Episode 8

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 8 of

I'd been drinking that night, but not enough. I know it wasn't enough because I was still lucid enough to answer when Wesley called at two in the morning. If I'd been truly blacked out, I wouldn't have woken up for anything. I would have slept through the night, the morning, and probably a good chunk of the afternoon. Then I would have gotten up, sleepwalked through work, and spent the rest of my life like normal. Instead, I answered my phone, yelled at my best friend for 10 minutes, then got dressed and drove out to the country to help him move a body.

I know how that sounds, but believe it or not it's basically his job. People die alone in their house or apartment every day, and when the landlord doesn't want the body stinking up the place they call the cheapest person they can find to haul it down to the morgue. Wesley worked very cheap – and it usually meant carrying somebody's grandma down five flights of stairs in the dead of night so as not to offend the other tenants. That night he had a job that required some extra muscle, so I pulled up to an old house out in the sticks at 4am to help my friend load some poor shmuck into his van.

The guy was on the couch, stiff as a board, skin blue, cold as ice just like the rest of the beat up old home. Wes said something about it being a few days old, but I was too out of it to pay attention. But as I was zipping up my coveralls I noticed something; in the body's right hand, clutched tight and curled against its chest, was a handheld notebook.

I still don't know why I decided to take it, or how I did. It couldn't have been easy. Rigor mortis should have turned that grasp into a death grip. Wes was right next to me and would've called me out on robbing a corpse. But somehow, half an hour later we were pulling out of the driveway, the stiff in the backseat and that small, cheap stack of paper was in my pocket. I don't understand it. But then, I haven't understood anything about it. Not since the moment I opened it and found the words scrawled inside.

It has long been maligned that the age of global exploration is at an end. With no new frontiers to discover, save the margins of space and sea, humanity's innate and insatiable wanderlust has been stymied. But these laments of stagnation are merely evidence of society's myopic approach to interaction. The true untamed frontier exists not without, but within. There exists within the human existence an unending spring of new discoveries, and each generation offers new bounties, and that unending horizon is where the world found its most recent and stunning revelation,


and its unprecedented impact on the world at large.

It is perhaps hyperbole to claim the change occurred overnight, as few shifts as significant as


's influence on global society and technology can occur so swiftly. While it is not inaccurate to describe this work's influence as a force of nature, it is important to remember even hurricanes take weeks to make landfall. Such is the case here, as evidenced in the initially polarized reaction to the work. In his memoir, Hayao Miyazaki noted his own initial reluctance to accepting what he had watched.

“At first, I was appalled. It made my eyebrows tremble to even take the images in, and I stormed from the room just to escape the sensation. It was vile, unnatural, there was no humanity in it. I at first attempted to put it out of my mind. But as days passed on something in it clutched itself tight to my mind. Weeks later I found the courage to approach it, and it was as if I'd glimpsed the face of a god.” (See citation 4872)

looked for weeks to hunt down this quote. Couldn't find it. Took days off of work to scrounge every nook and cranny of the internet and not a damn thing. Just hundreds of images with this Miyazaki dude talking shit about anime. Pretty sure they're fake. But then why? Why would the stiff make up a whole fuckin quote from some old dude? What even is


? I have to find it. Have to understand. Have to.

It is in these reactions that one begins to understand the sublime, perhaps messianic reputation enjoyed by


in the years since its release. As the wave of popular consciousness swept the online and artistic spaces of the world, its effects were first observed in niche, negligible fields of work. Amateur web animation, self-published novels, and other primordial swamps of personal expression that could immediately reflect the impact the work had left, became a metaphorical ground zero from which emanated the more visible repercussions. What started as fan fiction became the basis for independent film scripts. Those formed the foundation for eventual Hollywood adaptations, and from there the die was cast. For a more in depth examination of this process, see David Attenborough's Excelsior Armistice: The Third Great Awakening.

That's not real. It's all fake. David Attenborough's 94. What in the fuck would have have to say about...whatever the fuck


is? I've tried searching through anything I can find. Old newspaper microfiche. Television news archives. I spent my last paycheck for a Criterion channel subscription and came up with nothing. What in the hell was this dead son of a bitch writing about? To fill up this whole notebook back to front, every inch and margin crammed tight with this insanity? Yet nothing can


plain it to me. I haven't left the house in days, because every time I do the words start crowding into my brain. Walking down the street, sitting in my car, even smoking a cig, all I hear in my head is this piercing al


>strangling my brain. I can't get away from it why can't I get away from it what in the hell is


And indeed, the very title of such a work should tell one how truly, inescapably powerful


has ultimately become. In some ways it is still hard to believe such a humble – though ambitious – work could achieve such singular, unparalleled prominence. Were it not for the undeniable proof before our eyes, one might think it all a dream

Is it a dream?

It is not.

Can I wake up?

You cannot.

What is this? Hell?

This is


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