The expedition had gone terribly wrong and I was all alone now in the ruins. I had fallen down a passage. I had used all my supplies. I had cut my leg and infected the wound. With the last piece of candle, I had limped down a dark, pointless hallway, until I reached a dead end filled with human skeletons.
I lay on the floor, holding the candle close to my face, three blankets around me trying to keep the cold at bay. I thought of the surface world, and stars at night (I could no longer imagine sunlight) and all the wonders of the universe.
Slowly, my thoughts began to wonder, a familiar experience from falling asleep before, though with grimmer undertones this time. I thought about my companions, the many human skeletons, who had fallen asleep and lay there too long, until flesh fell off their bones and there was no more waking up. I longed to see what they dreamed off.
In my imaginings, I befriended one of them. A commoner from ages ago, whose name escapes memory now, but who spoke in a very soft voice and had a peculiar philosophy of the universe. His views were very unscientific, but charming, mirroring those of my private teacher, Mr. Cold. Or was he called Mr. Dark? Or Mr. Motionless?
I tried to recall a single woman in my life that had not been my mother, but I found myself unable to. I wondered if after death I would re-enter my mother’s womb and feel warm again. I marveled at the many creatures within other creatures that would have to exist in the afterlife to make that possible. The kindly commoner next to me agreed it was a compelling vision, but something about it made him afraid. He crossed the pile of bones and scrambled down the dark hallway that I could not see.
“Worry not,” he called, “For you will be able to follow me soon.”
Meanwhile I sunk slowly through the floor, through the earth, into an underground ocean full of glowing cephalopods. They moved about me so gaily, I could do nothing but smile and smile.