Chapter Summaries, Review and Insight from the Author.

Most frequent questions and answers

The very first line; “You were born to do great things,” comes off as a quote from his father. In fact it’s actually a quote from the Contrarian at the end of the book. And you may notice that the quote at the beginning is slightly different from the quote at the end of the story, going off of the Mandela Effect, which is used heavily throughout the story. This chapter feels like a dream sequence, similar to all the rest, however the truth is revealed of where and what it is later in the story. This decision was made to express, not only the beginning of our story, but the beginning of life, ending how it began. This chapter expresses Chris’s, and all of our worst dreams after death. Isolation. Nothingness. Trapped in limbo, our souls not whole, proving to ourselves that our individual lives were pointless, and that transfers over to the fearful afterlife and all we do for eternity is chance what we can never have or feel again, a personal hell if you will. Where Chris sees his body before him, it’s to show the form he is in now is beyond his physical form, his body is only the vehicle to exist in this world. The title of the chapter, “Drowning Flame,” represents the, “hope” that comes from light or illumination. Like cutting off the oxygen to a suspended flame. The whole emotion of this chapter is describing the feeling of separation, dying with your other half not filled. The feeling of being incomplete.    

The placing of Adam and Eve in a world developed from evolution. They are placed in a modern setting, no introductions, their both just placed in a room. I wrote this chapter as if it were the beginning of a dream, where it just starts. When Chris and Camilla interact for the first time, it’s as if they are very unsure of themselves, other than their natural instincts. Like using their bodies for the first time, they find their places in this world, where they feel alien. They feel different and separated from the rest, as if they have a unique purpose, but in reality they are just like the rest that fade into the background. The two characters are insignificant. From creation in the book of Genesis, their purpose is unique and special. However in this story, where their purpose is clearly not to be the first creation, their unique story is now irrelevant, their original purpose, along with other origin stories surrounding, are not in play anymore. The music choices here are very personal to me. The songs; ‘Obstacles’ and ‘Spanish Sahara’ were songs I heard from the video game ‘Life is Strange.’ This game really hit home for me, seeing and feeling the connections between the main characters. These songs complemented their friendship and the atmosphere perfectly and I wanted to capture the emotion of those songs to speak more than words for the characters were the lyrics speak for them. It’s almost as if expressing into words of what someone means to you, the words do not exist, or putting our feelings into words, the meaning is left vague and doesn’t mean as much. Sometimes not speaking is just as, if not more, effective than what simple worlds can explain. It’s that unspoken universe between all of us that you can’t see, especially between two people that have that special connection for each other. When they emerge from the pool, described as their baptisms, they create their new world and are reborn into their new world. The universe between lovers, the unspoken world that no one sees, they are living inside of that world. At the end of the chapter, this is the first time Chris mentions quoting his mother. This quote, he thinks comes from his mother in his younger years, but for now Chris’s parents are left unexplained. Chris believes he grew up with childhood memories and experiences. But being created by (The Contrarian) “God,” Chris, along with Camilla had no upbringing. Like a dream, they recall memories but they never happened. Like a dream, you know you just got off a plan, but the dream starts after the plane ride, but you could recall it like it actually happened. The chapter’s name, “The Void,” refers to the void that’s being filled with Chris and Camilla coming together, becoming their whole selves.

