| My mind awakens. I see nothing. I blink my eyes several times to be sure that they are open. Blackness. I press my thumbs into the sockets to feel a sensation of pain. They are open, but I see nothing but pitch blackness in every direction. Waving my hand frantically, I notice not only the lack of any reflection of light, but I hear no rustle of movement and feel no air on my skin. I am conscious and in control of my body, but every external sense is muted. I am smothered by the weight of an incredible panic.
I do not know where I am, how I arrived here, or if I am really anywhere at all. I remember nothing of the past. It may have been mere moments, or perhaps years since I’ve awakened in this state. I have no faculty to measure time.
I do not feel the weight of gravity on my knees. My feet dangle, but my stomach does not know the buoyancy of being afloat. I try to shout. My mouth moves. I feel vibrations in my throat. But there is no sound. I clench my eyes tightly and grit my teeth to the point of pain and fatigue. I resent my awareness but can not force myself to sleep.
My body, my mind, and my will are suspended in the utter darkness of nonexistence. I kick my feet and paddle my hands, but can not sense any movement in any direction. There is no air, and yet I do not suffocate. In a plea for my sanity I scream out again. I let every bit of my energy flow out through my strained throat. I feel pain in my neck as my muscles are stressed beyond their limits. My throat feels like it is collapsing in on itself as I scream with all my might. There is no sound. There is no return.
I give in. My muscles go limp and I dangle. I close my eyes and hang at the mercy of this existence of nonexistence for another undeterminable amount of time. I can easily surrender my will and my body, but my mind stays engaged with this Hell. I am constantly being made aware that there is nothing to be aware of.
I assume that, in some other existence, dimension, or life, I was able to measure time - but not here. However, after terror ebb and flows throughout my consciousness, my mind, if only due to shear fatigue, settles to a less frantic state of numbness. I am hopeless and yet I can not release myself from the notion that this hopelessness is unnatural - that there is more to existence than this - that this is not life. But how long will it be before such foolish ideas are extinguished permanently? It may have been years already.
I am nowhere, a despondent and wretched soul, plagued by a lack of understanding - an understanding of how I know that this is unnatural when I know nothing else. I brood over this contradiction. I brood perhaps for a decade before the grief, panic, and angst are resurrected.
My muscles tighten. My knees lock. My mouth screams out. I lash at the blackness, trying to cut through it with violent kicks and punches. My chest heaves erratically, searching for a nonexistent and unnecessary presence of air. My head rings with hatred towards myself, this world, and whomever crafted it. I bite down on my tongue with the intent to draw blood. I feel pain, but do not taste the warm trickle that should follow. I bite again and again until I swallow a piece my tongue, and yet there is no blood. I scream out again, louder this time. Still no return.
As my entire body seems to resonate with reeling pain, I come to wonder how I know that I should expect blood to flow from within me? How do I know that I should be able to punch and kick through a solid force? How do I know that time should be measurable? How do I know that I should know that this is unnatural? There must be a past. I must have some recollection of life before this Hell. And I wonder how I arrived here. By what force was I thrusted into this blackness? My mind is still within my control, autonomous for a reason. Who’s reason? Is all of this for someone’s wicked amusement? Am I the only one? Or are there others suffering equally out in the vast blackness before me, agonizing by the will of some supernatural madness? And I dwell upon my autonomous mind that I wish to switch off, but can not. I dwell on the loneliness that I now endure.
Regardless of my lack of companionship, I know that I must retain my mind for myself and not let it slip into the hands of the maniacal force that finds pleasure in my anguish. I hate my mind, but it is all that I have and it is the one thing that can not be stolen from me. I focus my thoughts not on what may or may not exist beyond my eyes, but on my internal self. I use my mind to contemplate my mind. I begin to think rationally.
There is nothing to grasp onto in this place...and indeed it must be a place. It must have boundaries to define it. Nothing external can be truly boundless. And why should I try to grasp onto that which can not be grasped? I should need no footing to escape this Hell. Why search for light emanating externally to see my surroundings? Why wait for the vibrations of air to experience sound? This world chooses to be black, and I damn it accordingly.
With my damning comes a rumble in my chest. My body shakes from head to foot, starting with mild spasms and escalating to unrelenting convulsions. Suspended in this void, my body writhes to and fro. And for the first time, I feel the sensation of sweat moving down my cheek and dripping onto my chest. Then, in an instant, the perspective of my consciousness is projected outside. I see my body...my self...at a distance...grayed by the black that surrounds it, but visible. I am actually watching my body writhe some distance before me! And then it stops abruptly.
