As my body tumbled through endless swathes of darkness, I tried to piece back parts of an old life that I couldn't quite remember. I knew there was something, that I was something before I ended up in this endless domain. As my thoughts finally began to coalesce into some discernible form of my past, I felt my body begin to be jolted upwards out of the abyss.

I sprung out of bed, my head reeling from the nightmare I just had. My memories still hazy, I took a second to reaffirm that this was reality. “My name is Carey Monahan,” I whispered to myself. My memories all came flooding back to me, and then the thought of having to reassure myself of my own existence seemed silly. I chuckled to myself, as I walked to the bathroom to get ready.

Once I finished brushing my teeth and washing my face, I decided that today would be a wonderful day to go on a walk. I live near a beautiful nature trail and decided that today would be the perfect day to unwind and get closer to nature. I slipped on my running shoes, tossed on a white crop top, and pulled on some camo shorts. Satisfied with my outfit, I grabbed my water bottle and walked out of my front door. Locking the door behind me, I was filled with excitement and began to jog towards the trail.

When I approached the dirt path, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. Clouds hung in the bright blue sky like jellyfish drifting through the sea. Trees and shrubbery looked as though they were stretching their branches towards me in praise. The sound of birds and insects sounded like a chaotic symphony, without order but somehow still instilling awe in me, I knew in my heart, that today would be special.

My heart was absolutely full, and I decided that I should try to meditate in the clearing in the trail nearby. I jogged faster than normal, filled with energy from being awe-struck from the scene I saw before. Nothing could ruin this day I thought, and then I felt my foot snag on a branch. In an instant, I was pulled towards the ground, slamming into it hard. My vision spun as I noticed something snaking at the corner of my vision.

Brushing myself off, I turned my head to the object, praying it wasn’t some sort of snake. To my surprise, I saw what looked to be some kind of string made of light coming out of the earth. This string seemed to pulse, vibrate, and fade, and I wondered if I had hit my head too hard on my fall. Assuming this string was only a hallucination caused by hitting my head, I put my hand around it. I felt nothing. “I should probably go get myself checked out,” I moaned, as I sat up and accidentally pulled the string.

Reality immediately began to unravel, as our dimension seemed to fall into a spiral. Trees seemed to wave goodbye, and the clouds seemed to swirl and bloat before exploding into red-orange fractals. I wanted to scream but found that I could not produce the words. Terrified of the implications of this, I looked down at my body and saw what I feared. My body had also morphed into the infinitely complex patterns that my entire world began to fall apart into. My mind began to slip, as the fractals began to become incomprehensibly complex. My last thought faded as I looked at a green swirling machine that once was a tree.

And then I, the human that I once was, was nothing. In that brief second of complete nonexistence, none of my problems meant anything. I was not concerned about my fate or about anything for that matter. For in that shining moment, I was nothing but my soul, unadulterated and pure, incapable of corporal worry. My soul seemed to exist in this state for eternities, as the concept of time seemed to not exist in the place. I was at peace, until I had a single thought, and was ripped out into somewhere else entirely.

Along with my consciousness, my fear reemerged as I realized that I did not have a body once again. At the height of my panic, the fractals began to all collapse into themselves, until all that was left in the world was a desert and my new shining body. I began to wonder in the sands until I saw a creature morph and bounce at the corner of my eye.

Turning towards this creature, I was immediately filled with shock. Its body was iridescent, much like the shell of a Junebug. Its head spun around like a top on its body, and it began to sing a terrible song, as I caught its attention. I couldn't move, and many of these creatures began to materialize from the sand around me. I was utterly trapped and began to weep as the creatures began to laugh at me.

Their discordant songs increased higher and higher in pitch until my body began to feel as if it were about to shatter like glass. I was about to reach my breaking point when I felt the presence of a motherly entity appear. At the entrance of this being, the creatures immediately stopped their song and sank back into the sand. I was safe. I looked for the being that saved me, only to find a blue spherical mass, which looked to be made of a machine composed of pure light.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” the mass scolded.

I felt shame at its words, but couldn't quite place why. “Why shouldn’t I be here?” I thought to myself, “and where and who was I before this?” I mustered up the courage to ask the being “Where am I” and I awaited a response as the sphere began to vibrate and glitch. One word was uttered, “HOME”.

The world collapsed into darkness, the sand below me transforming into an abyss, leaving my body to free fall. As I barrelled through the endless dark I tried hard to remember the world that I came from. Even though it seemed as though the world of fractals and the endless desert were all that ever existed, deep down I knew there was something else. I strained and I strained until I remembered something. I was human. My body lurched upwards at this thought, and out of the dark.

I sprang out of bed, my head reeling from the nightmare I had just had. “My name is Carey Monahan” I whispered to myself, trying to reassure myself that this was reality. As the details of my nightmare faded from my head, I prepared myself to get out of bed. “Today would be a perfect day to go on the trail”, I thought as I began to walk towards the bathroom.

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