My identity was as much a mystery as where I was or how I got here. A deep buzzing sounded, vibrating through my bones. Even breathing made me dizzy in the thin air. Small rocks pressed into my back, but otherwise, the ground was somewhat soft, like sand or powder. I tried to sit up, and lights flew past my eyes, tiny sparks that appeared and disappeared as quickly.
I was on a flat plain with almost no noticeable structures, but one. A single, immense black sphere floated in the distance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t estimate how far away it was. There wasn’t so much as a hill or shrub as far as I could see.
My mind searched for anything familiar, but I had no frame of reference. In fact, even the memories were drifting away, disappearing like echoes. It was as though everything before this moment was a blank. I searched a darkened memory for who I was, trying to grasp the echoes, but there was nothing.
Certain words were even missing from my vocabulary, concepts only apparent in their absence. Thoughts dropped away, unable to explain or preamble. There was nothing to do. There was nowhere to be.
The spots of light returned and condensed, shimmering around the edges of that far-off Sphere. Then they blinked out again, as though I’d imagined them. That was when I felt the tug in my chest, and everything around me appeared clearer, brighter, almost glittering in its brilliance.
As I stood, my eyes focused on that Sphere. There was nothing before now and nowhere else to go. As I walked, I felt the strange sensation that someone had inserted a hook through my solar plexus and tugged.
A touch of unease suggested that the Sphere might be dangerous, but another whispered that being out in the open was just as dangerous. In the end, I didn’t know why I should feel either way, and the tug was insistent. Walking forward, the thoughts disappeared again. It was quiet for a long time.
I don’t know how much time passed. Eventually, I glanced up at the bright bare sky as though it might have answers. But something was missing. It suddenly occurred to me that the sky was missing a sun. I couldn’t really remember what it looked like, but the word popped into my mind before drifting away again.
I walked more quickly now, disconcerted by the awareness that something was missing, that without a source, the brightness didn’t make sense. But the words eluded me again, and the world didn’t fall apart.
Eventually, I relaxed and forgot about the oddity. The word “Sun” floated around untethered somehow. I could easily have made it up. Although I didn’t remember making anything up, it clearly didn’t exist.
As for the Sphere, it still seemed so far away, like I hadn’t made any progress at all. While I knew that couldn’t be true, my sense of time was tenuous at best. Nevertheless, that hook was always drawing me forward and toward what I hoped were answers.
Even from a distance, that blackness became a singular focal point, hypnotizing me with the light that sparkled along its edges before being swallowed whole by the darkness. I wasn’t paying attention to anything else. Still, there was nothing but a flat landscape, so I was surprised when I tripped and fell hard.
When my knees hit the ground, it didn’t seem so soft anymore. The pain reverberated through my body, ringing in my ears, and I screamed despite myself. Even the light shifted: shades of pink, pale green, and blinding white light.
When my head finally cleared, I saw the body beside me. They lay in a heap, arms and legs entangled around them, their body so similar to mine. I noticed their long fingers and brought my hand close to my face, examining it for comparison. Uncertainly, I reached out to touch them.
As my finger brushed their arm, countless memories rushed through my mind. I watched the images pass across my vision and all around me. The landscape shifted, and other people walked beside me.
Then I saw the sun outside and felt the whole world moving through me. I saw trees, mountains, and so much more. I had an entire life full of pain, loss, and love. When I woke beside them, my eyes cleared. Although I clutched the memories, they began to float away again. Joy, pleasure, pain, it all disappeared. I grasped for them desperately, wanting to keep them, but they were gone. They were only dreams.
Suddenly the sleeper’s eyes fluttered open. The sleeper grasped my hand, and I remembered them like they were a part of my own body. They sat up groaning, blinking their eyes drowsily, and I wondered if that was what I’d looked like so long ago. I reached to help them up, and as our eyes and fingertips connected, a high-pitched noise filled the silence.
We were suddenly propelled across the landscape. I couldn’t process the speed, and so I didn’t try. We landed in a heap beside The Sphere, and the actual size filled me with something like awe or fear. We were such small things, dwarfed by its size, but also its inherent darkness, as though we might be swallowed up and never recover.
I jerked my head toward the one other being like me, but there was no longer only one. There was a host of them, staring into that dark Sphere. Even my companion was captivated. I touched their hand and felt that eerie sense of remembering.
Then they were all a part of my body, our body. There was no way to know whose hand we held because we were all lost in the same sensation of unity. As one Self, we lifted our eyes back to the Sphere.
With that single movement, a knowing overcame us. The entire world was our Self, and it contained every thought, every experience, all now. Nothing was lost. And that sphere was not dark but filled with light, more than we could previously conceive. In fact, it was brighter than the sun, pure energy and shifting form. Even the sphere was Us, a part waiting, signaling, bringing us together.
We were only waiting for the rest of our Self to awaken. Strangely there was no worry or impatience. It didn’t matter how many times we fell asleep or how long we slumbered. We’d all eventually end up here, trying to wake up one last time.
And in the knowing, there was no more fear or pain. There was only indescribable joy and peace. There was only love, not a facsimile of emotion, a shadow of reality. It wasn’t desire or need. It was what we were, the fabric of reality, whether sleeping or awake, whether we remembered or not. We existed in a state of pure rapture. My Self was everywhere, and we were walking now.
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