Alone. The first directive in my mind's program reads: "Never Forget, You Are Alone." I look around, I talk to people, sometimes I even feel that they might be my friends. The problem is, no one would want to stay with me for long. On first glance, I'm a cool enough guy, witty and classy, always willing to give what I can.

But after a while, people realize that I don't have that much to give. My only real talent seems to be in adapting to things. Even then, I only adapt. Anyone can run faster, hit harder, or do a better job at something than I can. I'm just dead weight to most people after a while, and they know it too. That's about the time that I end up deciding to leave.

I know that I can't run forever, that sooner or later I'll have to find a way to survive where I am, when I am. But as long as there's no one that I really care about, and no one who really cares about me, there's no reason to hang onto what might have been. Things were pretty bad for me when I finally decided to run last. For a time, I almost felt that my journey, my odyssey, was finally over. I really should've known better.

Wandering into Mineral Town again was barely registering on my mind. I'd visited a few times as a kid, but it'd been a long time ago. I had no life here, and no one really knew me in this area. Well, not since my grandpa died a couple of years back, anyway. Even when I heard about that, I couldn't seem to care. The old man was the one person I'd really been close to, and I still couldn't feel anything about him dying. All I knew now was that I had a job to do here.

And, I hoped that maybe I could find some solace in my heart. This town, this farm, they were the only ties I had to better times now. I'd lost touch with my family, and I had no real friends. My school life had been a horrible war against the administration. They hated disruption, and I represented it. The other kids were told to stay away from me, and I just learned to keep to myself, and try not to feel anything.

Of course, now that I had nothing to feel about, the only thing I found I really wanted was to feel. Once in my life, just once, I want to feel. To truly feel the endless joy I know exists in our world. To love, as I know I can, and not pay for it. To care without the constant fear of some horrible cosmic vengeance against even hoping that I was allowed to. "Never forget, Magnus. You are alone." Those words haunt me, with a horrible dread that they may yet be true.

I've never spoken them. No one's ever said anything like it out loud to me. But the actions people have taken, the words they have said(or worse, didn't say), implied that that was what my future. Magnus Smythe, lifelong loner, drifter, and loser. Even now, just because I can't simply do everything, get along with everyone, and always be Mr. Perfect, in public or in private, I always feel like I'm being branded an outcast.

As I walked into the ruins of my grandpa's old farm, I felt that weigh on my soul more than usual. The field was overgrown with weeds, rocks, and dead wood. The outbuildings were dilapidated, a prayer the only thing holding them up. The house was alright, but the screen door was falling off the hinges, the paint was peeling, and the downstairs windows were broken. This land was as dead as the man who once ran it, and walking around it made you feel like a ghost.

I sat on the steps and considered my future. Well, I could go home. My parents would always take me back in, and they probably hadn't moved. There were about a dozen places I could go that wouldn't run me out of town on a rail, melodrama aside. The only problem was, all those places were part of my past. Any one of them would be a step backwards, and I didn't want to go that way. Not while I had a future to look to, at least. A way to at least try moving forwards.

I looked at the run down farm more carefully, with eyes that saw more than simply what was there. I saw a field of grass stretching to the edge of the horizon. Cows and sheep grazing in the springtime air, finally out of the barn after a long winter. The barn and chicken coop were fully repaired, and the size of both increased. I saw crops growing on the other side of the pasture land, promising to feed the world, or at least as much of it as they could reach. I turned around and saw a farmhouse properly fixed up, a large, comfortable place a man could call home.

And, for a few seconds, I let myself visualize not being alone in that home. A wife, a couple of kids, a few pets wandering around... I shook my head, bringing myself back to what was.

It's a future worth hoping for, I thought to myself. Might as well get started.