It was hard.
Hard to see in this place. Hard to breathe in it, too. Each day, it seemed as if the void would grow ever stronger, each day it seemed as if the memories of the world colored in light were just a dream. I try to remember the days I spent in that world, a world far beyond my reach. I can't even imagine it- all the memories seem to have faded.
It could barely be called an existence, we were both so hopeless, and we both were trapped. It was difficult knowing that we would be trapped in the darkness as long as they wanted us in it, but we survived. Barely. It was hard trying to survive day by day in this state, let alone really live. It wasn't a joyful place for any of us. We'd long forgotten how to function, how to be human- some had already forgotten what the word meant.
Life had lost its purpose, yet there was no way to die. Not in this mirrored realm, this place where you could hold your breath forever, yet not suffocate; scream your heart out, but never create any sound; try valiantly, but in the end, sink into the darkness that surrounded you.
It was a void.
It was hard to imagine something other than it, hard to escape the lie shouldered upon us, hard to even think properly. We all desperately needed to, I was sure, but the darkness suffocated us, swallowed us whole and left nothing.
It was like this for a thousand years, where we lost the link to the outside world, left to fade, left to suffer.
And then it came.
We were caught unawares, in the midst of nothing, shocked that we could still feel. We had faded to simply a shadow in those years, never thinking that we could possibly remember what it was to live. Remember what the blinding glow was.
Remember what light was.
It came suddenly, like a thunderbolt out of the blue, and we didn't know. We could barely acknowledge that we could see, see once again, after so many years. We simply faced each other with empty eyes, simply staring at the disheveled figures that were us, each other, and subconsciously noting how defeated we looked. Slowly, those blank stares moved from the faces of each other, trying to comprehend, understand what this phenomenon was-
And then we knew.
All this time, all this time we had forgotten how to speak, how to see, how to breathe. But that came back all at once, and while the light was dim besides the dazzling light (which was too much to look at, so much that it blinded us), we could see. Our breath hitched- the first one in a fairly long time, so new that it hurt a little, but we kept breathing anyways because the feeling was simply exhilarating.
And when before, there was no sound, now, we suddenly heard everything- from the soft yet meaningful breaths we took to the rustle of our simple clothes to the birds that were somehow heard in the distance.
And we were just there, alive, awakened, unable to do anything but try and get our mental gears turning while we struggled to remember what had happened. Before we knew it, one of us (or was it both?) uttered a single word.
It was a soft voice, a raspy voice, an inexperienced voice, a shaky voice that lacked usage. But it was there, and our eyes slowly widened in wonder as we realized that we were still here, that we could understand each other, even if the world around us was almost pitch black.
The voice tried to form itself again, this time a bit louder, but still extremely unsteady.
A simple shake of my head showed the other that I didn't know.
The birds kept chirping, and I'd forgotten what the little creatures looked like, but I had the feeling that I should go and look for them. But I didn't know whether it was a good idea.
In this state I really didn't know anything, didn't remember much, wasn't sure if I should take a chance and try to find a way to live or simply be stuck here for eternity. I took a peek at the light, the light that wasn't quite so blinding anymore and that had started to take a colored form, blurred shapes swaying in and out.
I glanced out of the corner of my eye to the other besides me, and that was all I needed.
It didn't matter what the consequences were. There was so much to see, so much to do, there was no chance that I'd be able to stay here any longer.
The sentence was cut off by a series of little coughs that ached, and even with the pain, it felt so good to feel again, even if the feeling was rather unpleasant.
This time, my voice quivered, unsure of whether to keep going.
"We're going... that way."
I shakily pointed a pale finger to the source of the light, the light that had woken us up after a half-existence in the shadow. It wasn't so white anymore- it was still majestic, but in a different way- colors faded in and out, things got clearer- there was the outline of a tree, a whitish stone temple in the distance, the sky a beautiful shade of blue, the grass swaying in the wind. I could faintly make out the call of a bird, faint, cheerful music playing, and were those the grunts of a person heaving a log down an edge?
We're going that way.
I tentatively tried to put one foot in front of the other, wincing as the joints creaked and snapped, but I kept going, and so did the person besides me.
We started to pant, not used to making movement of any kind, but kept on going. The light steadily grew larger, until it was not a few steps away.
We could see the scene in all its gloriness- the image itself was clouded with light gray wisps, steam seeming to create an unrealistic view of the world- but it was so beautiful, how the vibrant colors blended together to create a landscape, how the greens of the grass would shimmer as the wind blew, how the sky's clouds were wisps that blended with the trees, how the brightness of the intensely colored land a few steps away created a picturesque landscape, one that made you gaze in awe at the perfectness of it- the life it symbolized.
The butterflies flitted across the portal-like oval of light. The green-clad figure who was wearing a strange, long, triangular hat frowned and turned back to stare at us, his shifting eyes trying to figure out what the other side of the gateway held and why it had appeared. The birds rejoiced with a cheerful, airy song.
We're going that way.