I don’t remember anything. Nothing but this empty space. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am. I’m not sure if I exist. But, I must exist. I’m here. This jumble of words and shapes and colours fighting for space in my brain proves I am alive. I can feel a heartbeat in my chest. But I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t make sense of anything. I don’t… Wait… I hear a sound… It’s distant, but it’s real. I’m hearing it, I mean, it must be. Some kind of jazz? Wait, how do I know that? I can’t even think of my name but I know what jazz music is? Huh. Some existence this is. I have no sense of being, but I can put a name to a faint music that may or may not be real. It might all be in my head, amongst this psychedelic mismatch of thoughts dominating my mind.
I’m in a room. I think. Everything is white. For a moment, imagine the whitest white you can think of. It’s whiter than that. It’s like it’s not real. But it is. Right? I’m confused. I can feel all these emotions and see all these images in my brain but my eyes can’t see anything but white. I try to look left, right, down, up. I’m locked into position. I can do nothing but gaze right ahead. At nothingness. It truly seems as though this is a dream. But I don’t remember falling asleep. I don’t remember anything. My mind’s a mess, I’m rambling on and on trying to make sense of it all. The music, real or not, continues to play.
Wait. Is that footsteps? I try to turn but again, I’m immobilised. A voice! I can’t make out what it’s saying. If it’s real, that is. I’m starting to believe I’m completely out of my mind. Is this a psychiatric ward? A hospital? Wait, where has that knowledge come from? A house. Pond. Windows. A chimney puffs smoke into the atmosphere. I hear voices. I shut my eyes, the image becomes clearer, more vivid. Children’s voices. I smell… I don’t know what I smell. Fresh air. Life.
I try to move. Stuck. Then nothing. Whiteness. The voice. I recognise it. How? I don’t understand. I try to scream… Silence. I continue my silent screams. I don’t want to be here. Why am I here. Who am I. So many questions and no answers, just me and myself and I and my thoughts and stop. Wait. A memory! The house returns to my thoughts. Is it a creation? A mere figment of my imagination? The house morphs, it grows eyes, it laughs at me, stuck in my mental prison. Why don’t I remember anything? Suddenly. Black. Like someone took the two extremes of the colour spectrum and flicked from one to the other. The whitest white to the blackest black. In darkness. I see swirling purple flickers of light. I understand nothing.
The white is back. My eyes don’t even strain at the change in brightness. Red. Green. Yellow. The room flicks between so many colours that I can’t name them, purple, orange, turquoise. Darkness again. White again.
It moves. They move. I can’t make out any features. It’s humanoid. It’s tall and thin and blurry and I understand nothing. I’m out of my mind.
The Figure morphs, becomes more defined.
He moves towards me.
Then… he’s gone.
I fight my constraints. The chains holding me down. Are they real? They feel real. I try to look down to see. I can’t.
How did I find myself in this situation. I’m bewildered, my mind is playing tricks on me for sure. Yet here I am. This is no dream.
The Figure! It looms in front of me again, though I don’t recall it moving. It appeared in literally the blink of an eye. It wasn’t there, I was gazing at white, then I blink, and the empty whiteness is obstructed by this shadowy Figure.
I try to question what I’ve just heard. I’m still stuck in a silent cocoon, unable to convey my overload of anger and confusion. I need to scream. I need to move. But I can’t. All I can do is stare at this relatively familiar Figure, unable to move, unable to speak.
Worst of all… I have no idea why I am in this situation. How I got to be in this position. Who this Figure is. Who I am.
“Move to stage 5.”
Stage? 5? But… that means there has been 3 stages previous to whatever this stage 4 is. What am I involved in? Is this an experiment?
NEROZUMÍN. Wait, what the hell was that? I don’t understand. Nerozumín. Nerozumín. Nerozumín. Nerozumín. It’s Czech. I don’t know how to speak Czech. Nerozumín. I can’t get this word out of my head. Nerozumín. Nerozumín. Nerozumín. It’s consuming me. Everything I think just becomes nerozumín. I don’t under- nerozumín. I… nerozumín. It’s Czech for I don’t understand. How do I know that? I’ve never spoken Czech in my life. I… Wait… It’s gone. I don’t understand. I don’t understand. What is happening to me. What is stage 4? Who is this mysterious Figure who insists on standing before me silhouetted against the emptiness that fills my vision.
It’s definitely gone. I’m so confused. How did I know how to say I don’t understand in Czech? And it was in my head, entwined with everything I thought. I have no idea what’s happening to me. Wait. Stop. Think. Think this through. 5 stages? Stage 1… Could that have been wiping my memory? Or otherwise getting me into this state of absolute confusion and disarray? And then there was the music… stage 2? Did they know that jazz would be significant to me? Did they play jazz on purpose instead of another kind of music?
The images of the house, the pond, the children’s laughter… was that stage 3? Inducing some kind of memories amongst the mess that currently occupies my brain? It makes sense… the fourth stage… must have been the colours. The room colours. Flashing impossibly quickly from one to the next in a frenzied colour-filled explosion. And now stage 5. Making me speak Czech? It doesn’t make any sense, I understand nothing. Wait. That was an advanced thought process, have they given me access to more of my brain? A short while ago I couldn’t think at all and now I’m figuring out what is happening to me?
– End of Part One –