Living their rhythmic lives, life continues like all the days before it. The roles of Alex and Nicole are unique. The name Alex, comes from a friend that I had in elementary school. He was my one and only friend but then, he moved away one day. His character really stayed with me all these years and using his name really meant a lot to me. Even though I haven’t seen or spoke with him since, his character was recreated for me in this story, so it’s like he never left. Nicole’s stage name, Luna-Eclipse comes from a girl I met at a club on my 21st birthday. Her character was larger than life and most certainly memorable. Her look was what really caught my eye. She was exactly how Nicole is in the story, from the character down to the hair and tattoos. For the role she plays, she was an easy choice. Alex and Nicole come off as parent figures, being the oldest in their household. Their characters represent metaphorical embodied forms of the temptations of life; alcohol, drugs, and promiscuous behavior. Alex represents the opposite of Chris, the darker side of him, which behaviors are tempting for Chris. Chris confuses Alex for having a father, illustrated in one of Chris’s dream sequences further in the story, his father having the linger of alcohol around his presence. Nicole represents the more promiscuous temptations Chris and Camilla have. Playing the role of the Lilith character, she is the opposite of Camilla’s character. Their jobs circle around their temptations, being a bar tender and a stripper. Camilla’s character not only represents the character of Eve, but of a Mother Nature type figure. Chris describes her in the previous chapter as her eyes being blue and sometimes green. This represents the planet earth consisting of land and water. She works as a florist and as a tutor. This decision was made illustrating Camilla’s true motherly character in natural and helping children. Chris’s job of being a photographer was decided in reference to his character’s imagination, in how he views the world through a different and more meticulous lens, shown in his illustrations later in the story. In describing the school scenes, it kept reminding me of me in school. Being an outcast, ever clique was described exactly how I, and how we all remember them. I never talked to anyone. I always had earbuds in and I observed everyone and everything around me, creating mini stories and scenarios, giving everyone roles to play. When Chris is not with Camilla, the world feels empty and barren, sounds and details are diluted and vague. When he is with her, the atmosphere feels more vibrant and alive. Chris’s mode changes from shy and rebellious to more open and playful. They bring out the good in each other. The band posters on Chris’s ceiling are shout outs to all the bands that inspired my over the years. If you are familiar, Chris constantly keeps referencing song lyrics, quoting them as if they were his own. In the later chapters, Chris illustrates that it’s harder to be someone of your own, which in it of itself is a lyric from the Monkee’s song, ‘Your Auntie Grizelda.’ The chapter name, “Translucent” represents the real world, explaining everyone and everything as they are. Although coming off bitter and cynical, it’s telling it how it is, real with nothing to hide. At the end of this chapter, inspirations from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, quoting Norman Bates. Waking up surrounded by temptations, Chris starts to lean more towards the behaviors of Alex and Nicole. Staring into the mirror, this is Chris’s first interaction with merging reality with the unknown. He feels like he doesn’t have a full grasp on reality, especially without Camilla, and later this conflicts with later decisions. The mention of eyes keep coming up in this and the previous chapter. This was done to keep the reader in suspense, that someone is always watching, making the atmosphere seem ever so unsettling. Something as small as silence can add up to not knowing what is coming next.

This chapter is very important. This illustrates not only Chris and Camilla scrumming to the temptations from their surroundings, but is the creation of man. This sequence is the beginning of man, and this is where the story begins to take a slow burning turn. The use of the movie Donnie Darko, playing in the background, was a clear reference to probably the largest inspiration for this story. Like Donnie scrumming to life’s temptations, Chris goes through the same kind of life hindrances that break the good from the bad. Donnie Darko to me was one of those films that upon first viewing, I had no idea what it was about or what was going on the entire time, but for some reason I loved it. Studying this movie for years I’ve grown to appreciate it’s message and existence, tackling difficult subject matter, such as religious beliefs and time travel, subjects that play a big role in this story. Other slight easter-eggs are references from this film in later chapters.

We are first introduced to the character of Connor. This name comes from a special friend of mine that I first met in middle school. He was and still is my pen pail from Canada. His character has made such an impact in my life, I had to include him in this story. Although pretty much the exact opposite in real life, this character was a blast to play with. This chapter being called “Serpent,” is used in the reference to Chris and Camilla going against the rules, or God, breaking in the school. Connor can be seen was the tempting serpent luring Chris and Camilla into going against God, picking the apple from the tree of knowledge. The whole story represents the life-span of humanity so if we are looking at the plot points so far, man was created and has already gone against God. This is when Chris begins to show increasing signs of suspicious behavior fading in and out, not recalling events that happened prior, their decisions effecting him mentally.

