I suddenly find myself wrest from the world I once knew and in a land where nothing is as it seems, nay, as it ought to be. I know not how I’ve been brought here, and with every passing moment my memories of the world that was slip further away. I fear that soon this will be the only world I have ever known. Should I ever return home, surely I will remember life there and, though I be changed, will not be alarmed. However I fear that, as being here makes me forget there, being there will make me forget here. So, I shall record my experiences, my visions, the bizarre dreamlike landscapes I see here. I shall try to make sense of what is, I fear, the most base and nonsensical of all places in this strange universe. I shall say what I see.
This is a barren landscape. Dark clouds roll from the horizon. I know not which way is east or west, north or south, for the sun is obscured and though I find that I cannot remember how long I have been here, and though I cannot remember ever not being here, I have never seen the clear sky, nor has it ever become night. It is eternally this strange apocalyptic dusk.
The ground, sand, dirt. Rocks, boulders. Nothing lives. Did anything ever live here in the distant murky past of this mysterious place? I do not feel in danger. I do not feel afraid. I do not feel safe. I do not feel peaceful.
I do not feel.
I walk. Perhaps I walk in circles. Perhaps I have walked in circles for millennia. Perhaps sun and people are nearby but I am destined to walk in circles alone forever. Perhaps sun and people and life are but products of my fevered imagination. Do I exist?
And then, on the horizon, a new shape. A familiar shape, or, a shape that has the faint whiff of familiarity. As I draw closer, I see it to be a tree. A tree in this lifeless desert, I must say that I am surprised. And relieved! Life!
Life. How vain and hopeful I was when I wrote that. Pah! The tree is as lifeless and strange as the rest of this forsaken place. Its trunk stands nestled between boulders. In its branches, no birds sing. No leaves grow. Rather, suspended thereupon are televisions. Moderate-sized cathode ray televisions resting upon the dead wood of this once, perhaps, magnificent tree. The screens are black. Surely they did not grow there. Surely this is not a television tree. Surely this strange place is not as strange as that.
I retreat from the tree. The hope I felt upon first spotting it on the horizon has been transformed into a soul-gripping disappointment. Perhaps I am alone here. Perhaps I have always been alone. Perhaps the world has ended and only I survive.
Perhaps I ended the world.
Perhaps I have forgotten.
Well… I have forgotten.
From the corner of my eye, I spot movement. At first, I ignore it. No, I am alone and nothing lives. There is no wind. Nothing could have moved. It is my visual cortex playing tricks because it is bored. My visual cortex, indeed, all my cortices, are quite the scamps, I’ll have you know.
But no, there it is again. I turn to look at the tree, and am surprised to see that the televisions are now on. Here, in this dead, uncivilized place with no means of production or manufacture or generation or distribution, not only are there televisions, powered on, but displaying images.
The first image the screens show is one of leaves. Lush green leaves. Cool to the touch, I’d imagine, and smelling of springtime. The image shifts and now it shows the dead tree as it is now. It shifts again and the leaves return, blowing in the wind.
A flash. Eyes.
The leaves return. But something has changed. I glance at the base of the tree and there, where moments ago there had been nothing, there is now something.
She is there.
I do not know who She is. She is not familiar to me. The business attire and conservative haircut mean She does not seem to belong here. But, can anyone truly belong to an environment as queer as this?
I think I should approach She. I have been wandering this place for my entire living memory, and I have never seen anyone else, and now, suddenly She is here. But I remain still. It’s not that I’m afraid, you understand, nor is it that I am suspicious of She, or the intentions of this place.
She is untouchable. She is above. She is not like me. She does not belong here. She is here. She is this place. This place is She. I should not be here. I must flee, I must escape, I must return. Where must I return to? I know of no place that is not this place. Away from the tree, at least. But before I can move, She begins to sing.
She sings in a language not my own, and yet, somehow I am able to understand. She wants the love of another. Of me? She sings of searching in a surging crowd, of lies that come easy. Of a vacantness.
She sings of a strength, and of a meekness. She sings of forgetting.
She sings of loneliness. We are born alone and we are forever alone, She sings. Surely that doesn’t mean we ought to give up. Surely the loneliness ought to be fought. Surely She would welcome company. The company of me.
If She finds someone, She sings, She would protect them. Though troubles and strife and scrapes and wounds may come, She would protect the one She had found. The loneliness would be fought. In this place, She would make a stand.
It is my only wish that She can achieve this thing that She sings of.
Without my noticing, it is quiet. Alarmed, I look up. She stares at me from the base of the tree. Our eyes meet.
The world ends.