Falling. That’s the nearest sensation to death the mind can comprehend. I “fell” for an immeasurable amount of time. I felt nothing, I thought nothing. I hadn’t even realized I was falling until I was stopped by the ground.
Hot, dry, and stuffy. Three words that described my new surroundings without even looking. I opened my eyes to a red haze staining a ceiling of clouds like a sinister sunset. I sat up so I could take in more of my surroundings.
The center piece of the environment caught my eye first. A great orb of molten metal churning and boiling, casting light and heat across the great expanse surrounding it. I looked up again. That wasn’t a blanket of clouds I realized, it was the ground. A plains of rock and sand sprawled above me. I was standing on the inside of a sphere.
Upon closer inspection, I could see hills, valleys, mountains, and even cities in the distance, both above and below me. The effect was both nauseating and breath-taking.
Cautiously, I stood up, steadying myself on a nearby boulder. I was severely disoriented and it took me several minutes to stop the space from spinning around me. I needed to find some one, any one, to tell me what was going on.
I lurched unsteadily to a cluster of buildings I could see just before the curve up, or down, maybe not even that. Directions would be a pain.
As I approached the small village sprawled in this cavernous space, I grew uneasy. I hadn’t seen one person yet, nor had I seen any indication of life.
I walked between the squat hovels, being inside the village made it apparent the buildings circled something. In the ‘town center’ there was a small complexly decorated, wooden pedestal. And atop that pedestal was a box, decorated equally elaborately.
I approached, curiosity growing with each step. The ornate box called to me, whispers of desire and longing flowed around me like water, a tide of temptation.
I opened it, without even stopping to consider the oddities I was experiencing, I had to know. I held my breath, lifting the creaking lid slowly, savoring the moment. I registered movement on the farthest boundaries of my vision, however I was so fixated on the contents laid before me that I ignored it.
Water. That was it. All that was in that delicately detailed box was water, confusion only held my mind for a moment before I felt it. The tug at my shoulders. Pulling me down.
I tried to resist, tried to back away, hands gripped my neck and upper arms. I tried to look at the unexpected aggressors, but could see no one. The invisible hands pushed, bringing me to my knees and shoving my head to the still pool. I panicked, thrashing to no avail, the distance between me and the box closed.
I could smell it, just before the baptism. Sweet, my thought before the plunge. Though I was only held under for a moment, I lost all breath, as if it had been minutes. And after being brought up, the air in my lungs was again siphoned from me by shock. I could see.