When Chris and Camilla are talking on the swings having a very emotional conversation, we learn of their back stories. Camilla and the reader does not know she was adopted by what she thinks are her real parents. In reality she has no parents, like Chris they both were created by the Contrarian (God). The adoption parents can be seen as representations of how disjoined, not only how the parents are, but how she is from the rest of the world. The parents are metaphorical representations of humanity’s dwindling respect for Mother Nature. She feels betrayed and unappreciated, and her attempting suicide expresses her emptying hope in humanity. When Camilla asks Chris what is his definition of the ultimate happiness and sadness, the monologue that he gives foreshadows the rest of the book. The ultimate happiness is described as what I see what the world could and should be. People from all walks of life, coming together to communicate in the one way we know how, food and music. These two very important things are key to peace among cultures. Every culture has their own take on food and music, and its all the same ingredients and instruments that everyone uses just in a different take. Everyone’s take on food and music aspires from their original cultures, bringing near endless possibilities. How he describes the ultimate sadness foreshadows what is to come. Describing a battlefield, filled with nothing but hate and bloodshed, expresses what the world in reality has become. Pointless and mindless hate and violence. Chris refers this to a dream he keeps having relating to his personal ultimate sadness of separation and isolation. The amount of hate and violence adds up to the title of this chapter, “Nowhere Land.” It seems that no matter where we are, humanity brings hate and violence, and like a battlefield, the aftermath is barren and lost, nothing but the remains to express the result of our selfish desires. Although it maybe a dramatic comparison, the result remains the same, pointless mindsets left unchanged. At the very end Chris tells Camilla that life is like a dream, and if they die in this world, they will always meet in the next, because their love is inseparable. The very last line where Camilla says, “If this love is just a dream don’t wake me up,” this is a lyric from a band called “Bless the fall.” Another band that their songs really hit home for me, and this quote resinated with me, expressing in my eyes, if love is all we have in this world, a dream, then why would you want to wake up from that? If you know once you wake up that all this could be gone, the only world you know which are each other’s, then maybe none of us should wake up. We stay in our own little worlds, and if it makes sense to us personally, then why would you want to wake up? This message really made me think and the usage of this quote comes from a dream that I had. I was in this empty house on the second floor looking over a balcony and this girl with blue hair and blue eyes comes from around the corner and we lock eyes. I stood on the top of the stairs as she came up an escalator. Getting to my level we never broke eye contact, and we just sat in two leather chairs placed in the middle of an empty room. And we just starred at each other. The blue color in her eyes, I could see all the stars in the universe and her pupils were like starring into the infinity of space and seeing all that it holds. She then got up from her chair and walked through a golden liquified portal on the wall. Following her, I then appeared in another part of the house, surrounded by dozens of beautiful women. I searched the crowd of beauty and out of all of them I chose the original girl with the blue eyes. Holding her I knew right then and there that at of all the temptations of the world I chose her, because we had that unspoken connection. It felt so real and when I woke up I never felt so cold and alone. I didn’t want to wake up anymore. I wanted to stay in Nowhere Land. I felt warm and complete there, and this dream alone inspired the creation of this chapter.

This chapter we are introduced to Chris’s passion in life, which is capturing ideas and images that are near impossible to explain, into drawings. The illustration of the nun removing her face revealing a crying face with rosary beads around her neck was an idea I had in describing how religion has masked us for centuries. This concept can also be seen as non-religious, on the outside is a fake mask we wear, but during the process of revealing one’s true self, the process is painful. Seeing that the mask has been on so long, you forget it’s a mask and once free there’s nothing left underneath. The rosary beads around her neck represents religion killing people of their unique characters. Rejecting gifts as disabilities and defects when in reality that’s what makes us all unique and independent. The girl dancing in a graveyard with strings attached to a crows wings to me, at first, was one of my first tattoo concepts. However used in this sense, it could also be seen as an unknown force pulling the strings and in fact we are not in control of our actions, tackling the concept of fate. Or seen through a political lens, the higher ups are controlling the world and everyone in it. Chris and Camilla being creations of the Contrarian, (God) makes you think, what is their purpose? There has to be a reason for their existence. The Christian figures crucifying a humanoid creature, in my eyes, could be seen as if God came down and if he wasn’t what we thought he’d be, we would reject him. Or if taken literal, if extra terrestrial beings came to our planet we would reject them due to our contradicting beliefs. But most importantly, the Contrarian, being an alien, this could be slight foreshadowing. The never ending staircase within Camilla’s hair illustration represents Camilla’s mind, being intertwined, overlapping, contradicting, and never ending. Like our minds, being so complex, the best way to describe it, being so limitless, would be a never ending staircase. The name “Ms. Day,” comes from a teacher I had in high school. She was exactly how she is described in the story. This was done purposefully for the next time she is seen later in the book. Her character represents a hint of innocence in humanity. Conflicting children with adults, the interaction is surprising to Chris. Although not agreeing with the more graphic subject matter, she sees the potential in Chris’s work, looking past the first glance judgment. This is done to represent that we should not judge anyone by their first impression character. Instead try to understand their unique and personal art. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, try to understand their emotion they’ve set out to capture, and why it is so. The bus driver “Carol,” comes from my real elementary school bus driver. I felt the need to use her name because, although her character is exaggerated in the story, I felt she was a part of my life for a large chunk of my childhood, and it’s someone you really don’t think of. Again growing up an outcast, I notice characters like me. Her character represents the inspiring false idols that just recite vague quotes that adults tell kids because they don’t know how to communicate with people younger then them. When Chris gets off the bus, he stands at the bus stop for a moment. This scene was to illustrate how once done with school, your kinda on your own. When school is all you do and all you know, when it’s all over, your left to survive out in the real world, which everyone feels you were mildly prepared for to but it lightly. The title “Dead Memories,” comes from the only life they knew, is now over. The story taking a drastic change, it’s almost as if everything they’ve learned is now irrelevant, like the schooling curriculum.

