All was dark. Blackest black surrounded me, permeating my consciousness until all memories of anything but dark were hazy and isolated. My mind strained to detect any detail, any object, any hint of anything other than what my eyes now stubbornly reported, and slowly, imperceptibly, tiny specks of light began to materialize in what appeared to be a distant expanse of infinite nothingness. At first, all I could determine was that they were there; then, with painful slowness, I began to make out the broken iridescence of thousands upon thousands of different colours in the array of star-like pinpoints.
Gradually, the tiny little spots of light began to move. As if they were on two wheels of glass, the specks began to rotate in opposite directions around a point directly in front of me; the motion was so slow at first that I thought it was my imagination, but then they began to gather momentum. Like the propellers of an airplane, they were soon spinning so fast that all was a blur of colors, an arrangement of concentric rainbow-hued circles that now seemed to be standing still, shimmering, and removing all thoughts of darkness. The sound that filled my senses was somehow thunderous and yet soundless, like it only existed inside my mind. It was a rushing, roaring sound that seemed to reverberate in my consciousness like the primal fury of hurricane-force winds.
I began to have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I soon recognized as the sensation of movement and, as the soundless roaring mounted to a crescendo, the vision that dominated my mind was ripped away before me like sackcloth and I exited the portal.
I stumbled around, unsure of my footing, squinting around me in confusion as I attempted to divine the nature of my surroundings. Feeling a gritty substance splashing soundlessly around my feet, I looked down and realized that I now stood upon coarse sand, colored a dull brown. Looking up and around in the dim light, I began to make out that I was on what appeared to be a fairly featureless, rolling desert plain that seemed to extend endlessly to the dark-blue horizon, devoid of anything resembling life, but marked by the regular wave-like patterns of a wind-swept landscape. I realized that the rushing sound was real, and that it was the howling wind that relentlessly tore at me.
A look behind me revealed that the landscape was not entirely featureless. A massive pinnacle rose from one portion of the horizon, dominating the skyline with its presence. Its peak was adorned with a relatively small, grey globular structure, looking almost like a baseball atop a child’s teeball pedestal. It stood in stark contrast to the blackness of the horizon, where the sky faded away. The rounded sides of the pinnacle were sloped in a concave shape and, as it was colored almost identically to its footing, it appeared to be an extension of the desert sand. Its base was hidden by a sizeable rise in the sands between it and my point of observation.
It was towards this structure that I felt drawn. Part of me wanted to think that this was part of some cosmic knowledge but more likely it was simply because I had no other clue as to how to proceed. I shivered, not from any sensation of cold, but out of a sense of hopelessness that seemed to weigh down on my shoulders, oppressing me with a feeling of exhaustion that made any thoughts of such a journey seem futile.
It was quite hot in that wasteland. I wiped a thin film of sweat from my brow, though it did not diminish my apprehension of the ordeal ahead. Fighting back these feelings, I put one foot in front of the other and I began to trudge grimly toward the monstrous structure.
The unstable shifting of the sand, along with the hot, dry oppressiveness of the wind that hit me full in the face, made my progress extraordinarily slow and arduous. The wound in my side, though painful, proved to be superficial. At one point, I pulled out my cell phone to judge the time but it was lifeless and unresponsive, despite the fact that I had just charged it. Pushing forward with weary resignation, I eventually began to crest the top of the rise that had hidden the base of the pinnacle as the wind rose to a howling climax.
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