Life comes in labels. Not just the people you see around you, the creatures and the plants in the forests you take for granted, but also in the thoughts you have in your head. You don't classify them because they never leave your head. But some people classify them. The Real thoughts, they are based in reality, the closest you get to true. The Surreal are like the Real, only altered, made vague and twisted. The Unreal are straight from imagination, imagined realities.
"See, you look into our sky, and there ain’t no stars; there’s just our big old Darkstar, Eta Aristillus, wobbling around the sky. We’ve got moons, and other planets, but everything else is just endless darkness. We’ve all heard the stories of the past though, tales passed down by those Exohumans who can still remember, or so they say. See, before all of this, before the Atrocity, before the Rapture even, when the Exohumans lived in open space; Ah, their sky was filled with a million million stars, more than you can count in a single night! They speak of old constellations followed in the night sky, watching over them like AORTA watches over us.
"Well, it was years ago now, so long even I can’t remember; I was but a nip, knee-high to my father, NOAH rest his soul. An Exohuman wondered into our sleepy little town, first I’d ever seen, first my dad had ever seen. He called himself Danial. He was ancient, in any case, but his memory was worse than any I’ve encountered; even the worst of those I’ve seen since could remember snippets or fragments. He couldn’t remember anything since the Rapture. And he couldn’t hold onto memories, either; he’d introduce himself, day after day, to everybody he met, never understanding why people were so annoyed.
"That’s why I befriended him, I think. Everyone else got so annoyed with him, and it made him so sad. I think that’s why he left, in the end. But I was always his friend, even if he didn’t remember. Everyday we’d talk, and he’d tell me stories.
"See, his memory was flawed, but only since the Rapture. He could remember almost everything before then. Every day, when things would quieten down and the sun would set, he’d look into the night sky, shocked that there were no stars. And he’d tell me a story.
"The planet was beautiful, he’d say, especially at night. He’d hold his sweetheart in his arms and watch the Moon rise into the sky, dancing through a million glittering stars. Light shone from every direction, and although it was night, it was never dark. He remembered the first ships leaving the planet, their huge engines leaving clouds of smoke towering into the sky. He remembered the construction of the original Ark Genesis ships, long before NOAH was even a dream. He even remembered the creation of nanomachines.
"No one believed him. They say Exohumans lived forever, they would never die a natural death, but that most chose to end their existence after so long, to enter into Eshenshazarr, the final sleep. But every night, he’d tell those stories. And every night, he’d ask what became of that lonely little planet, a single spark of life in an otherwise empty void. We all knew the tales, the stories about the beginning of the Rapture. We all could tell you how the Earth-that-was became engulfed in the Unreal. And every night he would cry and howl and scream. Every night.
"That was not the pain of someone who didn’t remember."