The sudden drastic turn that things take aspires from 911 or the Columbine shooting which is referenced later in the story. Everyone went to school and work that day and didn’t suspect a thing. I chose the rout of using no suspense because in my eyes, or better yet, in real life, there really isn’t any suspense or build up. Like working into the Twin towers, all of a sudden a plane crashes into the building. Or your at school and it becomes a war zone in an instant. Or something as simple as a car accident. Most don’t even see it coming, it just happens. This whole scene when the military invades, represents how quickly man has become corrupt. From Creation to the first action going against God, war shortly follows. The armed soldiers consist of young men, almost Chris and Camilla’s age. This was purposefully done to illustrate how easy it is to corrupt young minds. In a literal sense, it was done to mimic young kids that are forcefully made into soldiers in foreign lands. Them invading the school represents how the government has control over the schools and their curriculums. Ms. Day is shot and killed. This was done to illustrate any hope in humanity being crushed. The General’s speech is like a riddle. Referencing a “New God.” “Welcome your new God,” refers to a new rule, almost as a dictatorship, like God to his children. This was done to illustrate the control that religion has over rule and law. “The death of will,” references the on going actions of the heretics of the world must come to an end. The heretics being the weak amongst the strong. The ones that do nothing with their lives and work off the system, not contributing to society. But they are mistaking heretics for what appears to be everyone. Chris and Camilla are separated from Alex and Nicole and are not heard from again until referenced later in the story. This was purposefully done because their characters represent the temptations of life, and in the new world their physical characters are irrelevant now. They are not to be seen as real people, but metaphorical representations of the tempting urges of Chris and Camilla. But when the world is now full of corruptness their character’s purposes are fulfilled. Grouping everyone up into smaller groups, this was gone to references how the Nazis separated the jews from the rest of society. When Chris first kills the two young guards, he is shocked in what he has become. Almost out of character, the new world their in forces him to adapt quickly, fight or flight. When Chris and Camilla are in the closet seeing all the kids get shot, Chris merges his black outs with the hellish violence, seeing the people burning on the plane, from the beginning of the story. This confuses Chris because this is the first time seeing visions of the plane. Merging the two he blacks out from the sheer horror that is now reality. The title comes from the title of a song from a band, who’s name is a tad graphic. “Manufactured Extinction,” was such a powerful line that it caught my eye. This illustrates the man made war and violence that we bring on ourselves, resulting in our own extinction. The first reference to the concept of a snake eating it’s tail.

