He stood at the edge of the world, looking into the unfathomable darkness beyond. The wind was picking up, making his robes flap around wildly, but he was completely oblivious to it. The darkness had his undivided attention.

He knew what he was contemplating would be considered unimaginable, because the people of his world had always known only two options. They never knew to think beyond them. Everyone who was born in that world either wore the red robes, or the black. They were never given any choice beyond that. Both the colours represented the two sects of the population-red for the believers and black for the questioners. You could, of course, switch over from one colour to the other if you found that that is what suited your disposition (there were very few who did so, because such people were looked at with mistrust. After all, if you could so readily change your colours, how could you be trustworthy?). But there never was a different colour or sect, and people had never questioned it. Ironically, the supposed questioners who always questioned and criticised every decision made by the believers, failed to question the fact as to why there were only two ways of living in their world.


But he was different. He had asked. He had wondered.

He had initially been a believer, loving his red robes and revelling in the fact that he got to be among the ones who made the decisions. But slowly, the constant criticism from the questioners and the superiority complex of his fellow believers had gotten to him. He had decided to take the black. But he never knew relief there, too. He found the questioners mired in hate for the believers. Their driving force was their jealousy and loathing, not a genuine concern for the effectiveness of the policies brought forth. He found this distressing. He had always believed that the underlying principle for the sects of the population was welfare at large, but that belief had developed cracks when he found the disregard believers had for welfare of the people and the selfish way they took decisions to benefit themselves. It was wholly shattered when he found that the questioners were blinded by their detestation, never letting any policies pass at the designated time. He had tried to talk to them, make them understand that they needed to think clearly for the good of the world, but he had been spurned. After all, he was a turn cloak, and could not be trusted.

That is when he started questioning it all. Could there be another way?  he had asked himself.

What if there was a different way to do it all? Could it be done so, so that another sect of people existed to actually make the believers and questioners do their work properly? He had tried to work on it, but failed. Nobody took him seriously. This is how things have always been, they said, this is how our world is.

Sick at heart and frustrated by the constant belligerence of the sects, he had walked and walked, only stopping when he reached the edge. No one usually dared to walk to the edge of the world. They feared the darkness. They feared the uncertainty.

But today, he stood there, wondering what was beyond. What was hidden by that darkness? As he stood thinking these things, Nature had decided it didn’t like his train of thoughts. The wind had suddenly developed a life of its own, screaming and howling like a banshee. Lightning forked the sky, and thunder rumbled like an angry god.

But it was not enough to get him to walk away. A decision slowly took form in his head, becoming an iron resolution. He knew what he had to do. He did not belong there, with his questions and doubts. He needed to find someplace new. He needed to leave.

He took one last look at his world, and the storm that was gathering. He somehow knew the storm would not abate easily. It was going to bring in something new, something unknown. But he wasn’t going to wait for it. He needed to go. He did not know what was beyond, but he was willing to wander into the uncertain.

With that, he walked off beyond the edge, the darkness swallowing him completely. There was no sign of his presence left, except a black robe lying on the ground. The wind picked it up and swirled it around for some time, and then that, too, was lost.



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