Stories By Music #5: “In a Limestone Cave” – 6.16.15

This story was written to and inspired by the following piece of music. Please feel free to listen before, after, or while you read. It may take a moment to load

“In a Limestone Cave” – Kaijura Yuki (from Xenosaga III)

*****

The world is like a twinkling echo in some distant space of my mind. Now, I am floating in the remainder, observing splintered bursts of memories, but as if they were someone else’s. I’d be scared if I wasn’t so calm, so comfortable in the nothingness. Maybe I remembered once, but how long ago it must have been. I feel as if I’ve been alive for so long, how could I worry at all? Who could I trust more than myself? My experiences are so vast, so all-encompassing, that all that remains is the release of control, to float forever in the beyond. None of the knowledge, all of the understanding; an ethereal being with nothing left to embrace, existing only in the massive space of things that will never be.

Yet, for a moment, there is something. Here, just now. They happen, now and again, these pulsing sensations in the center of me. I notice, but I feel nothing. A constant observer, I am. Who knows what it might be? The only two things I know are that it exists, and that I can do nothing about it. The calm washes over me once again. So thick, so willing to embrace me as I float on…

“ELAINE!”

Hmm? What is that? Just now. The sensation in my heart… Yes, right where the heart lies. Something is there. I feel strange now. Beside the comfort, there is a new, rising feeling… How would you label it? Curiosity? Possibly. I haven’t been curious since… I don’t know when. It feels strange to say, but for the first time in a long while, I feel… conscious. My mind is stretching outwards like a rubber band, growing to notice the sensations beginning in other spaces of my body. There are flickers of memory in my joints, my muscles, my skin; my lungs, stagnant with underuse, expand to take what feels like their very first breath. And all at once… I awaken.

My eyes burst open, but see nothing. It seems to feel even darker now than when they were shut. Where am I? What is going on? My hands and feet flex, wiggling in the negative space. I feel every piece of me yearning to get away, but I can’t touch the floor… I worry that there isn’t one. I reach and stretch and fight desperately to feel something, until it’s there again:

“ELAINE! Elaine, wake up! Please, God…”

Oh no… Yes, I remember now. How could I have forgotten? My mouth moves to shout, but my lips don’t utter a sound. I feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare, only I know I’m not dreaming. I struggle over and over to yell to him, Yes, it’s me! I’m here! But I can only form the shapes. Help! Please help me! I’m not dead!

Suddenly, it’s all too overwhelming. My whole body shivers violently with remembrance, of the pain, the joy, the passion, the fear, the totality of my existence… It’s like I’ve relived my whole life, experienced everything I’ve ever felt and known, in half an instant. My, the anguish of emotions. How very familiar now, the stress of truly knowing. Desperate, I flail about however I can. I fling through the air as I yell soundlessly, hoping with every ounce of my being that he can save me from this. He always has, and he can this time, I just know. He always has, and always would — I remember now. I know… I just know it.

I know it.

I know it.

I know it.

I know…

I…

Know…

I…

What?

What do I know?

My body slows for a moment. I know something, don’t I? My God, what do I know? I’m shaking and breathless and aching, but… Why? The only thing I remember is that I remember something, but that doesn’t help me much. What is it that I am forgetting?

There is fright, at first. I mean, there was fright, but it’s fading now. How very perplexing. I think I should be doing something, but I have no clue what it could be. There is a sensation in the core of me, like a light switch teetering in the middle. The origin of it, I can’t recall, but does it even matter?

It holds my focus until I slowly begin to notice how wonderfully calm it is. There is a heavy blanket of nothingness shrouding me, protecting me, and then the sensation within me disappears. Maybe a gentle flicker of it remains, but I don’t mind. I don’t mind much of anything. In this space, I am nothing, and that is all I can imagine wanting to be. Perhaps this is what it was all for… What “it” was, I’m not so sure.

For now, in this moment, the world is like a twinkling echo in some distant space of my mind…

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