It is dark, overwhelmingly dark. There is no light, artificial or otherwise. There is nothing. I try to move, but the cool metal bars of my cage restrains me. I listen, but I hear nothing. I smell, but only the dusty musk of my own perspiration reaches my nostrils. My heart is pounding, it is a jackhammer against the walls of my chest. I gulp the dry air, my lungs aching, only now do I notice my chapped lips, my parched throat. A glass of water would be like heaven.
I reach out slowly with my dominant hand, grasping at the darkness; afraid of what I might find. Yet, there is nothing. I reach back, and feel along the contours of my body. I am surprised at the sensations. I am covered by a thin cotton shirt, the material tickling my fingers.
A noise distracts me; it is the sound of an animal, its screeching reminiscent of nothing in this world. A gasp escapes from my lips. Salted water pour out of my eyes, my lungs heave, sounds that I did not know I possess escape from me. Rhythmically, I convulse. The sound of footsteps pounding against a hard wooden floor increase my desperation. My gasps deepen, I try to escape into myself.
The appearance of light momentarily blinds me. An artificial bulb lights up my world, it's rays like that of a miniature sun. Hands reach from above to grab me. They are aged, wrinkled and folded, lifting me upwards towards the light. My gasps stop, transfixed at this experience. I am greeted by a face that I have seen many times before. It contours itself, changing and cascading, the skin rippling like the surface of a lake.
A laugh escapes from my lips. I smile automatically, mirroring the face in front of me.