The Time Prophecies
By Jacob Two Two
The Awakening Of The Empty Mind
A boy woke up in the middle of a strange place, not knowing who he was or how he got there. It was a slow awakening, not similar to waking up from a night's sleep. It was a painstakingly reluctant coming of senses, akin to someone who had just come out of a coma, or had just been born right that very moment. It took him a long while until his mind processed his subconscious thoughts to coherence, letting him know that he was capable of thinking in the first place. And with his thinking, his senses came to him, to remind him that he had a physical body. The connections between his body and his mind were just getting acquainted with each other, and as they did, they sent the boy messages on his current condition. As he processed the signals one by one, he could realize the most basic details. He was laying down on his stomach, and his left cheek was resting on the sand. He could feel the rough texture at his fingertips, as well as his mouth.
His lips were dry, and he willed his body to do something about it, but no response was given. His mind wasn't ready to throw orders around yet, merely being a witness of what was happening to his body. He could only feel it be, but that was it. Understanding that he needed more time in order to regain control, he let himself rest for a while. His breathing became automatic, as he drifted off to sleep. It's pretty safe to say that the boy didn't dream at all, not receiving any stimulus from his mind whatsoever. Even so, he felt somewhat rested when he woke up. However, when he opened his eyes, he was instantly blinded by an agonizing light, forcing him to shut them close. At least the boy had some degree of control towards his body now. Before opening his eyes again, he experimented by giving some basic orders around. Twitching his fingers, wiggling his toes, opening his lips, snorting his nose, and the like. Yes, he had control now, or so it seemed.
Squinting his eyes, the boy began adapting to the light, until it finally dimmed away to reveal the dark place in which he was in. He could see his hand, albeit just barely, as it was resting on the sand. Not feeling brave enough to venture into what was beyond his immediate sight, he settled for examining every single detail of his hand. Long, slim fingers, although his thumb seemed a little fat in comparison, but those were just his thoughts. His wasn't a small hand by any means, in fact, it could be said that he had the hands of a pianist.
Little by little, he began to look ahead of his comfort zone, and the first thing he noticed were the sparkling lights beyond. Small, orb-shaped beams of light that were floating around the place, as if they had a light of their own. At first he thought they were fireflies, but physical bodies could not be seen. It was just the light itself that was floating around. Their number was something unknown to the boy, but they were everywhere. They illuminated the place to a certain extent, although it was still dim in there.
As far as the boy could see, the sand extended beyond his sight, without any concrete end. It seemed endless, but he could not make that kind of judgement from the position he was in. Shifting around so he was laying on his back, the boy took a glimpse at the sky.
It was an unpleasant sight, to say the least. For some reason it felt unnatural to him, as if the sky wasn't supposed to be that way. There were no clouds, only a black, black void, with brighter and darker tones of the color waving back and forth. And the lights, which served as that place's stars, they were floating from above, flying ever freely, probably enjoying their existence.
Curiously (or more so, enviously), he raised his hand to grasp a singular light of thousands. However, the gleaming orb went right through his hand, and made him warmer from the inside of his palm.
It was pleasant.
A little smile formed on the boy's face, as he attempted to grab the light again, thinking he might have done something wrong, to no avail. The light just floated away, leaving him with a handful of thin air.
Out of nowhere, a sudden "whoosh" behind the boy's ear reminded him that he had a sense of hearing. The only sound that was coming from that place was a muted, drowned sigh of air, much akin to the sound of ocean waves, except much more distances, barely audible to the boy's ear. As the beams floated alongside him, he could hear how the surfed through the air, whooshing back and forth.
By now his muscles were finally under his full control, so he brought himself up to his knees, slowly but surely, to not put so much strain on what appeared to be his newborn body. He wiped the sand off his cheeks and his worn out shirt, which had quite a few holes all over the place.
He eventually mustered enough strength to stand on his own two feet, and stretched his body out of his numbness. To his surprise, the lights noticed his sudden movement, and began to sway close to him, probably examining him. A few even ventured inside his body, which made the boy feel nervous, not knowing what they could do to him. After a few seconds they left his flesh, unsatisfied with what they saw there. It was as if someone already took the goods before them, so they let him be and floated along.
Confused by what had happened, the boy began to actually think. He searched for information that might tell him what might have occurred, and how he got here in the first place.
There was nothing at all to be found. He did not know anything about himself, or anything else.
The boy began asking random questions to the air, only to be met with no answers. "What is this place? What's going on? Who am I?"
