This story's theme is Right to the Ways and the Rules of the World by Ween.
The ocean seemed to rise a little bit higher each year. Roshi stood on the sand of his island, and watched the inexorable tide wash up on his shore time after time. Lately Roshi had been wondering if the tide would ever stop, or if it would just plod on, year after year, unchecked.
For a brief moment, Roshi thought that he saw the reflection of the moon out in the waves, but he knew that it was only an illusion, a relic of times long since past. A storm was brewing that night, evidenced by the heavy rain and powerful gusts of wind. Roshi stood out there in the rain and let it pelt his skin, but it did not bother him.
Roshi clenched his fists together. The smile typically found on his face was nowhere to be seen, and his good-hearted demeanor was notably absent as well. A certain brand of stoicism besmirched Roshi that night, as he struggled to deal with what had happened just a few hours earlier.
Turtle had died.
Roshi had fully known it was coming. Turtle had been dreadfully sick for the weeks leading up to then, and Roshi was aware that the old turtle was simply too old to live through another illness. His passing was not particularly painful or distressed, either; he had died peacefully, in a graceful transition from one dimension to the next. Roshi had experienced a thousand deaths far more traumatizing than Turtle’s, and, thus, he knew not why he was so sad.
But Turtle’s death penetrated Roshi’s psyche. The thought of it chased him around no matter how hard he tried to escape it, following him like a predator hungry for prey. It threatened to devour him and overcome him, and that scared Roshi.
Suddenly, all at once, Roshi was overwhelmed by these thoughts. Tears began to pour from his eyes, blending in with the rain that fell from the skies. They were washed off of his face in seconds, but he tried to wipe off his face regardless. He fell to his knees and yelled out over the ocean, clutching his face in his hands and rubbing his eyes. The tide brushed against his knees but he didn’t move at all.
He didn’t want anyone to see him like this, but he knew nobody was going to. Not a soul had visited the island in several decades, and Turtle had been the only respite he had from a life of complete seclusion. Now that respite was gone.
Roshi pulled up clumps of sand from the ground and threw them out into the ocean, watching them sink into the water and disappear. There was something therapeutic about this, and Roshi repeated the action countless times. Roshi was suddenly angry, angry at everything around him, including the sand.
Soon Roshi tired of throwing sand and returned to his feet, stomping around. He came up to one of his trees and punched it, breaking it in half almost on impact. Splinters stuck out from the tree and it careened downward, crashing into the ocean below it.
Roshi then stopped and took several deep, heavy breaths, his chest heaving back and forth as he stood still. He watched as the water rippled out from the island, the rain continuing to patter against the sea. He was sick of it all. He was sick of the island, the house, the terrible weather, and, more than anything else, he was sick of himself.
Roshi migrated back into his house. He went into his kitchen and scoured around it, searching for something to drink. He soon found an old flask of whiskey in one of his cabinets and pulled it out. He unscrewed the cap and took one large swallow of it. He had always hated the taste of whiskey, as it burnt his mouth and often made him gag, but he didn’t care anymore. He grimaced after the first swallow and quickly took another gulp before slamming the flask down on the counter.
He glanced around the house, looking at all the furniture he had accumulated across the years. He went into his living room and scanned it. He saw a collection of tapes, filled with countless recording of women performing yoga and various other dance routines. He had gotten them as part of a subscription, from a series that was cancelled many ages prior.
He had always loved those tapes, holding onto them for innumerable years. They were not, however, indestructible, and they had begun to stop working one by one many decades earlier. Just a week ago, the last tape had stopped working, leaving Roshi with nothing to watch.
Roshi went over to the collection and dumped them out on the ground. Furiously, he smashed them under his feet, each successive stomp creating a thousand more pieces of debris, the particles spreading out over the floor. He needed nothing more to do with them. They were trash, junk, worthless to him.
Roshi kicked the final tape away from him, letting it crash into the wall and shatter. He gazed over the mess he had made and felt disgusted with himself, so he decided to leave the room. As he made his way back to the kitchen, he bumped into one of his tables and a single picture frame fell onto the ground.
