My first memory was of the cold. The darkness so thick it would envelop your spirit. Occasionally I would see patches of light in the darkness. I felt creatures nearby. Never touching but close enough to feel their essence. Occasionally it would warm up slightly. I felt a creature nearby again. I tried to reach out to touch it. I brushed against something moving, then wrapped myself around the moving thing, and brought it close to me. I felt it move around before entering me. I was filled with warmth then, warmth and light.

The light that shone out in the darkness was startling, to say the least. I was not sure where it came from, but I felt a fullness inside of me where the slim, wiggly creature wound up. My very self felt larger. The feeling rushed over me; I had to find more creatures to share this sense of togetherness with. I felt one with the creature. I could feel the creature squirming in me. I could feel its happiness.

It stopped squirming, eventually. The cold, dark place seemed less cold and dark, and a little smaller. The light disappeared. Another slim, wriggly creature glided by me. I reached out to touch it, and it ended up inside me again. I felt full and squirmy, until the squirming stopped, and the light came back. I noticed there were walls appearing when the light came on, and the walls were getting closer. The strangest thing started happening. The closer the walls came, the more squirmy creatures came near me, and the more I could hold inside of me. Soon I was full of squirmy creatures. Their happiness filled me with ecstasy. The squirming soon stopped. Their happiness died with mine. I wanted more.

The squirming stopped but what followed was something I was not prepared for. The walls soon grew very close, but half of me was warmer. There was a bigness around me, as my sides brushed up against the walls of my confinement I still felt this new warmer area would hold me. I saw no walls around me where the crisp, clear area started. The light shone tall, brown towers with green tops around me. The walls around my bottom were very tight, so I reached out and pulled myself forward with some glowing tendrils. I suppose the light was coming from me all along.

A small brown creature stopped and sniffed me curiously. It stared at me, transfixed, then did the most curious thing. It jumped on me. I held it close. It swam around for a while. I was filled with happiness once more, the light came back, but when the swimming inside me stopped, I felt a crushing sadness. But I grew a little once more, and I knew I could no longer go back to the darkness. I wouldn't fit within the walls of my birth place.

Movement was slow-going. I could only use a few tendrils at a time to inch myself forward. Whenever a creature came near me, I was filled with joy and the light came back. The creatures would come towards me, then jump on me. I held them close and felt their joy fill me. The light filled the area, brighter than ever.

A tall creature came, holding a large stick with a pointy end to it. The creature was making strange noises with its mouth. At first the creature held the stick up to me, but soon dropped it after watching me a while. His mouth agape, his eyes wide, he walked toward me, reaching his arms up, and leaned against me with his arms extended. My tendrils wrapped around him. His was the greatest joy I had ever known. I glowed for a long time after his swimming stopped. He was so big, he filled me up immensely. When he stopped swimming, the joy did not fully die with him. There was so much joy that I felt radiant for a long time afterward. I grew until I was halfway up the long brown towers. Sometimes the green things would come off the towers and land on me. I would let them inside me, too, but felt no joy and no fullness. Not like the tall creature.

I could use more tendrils after him, and movement became measured in feet instead of inches. More small creatures threw themselves at me, the joy was overflowing, the light overpowering. I could not help but glow with joy.

A large brown creature with a small head, large paws, and coarse fur met me as I traveled. I grew as I inched forward, foot by foot, as more creatures entered me. But they were no longer filling. This creature looked filling.

At first the creature reared up on its hind legs, and raised a paw as if to strike. It stopped before the attempt, watching me curiously. In a few short moments, it would be mine. It walked towards me, I could feel the joy of such a large creature overflowing. It walked inside of me with purpose. It filled me to the brim. It swam around before ceasing its curious paddle, and the joy died with it.

A few more of the tall, skinny creatures came to see me. They carried large sticks, some with pointed ends, some with three pointed ends. Their mouth-noises were loud. They pointed their sticks at me, some lashing in my direction but missing. They watched me carefully for a few moments before throwing down their sticks and walking towards me, arms outstretched. Their arms encircled my growing form. They once looked so large and looming but now seemed small and defenseless. All four of them entered me. The joy was intoxicating, overwhelming, it destroyed all sense of time and space for a few glorious moments before silencing. A wetness came dribbling out of my eye onto the rest of me. I raised a tendril to wipe away the wetness. The joy of their ecstasy knew no bounds.

I was nearly twice the height of the tallest of the tall creatures. I was moving forward in many feet at once now, pulling myself quickly forward with many tendrils. I was as tall as some of the brown towers. I could see glowing in the distance. More like me? Or more creatures to love?

The tall brown towers filled me, though not with joy. Only with fullness. I longed for the ecstasy that came with letting creatures enter me. Their emotions were wild, rollicking, electric. The brown towers fell in my wake. Soon, behind me, was a large trail. I would glow and grow as I absorbed the brown towers, but it was the emotion I longed for. I raced for the glow on the horizon. More creatures entered me as I made my long journey.

It was still a slow one. I could only move myself so far with each pull of my many tendrils. I stopped and took stock of my situation. Perhaps there was a better way.

I recalled the large brown creature with the claws standing on its hind legs. The tall creatures seemed to primarily stand on their hind legs. I imagined legs.

Underneath me, two large cylindrical stumps formed.

I tested the waters by moving one leg in front of the other. I could go farther in one step than in one pull, so I walked unsteadily toward the glowing spot on the horizon. I still felled trees and absorbed creatures left and right, but I was moving a little faster. Movement was still slow. Growth was unchecked, as pinpricks of joy filled me. These small creatures no longer filled me as they used to. The tall creatures had so much love in their hearts that even one of them, no matter how small, would fill me. The light around me glowed with unbearable light.

I soon reached a point where there were no more brown towers with the green tops. I was now as tall as the tallest among them. More of the tall creature, pitifully small now, came with bright glowing sticks and pointy sticks. Some had curved sticks with string connecting the ends, and small pointy sticks with feathers perpendicular to the string. There were more of the tall creature than I had ever seen. Ten, perhaps as many as twenty. As they approached, they covered their eyes against my luminescence.

The first one threw a pointed stick at me. It lodged itself inside of me. I felt sharpness, and cried out in a low howl that vibrated the brown towers and made a few of the tall creatures fall down. My eye filled with wetness again, but the agony soon stopped as the stick absorbed in me. There was no joy, only pain. I felt a hotness underneath my skin, and the desire to hurt the one responsible for my suffering.

I swiped a larger tendril at the person who threw the sharp stick at me. They fell and knocked into a brown tower. The rest had abandoned their sticks and were walking toward me. Arms outstretched. I glowed again, casting a greenish hue on the tall creatures. They all pressed their bodies into me, and were absorbed one by one. Their joy made more wetness come to my eye. I was blinded by delirium. I picked up the one who had fallen into the brown tower, and pressed them to me. I wanted to feel their joy as well. But the delirium of so much joy at once made me fumble and drop the creature first. They fell with a limp thud onto the ground. I picked them up again, pressing them to myself. There was no joy in them, only fullness. The rest of the creatures swam around for a while before stopping but not this one. I was confused, but my journey would not stop there.

There was more glowing in the distance. Tall creatures were running around, gathering pointed sticks and curved sticks with string on them. I created legs again, and walked toward them.

They yelled and brandished their sticks but after a few moments of watching me they would throw the sticks away and walk toward me. As so much love entered me, my eye filled with wetness again. Soon there were no creatures and the love had died. But there was another place glowing in the distance, another place with strange stone cubes with pointy tops and tall creatures. Perhaps there was another after that. I could not live without the joy of assimilation.