"Who am I?"
The fact that he could not recall his identity sinked in, as his actions became more and more erratic. Heavy breathing, shaking arms and knees, followed by tears. He covered his face with his palms and shook his head, to try and find something, anything that might give him him a glimpse of what was going on.
There was nothing at all.
Realizing he could not do anything else, he let himself breathe in all the frustration he had within, all the anguish, to understand that he essentially was a tabula rasa. He let it in, all of it, and after a long while, he let it out, cried it out. It was no use for him to stay mourning, so he decided the cast away the thought for later.
"Where am I?"
He looked left and right, only to see the same image extending for quite a few miles away. He looked below and saw a long shadow before him, which prompted him to look behind.
And what a majestic view it was! That of a giant, giant pillar-like figure, rising up towards the void, and going through it into the nothingness. Curious, he walked up to the figure and touched it, and as soon as he did, a little recollection came to his mind. Images of brown trunks and green leaves made way, and he welcomed them with such happiness.
This was a tree.
He had information now, as useless as it may be. At least he wasn't ignorant to the world itself, he was just ignorant of himself.
After caressing the wood for what it seemed hours, the boy decided to look around, to familiarize himself with the strange place he was in. He chose the path directly in front of him (not that it made a difference in the first place, since right or left looked the same), and walked. The lights illuminated his way in the dim desert, and it didn't take him a lot of time to reach the end of his road. The sand abruptly ended into what seemed to be a wall of darkness, with beams swaying beyond, ever freely throughout the infinite horizon. Slowly edging towards the so called "wall", he reached out a hand.
There was nothing.
Looking down, the boy realized that the land ended right there, in some sort of cliff, as sand slowly rained towards the void below, which looked exactly the same as the void above. It was as if there were two skies below and above him, since the beams made themselves looked like stars from that far of a distance.
Not brave enough to jump to find out where the bottom of the void was, he edged around the perimeter, looking at the exact same image the whole time. After an hour or so, he made it back to where he began. There, he concluded that he was standing atop a floating island of sorts.
He also concluded that he had nowhere else to go.
What could he do? It seemed his only option was to jump down into the void and find out where it leads, but from its seemingly endless height, he'd surely meet death. But the lights... they seemed so inviting, so seducing!
"Jump!" they seemed to scream, the way they moved back and forth. The boy actually considered doing so, but looking behind the giant wood, he thought of another idea:
What if he climbed the wood?
It didn't look a like a bad option, and to be honest, it was the best one, since there weren't any other alternatives he could take at all. Better to go up than to go down, right?
...But what if he fell?
Surely the giant wood was tall, around four hundred feet tall or so. A fall of that magnitude would also surely result in death, but then again, what did he have to lose? He was better of placing a wild bet than to stay in that place and rot away.
The boy circled the giant trunk to find any openings, and settled for a hole that rested near waist level. It proved to be a decent beginning for him.
Looking back to glimpse the island one last time, the boy bid it farewell, with a touch of nostalgia, even. He hadn't been there for more than six hours and he already felt bad for leaving. Finding his thoughts somewhat ridiculous, he began climbing.
He felt pretty confident at first, finding an easy way with the protruded barks that seemed to make a road to the top. If it were to stay like that, it would actually be a piece of cake. However, the places where he could find leverage began to scarce, becoming more and more far apart, until it all came to a halt around one fourth through. The next stepping was simply to far away for the boy to reach, and there was no other help at his sides. He would have to jump in order to reach where he needed to.
Then and there, he felt the fear creeping up to him.
If he falls, that's it. He's dead. Only one chance to make it. Adrenaline kicked in, making the boy's breathing as heavy as it possibly could be, to prepare himself to risk it all in that one jump.
"You can do it," he thought. The boy tried to concentrate as hard as he could, replaying what he would do over and over again. A giant lunge towards the stepping, reaching out his hands to barely hang on to it, and then climb up. It sound so easy in theory, he felt he could do it. The distance didn't seem much after all, it wasn't a big deal in the first place.
It will be easy, alright.
Determination on his face, he was ready. He was going to make it. He tensed his muscles and finally made the jump, as high as he could. He reached out his hands as far as he possibly could. He could see the distance shortening, and he prepared his hands to grasp the stepping.
He fell short.
It didn't matter if it was by an inch or ten, a failure was a failure nonetheless. His eyes widened in disbelief. As he was beginning to descend, the reality sinked in.
He was going to die.
