|The author long ago constructed a fishing-shack on a small island|
But I slept, I tell you O my reader. I had fallen asleep at some moment last night, and I plunged into a deep slumber. Were this the usual world I was born into and knew all my life, I could reasonably assume I had exhausted myself with all my boating and climbing. Oh yes, yesterday I spent the entire day sailing around Sewall Sea. I had a clear orientation of south, based on the rising and setting of the sun, and my little wooden boat does not seem to drift but sails true, unerringly true. This is the most valuable factor for navigating the ocean in this or any world, a craft that does not list or stray. Due to this, I was able to sail south and, after some hours, catch sight of Ellery Island. My crops and livestock were doing well, but my maps were not in the dwelling-house. It was no trick to sail from there to Bartram Island, of course, and there I found my old maps.
With these I supplemented my understanding of my portion of the world. I revisited the old islands I'd curiously visited to the south, checking on their condition, and they are all sound. Then I sailed as far north as my maps had recorded, then wended my way to the northwest, where I suspected I'd overshot my intended destination and continued on to find the villagers' cabin. This was perfectly correct: I found the jagged peaks that had once thrilled me, and this led to the alpine forests, which swooped down into further biomes. I found the narrow channels by which the horses dwell, and I crawled over the shoals to the cluster of islands where my new home lay. This was entirely satisfying, but as I said, it must have led to my physical exhaustion.
|The vision of the desert temple.|
When I passed out, I had several visions. I would call these dreams, but they were much clearer and I felt as though I were there. Now that I'm awake, I may easily differentiate between the nocturnal illusions and my conscious experience, but when I was asleep the distinction was not nearly so clear. The first vision was of a broad and spreading desert, a pinkish sky beyond the horizon. Peaks of sand rose all around, for miles upon miles. I had the sense of tremendous desolation, and my vision flew across the vast expanse to survey all these features, such as they were. There were the cacti, there was the desiccated scrub brush, and endless planes of bleached sand, when I espied a tall pyramid in the distance.
My perceptions flew toward this as the ground below raced past at frightful velocity, and the pyramid enlarged as we neared it. Finally I felt I'd arrived, and there was a tremendous, tiered pyramid rising from the desert sands. Just beyond it, as though affixed to the structure, were two towers. Whether these were guard-posts or turrets was unclear, but I did feel as though I had come up from behind the pyramid, and were it properly viewed, it should be taken for a temple. It certainly did feel majestic and otherworldly to me. It was nothing at all like the dreadful ocean-temples I have seen throughout Sewall Sea, its structure being much simpler and spartan.
I don't presume to know what this vision means. Is this something which exists in this realm? Is it a schoolboy's memory of Egypt or South America? Were these visions nothing more than the result of food poisoning or an infected mushroom? I simply don't have enough information with which to weigh a reasonable answer. Certainly, anything is possible in this insane dimension.
My further memories were not nearly as bright or majestic. I must have waken during this reverie, and perchance the wish to return home escaped my lips, and if angels there be in this world, they took my suggestion and contorted it into the next vision. Angels, or whatever extraplanar intelligence is guiding the activities on this world, and these I will not name for in naming their attention may be drawn. I am not superstitious, O my reader, but when it is in my power I will fulfill that which is Good (i.e., that which pleases or sustains me) and starve that which is Bad (i.e., that which is objectionable or harmful). It may be a silly little code I've drawn up, but it should bother no one as I keep it to myself.
|The vision of Ellery Island.|
But there I was, hovering before Ellery Island, regarding it dispassionately as I felt it. It's truly a remarkable little home, objectively, stocked with animals and a full and varied garden. There are trees, there are mineral resources, it has nearly everything a body might require to be comfortable and provided-for. But it is still the seat of my discontent: I came here when driven to near madness in desiring a change, and I fled it when complacency weighed upon my chest. Poor Ellery Island, complete and precious, I have treated it as nothing more than a waypoint in my aimless journey. How unfair, how ungrateful.
|Thoreau accuses himself and is lost.|
Or did I simply reject a nation populous with dreamers, laborers, idlers, rulers, families, bullies, soldiers, and so many other paths that I couldn't appreciate or even perceive? Is that why I have been inserted into this incomprehensible realm of aching loneliness?
If only this were the final vision. If only I could have ended on that self-questioning note, and been left to harvest the carrots and potatoes, deep in meditation. That would have been acceptable in itself, indeed, I would be well accustomed to such a rote. And it should have been much pleasanter than the final image that filled my soul with such horror. I scarcely have words to put to it, and I dislike to think about it. I will write down the briefest description and slam this book shut, and I will lie within the tall grass and let the sun beat and burn upon me, to cleanse my soul of this horror.
The last vision was one of darkness. I felt a cold that seeped into my limbs and stiffened them. What light there was above me was swallowed by darkling growth, and then darkness permeated all about me. The heat began to leave my chest, and I had a sense of movement but I could not discern the direction. I was simply floating in a spreading nothingness, nothing against my back, nothing below my feet, as all the living heat bled from my body through my pores. That is when I perceived rows of dimly glowing lights below me, and these grew larger as I moved through space against my will, drifted toward these. And beyond these lights were a horrible gate that I knew with every fiber of my being I did not wish to know beyond. I know not what mercy it was that jarred me awake at this moment.