The “Death of Sound” chapter was very personal to me in it illustrates the separation of Chris and Camilla. The dream sequence follows the lyrics to the song “Disgustipated,” by my favorite band of all time, Tool. Their first album, “Undertow,” is referenced heavily throughout the story because of how personal this album is to me. The lyrics are pretty self explanatory, but using it in this scene, illustrates how we treat nature and each other, foreshadowing Nazi type actions that were taken. Camilla dancing with Nicole’s dress of chains was done to illustrate the merging of both their characters. This image refers back to one of Chris’s illustrations of the girl dancing in the cemetery. Chris sees his reflection from a far, walking towards her, as she dances, cutting him in the process. Like a majestic group dancing together, he lifts her up then back down again, noticing that the cuts and stabs are now dressing her instead of him. This was to illustrate the pain Chris will go through in the future, Camilla dying in his arms, surrounded by a pool of blood and chains with white roses floating around them.This is also the first time Camilla refers to Chris as “Adam.” This was done to play with the mind of the reader. Understanding the origin of these characters this should not come as a shock, but confuses Chris. Jumping out of the window, Chris looses his hand and forearm and Camilla in the explosion. He observes the soldiers loading up school buses with the other kids, taking them somewhere. This references the jews being loaded up into trains transporting them to work and death camps. Looking at Camilla she is dressed in cuts and blood like in his dream. Walking down the street, the rain and the whole rest of the world seems to be down pouring on Chris. Stripped of everything with no one around to help. This scene illustrates after school when the corrupt world rips everything from you and you are left with nothing. The title “Death of Sound,” references Camilla, how earlier in the story sound seemed to revolve around her, and when they were not together, Chris’s world felt vague and lacking detail. Now that is his world, forever without her.

“Playing God,” refers to the doctor well, trying to play God. Fixing him with his new arm, Chris, although is taken back by it at first, all he could think about was where she was. Feeling like there’s no reason to live anymore without her, he feels alone and pointless now, and he can’t escape this feeling. The doctor explaining the machine and the surgical procedure, you get a sense of where we are in the futuristic world in regards to technology, elaborating more on the year this story takes place.

The title “Year Zero,” comes from a song by the band “Ghost.” The name perfectly illustrated the beginning of a new era. The new character of Lee, was created as a metaphorical representation of something greater, like Alex and Nicole’s characters. They both are on a bus but don’t knew where they are going surrounded by young soldiers with these devices around their necks. Sounds like something out of a Saw film but this concept was an idea that I had similar to an electric dog collar. The collars themselves represent how humans are like animals, both in physical and a literal sense. Arriving back at the school, this was done to make you feel like you never left school. School being such a huge part of our lives, I wanted to spend as much time there as possible to make the reader feel like their back in school, reflecting on their nostalgic memories because everyone’s is different yet so similar. Entering the school was referred to as, “Entering the Gates,” like entering the gates to hell. The decision of using the schools as training and brainwashing camps was easy. The camps are a direct reference to how the schooling curriculum is corrupt. Brainwashing kids and setting them up to fail in life, teaching them nothing but hatred and violence. I hated school and I always disagreed with the subjects we were taught. Always reading about negative subject matter, and only teaching one way, labeling the differently abled as different and not among the rest, seen as one of the weak, separate from the strong. The way I see it, there are book smart, and street smart kinds of people. I was an excellent student but a bad test taker. Others never even showed up to class, but aced the tests somehow. But the school grading system does care. You are given a number and it’s almost as if you are that number to them. Not as an individual but a number; a statistic, or an average.

Trapped in a locker, this decision was made in reference to the small and cramped housing quarters the jews were in at the work camps. But this also represents how Chris’s mind is growing claustrophobic, the world around him closing in. Having random flashes of his love for Camilla and what’s happening, he feels desensitized by all the sex and violence, his mind delirious. Feeling like theres nothing for him here, he tries his chances with death, when Lee comes back for him. The title “Limbo,” was used to describe where Chris’s mind was at. Not having a place in this world, he knows this now. Fainting in Lee’s arms, Chris has a dream to which his mother comes to him. She then transforms to Camilla. And Alex and his father are standing behind her. This illustrates Camilla and Alex as the motherly and fatherly figures, that Chris confuses for having real parents. Joining Lee in trying to figure out what is happening, Chris is handed a shirt that reads, as above so below. This is in reference to, not only the concept of as above so below, but of God and his creation being one of the same. “Witnessing Wings,” refers back to a line Chris said at the beginning of the story, where he described being dragged out of hell, hoping it would be by the hands of an angel. And the “Stairway to heaven,” line is a clear reference to “Led Zeppelin.”