Not even a scream would come out, as the boy shut his eyes, not even wanting to see anything prior to his demise. He tried to think of something happy, something that will hold him over until he was vanished from existence, but nothing came.
And they say that life flashes before someone's eyes before they die, but what if you had no life before it? What would you see? The boy took comfort in that fact. He had no family to remember, nor any friends that would mourn him. It didn't matter if he would be found, he didn't know anything in the first place.
But somehow, as if the sum of all his emotions led up to the ultimate enlightenment, he had a flash. He remembered something from deep, deep within his subconscious. It was a voice, one expressing happiness.
"I'll call you Jack Dragonfly."
It was probably his mother's voice, right after he had been born. He basked in the feeling of love, of identity, of existing, as he prepared for his death. In fact, he even regretted remembering his name to a certain extent, as it signified something to hold onto in this world, something that would be taken away from him very, very soon.
Thus, Jack Dragonfly accepted his fate, resolving to wonder about what would happen after his death, and if he would be able to remember anything after he's gone. Gravity began to kick in, and he relaxed his body, so the fall would be faster for him. Except that doing so made the fall slower for him.
What? That's not how it's supposed to work.
Opening his eyes, Jack realized that he was actually floating slowly towards the ground, much akin to the lights that inhabited the place. He even turned around and attempted to glide, but it didn't work at all. He just fell slowly and diligently, as if he was sinking towards an ocean bottom, until he finally met the ground.
He was unharmed.
The boy didn't know if he should feel relieved or disappointed, as death was also taken away from his hands. It felt like the world was playing tricks on him, just to see how he would react to such situations. At least he was alive, so it had to matter somewhat, shouldn't it? He had another chance at climbing the wood.
Or he could take a bet and jump down the island. It was one way or the other, but Jack immediately chose not to. If he jumped down, how would he return? There was nothing that could help him climb back up in that endless void below, and if for some reason he found nothing at the end of the giant wood, he could easily glide back down.
He took a while to regain his energy, closing his eyes to rest them. But before he knew it, he already fell asleep. There were no dreams, that is, if you don't consider a vague recollection of the motherly voice that spoke to him. He thought that, if he were to repeat the sentence enough times, something else would come up to him.
Naturally, nothing came.
He wasn't disappointed, already expecting this result. He stood up and prepared for a long climb yet again, this time knowing he wasn't in danger at all. For some reason, the boy didn't feel hungry or thirsty, now that he thought about it. He had already spent near a day in that place, but he didn't feel like that yet. Oh well, he was fine.
The second climb was more forgiving for Jack, as he already knew what he had to do. In fact, he got tired quite early in his run, as he was doing it so quickly. He found a small platform were we could sit and rest, and did so. He didn't hesitate in continuing, though. After some time, he eventually found himself at the same spot of last time. There it was, the elusive stepping. This time he'd surely make it, as he wasn't afraid anymore. Breathing in deep, he did the same thing as before, tensing his muscles before making the big jump. This time, he used the floaty nature of the place, kicking the wood without fear to reach that extra inch of height, and made it without much problem.
From then on, it was easy enough for him. His climb continued for hours, and the sight of the island below became smaller and smaller, as he was rising higher and higher. The lights still continued to illuminate his way, and he stopped to intently study their nature more in depth. They were coming from the darkness above, and it looked like their destination was towards the darkness below. There, they would fulfill the meaning of their existence, whatever it may be. However, Jack wasn't a light, he didn't belong there.
Shortly he could see the wood disappearing into the void, meaning he was reaching the limit of this place. What could be above? What could be waiting for him?
He made it to the end and found himself staring at the ceiling of darkness, as Jack reached out and touched it.
It was wet.
Introducing his hand further in, he felt his hand become swallowed in the water. It was as if he was touching the water of an ocean, except that this one was upside down. It felt strange to him, since the water wasn't being affected by gravity. It wasn't pouring down as it should, it was just floating there, waving back and forth.
He wasn't feeling particularly thirsty at that moment, but Jack went anyways and lifted his head to drink from the ceiling ocean. It didn't taste weird at all. He continued slurping awkwardly until a light that was coming down from it entered his mouth. A taste of blood was perceived, and he spat out the water in disgust.
After that interesting experience, what was next?
He could technically enter the water and swim to the surface, but what if the distance was too long? He would drown before making it to the top. In order to assess the situation, Jack peeked his head into the water. However, his nostrils were filled immediately, because of the way he was lifting his head. In an instant he returned to where it was, coughing violently. After regaining his breath, he tried again, this time covering his nose with his fingers.
