Floating in the midst of the aether, he slowly awoke. Distant stars shone dimly through the colored fog. He was naked. Floating. Falling. Drifting through the vast celestial fluid. Approaching from the side was some massive gelatinous creature. For a moment he was alarmed, but the creature was peaceful. It appeared to be something like a giant jellyfish, but it approached tranquilly enough and without incident.
He wasn’t sure how he had gotten here. He wasn’t even sure where “here” was. It was all so mixed up. Or was it mixed down? There was no discernible direction, but not in a sickening way. It was almost as though he was stationary and the whole universe was making its way around him like the strange creature from before.
But he was headed somewhere. There was some control, albeit not his own. Another point of alarm. Just where was he going? A strange calm washed over him. It was going to be a wonderful surprise, he thought.
Why did he think that? What on Earth would make him think that? Of course he was nowhere near Earth now. Earth? Is that what it was called?
The thought faded away, and with another sudden shock of realization he realized he remembered little. That would have been alarming, but the calm washed over him again. He continued floating. Where was he? He needed a point of reference, but there was none. Yet he continued to feel drawn.
He was, after all, heading somewhere. Something like fireflies floated past him, delicately drifting to either side with the rest of the universe. He reached out his hand. He wasn’t quite sure why he did. The little lights withdrew from him, save one. Cautiously one of the fireflies slowly broke away and buzzed up to the man’s outstretched hand. It almost seemed to sniff it as it bobbed all around. The man smiled as he examined the little light in his palm.
He withdrew his hand and the tiny star rejoined the group. He turned his head back down or forward or wherever it was that he was going. It didn’t seem to matter much if he ever got there. The journey was joy enough.
Yet there was a destination. An invitation. A celebration. But such matters of time and space were as remote to him now as the distant stars.
What else would he see? He was sure there was more. And the sights were not all. As he started to contemplate his senses, a faint sound entered his awareness. A steady pulse. A distant drum approaching. But it was not a drum. It lacked the pounding rhythm and the acoustic quality of anything made with hands. And it was not truly approaching.
The pulse was the persistent palpitations of the aether itself. And it was only the beginning. Mists and fogs of various colors brushed by him as the heavenly music grew in volume–but not in intensity. Strange new creatures appeared before him, swimming with the great pulse to and fro.
A soft choir whispered an ethereal harmony in the great depths (or heights?) beyond. The light was brighter now, and he breathed in its music and tasted it slowly.
The pace picked up. The pulse was now a steady march. And his memories started to return. His life. His story. All the concerns he had on this dark ball of dirt out there somewhere called “Earth.” It was somewhere behind him. Perhaps not spatially, but that didn’t really matter anymore. Dreams of the past from which he was only now awaking. Much of it burned away in a cool consuming fire that was all around him now.
He was heading towards that fire. Its flames licked him on all sides and bathed him, cleansed him. He was reaching the end of the pool now. The very stars faded away as he reached the end of the universe.
As he emerged from the ethereal fluid, he opened his mouth wide and breathed in pure unfiltered light for the first time. Immortal lungs for an immortal air.
And at last, he knew he was…