This chapter was very powerful, almost hard to write. This whole scene expresses in it’s purest form, the hate we bring to our own kind. This scene was devised imaging it happening on the roof of my real high school, it’s layout over looking the football field. “Fake Gods,” was used to illustrate what the higher ups feel like compared to the less fortunate. Not only literally higher than them, but the ones pulling the trigger, calling the shots. When the general says, “We are one step closer to rebirth,” this illustrates the world being purged of it’s heretics. But like God, their minds are clouded by their egotistical selfish ways, so they don’t differentiate the heretics from the innocent. “From God to ash, from dust to man,” is a lyric from the band “Behemoth.” I thought this line was just so powerful and it describes perfectly what man has come from, God’s creation a direct reflection of himself. Lee’s character is a metaphorical representation of humanities struggles with slavery and homosexuality. People of color have witnessed great heart ache of humanity’s short lifespan. Same with people that have different sexual preferences. Any culture other than the, what would be considered, the “norm,” have experienced true hatred, judged only by the color of their skin or sexual preferences, things they can’t change. After questioning their faith in God, Chris looks at the flag pole with the dead bodies circling it and blood surrounding them. He compares this visual to God, in how symbols are worshiped. But in their devotion, it brings nothing but hate and violence, comparing it to the cross that Jesus was crucified on.This illustration is a large part of the back cover concept art. This was to show Adam and Eve’s perspective of seeing God through a portal, and later you see the Contrarian’s (God’s) perspective of looking into the portal, illustrated by the front cover art. The idea of  God being seen as a flag comes from the inspiration of the book, “Night,” by Elie Wiesel. I read this book in school and this one scene stuck with me all these years. A jew had been hung and all the other jews were instructed to line up and walk passed the hanging man. He was used as an example of what harsh punishment awaits those who disobey orders. Upon walking passed the hanging man, Elie over heard a man on the line say something to the effect of, “Where is God in this world?” And another man says, paraphrasing, “Where is God? He’s right there hanging right before you.” This moment in the book hit me in such a way that not only made Elie question his faith in God, but myself as well.

The numbers 011235813 is the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence can be seen in a lot of things, faces, hands, flowers and nature, it is the flow of everything. This foreshadows Chris becoming one with nature. The encounter with Camilla on the roof, this concept comes from Camilla’s never ending grasp on Chris. The countless hands on her back symbolize not only the constant thought of her on Chris’s mind, but of the child they never had. The bodies standing behind her are that of Chris’s parents. Walking off the roof, Alex and Camilla’s bodies float to the sky, further illustrating the confusion Chris had between the two. The title “The cries in the dark,” comes from the ideas and voices in Chris’s head.

The numbers on Lee’s arm are a direct reference to Donnie Darko once again. The numbers on Donnie’s arm; 28064212 represents when the world will essentially end. This comes into place later in the story, where Lee must be at a specific place at a specific time to change the world. The title “Number,” represents the tattoos the jews were given in the Holocaust. The jews were given a number and their names were forgotten. Like the schooling system and through the political eye you are nothing but a number. Chris has the vision of his father,  digging his fingers into his arm, writing the numbers down on the page. When the father says, “You will become these numbers,” this illustrates how we all are just numbers, but Chris’s number, being the Fibonacci sequence, this is foreshadowing of what is to become of Chris. Chris holding a gun to his father’s head, now Alex’s head, illustrates the guilt Chris feels about leaving his family behind. His father transforming to Alex was done to further illustrate the confusion of how Chris remembers his parents, confusing them with Alex and Camilla. Throughout the story, characters keep asking each other, dead or not, “Where are they?” This reoccurring question is Chris’s constant struggle with not only trying to find the meaning or reason for things, but the on going struggle to find his family again. And merging both realities, Chris doesn’t know where they are, but his drive to find out pushes him, making the visions more vivid and elaborate. When the dead ask Chris this question, it’s almost as if they are lost without him in the afterlife, forever searching for him. They feel incomplete on their end as much as Chris is on his end.