Opening his eyes, he looked at what he could. The noise of muted water entered his ears, and his somewhat long hair covered half of his eyes, prompting the boy to shake his head. From what he could see, the wood was still there, rising beyond and beyond towards the surface. The beams of light were there as well, still floating down as they should. But something caught his eye, and that was a mere, weak glimpse of a dim light, not like the orbs, but one that was of natural light, far away in the distance. If he could see it, that meant he could reach it. Even so, it seemed quite far, but Jack felt that he could make it if he swam fast enough.
That was his objective. The surface, the actual world where he yearned for and belonged to, and not that unnatural, strange place. Maybe he could find out what was going on with himself. Maybe he fell from above by an accident, maybe he hit his head or something, and somehow ended in that place, without any memories other than his name. Maybe after he gets out he'll find his family, who were frantically searching for him, worried to death since the day he abruptly went missing. They'd help him remember who he was and they'll be laughing at this unfortunate day as just a bad, lucky day. It'll be fine, alright.
Now wasn't the time for unrealistic fantasies, he thought. He first had to get out of this place, the rest would come later. Not willing to bet that, if he were to fail, the nature of the place will protect him, he assumed he only had one chance to do it, and do it right. Bracing himself and taking in as much air as possible, he entered the water.
He didn't look down to see how the place looked from within the water, he had no time for that. He only had time to swim as fast as possible. The lighted orbs helped Jack find his way, using the beacon of the surface as a guiding point. He saw the surface coming closer and closer, as the water around him began to look clearer. However, the boy was already running out of oxygen. It didn't look so good, he still had quite a distance to go.
At this rate, he would not make it.
In a foolish move of panic, the boy exhaled what he had left of air through his nose. It made him forget of the lack of air for about half a second, but that relief was forgotten almost immediately by the feeling of emptiness that was welling up in his lungs. He tried his hardest not to breathe in, not to let any water into his body. He held out quite a while, and kept swimming. Of course, it wasn't long until he eventually had to give in.
Still, he was so close! He could already see how the water around him was alight, he could even make out the wood's brown color. He had nothing to lose, and he was almost there, so he closed his eyes and gave the last amount of effort he could possibly muster. It was an effort of no more than ten seconds, and he blindingly reached out his hands in hopes to find the surface...
His head jumped violently out of the water, and a pained, crying gasp took as much air as it could. Still, he sank back to the water, still weak from the lunge of before. His head came in and out of the water numerous times, slowly regaining some stability in his condition. He eventually returned to normal, although still short breathed, and made his way to the nearest land that he could see.
He had made it out alive.
Wiping the water out of his face, Jack took a weak look at his surroundings. In front of him was the giant wood, which culminated in a majestic crown of leaves that stood fifty feet tall. Branches as thick as trees, with almost an infinite amount of green accompanying them. It was dark still, but that was because it was night, as Jack could see. He could barely make out the moon through the trees that were all around him, rising up pretty high, but not as high as the Giant Tree, as it illuminated what it could. And the lights, they were still there, coming from all around, towards the big Lake that was laying right in front of him. It sparkled the water, making it look like a soup of beaming orbs. It was a dark, eerie forest, and it still felt somewhat unnatural to the boy, although not as much as the island below.
Taking the short, dying grass beside the Lake as his bed, Jack looked at the sky, through the trees' leaves. There it was, the moon, shining as hard as it could, trying to make its way towards him. He found comfort in him, as it was something familiar to him, even though he couldn't remember any of it before. There, he wondered about what had just happened in this past day. How could a place like that exist? What are the orbs of light, and why were they floating toward the endless void below the Lake?
Confused, but not frustrated, knowing that the answers will not come out of thin air (and especially not out of him), he let out a sigh of triumph, a sigh of contentment. He had made it out alive. The sound of leaves swaying back and forth evoked a lullaby for the tired boy, as he drifted off into unconsciousness. Tomorrow would be a new day for him.
Tomorrow would be the first day of his new life.
Well, there's Chapter I of a story that I've always had in my mind since so long ago. I'm writing this as part of NaNoWriMo, but I don't think I'll be able to finish it in this month, as I would like to take my time and not rush my first novel as much. I still feel it will have a shaky prose, so I hope it won't suck too much. Anyways, thanks for reading! Hope this keeps you interested. I'll be uploading each chapter as they are done.