“The memories of a man in his old age
are the deeds of a man in his prime
You shuffle in the gloom in the sick room
and talk to yourself as you die”
~ The Pink Floyd
You are awake. You are awake and you want to scream but you cannot. Black blinds your opening eyes.
In response to the oxygen you sharply inhale—coughing into fits. Compulsively, you should be writhing in convulsions—but only your mouth moves. Air tunnels in, whistling a gust as you suck: “whhhhhhhhooooo” In between coughs, you gasp, clinching for air. Violently your mouth fights to live while the rest of you remain numb and obscured by dark. Are you standing or sitting? One can’t be sure. Black is the only information you own. And you noticed the paralysis.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” —letting your frustration flail about, you grapple to make sounds—noises—calls back to a home—anywhere but here. Slight joy floods, upon realizing your new ability to scream. Pride creeps.
Pain eases in. Cracking tears the corners of your mouth. A clumsy tongue seeks to moisten your lips. No relief. Your tongue is like powder. More crack, crack rips at your lips. The sensation travels into your thoughts, sliding down into your belly—pangs! Dark and deep, the hunger shreds at your guts. Feeling locomotion of your stomach sets you a feeling of balance. You realize you can feel firmness upon your back—and especially the rear of your head—where your skull pokes out is now seeping with pain. Now you can be certain, your are lying on your back. Underneath, a hard splintered surface grating at the back of your neck, reminds you of wood. The smell alerts your memory. You know wood, don’t you? You know what wood is because you saw it once.
The knowledge comforts you. Until the pain in your stomach travels to your head—you forget about knowledge and respond—react: panic. Another scream emits from yourself, and you feel something brand new.
Movement obeys your command, sending your arm to your chest. Your chest is just above your belly—up and down, you’ve noticed your chest move. More air enters and you calm. The inspection you sent your hand on, alerts you of an enclosure. We are encased, boxed in as it appears, and Lord only knows where.
Sensation spreads like fire—shooting awareness into yourself, as person as body. You move. The acuteness silences, stealing your breath. Panic enters, until inquiry intrudes: where are we?
All of your parts writhe, jerking about—measuring your box to offer little room. The notice of limitation causes you to quiet back down. Response prompts rage, sending fists pounding ahead, though only your arms are allowed to half open—you continue beating your barrier, forcing beads of water to blush your face. Soon your hair produces more water, replacing your eyes’ production.
Quickly exhausted you give, slumping back to the obedience of the box. Submission washes overhead . . . A sound can be heard. Movement can be felt, vibrations tickle your hairs. Moisture develops, as drops swell between cracks—to drip drop splash slap upon your forehead. Before thinking, your lips dart upward, snapping at the splashes. You also take notice of the comfort the cool water brings to your sweat laden and roasting head. You observe the feeling of heat, exciting your mouth to move faster in order to drink all it can. And now you may note the description of relief.
More water enters, flooding inside and you welcome the coolness with eager.
Light appears and this conceives hope. Pain forces your eyelids to slam down, but now that you’ve seen—you can’t wait to open your eyes back up.
When you do, you see scrambling overhead. Light pours in faster as you begin to know fear again. Sounds enter your ears. Your mind latches on to a time, beating along with the noise. The sound reminds you of a when you were pounding your fists into the wood. This strange sound is much more controlled however, much more precise—not to mention quite pleasing!
Your body responds to the light and the sound with anticipation. Matching that driving pulse enters a choir, a series of screams like the many you’ve already expressed. After all, there’s no way of knowing how long we’ve been here.
“ZSU”! “AH!” “ZSU” “AH!” “ZSU!”
“OOO” “AH”! “OOO” “AH”! “OOO”
Voices please your ears and frighten your mind. Confusion begins when the chanting is not understood. You can sense these others directly on top of your box, shifting dirt around. Each sweep brings more light bursting inside your eyes. Shadows play upon the white. Their movement matches the rhythm; everybody (yourself included) sways to the pounding pulse. Water hammers in as the wood begins to come undone. With the entrance of light, you look down, resolving the shape of your body and fashioning it inside your mind.
The dirt is swept away to completion and forces attack the wood from the other side. Your chest inflates fully as air enters where dirt was. Rain falls more heavily too. And more light comes as the wood is chipped away.
You are thrust up into the light and heat—the heat sticking to the sweat on your face, the light beginning to reveal its source. Posts surround us. On the many posts sit dancing fires of orange and yellow. Along with the two new colors you also notice us.
We look like you do. Some you observe as larger or smaller than you. Some you find to have different parts. And especially you notice our hair; the more like yours the better of course—and they have things in their hair—and things hanging on their bodies. And immediately you want to do likewise.
That sound recaptures your attention as they too reveal their sources to your eyes. You see several surrounding shadows furiously beating upon round objects. The thumping resounds into the air, echoing a driving force flowing throughout our bodies. The others move spastically but rhythmically about. Around us all, you see green. A dense conglomeration of large flat leaves reflect with shine and catch rain as it falls—adding to the intentional sounds. You see animals quite different than you too.
Round the fires they go.
Some dance among the dense trees.
And yell at the rain.
They tug at you. The rain pushes the paint around that’s on their faces. Black and white runs, streaming down faces. The site elicits distrust in your soul. It also elicits a soul. And with soul, comes guilt. The guilt forces you to submit, limping with apology. They handle your body, pulling you upright. They make sounds while they do:
He shakes beads attached to his hands. A large object dresses his head—and with the speed of the rain his open palm appears before your eyes. Your focus centers in the hand, where there resides purple, blue, and white powder—flash—his mouth opens, pushing a blast of the colored sand into your face. Unable to resist, you inhale.
At once, time slows to a crawl. Colors illuminate vibrancy. Movement and music becomes one—one—you, me, them—everybody is one. Says the purple powder. The blue tells you to sleep. Before you can doze the others jar you about, dragging your body over toward me. You see the doll in my hand. My thumb gently strokes its small pin cushion face. And you feel comfort. I blow its yarn hair, and yours feels a slight chill…