Lost #2

Lost #2

The fall is so long I seem to cease to fall and the vertiginous feeling
of speed vanishes to be replaced by one of drifting. It makes no
sense at all as the sensation of plummeting had made my stomach lurch and heave and my soul seemed to curl round itself like a spider whose thread has been cut and instinctively wraps its legs round its soft body to protect it before it hits the ground.

I can feel the air whipping past me but the fear I felt seems to have
passed. I am not comfortable but I am not racked by terror any more
and I allow my limbs to uncurl from the foetal position, prepped for
crash landing and find that far from being midway in an endless fall,
I am lying on the ground, cushioned by soft grass. I know it is grass
because of the sweet fresh smell and I run my hands across it, and my hands come back moist with dew. It’s dark, still, but when I roll
onto my back, I see that above me are stars as bright as if the
universe were a billion years newer, set in sky of such rich velvety
darkness that it’s hard to believe it is not a jeweller’s cloth laid
out to show gems at their best. The stars indeed look polished and
newborn, glittering with white iciness you normally only see on a few
winter nights when the air is freezing and even the sounds of voices
become brittle as icicles.

And yet it is not cold but warm, as if the day before had been sunny.

I sit up, aware that I have no injuries. I can hardly take it in. I
fell for so long that I must have fallen an unimaginable height. To
land without harm, or even actually notice the moment I landed
baffles me and I wonder for a short moment what is happening to me.

A cricket strikes up nearby, much as a musician recommencing after a short break and around me, pinpoints of greenish light begin
appearing, low to the ground, and I rise to my feet and investigate.
Tiny phosphorescent creatures wait on the leaf-tips of low growing
plants; I touch one very gently with the very end of my finger and a
spot of glowing light appears there. They’re glow-worms, and they are all around me, in a circle, and their light seems to pulsate softly
in time to the song of the cricket.

I am breathless with wonder but I am also a little scared. Where am I and what am I here for?

I sit down, cross legged on the moist soft grass and I wait, though for what I cannot tell.

Lost #1

Lost #1

The air is heavy with the cold dank smell of ancient brick wet with
condensation and mildew, and touching the walls I feel the surface
slick with moisture and the passage of countless hands feeling their
way along this light-less tunnel. The only sound is that of my ragged
breathing and the occasional faint plink of water dripping from the
low roof. It’s so low I can reach up and feel the curve of the
arching brickwork, not as smooth as the walls, but my fingertips can
find crevices where the mortar has crumbled slightly. Once, I touch
what feels like a slug and I stop touching the walls or the ceiling.

All I can do is step blindly forward. I have already tried going back but the door where I entered- how long ago was it now? Days or weeks or centuries, I can no longer tell – has vanished. It vanished almost the moment I came through, excited to explore  and too incautious to hesitate and equip myself.

Now I can do nothing but stumble eye-lessly onwards, each step splashing through shallow puddles. I must be scared because my heart is pounding like distant jungle drums, the echo of it in the own ears.

I walk, carefully at first but as the sensation of walking sightlessly
becomes familiar, I stop feeling my way with my feet and just walk.
The ground is wet but even and seems to slope very slowly downwards.

I must walk for years, the rhythm of my own feet lulling me into a
trance, because there is nothing but this long straight tunnel that
never curves or turns but just goes on and on without changing ever.

Wait.

I can see the faintest blossoming of light ahead, like the ghost of the
glow left behind by a struck match and the brightness seems to burn
my eyes after the long dark.

It’s like ancient moonlight filtered through storm clouds, but it is light
nonetheless and  the trance is broken and I hurtle towards it, a
bumbling moth, and as the light grows ever more insistent and
seductive, I slip and slither and realise that the slope has become a
hill, and I am running helter-skelter down it, all caution gone in my
hunger for the light.

As the blue-dim light flares with the brilliance of a neutron star, I
tumble forwards with my own momentum and brace myself to crash face first on wet-slick stone, but as my body lurches, and I flail my arms to try and protect myself, the second of falling draws out and out and my stomach heaves sickeningly as I know that I am falling falling falling falling falling.”