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Twilight in front, above, below. This is the world. An endless world of dark. Little flecks of light here, there. Some of the light is mine—the bulb on my fin makes a little sphere of light around me. The others, the little fish, live in light spheres of their own. The world will never run out of them, yet there are so few to be found! But, such is life. It is not meant to be understood.
I swim forward—forever forward through twilight. Sometimes a fish wanders into my light-sphere, and when it does, it is mine. I eat only what finds its way into my light-sphere, and they eat only what enters theirs. This is the way of the world. We are all the rulers of our own little light-spheres—but mine, mine is not so little. There are no fish bigger than me, none surpassing my two-foot-long body in size. Light-spheres I swim into are from little fish, ones that my fanged, distended jaw fits easily around. I am hungry, but it is not painful; I am always hungry. Such is life. It does not change.
Forward is the only direction to go. There is nothing behind; what is past is gone. But I know I can continue forward forever; after all, the world is the same all the way. I swim on, with only one thought: find the lights. Some are the little fish; they can be eaten. Others, and they are rarer, are my size, and they are like me. To find a fish like me and mate is the ultimate purpose in my life; I must not stop swimming until I have accomplished this. Such is life.
A light drifts toward me. I twitch my fin, which entices the light to drift closer. I get a moment’s glance of expressionless, bulging eyes staring forever upward and a silvery, shimmering body before I open my jaws and swallow it whole. My hunger wavers only for a moment; there is no telling when I will see another light.
As quickly as the light appeared, I am in darkness again, separated from the infinite black only by the pale barrier I form around myself—a shield against the dark. Once, long ago, I knew fear of this darkness, but that is behind me; it is gone. Now, I know I am the master of this darkness, and it is nothing to fear. It is simply how the world is; such is life.
I see another light—this one from above, and it is very bright. Perhaps it is a group of the fish I seek? Can there be that many in one place, even after I just swallowed one alone? I near it, but soon I see that it is only one light. It is not a fish.
As the thing draws near, its light blinds me; I try and escape, twisting and winding, extinguishing my own light in an attempt to vanish—but its light-sphere is so large that I cannot escape from it. Even as it is out of sight, it will not leave my mind; a set of unnatural sharp angles, strange claws reaching outward, metallic white skin without scales, a single gigantic bulging eye, and that horrible, blinding light are seared into my thoughts.
The thing churns the water—I can feel it even as it is out of sight. This is wrong; even though it is out of sight, I can still sense it. Something reaches up and surrounds me, and I realize that this time I am the little fish, swallowed alive in one bite.
For a few moments, darkness surrounds me as I nervously swim in circles, unsure of what to do. Surely I must stop feeling soon? I had never thought of my own death before.
And then light is back. Though not as bright as before, it is still blinding. And the sounds, the vibrations in the water, are horrendous, like nothing I have ever seen before. The darkness is gone, replaced by a strange blur that seems to almost exist, but not quite. As I swim toward the blur, something unrelenting and hard strikes my face, and I rebound off of it.
I turn around, swim the other way, and after a few moments, again my face smashes against something. Has the barrier followed me? Why can I not see it?
Beyond the blur there are hints of existence. As I turn to go back the other way again, I catch glimpses of monstrous shapes, moving in bizarre ways. They have four long, spindly appendages, not fins. One puts an appendage close by, right at the blur, and it comes into focus, a strange shape with five projections, almost like a fish. As I approach it, the shape vanishes and I slam my head against something. I turn to my left, hoping that the hard, invisible object will not follow me. Now I can see a series of lights, red and green and blue, sitting in strange, alien geometric patterns, not moving. This is unnerving; the lights do not flit around, they seem locked in place, blinking eternally and mindlessly.
Again, something smashes into my face. I feel a fang crack. One of the huge, slender abominations from beyond the blur moves nearby, and there is an awful noise from above. The things are making sounds to one another, the likes of which I have never heard. The sounds set my nerves on edge. Something slides smoothly down from above, seemingly appearing out of nowhere, and I get my first real look at the horrors that I am surrounded by.
The object is long, perfectly round, and perfectly smooth. It prods me away from the blur, and I turn away, shying from its cold, hard touch. The thin object follows me, prodding me every time the blur draws near. Finally I become braver, turn around and bite it. I cannot swallow it, but perhaps I can kill it.
Instead, I feel one of my fangs snap off as the surface of the object does not react to my bite, and I cannot scratch it. The object cannot be damaged. Instead, it pulls upward, through a strange rippling blur unlike the solid blur that surrounds me. It vanishes into nothing, and I try to follow it—perhaps this is the way out of the nightmare that has engulfed me.
But as I reach the ripple, an indescribable sensation reaches me. It is almost as if my skin is crawling off my body—there is a feeling of lightness, of heat like I have never felt, and other things I cannot describe. I feel as though I am about to fall apart. Then one of the slender shapes forces me downward again, and after a terrible noise from above, the pressure around me begins to return. I hope that this means it is all over, but as I swim forward, my head once more collides with something very painful. I turn right, swimming quickly away in the hopes that I can escape the thing that keeps crashing into me, but it seems as though it is faster than I am, because after a moment, I slam against it again. My mind is growing numb—not only from the beating my head is receiving, but from the sheer unearthliness of my surroundings.
I continue to slam against something I cannot quite see. I never know exactly when it will come, but at this point, I know it is not going away. I am no longer paying attention to the alien sights beyond that ever-present blur. The throbbing in my head is too much.
Slowly, very slowly, I am losing the feeling in my body. The slender shapes continue with their unnatural, jerky movements, the lights blink mindlessly, and the awful, grating hum in the background drones on. I slam into the blur again—now I am certain that the blur is what I keep crashing into. Instead of turning away, I stay with my body against it and follow along its side, trying to get around it. But no matter how far I swim, I cannot find an edge. I feel like I am constantly turning to the right, going around and around. Maybe I am. It is impossible to tell one part of the blur from another.
A thought comes unbidden into my mind: of a round, blurry sphere, surrounding me and preventing my escape. But no bigger fish comes to swallow me; if one did, then at least this nightmare would be over!
The thought of such a solid sphere surrounding me on all sides is all it takes to make me lose my mind. It is impossible. It cannot be real. I go into a frenzy, trying desperately to get out, crashing over and over into the blurry barrier. I dare the abominations from outside to try and stop me. I will keep this up until I escape. But they do not act. I am nothing to them.
I go on and on endlessly. The blur is endless and all around me. I give up my attempts to break out. I do not even try and avoid the blur. I swim forward—forever forward—and strike the blur again and again. Another fang breaks off, but I no longer care. My face slams into the hard surface and I back up a little, then swim forward and slam into it once more. I now know there is no way around it, and though I can sense my mind weakening, I keep it up. My ability to feel is the first to go. My eyesight follows shortly after and I am blind. Now unable to sense the monstrous, incomprehensible things around me, I am alone in the darkness with myself. I am slowly losing even my ability to think, as I know, though I cannot sense it, that I am still slamming into the blur. In a moment, I will be free even from that knowledge.
My last thoughts are of a world without walls.