When Chris is describing the afterlife, he refers to it as our own personal paradises. Where the afterlife lies, it’s explained as being where the sun rises and sets. The haze just before it’s gone, you could almost see it. This concept was created through an idea a very special friend had. Death should be our on personal paradise, and upon death, you experience your happiest memory at that very moment. Something as beautiful as a sunset. This is elaborated later in the story. The “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” line is a direct reference to what words are engraved on the gates of hell. The scene of the auditorium filled with young recruits being brain washed illustrates how, not only are the schools brainwashing it’s youth, but the media as well. Like a time-laps of an international news station. When Chris says, “We are not the lost cause, we are the paradise lost, we are the messiah.” He’s explaining that humans are not the ones that, if we changed our ways, we would of been better off. We think of what could of been, but humanity is not even worth that, because we would return to our human nature which is flawed and selfish. We are the paradise lost, is described in the literal sense, where humanity should be perfect, haven been created by a perfect being, but like death and separation, that dream is lost, and paradise will always be separate from humanity. We are the messiah, explains we are one with our creature, flawed and not the result of a superior being, that humanity is the leading cause of it’s own downfall. “One with the ghosts,” refers to the brainwashed recruits, having no light in there eyes, almost dead. Having nothing left, like ghosts.

When Chris notices the art on one of the bridges on the highway that says, “Hope,” this is actually a really art peace on the 495 high way on Long Island. The decision to use the real town of “King’s Park,” was done purposefully. This town is known for it’s more well known abandoned psychiatric center that closed down on my birth-year, 1996. This town was used purposefully in reference to the psych center, comparing it to the world. The center closed due to overpopulation. Around this time, technology and medicine was becoming advanced and with nowhere to put the increasing patients, they gave them their medication and set them free, the center closing shortly after. I relate King’s Park to Long Island, and Long Island to the world. Over population is one of the main struggles we face as a nation. And making this comparison, the world eventually becomes over run, and with nowhere to put them all, the planet can not sustain itself. When Chris and Lee are aiming at the helpless family, Chris sees the reflection of himself and the wife, now Camilla. This was done to illustrate Chris’s struggle with seeing a young family that he never had, and furthermore seeing a young child amongst them. This hits Chris, because when Camilla was killed she was pregnant, and this symbolizes the life that was taken away from him, never getting the chance to be a father. Seeing the child grow up knowing only of war, the child’s purity and innocents are stripped away just like everything else. “Among the house of slaughter,” expresses witnessing first hand what humans are capable of doing to each other, no matter who it is. The killing of the dog, which is elaborated in the next chapter, illustrates the mindless and pointless violence humans bring to animals. Like being in a slaughter house. Relating it to a zoo like environment, animals are viewed as less or lower than humans, trapped or slaughtered against their own will for false human gains. Animals are seen as well, “Animals,” in fact we are more like “animals” viewing them as such, while animals are more human than we are. The address in the story is referred to as just Nevada. This is not directly admitting it is Area-51, but it leaves the reader wondering how expansive this is and what could possibly be in Nevada?

The name “Tommy,” comes from my father’s name. Tommy’s journal is actually a real journal that my most favorite teacher gave me the day of my high school graduation. I used and still use this journal to work ideas, poetry, and concepts. “Fathering the deceased,” is in reference to Tommy coming off as the child Chris never had.When Lee brings up the idea of a plane, Chris has this thought, completely switching reality with a dream. Remembering the vision from the school, he links the connection between him and the visions. Like the beginning of a dream, you know you just got off a plane, or you know what’s going to happen and the dream plays out like you pictured. When Chris says he feels “Demi,” he is referring to making a decision only a higher authority could make. Having the power to make this decision, the result would favor a greater cause, knowing he’s going to die. A decision a human or god of any kind, if given the same scenario, would never make the same choice.

The dream sequence of Chris being alone on the empty bus, the dog heads on the steaks further exemplify the cruelty towards animals. But this can also be seen as brainwashed and controlled minds of children on a bus heading to further dilute their minds at schools, training them like dogs, to obey. Shortly after they all take off in the plane, Chris and Lee witness first hand how extensive this pandemic is. Chris sees it as a battlefield, his ultimate sadness coming true. The title, “Mirror of flames,” comes from the heart to heart moment that Chris and Lee have.

“Playing hide and seek in waterfalls,” further expands on paradise after death, experiencing your happiest memory. Chris and Camilla stand as ghostly figures behind Lee, trying to revive Chris after they were shot down in the plane crash. Landing inside Area-51,Chris died in the crash, picking up from the scene at the very beginning of the story.

