Prologue

Before the world, there was a beast. It existed for no reason, for then there was no reason. It had no eyes, for there was nothing to see; no legs or feet, for there was nowhere to go; no arms or hands, for there was nothing to touch; no ears, for there was nothing to hear. But it did have a mouth. It breathed through this mouth. But there was nothing to breathe, and for this reason a book came to exist. The creature inhaled the book, and the book was lodged inside the creature, bound and trapped in its body. The creature then exhaled, and the force of its breath tore a single page from the book. This page was expelled from the creature's mouth. On the page was written all that was to be, and in the creature's breath, all that was to be, was.

All that was then began to disperse, and a moment later it had vanished. Then the creature inhaled, drawing the page and its breath back into its maw. Next the creature exhaled again, and another page was torn from the book within it by the force of this exhalation, and both this new page and the old page were expelled from the mouth of the creature. On the new page was also written all that was to be, and the two pages mingled together until a new existence was, both pages together making the new existence deeper than the last in a way the last could not have conceived of. Then the creature's breath again dispersed in but a moment, and the creature breathed in again, drawing both pages back into itself.

The cycle repeated itself. With each of the creature's breaths, another page was torn from the book, and that page mingled with the other loose pages to form new things that were. After the creature had taken one hundred and thirty-nine breaths, it inhaled those one hundred and thirty-nine pages and then exhaled again, sending a one hundred and fortieth page out with them. But the book had only one hundred and forty-one pages, and now only one page was left in the book.

While the one hundred and forty pages mingled in the creature's breath, the lone remaining page waited. The book waited, longing for the not-so-distant time when it would be free...

Gradually the breath of the creature began to disperse...