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Here’s the truth, as I understand it.

There is a place surrounded by the mountains that no one has ever returned from. There was a town there with living people at one point and there’s some reason to believe people are still alive and well there.

But no one is certain. Everyone who has ever ventured in has never returned.

There is a tunnel you can take. They tried to close it off years ago, figuring people wouldn’t be so curious to keep venturing there. Yes, it’s a mystery of the most alluring sort, but there’s no way back and no way to know what will become of you if you decide to take the risk.

So, why go, then? Why take any chances?

People like to take chances. They just do.

The people bore their way through the closed off tunnel. And each one of them who entered turned to the rest of us, staying behind and said, “I’ll be back soon, not like those other jokers,” aiming a thumb in the “jokers’” direction.

And of course they weren’t. Of course we never saw them again.

I know everything there is about the odds of return. It’s 2746 in and 0 returned. The odds of return are pretty bad.

We put it up for a vote. Either we agree that you shouldn’t go to the place or we agree that you should. You won’t be required to go if you get outvoted just as you won’t be required to stay, either, but we think it should be on the books.

There’s a lot of fanfare. A woman comes and speaks of the value of democracy, and she seems wise. I decide that I agree with her and will proceed with her words in mind.

The vote happens. The votes are counted.

It’s 107,243 to 1.

I try to take the results of the vote well but I am vexed.

The vote emboldened them. All 107,243.

One particularly wealthy individual takes his private helicopter, presumably thinking it could swing back if things got too harry.

The remaining thousands watch the helicopter with me. But in the end, they, too, will not be daunted by its disappearance.

I worry now, with everyone gone, what will happen. I don’t feel like I can hold out forever.

But where I am now? It’s a ghost town. I may as well not exist. Can you exist, all alone? If a person lives by themselves in perpetuity did they live at all?  If I’m indeed the only one left then perhaps I’m in the place from which no one returns (or comes from). Perhaps there’s a whole cult of people located in the place, I’m realizing now, I’d like to go. It is reasonable to imagine they wonder about me. The one who refused the splendor of the space they now inhabit. It would be nice if they thought of me fondly.

I imagine them throwing me a parade upon my arrival, celebrating the one among them who’d stayed back.

It’s a place I’d like to go.