I watch awestruck, as my naked gray profile hangs lifelessly in a sea of vast darkness. I am now in the exterior. But how do I know that it is indeed my body that I am seeing? And furthermore, how is it that I am able to see it? If everything that exists is black, what force illuminates my body to make it dimly visible from this perspective? If the external world is truly dark, then where is the source of the light?
As I contemplate this new contradiction, I begin to realize that my body is not illuminated from some distant source, but that my body is in itself a projection of rebellion against the black. The gray illumination becomes slightly brighter. Yes, I am a light source!
I can break free from this! I am not bound for an eternity of suffering! The darkness that surrounds me is not the fault of the universe. There is no wicked creator thirsting upon my suffering. This world is not black - it is merely EMPTY! It is my duty to fill it! The nothingness of everything must be conquered by my own creative energies. It is me. I forge the world in which I live. There is no darkness less I neglect to fill the void with my own self...project my mind...in every direction...I CREATE THE UNIVERSE!
My condition was not forced upon me. I allowed for this Hell by neglecting to create anything otherwise. If I can create my own Hell, then I should likewise be able to create my own Heaven. And I shall.
Again I look upon myself from a distance. The grayness is gone. I see my body, still hanging limply, in a bright natural light amongst an empty black backdrop. The contrast is brilliant. I wish for my body to raise it’s hand, and it does. I wish to lift my head, and so it is lifted. My body turns towards me, it’s eyes fixed in my direction. In a moment, my consciousness is transported back to the vessel. I am inside again, looking out into the darkness from my own eyes with newfound strength and determinism birthed of the noblest source: my volition.
I stretch out my arms, reaching to subdue the universe around me. My legs stiffen. Every muscle becomes taught. My chest heaves, not in anguish this time, but to take in the blackness and hold it. I feel it expanding inside me. My body seems to bulge from the girth of the nothingness that I inhale. I contain it until I can no longer. I let it out again with an explosive bellowous scream - not of agony, but a scream of identity meant to pierce this space. I scream a warcry of pride, of certitude, of unadulterated willpower! My body glows white. My muscles bulge as I hold this exhalation until every bit of blackness is ejaculated from within. At first there is no sound...no return...but then faintly, a thin vibration of treble is perceived. There is air! I have broken through! I hold onto the scream until the treble thickens into a full range of surging aural certitude. This world hears my voice of identity - loud and proud!
I close my mouth, and the sound is exhausted. Then, I feel a hot sensation from the base of my skull. It spreads up around my head and culminates behind my eyes. It builds here for some time. I suffer the joy of knowing what will happen next. My body tenses. My eyes are fixated directly in front of me. As I look out into the dark, I release the heat. In a flash, beams of white light lance out in front of me, permanently cutting through the darkness. My arms stretch out, fists clenched. My back arches as I pull my knees towards my chest and begin to flip backwards on the axel of my arms. As I spin, slowly at first then faster, the gaze of my eyes does not stray. The white beams of light replace the darkness as they pass through it - infinite in range. I spin violently backwards then forwards then in every other direction until pure optical crystalline whiteness has replaced the black everywhere and until my universe is no longer empty, but filled with the light of my own eyes.
I feel my confines shatter to pieces around me like the hollow shell of a brittle egg. I feel myself slowly fall a short distance onto a soft surface, unharmed. I lay relaxed on my back, looking up at the pure whiteness above me. I breath in the sweat that covers my body. I taste the tangy blood of my wounded tongue. I moan incoherently and quietly, only to hear my voice. It is heard.
As the radiant white above me transforms to a brilliant light blue, I hear the sounds of waves crashing against rocks and the sounds of birds squawking in the distance. I feel a cool mist blow on my face. I taste salt in its air. All of this is incredibly familiar to me, but how? Then I understand that I am laying on my back, in the warm sand of a beach, looking up at a beautiful clear blue sky.
Exhausted, I absorb this feeling of well-earned relaxation. I look out to the blue world that I created, and greet it by speaking "Hello". To my astonishment, a different voice returns the greeting. "Hello", it speaks out loud back to me.
I am alarmed to realize that there is something warm, soft, and responsive in my left hand. I lift my head and see thin fingers intertwined with mine. I gently squeeze to test it’s validity and it is proven by pulling my hand in closer to its body.
I look over to see the face of a beautiful woman lying naked beside me. A gentle breeze lifts her sweat-moistened blonde hair to reveal her languid, yet resilient, face. Her skin is fair, her thin lips wet, and her eyes deep and sincere. The fatigue in her expression tells me that I was not alone in that black Hell. She pulls my hand to her soft breast as we examine each other and the beautiful blue color of the sky above us. We sit up and look out over the sea to the horizon - two shades of blue meeting in the infinite distance.
I turn to her and she smiles welcomingly. In this moment I realize that the universe is ours.