A man sits. He sees before him a wall. He sees to his left, a wall. He sees to his right, a wall. Upon such a wall is a screen, which he may touch. Upon the screen is an image. What the image is, a man cannot say. The image is a darker shade of grey from the wall, so a man knows it is there. But the image changes. It changes as routine which a man may or may not recognize.
From his arms grow tubes. Grey tubes with darker grey matter which flows in and out of him at all times. There is no time here. There are the walls and the shadows upon them. In the distance, beyond his walls, a man can hear sounds. They are muffled voices coming from the shadows. He speaks to them in a language he made up. In this man's mind, he has remembered the shadow's shapes and molded the shapes into new shapes.
This man has earned the attention of the voices. They have become louder, closer, and yet the images remain the same.
All at once, the wall splits open. The man can see nothing but bright, blinding white. It hurts his eyes. He cries out in pain. 'No! No!' he says, 'Please!', but in his blindness he can only feel the tubes being torn from his flesh. He can only feel weight under his arms lifting him. He can only hear the shadows speak, but he cannot see them. 'First you must name yourself,' they say. 'Then you must name the world. Then you must return, and name us.'
'Please, no!' the man cries out, unhearing. 'I don't want to go! I'm not ready!'
Pain shoots from his knees as they hit the ground over and over. He can hear rhythmic pounding on the ground beneath him. The weight below his arms shoots through the rest of his body as he falls unceremoniously to the ground.
Blinded and weak, he curls up and cries. He lays for a long time, his eyes shut tight, until he sees something. A shadow. A familiar shadow on the back of his eyelids. 'Oh!' he mutters under his breath in sudden comfort. He reaches out to touch the shadow, as he often has, but finds an unknown sensation. This shadow is not flat and smooth as the others. It is in pieces, long, flat and thin. They are bendable, and yet springy. In a panic, the man also realizes he cannot see his arm. It has also become a shadow.
His breath quicken, he opens his eyes just a tiny bit. It is so bright, but not all the white he has seen before. This is something new. Blurred colors, amazing and beautiful, in shapes indistinguishable. The man looks down towards the ground beneath him and grabs, with both hands, the slender green blades. Crawling forward, tearing the soft blades with a satisfying *rip* each step, the man suddenly falls hand-first into something else. It is like air, but thicker. It falls and makes noise as he lifts his hand out of it and back in. Watching the blurred vision of his hand, he listened to it *blip, blop, drip, drop* from his fingers back into itself.
With a frightened, but excited and adventurous smile, he plunges his face into the substance and quickly finds he is unable to breathe. In a sudden jerk, he rips his head upward and backward, choking and sputtering. He wipes his face of the thing quickly as he can and blinks up at the blue and green shadows waving above him with a soft whisper.
Exhausted and confused, the man sprawls out and stares and thinks. He thinks a long time. The bright light which hurt him so badly earlier is not so painful now, though his vision is too blurred to understand. Remembering something and once again, feeling adventurous, he pushes himself up and leans over the edge of the green blades. Looking down at the odd substance which stopped his breath, he saw a new shadow. This one pinkish brown, with darker brown above it, two whitish spots in the middle and a gaping dark red hole which seemed to mimic his mouth movements.
He reached out slowly, carefully, to touch this shadow, and it danced and *shlip-shlopped* about. When he smiled, the dark hole became a white line. He reached out and grabbed the shadow and lifted it to his eyes to get a closer look, but it seeped through his fingers.
'Ship..' he said to the dancing shadow below his hand. *Ship, ship* the water replied.