The point of view changes to Lee’s first person perspective. Learning that humans were taking orders from a higher being, we were not fully aware of the whole plan ourselves. The concept of the Contrarian, (God) comes from the inspiration of a lot of things. Predator, Signs, the Prometheans from Prometheus. I wanted a humanoid figure representing the human counterpart, illustrating that God is one with man. The cloaking ability of the predator was to be as it’s skin, but when wounded, the skin turns to a solid skin like texture, having a deep reflection, that of a mirror. The blue glowing and pulsating blood comes from the Predator’s blood concept which was inspired by deep ocean creatures that bled a pulsating color blood. The creature standing at 8 feet tall is a direct example of God standing over man. Speaking with the Contrarian, he explains the reasoning for his plan of annihilation of the human race. The Contrarian civilization live in the deepest parts of our planet, the unexplored oceans. Finding the cure for cancer and all diseases in our oceans, they brought the core to us in the year 2000. The years 2000 and 2025 was used in reference to the holy doors of the Vatican in Italy. Leaving the cure with our prophets, the Contrarians came back in the year 2025, when the story takes place. Seeing that the prophets of humanity have hid it away from the public eye in favor of profit instead, we became the cancer that we are out to cure. When Lee makes the decision to revive Chris, sacrificing himself, he sees a hand with an eye emerging from it’s palm. This idea came from a dream I had, where I knew I had to sacrifice myself to save my family. And being placed in a machine, I experienced G-Forces, then, the feeling of weightlessness. A hand with an eye in it’s palm emerged from the glare. The Hamsa hand. This concept was used because Lee never experienced the happiest moment in his life yet. And this dream feeling so real and so powerful I wanted to include it. The numbers on Lee’s arm come into play here. Like Donnie Darko, he has to be at a specific place at a specific time, sacrificing himself, creating another time line, preventing the end of the world. “Reflection,” represents the connection between Chris and Lee. Seeing that they are not so different, it’s like looking into a mirror.

Chris’s first feeling of being resurrected is disappointment. Frustrated in being restricted and limited to only this dimension, reversing his true form. The whole reasoning of Chris loosing his arm was for this scene where the fingers of Chris and the Contrarian touch, directly representing Michaelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” forming him from clay, turning his machine hand, from mans doing, to skin again. Going with the name of the Contrarian comes from the direct definition. The Contrarian explains that we come from a world built from evolution and there is no God. Humanity has been annihilated and Chris is the only human left. The universe being infinitely large and ever expanding, the universe consists of countless dimensions and possibilities. Being so big, the Contrarian has only knowledge of two dimensions with human life. Ours, a world built from evolution and a dimension where God is real and the creation of Adam and Eve is true. Seeing any chance Chris has of being with Camilla again, he enters the portal transporting him to the other dimension. “Falling the rabbit down the rabbit hole,” is clearly a reference to Alice in Wonderland, following her curiosities.

The title “Covenant,” comes from it’s direct definition, an agreement he has with the Contrarian, (God). When Chris wakes up on the beach, this is where he sees nature and life being created before him, sea life in the sands, green grass laying out before him stretching in the distance, and the birds in the clouds. When Chris finds Camilla, he refers to her as Eve, just like how Camilla referred to Chris as Adam near the middle of the story, illustrating his dream of an ultimate happiness has come true. When Camilla notices the portal in the sky, this a direct reference to the back cover design. As if the Contrarian, (God) is looking at them through the portal, they see the flag with bodies around it, expressed by how Chris envisions God. Viewing nature in it’s purest form, witnessing true beauty, Chris understands that if humanity were to continue here, another one of our world would be created. And knowing that all dimensions that contain humanity result in the same way, he makes the decision to sacrifice himself to save humanity from itself. Chris is frustrated by this in that in order to save humanity, humanity must never have a chance in being created in the first place. Saving everyone else, Chris has to make this sacrifice, favoring everyone else. But making this decision, Chris knows that once this decision is made, Him and Camilla can finally be together in paradise. Chris and Camilla stand on the edge of a waterfall, over looking the sunset, like back with Lee on the roof. Chris sees the spirit of Lee standing behind them as they both jump, Lee’s spirit vanishing behind them. Chris’s description of death is becoming their true forms. Not restricted to their bodies anymore, they become the reflection of the waterfall, playing together forever. The choice to put songs at the end of the story, in my mind, perfectly summarizes the story, the songs being very personal to me. Like the ending of a movie, as the credits role.