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A Delicate Machine
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"Yeah. Art's pretty much the only way to really live forever, but I don't think I ever expected to get to that level of success? It's more like the principle of the thing. Like, when a couple carves their names into a tree or something, just to shout to the world, 'We were here! We existed!' Even if no one listens or cares at first, and even when anybody who could have recognized their names is gone, it's still there, y'know? Years down the line, someone might stop for a minute, and look, and wonder about who those people used to be. I mean, looking at life moment-to-moment, I make art because it's what I love to do, but the whole permanence thing still plays a part, I think? Argh, I'm rambling, sorry," Cass finished, blushing at the realization that they had monopolized the conversation.

Impending death was one hell of a social lubricant. Cass didn't usually talk this much even around people they actually knew and were comfortable with. Maybe those words had been boiling inside them for so long that, now that Cass's life had a clear end date, they had to use the first chance they had to speak, leave nothing unsaid? It was what they truly believed, after all. Art's something that can transcend millenia, something that can be admired and analyzed long after its creator has passed. When you view something old, maybe you'll feel the same feelings as the long-dead people who first saw it and argued over purpose and meaning. Maybe you'll feel something entirely new, with your life experience that is so, so far removed from the artist's or author's. Both outcomes are beautiful.

Cass knew that they would never produce a Gilgamesh, or even something akin to the subject of Ozymandias. They just weren't special enough, didn't have the drive or spark needed to live forever. All they could ever have hoped for was for even one other human being to look at their art, years down the line, and think. Maybe feel something new or even just look at the world for a slightly different way for a few minutes. It'd be an impact, however small, and it'd prove that Cass existed, that even when they were gone that their ideas and creations would not die with them, they would stay in the world for as long as there was a safe, dusty corner for them to call a home, waiting to be seen again and live. When Cass felt empty, when nothingness filled them to the brim and they felt that they didn't matter, that they barely even existed, it helped to look at their old paintings. Look at what they had birthed unto the world with countless hours of thought and concentration, wrought a living image where before there had only been blank canvas. If they hadn't stopped existing, it had to mean that Cass was real, too.

They supposed that the art they had posted online would get an increase in viewers, after the news broke out. Cass hated the idea. It wouldn't be due to any merit their art had, or any genuine admiration. All it meant was that they had died in a highly-publicized way. It wouldn't be deserved, it wouldn't be earned.

Dwelling on a future none of them would live to see could only do Cass harm, they knew. All they needed was to live in the present, to wait for Trav's response and to just continue talking as if they'd never need to stop.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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Five Finger Death Punch · The Rooftop