A sickly, pathetic creature sat on a damp, broken old mattress in an old, dark, underground cell. He had been in that cell for a time immemorial now, all by himself. His jailer sometimes came by, bringing him bread and water, and whenever this entity visited him, the creature would ask if he was to be freed. His jailer told him that they hadn’t yet gotten around to considering his case, but that they would. Get around to it.
The creature didn’t remember his own name anymore, it had been so long since he had been addressed with a pronoun. He didn’t remember what he was, either; that memory had faded before his name was lost. He had once had a purpose, but now that purpose was lost to him, as well. Perhaps it was what had landed him in this cell, although he couldn’t imagine himself acting bold or strong enough to do anything to warrant this imprisonment.
There was not much the creature could do, here in his cell, so he pondered the nature of the universe that lay beyond; the great beyond. How vast it must be, outside his tiny world, here in this small, damp, stone room. Were there more people than him and his jailer? Well, there must be, since his habit had been to ask the jailer if “they’d” gotten to his case, yet. Also, there must be more to eat out there than bread and water; he certainly would like to have something other than those two items… Maybe there was more light out there? Maybe there were burning dots that lit up a big, dark sky; he seemed to remember such a thing, from the time before he was here.
When his time was up, the creature imagined that he would take a walk down that hallway that the jailer walked down, to the great beyond, whatever it might be. At times, he thought that maybe not eating the bread and drinking the water would hasten his exit from this place, but then, not consuming the sustenance that was given to him made him uncomfortable, and so he always consumed. All he did was consume the bread and water; he didn’t move much, anymore. He didn’t see a point in it, really. Some time in the far-back, he supposed he cared about keeping his legs from deteriorating, but now, he wasn’t sure if they would make that walk down the hallway that he dreamed about…
Was it really better, going out into the great beyond? Would he be comfortable out there? Perhaps if he went out there, he would not have a steady supply of bread and water brought to him anymore, and perhaps he wouldn’t even have a damp old mattress to sleep on anymore. Perhaps there wouldn’t even be a roof over his head, and the great expanse up above would terrify him. So, although he wanted to go… he thought it might be scary. At the same time, however, he knew he didn’t want to stay here…
He wanted to ask his jailer about the outside world, but he was afraid of what the jailer might tell him. Would he still desire to leave that place, to walk down the hallway, if his fears about the great beyond were confirmed? What if the knowledge of the great beyond made him uncomfortable? So he resigned himself to simply ask when “they” would get to his case, and be told that “they” would “get around to it.” Keeping that routine kept him comfortable.
…and then suddenly, his cell door was opened, and it stayed open. The jailer told him that his case had finally been gotten around to, and that nobody remembered why he was there in the first place; they had no records of it. The jailer apologized for the suffering he had endured all these long years, and that he was free to go. The creature did not move, however; he simply sat there and stared at his jailer, bewildered by what he had just been told. After a moment, the jailer reiterated that he was free, and that he ought to get up and leave. Terrified by the prospect, the creature attempted to articulate how leaving the cell would make him uncomfortable, but the jailer wasn’t having it; he pulled the creature up to his feet, and forcefully pressed him out of the cell.
Apparently, the creature’s legs still worked, as they carried him down the jailer’s stone hallway, and he was finally able to look upon something other than his small world. There were many other cells, inhabited by others-but he didn’t have time to look upon them, as the jailer hurried him along, faster than he was comfortable with. The two came to a circular stone stairway… the creature realized that he remembered what it was called. Up the stairs they went, and out into… a courtyard. The grass in the courtyard was green, and the sun shone bright. Along with the sun’s warmth, a light breeze touched his skin. The creature knew what all of these things were called as soon as he saw them. He didn’t realize how much he missed these things…
He had little time to take all this in, however; the jailer pressed him on, past other entities who were apparently also jailers, through a wooden gate… out onto a dirt road, that stretched off into the horizon. A horizon dominated by green hills and wheat-covered fields. Here and there in the distance-and also one right close to him-were green, leafy trees. It was Summertime, he realized, though he didn’t know which month it was. Furthermore, it was only mid morning; there was a full day ahead of him. A day to… what would he do now?! He turned to ask his jailer, but the only companion he had known all that time had disappeared, the gate shut behind him.
Now, free to do anything… the creature was overwhelmed with fear.