Roshi stopped, stooping over to pick it up. It had cracked upon hitting the ground and several small shards of glass were left on the ground, but he didn’t care. He saw the picture and examined it for the first time in many years. It was a small photo of him with Krillin and Goku, back long before either of them were martial arts champions or saviors of the universe. Roshi was momentarily ashamed of himself, for he realized that he could hardly recall what Krillin had looked like.
He set it back on the table gently, and began to stroll past the remainder of his photos. They brought back to him fond memories of people that he used to know. There were pictures of Bulma, Oolong, Launch, Gohan, Ox-King. They were long-gone by then, snatched away by the passage of time. Like sand in the hourglass, they had disappeared one by one, their memories fading alongside them as Roshi continued living out his days.
He remembered back to when King Piccolo had attacked the Earth for the first time. Even to that day, he sometimes wondered how he had survived. Everyone around him had perished at the hands of Piccolo, all of his training partners and virtually everyone he knew. He felt sudden pangs of fear as he remembered that time.
He recalled the unshakable sense of fear that permeated the air around him, and he remembered how he had heard his best friend yell as he hid in a nearby room. He felt so much guilt and he still felt so helpless to do anything about it. The moans and the screams of his friend had been too much for him to handle, but he hid nonetheless. That was how Roshi felt now. He felt hopeless and helpless, unable to avoid the truth about his life.
Everyone he had ever called friend was now dead. He was all alone.
He cursed the Immortality Phoenix that had given him the ability to live for so long. If he could have changed the past, he would have done so without hesitation. He knew that there was only one option left.
He found his way back into the kitchen and scoured through his pantry and various cabinets. He located his objective soon enough, pulling a small vial full of pink liquid out of a faraway cabinet. It swayed back and forth in the vial, taunting him and calling to him simultaneously. He took the cap off and inhaled the aroma that radiated from the container. It was sickeningly sweet and he hated it. It made him gag a little bit, knowing what he was about to do. His eyes watered and he tilted the bottle backward, allowing the liquid to seep into his mouth and creep down his throat. He had just swallowed a suicide elixir.
This was the first time in recent memory that Roshi had felt legitimately scared. He knew what was coming next, as he had died twice before, but he knew that he wouldn’t be coming back this time. He only hoped that King Yemma would choose to send him to heaven.
Questions inundated his mind as he wondered why he had waited so long to do this. Part of it was for Turtle. He had decided resolutely that he would at least wait until Turtle died before killing himself, but Turtle wasn’t the only reason. He had also felt a need to play guardian of the Earth, to be there to counter any new threat that would approach the planet. He knew, though, that this was not necessary. There were numerous people out there more qualified than him to save the planet in a time of need. He was just too old to be the guardian anymore.
Roshi’s mind flashed back once more to when King Piccolo attacked his temple. He had crouched in an empty room by himself and hoped that King Piccolo wouldn’t come in. All he could do then was pray and wish that day was not the day that he died. That was the only time in his life that Roshi had felt truly powerless, up until that night.
He clenched his fists together once more and squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the elixir to take effect. Death was inevitable now. He was totally and completely helpless. Tears flowed from his eyes, and he wondered what it had all been for. Perhaps it was all meaningless.
A part of Roshi was happy, though. He had made a difference in the history of Earth. He had trained Goku and Krillin, two of the greatest warriors and heroes to ever grace the planet. He had left his mark, and now it was time for him to go.
Roshi wished that it didn’t have to end this way. He wished that he could die of old age, like so many other people he had known, so that he didn’t have to put himself through this. He walked back outside of his house, as great pain seized him and took hold of him.
The salty aroma of the outside world infested his senses as the rain began slamming against him again. He marched on, out to the coastline of his island, and faced the ocean. A great pressure gripped him around the chest and he began to have trouble breathing, gasping for air and struggling to remain upright.
He started to hallucinate then, and he saw the moon once again in the sky, brighter and bolder than ever before. Faces of his old friends flashed through the sky, and he hoped that he would be joining them soon enough.
He had lived for much too long and he had experienced far too much. He was but a mere mortal, unsuited for immortality. This was his time.
Roshi fell into the water then and slowly lost consciousness. He was washed away by the tide and forgotten, lost in the annals of time.
- This story is exactly 1,888 words long.
- This story takes place long after the events of Dragon Ball Z.
|That Magic Feeling|
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