Micah Claer

Ribbons, ropes, and threads had taken over his vision. Some were soft and gently flowing, some bounded along like waves, while others were tiny slivers fluttering aimlessly. A few were large and solid like great pipes stretching from one distance to the other. Their shapes were numerous. Their number was immeasurable. Their color was indescribable. All of them stretched from one distance to another and he could see no end to any of them in either of the directions they stretched. It did not matter which way he looked, there were always more, and beyond the ones in the fore were glimpses of even more, and he felt certain there were even more behind those.

He concentrated on a what-he-thought-might-be the color blue ribbon flowing together with two others intertwined like a rope, and attempted to latch onto it, but he no longer seemed to have hands. Did he ever have hands? What even were hands? He certainly couldn’t see any hands. Were they something he once possessed? Were they a thing he imagined just now for the purpose of latching on to these ribbons?

He tried again and failed again. He had nothing with which to grasp them, but he tried, anyway. Lacking any physicality, he tried to imagine various objects with which to grasp them and attempted to will the objects into being, but that failed as well. With his will, he asked the ribbons to come closer, but they did not obey. He begged them, but they did not move. He commanded them, but they ignored it. He bent all his will on moving them closer, even to the point that he felt some sensation of pain, but that also failed.

He could not move. He could not interact. He had no voice. He had no body. There were only the ribbons, and the ribbons did not attend him.

He grew bored. He attempted to categorize them but found they did not lend themselves to being grouped, and so he concentrated on their details, instead. He peered at the blue rope-like ribbon trio and attempted to focus on a tiny section of the thread itself, and as he did so, he seemed to have moved closer to it. His surprise snapped him back to his original location.

He attempted to focus on it again but found that his excitement at this discovery prevented his concentration. He attempted it again to no avail, and then many more times to an equal many failures, and soon it was his despair and frustration preventing him from accomplishing his task. He knew why it was happening, but was powerless to stop his emotions.

It was then that the dark ribbons appeared. They were distant at first, and he did not notice them, concentrating as he was, but they grew in number and came ever-closer until they could no longer be ignored. They were not flowing or pulsing like the others, no, they were jagged and sporadic and consuming. Light and color seemed to draw into them only to disappear into their blackness.

Then in a single moment, and with a single movement, the dark ones launched outward consuming most of the ribbons in their path. Blackness swept across like a shade being drawn to a close on the window of his view. All was black and empty but for the few remaining ribbons, and many of those blinked out of existence before his very eyes. Terror seized him.

He willed himself to be smaller, begged the dark ones not notice him, and dared not look at them. And, much like the other ribbons, they seemed not to acknowledge his presence, but that did not abate his fear. He noticed the blue rope was still there and felt a fragment of hope at its continued existence, and so he concentrated on it. He conversed with it in his mind like they had been the best of friends and he was so relieved that his friend had survived. Slowly, he let his fear fade until finally, he chose to trust in his apparent invisibility and explore what had been left in the dark ones’ wake.

Few of the ribbons remained. Some of the large pipe-like ones had survived. All of the tiny threads had been consumed. What remained barely bespeckled the darkness throughout his view. Then he noticed the spots and circles. They were few in number, but prominent nonetheless. They felt closer to him than the ribbons, yet appeared further away. Why did he not notice them before? He was certain they had always been there. He turned to look for more.

A large white sun beamed before him. Perfectly spherical and the brightest of white he had ever beheld; it was so bright that he thought for sure it would blind him, but it did not. It was warm and comforting and felt like all the good things he had ever or would ever experience. He felt he belonged with this sun, and knew the sun belonged to him in some way. He became consumed with the desire to move toward it. But it was so far away–too far away and too bright to discern any detail.

He turned to the blue rope and focused on the smallest speck he could envision in the center of the side facing him. He bent all his focus on it. It was completely smooth and yet he could almost make out individual threads. He could make out individual threads, though they looked more like little cells arranged in perfect lines. He narrowed his focus even more.

He had moved closer to it, again, but this time he did not let his focus wane. Instead, he focused ever more intently and found that he could shift his focus along the ribbon, from one speck to the next. He kept on this way for a while, and soon it became easier to manage, requiring less effort. He moved along the rope for what seemed like months, moving one tiny speck at a time, unwilling to divert his attention, all the while exercising his ability to do so, until finally, he found that he could expand his focus, and by latching on to the individual specks with one aspect of it, he could see his surroundings with another.

He was moving along the ribbon. He was moving toward the white sun. His progress was slow, yes, but he was moving. He moved past other ribbons and noticed their shapes and sizes and directions relative to the blue rope. He found himself counting them as they went by, though he’d always lose his count well before he reached a hundred.

Suddenly, the trio of blue ribbons disappeared, and before he realized what had happened, his focus had fallen onto a black ribbon directly behind it. The dark ones saw him, then. He let go.

Instantly, he was back at his starting location, but it did not matter. A hoard of the dark ones moved on him, enveloped him, and squeezed. They were draining the life from him. They were draining his existence away. Spotting the great white sun through the chaotic dance of the dark ones surrounding him, he latched onto it with all of his will. He would not let go. The dark ones did not stop. He held on despite the agony as even more of the dark ones were upon him.

If he had a voice, he would have been screaming.

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