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49. Mind

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Davy opened his eyes and was greeted with the color gray. It was in every direction. He was no longer seated in the chair in the Institute of Mind. He was instead standing in a vast, open gray space.

He looked down. There wasn’t even any sort of ground below him that he could see. He was just standing on the same gray that he saw in every other direction.

“Where am I?” Davy asked himself, not particularly expecting an answer.

He got one anyway. “Your mind…” a faint voice rang out through infinity.

Davy sighed. “Okay, I’m not really thrilled to see my mind being represented as a vast, empty space,” he said to himself. “There’s gotta be something here.”

As he said this, it seemed his mind had suddenly remembered the laws of physics exist and that Davy was apparently standing on nothing. Davy’s stomach rose as he began to fall into the total emptiness below him.

Only is apparently wasn’t total emptiness. Davy shut his eyes and felt a rush of cold as he broke through the surface of the water. He continued to sink down, further and further. After a few moments, Davy opened his eyes again. There was somehow enough light permeating into the depths of the water that he could see into the distance. It looked like he was in the middle of a vast ocean that was just as desolate as the gray space he was just in. Davy could not see an ocean floor or any other object in any direction.

He felt like he was continuing to sink for some inexplicable reason, but he also felt grossly disoriented. He had no idea which way was up or down. Davy realized he he needed to breathe; he had been holding his breath since he went underwater. Strangely enough, it he felt more and more like he needed air, but at the same time, he didn’t feel like he was drowning. He was just sort of floating in this empty ocean.

He felt the water quake around him. The quaking was shortly followed by a low rumbling noise. Davy noticed a dark shadow far off in the distance coming from below—or at least what he thought was below. The shadow grew larger and larger; it eventually began to form a vaguely humanoid shape. Davy was struck by just how gargantuan the shadow had become. He felt like a helpless speck floating in the presence of this shadowy figure. He wanted to swim away, but he also knew that he was small enough compared to the figure that no distance he could travel would likely put him out of its reach. Davy simply had to hope that this creature wouldn’t notice him.

The creature looked directly at him. It was still nothing more than a silhouette to Davy, but. Ow there were two glowing yellow dots on what looked like the creature’s face. They were pointed directly at Davy.

Davy wondered why his mind would make him out as a feeble speck, drowning in the middle of an endless, empty ocean while being stared down by an ambitious monstrous shadow. Davy realized there was probably all sorts of subtext here that he was resisting addressing. If this was a high school English class, Davy could probably sit down and work his way through this symbolism. But before Davy could ruminate on this any further, the creature began to swim away. It looked presumably upwards towards the surface, spread its arms and soon enough, it was gone.

Davy was alone again.

Maybe I feel lonely, Davy thought. It feels like that’s the subtext I’m getting. I’m lonely and have a fear of the unknown? That sounds like a strong takeaway. Or maybe I’m just subconsciously scared of sea monsters.

Davy noticed that he was getting pulled by a current. He felt his body move in a circle. After a second, he felt like he was also slowly dropping, and Davy realized what was happening. The ocean was draining.

He would have figured that a body of water that appeared to extend infinitely in every direction would take a long time to fully drain, but in no time at all, Davy found himself lying down on a cold stone floor, small puddles of water scattered around him.

Standing up on his feet, Davy also noticed he was completely dry. He took a look around him. There was this dark brown stone floor, which was a welcome development, but nothing else. The floor extended indefinitely into that same grayness in every direction. Davy was getting tired of this perpetual emptiness, when he spotted a hole in the ground a few feet in front of him.

He approached the hole and looked down. The opening was fairly narrow, just wide enough for him to barely fit through. The hole went straight down a foot or so and then turned about ninety degrees, running parallel to the surface of the floor he was standing on.

Davy stood looking at the hole in front of him? Was he supposed to go in there? He didn’t particularly want to go in there. He looked around him in every direction again. There was still nothing. Davy sighed. I guess this is all supposed to be in my head, Davy thought. None of this is supposed to be real. Worst case scenario, I find something bad in there and I just wake up.

Davy paused. Or worst case scenario, whatever I find down there drives me insane.

Davy sighed. As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he had a growing suspicion that nothing was going to happen until he crawled into the hole. He looked up at the blank gray sky. “You’re the worst, mind,” he muttered to nobody. He got on his knees and stuck his hands into the opening. Arms out in front of him, he began to crawl headfirst into the hole.

He saw a narrow tunnel in front of him. “Okay, maybe this won’t be so bad,” he said with cautious optimism. He began to shimmy through the tunnel, the wet stone felt slimy, but also helped propel him through the right space he probably would have otherwise struggled to fit through.

The tunnel seemed to get even narrower as he continued to move forward. He felt like was starting to get a good rhythm going when he slid over a drop. It was only a few feet; the tunnel took a ninety degree drop straight down, his feet directly above him. Davy found himself upside down. On the plus side, his head had landed on his arms, cushioning his fall. On the downside, Davy found his arms were contorted against each other and could barely move them. The palm of his right hand was smushed up against his face, covering his eyes.

Davy wiggled his feet around. With his right foot, he could barely feel the ledge he had just fallen off of. He had dropped far enough that there was no way he could lift himself back up the way he came.

Davy struggled to move his arms to feel if the tunnel continued in any direction. To his dismay he only felt the cold, slimy stone on every side. Davy took a deep breath and exhaled.

He was stuck.

Stuck upside down in a dark tunnel with solid stones reading against him on every side. Unable to move virtually any part of his body. Unable to see anything, since he had a hand pressed over his eyes.

It was not a great situation.

Davy felt an itch on his nose. He was able to extend the pinky finger of his right hand and scratch the itch.

“Well, at least I was able to do that,” Davy mumbled to himself, trying to focus on the one silver lining.

Davy felt another itch on the bottom of his foot.

“Shoot,” Davy added.

Davy began to wonder what insanity would be like.


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