He stood up and looked at the top of the roof and that's where he saw 'him'.
His silver hair hidden underneath his cap was cut neatly, just like how Cole used to cut it all the time. His military uniform was quite ruffled and he left his coat carelessly sprawled over the roof. Cole made his way over to his past version.
'You serious? We started when I hadn't even moved here yet and then we jump all the way to me being an adult? That's a bit too fast. Don't I have to pa.s.s through being a teenager first?'
Cole was jokingly smiling to himself but then it slowly faded away. Now he wasn't sure what to do since if he had to watch his self look miserable, he'd rather no. He's moved past that now so why should he have to watch such a sight again?
His other self twitched, and then looked towards Cole. His eyes widened a bit but then put on a friendly smile.
"Oh, h.e.l.lo other me."
Cole thought that since its a dream, technically anything goes. So it'd be meaningless if he was surprised over something as small as this. He sat down beside his other self and watched the sky with him.
'I guess this is what I'll watch instead.'
As Cole was thinking of this, the other Cole then asked him.
"Are you from the future?"
"Just came from it."
He then looked away, focusing once again on the night sky. It stayed like that for a few moments before the other Cole asked him.
"Do you still keep telling yourself things that you know are fake?"
Cole locked his eyes with the other him and just smiled.
"What do you mean?"
The other Cole let out a 'tch'. He was in quite the irritable mood. You wouldn't be able to really tell due to it being dark and part of his face being covered by his cap.
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"You don't need me to tell you that. Do you still think things in a foolish attempt to make you believe that the lies you're telling yourself are true?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Do you have an example?"
Cole acted cluelessly and kept a mischievous smile on his face. He thought there was no harm in joking around with his past self. It was just a dream and it wasn't as if there was anything that could really go wrong.
"How about like everything you did was an accident? How about you only 'somehow' made weapons that will take thousands of lives later? How about acting like a stupid, dense airhead sometimes in your head?"
Cole's eyes lost their joyful shine and his face grew sombre.
"Yeah. I still do."
But it immediately went back to its earlier gleeful appearance and continued joking with his dream's self.
"Except for the last one, however. Was my former self always this imaginative?"
The other Cole let out a sigh. He was probably thinking that he would have to deal with Cole's current att.i.tude. Seeing him like that, the other Cole probably wouldn't want to become something like that.
But his annoyed expression faded away and turned into one of worry.
"Is Steward still...?"
"They're still are."
"Do you have to move on to the 'Present' now?"
"...Just not yet."
The mood between the two of them was pretty chill and Cole just thought that this part of the 'past' was for the hypothetical question of 'What were you to tell your past self?' Although it was the past him doing most of the telling and talking.
"Then one last question, future me."
Cole felt something change in the way his other self's voice. He locked eyes with Cole with a sharp glint in his eyes.
"Do you know 'Who you really are'?"
The other Cole stood up without waiting for an answer and jumped down the roof and went back into the house. Cole stood up and chased after the other him but when he went through his home's door, the scenery changed once again.
'...What did he mean by that?'
Cole pondered this by himself but laughter drew his attention away again. He then realized that he was standing in the middle of a pathway he had often used before on the way home. The sun was setting and had started to fade into the night.
Along the road, there was a young Cole walking home with a few other kids his age. Cole looked to be about 8 to 10 at the time. Strangely, their faces were a blur with the only feature visible to Cole were their moving mouths.
"Cole, you're amazing!"
"How do you even do that?"
"It's nothing really special."
"I...thought you were really cool..."
"Ooo~? I think Amy has a crush on Cole!"
Cole right now couldn't care less for the childish teasing. Even back then he always thought it was a bit stupid. Right now, he had a very important question in his mind.
Who was he without his masks? The Cole walking home with some friends, was that Cole's true self behind his masks? Cole could live his life without ever having this question answered but it was gnawing at his mind right now.
"Well, we split here. I'll see you guys tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow!"
The group split up but young Cole stayed and stared at our current one. Seeing that Cole was going off in his own world, young Cole poked him until he paid attention.
"Hey, your next destination is over there, idiot."
Little Cole pointed over to a house's window that had the word 'Present' scribbled over it in black ink probably from a permanent marker.
"I know, and I'm pretty sure I knew that pointing was in bad manners."
The young Cole shrugged and went on his way, Cole also went on his way and went through the window to his Present.
He might find his answer there.