WRUP: The walker of the holidays edition


It’s late at night when you hear the sound outside your window, and you stir. You couldn’t tell someone why if they asked. Realistically, you are far too old to pretend you still believe in some kindly old elf delivering presents, but there’s a noise outside, in the quiet hours when you know no one else is awake and you shouldn’t be either. Still, you drag yourself up from the bed and move toward the window.

Outside of your window, you see her.

She towers above the ground that is washed in moonlight, and your heart skips a beat immediately because you know at this moment you are seeing something humans are not meant to see. The very primal part of your existence that still thinks of things in terms of predators and prey seizes up, and you instinctively feel yourself starting to recoil. But even as you do so, you feel a sense of calm meet you. This creature is not your enemy. It has no designs upon you.

What must be her head tilts toward you ever so slightly, and you realize she is aware of you just as you are aware of her. And then she begins to move.

It’s unclear how she’s moving at first. Part of you wonders how you’re even seeing her, whether or not you’re being delusional and having some kind of lucid dream. But it doesn’t matter. At first you’re unclear of why she’s moving, why her limbs gyrate as they do. You couldn’t even tell yourself how you know that she’s a “she” in the first place; you just do. And you watch her move.

Her limbs, impossibly long and jointed oddly, rise and twirl and descend. It’s a dance. She’s dancing. And as she dances, you feel something penetrate deep within your mind. You can feel yourself becoming separate from your body as her dance sends you cascading back and forth through your life.

With one twirl, she sends your consciousness crashing against the most painful memory of your childhood. Another twirl and you’re sitting in the moment of your first kiss. She spins, and you feel the ground pitch out beneath you as you lose a job for the first time, then another twirl, and you’re being praised for your greatest accomplishment.

In your eyes, overlaid with your visions of your past and future, you can see her moving ever faster. The moments of your life hammer back and forth, one moment young and hopeful, the next old and wizened. A moment you now know to be not more than one week before you die, having a beloved food for the last time without knowing it will be the last time. Then seeing your loved ones for the last time. Yawning back and forth over a chasm of time.

And you realize you’re crying. With sadness, yes, but also with love and joy and fear and every emotion. All of your life, every high and low, shown before you with such perfect clarity that all you can have left to feel is peace. You know how little remains before you, how much lies behind you, and how pointless it all was – yet in that same moment you see how universal that pointlessness is. Silver strands of life, coursing through and struggling, praying and hoping, each one pinned upon an existence that echoes back and forth in time.

It’s the greatest gift you could ask for, the greatest you could ever hope for. A moment, just a second of clarity. A pain sublime, a moment to thank existence for the brief time you got to experience it. You stare at her as she dances, weeping, laughing and sobbing, loving her in that moment more than you’ve ever loved yourself in your whole life.

Bonus question: What are you hoping to get for this year’s winter holiday? Unrealistic abstract concepts are acceptable answers.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Exercise games and hopefully some time with Pokemon Violet’s Indigo Disk DLC, but the dog I’m taking care of is asking for lots of attention, especially for offline games.

For the bonus, Santa, give me extra time this year. I need it!

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Like a lot of y’all, I’m super busy this weekend and week cleaning and playing hostess, but I obviously want to get back to Project Gorgon!

I already know what I’m getting for Christmas because I bought it myself: I got some indie perfumes and the mats to make a Lord of the Rings-themed wreath that I’ve wanted to do forever. (I finished it last night, and it’s cute too!) I’m also gonna blow some money on piddly Steam games, but I still gotta fix up my cart!

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): With level 90 achieved on my Summoner, my next class leveling journey in Final Fantasy XIV awaits. Maybe Samurai, maybe Warrior, who knows. I also want to try out the Scholar class in Black Desert, and there’s the new DLC in Vampire Survivors to enjoy.

Fiscal stability. Though that will have to come from my own two hands rather than be gifted to me.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): A bit of FFXIV and some single-player stuff will probably round out my weekend. I bought the Cyberpunk 2077 DLC ages ago but still haven’t actually played it, maybe I’ll start it up.

Over the course of 2023 I lost pretty much everything, so quite frankly I’d love to have hope that I’ll see the end of 2024 at all, much less that 2024 will be better for me. I’m not expecting any miracles.

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I’m mostly playing Harry Potter Magic Awakened. The winter event has me hooked completely accidentally and now I can’t stop. I was playing it casually for a few days but when I checked the leaderboards I found that I’m top 10 in my House! Well I can’t let that slip so now I’m in there non-stop. But I’ll be playing a lot of other games as explained in my upcoming Fight or Kite column. Check it out and be enlightened.

Bonus: I’ve got some new board games like Roll the Bones on my list so I’m hopeful Santa pulls through.

Tyler Edwards (blog): New World continues to be my focus, but I might get in some Heroes of the Storm.

Every Saturday, join the Massively OP community and staff for What Are You Playing, our roundup of what MMORPGs and other games we’re hoping to play this weekend (with a bonus question or two for our amusement). Tell us what you’re up to! Go off-topic! And don’t forget to have fun!
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