Hmm? A sensation emanates from somewhere. I must have imagined it. It comes again, disturbing the emptiness. I feel something burning, it gets stronger. Leave me alone, let me go back to before the pain. Relentlessly it bothers me. The pain in my lungs and head increase. Wait, head? Lungs? The pain spread from those 2 central points until I feel… my body? My head feels like it’s about to explode and I move my hands from my knees and place them across my ears trying to reduce the pressure.
Where am I? Why does it hurt? Once again the sensation, like a ripple coming from above. I open my eyes as my senses awaken trying to locate the source. I look above and see a girl submerged in water cradling her knees, eyes closed. She slowly seems to awaken, pressed her palms against her head and then looks straight back at me. She stretches out towards me and I mirror her. My arm alone isn’t long enough so I get onto my knees despite protest from sore muscles.
We inch closer and closer until our fingers touch. I am flooded with images of the girl. Her childhood, how she was lost to darkness, how she fell in this pit, how she couldn’t find an exit, how the water rose and nearly drowned her, her giving up and sinking to the bottom ready to disappear into nothingness. Then my fingers breach the surface and the girl fades. I stand up and as my head surfaces I take a deep breath, that feels good. The pain lessens, my mind starts to clear.
I cough up a fluid streaked red… blood. The water suddenly feels strangely cold and I try to see the end to this basin of water but my eyes only see darkness. Hadn’t it been fuller? What had it really been that disturbed the quiet? how did it get in? Is there a way out? I just start wading in a random direction, hoping to find a change.
After an eternity of walking I’ve achieved nothing, this place seems to have no end. Yet the water is now lower than it was before, where it had come to my shoulders earlier it now lurks at hip level. My hair has dried and my lungs and head are no longer painful but my muscles still protest my every move. I decide to rest for a bit, it might earn me some relief.
The memories seem like those of a different person, I don’t feel connected to them whatsoever. People I used to know are just faces with names, events that happened seem like movies with someone else playing the lead and feelings seemed to have dissolved like sugar in water.
I wake up with my throat aching, my muscles still sore and my body feeling heavy. The water is barely up to my ankles now. Water… I scoop some up with my hands and drink. It’s salty, the taste is familiar. The weight of the loneliness is starting to crush me and I feel tears rolling down my cheeks. I accidentally swallow some as I wail. It tastes the same as the water I’d scooped up…