A Silver World
It happened swiftly. Almost unheard; definitely unseen. It was an awakening so rapid that even the quickest rumbling of the earth was as the movement of an old man in comparison.
The wounded nature of a being so caught up in life was no defense. How could it be? Many would now doubt the protections given to the infirm. Revert to natural state of man.
Frank Mann was one of the few who pushed forward, stretching the last finger to reach the locked door. He carried a pick in his pocket. He broke thorough. How many others did the same might be difficult to figure.
Splintered, broken, fresh, roaring onslaught, cadaverous terrain. Mended, whole, worn, silent dream, peaceful stream. Man. The loss versus the gain. The perceived versus the actual. Now. Here. Then. There. Flash of lightening. Darkness. Pain. Pain. Pain. Tears of the earth. Numbness.
Frank opened his eyes to a sterling sky–he thought that it was the sky, though it was below him. Or was he above it? He turned a puzzled head. Of course the two choices were the same–one is above, one is below. That is the way that he had always been taught. He had been taught correctly. He thought that he had been taught correctly.
He could not shake the idea of a difference. But what was this difference?
He was standing and looking. Eyes–eyes, they were blue were they not?–roaming, taking in a broad plain, of oranged grass. He thought that it was grass–but it was smooth, yet not stone. There was a forest–he was on the edge, the trees were too tall to be natural. An ocean–a cesspool of steal, reflecting the image of the sky–in the middle of the plain. How? The plain was all-encompassing, the ocean infinite. In all directions. Everywhere. They were distinct from one another.
He did not know where he was. His thoughts were clear. Clearer than ever before. He knew who he was. And he was a man alone in a new world and he feared nothing.
After time had passed, Frank did not know how much, he began to walk, making his way slowly down a sloping field. He could feel the trees whispering behind him, and stars shining high over his head, even though it was day.
He came to the ocean, which was not quite an ocean, and sat on the water's edge, allowing the gentle waves to lap over his bare feet. When had he taken off his shoes? He could not remember, but there they sat, beside him, and not on his feet. Just as his pants were rolled up to a little below his knees.Most curious.
The water was utterly cool, contrasting smoothly with the warmth of the orange grasslike plants of the ground. The plants grew all the way to the water's edge, and now that he could feel the plants of the plain, rubbing it between his fingers, he picked up on the texture of glass. Glass? Plant? Glass is all that would come to mind, but it did not make sense. Frank accepted it anyway. He moved his eyes over the ocean and the color beckoned him to it. He wanted to be a part of it. All he would have to do...
He stripped, peeling off first his loose shirt, then stepping clear of his pants, and walked in. The sea floor sloped off gently into deeper waters, like all the land in this place sloped. It made Frank think that the land was leading him to a central point.
He swam. Lifted one arm over his head, let it fall into the water, and continued. He seemed to be floating just under the surface, looking up at light scattered by aqua reflections–but he was breathing air, clean and fresh. Unbelievably crisp and inviting. He swam, and swam, and swam. He did not grow tired, only more vigorous as he moved forward, or backward, or sideways, or whatever way it was that he went. It was all the same, completely inconsequential, all that mattered was himself–his mind, his thoughts, his purpose–and reaching the center point to which he was drawn. He would find answers there. Answers to the questions that he asked, that he wondered, all about this strange and beautiful place.
He drifted away. He looked at himself. And he fell to the ground–or jumped to it, because it was of course above him. There were people surrounding him in a room of sparkling stone–an underwater cave?–and the people were smiling. Frank was nude, but not embarrassed. For the first time in his life he knew that it was okay to be himself. He was good.
A woman stepped forward, she was dressed in a gown of a color and material that Frank had never before seen. He was vaguely reminded of purple, but it was not quite purple. He was reminded of silk, but it was not quite silk. Frank smiled at the woman. She was lovely, but not in a conventional sense. She was different. Her eyes were slightly higher on her head than those of the people Frank knew from life. Her mouth was smaller, her nose wider, and her ears longer. Her hair was like cotton, white and fluffy, but she was not old, or maybe she was, but she did not have wrinkles. She moved before him and bowed a slight greeting, her hands together, fingertips barely touching. Frank felt that he should do the same. He did.
The woman spoke, in a voice ethereal, reminiscent of a cat's purr. "Tell us your story Frank Mann. Tell us all that you have seen, and all that you know. Tell us why you have come to us. Tell us so that we know, so that you can become part of us, and join us in a new life."
Frank heard this, and welcomed the task, so he began to tell the story of his life.