Chapter Two

For a long time, everywhere she looked, all was darkness. She knew she was running again, though she couldn’t see where she was. Despite not knowing, she kept on running. Eventually, her panic began to subside. She could think more clearly, and slowed her pace down to a walk. Finally, she stopped moving altogether, needing to think. Then she sensed something, a shift. She stopped thinking about the impenetrable darkness. She stopped thinking about going somewhere. She would wait and see if her vision would clear. A feeling of safety began to wash over her. This was surprising—she was usually afraid of the dark.

What was it that had shifted? None of her five senses could make sense of it in any logical sort of way, and yet she knew something had changed. She decided to focus on this challenging enigma: how could one know beyond a doubt that something had changed and not at all be able to find even the slightest clue as to what the change had been? The more she pondered this question, the more fascinated she became. Everything else leading up to this question faded and she became absorbed in this new mystery.

And then she heard a soft tinkling. She turned to face the general direction it had come from. She hoped it would perhaps give her a glimpse of the shift she had felt only moments before. She saw nothing. She was still in complete darkness. Disappointed, she was about to turn her attention back to the mystery when she heard the intruding sound again, quite a bit louder this time. It sounded like a cricket or a very small frog. She crouched down. If indeed it had been a small creature, surely she would find it faster if she was closer to what should be the ground under her feet. But the sound didn’t come again. She sat down—a bit of patience might win her another sound. Unfortunately, all this running and thinking and listening had made her feel very drowsy. So despite her best efforts at trying to hear something more, she ended up lying on her side and falling fast asleep.

The moment sleep washed over her, she felt as though she were waking up. She found herself immersed in light. But it was more than just light—it was musical light. It had neither harmony nor dissonance. The sounds seemed random and all around her but without chaos or discomfort. After marvelling at this new place for some time, she began to notice that the light was as bright and blinding as the darkness had been impenetrable. She couldn’t see a single thing. She couldn’t even see her own hand, which she knew she held only inches from her face. But the light, as bright as it was, did not hurt her eyes. And the sounds that seemed to be coming from the light made her feel happy. As she brought her hand down to the ground, the sounds began to fade. She moved her hand around again, but there were no more sounds, only the light. As she set her hand down once more, she caught a glimpse of some small movement. She sat up and looked around. There was nothing to see but light.

“Is someone there?” she said, more out of curiosity than anything else. She looked around again and shrugged. Then she saw it again. A golden-yellow glimmer, and this time it was no more than ten paces in front of her. She got up slowly, so as to not scare it away, and carefully walked toward it. She then heard something akin to the sound of leaves rustling. She froze. The sound was closer than she had expected it to be. But it had also seemed slow. So the source had moved, but it didn’t seem too scared either. She had a great desire to see it, to know who or what had made the sound. And so she followed it. The longer she followed the intermittent sounds of brush, the more she wished she could see the source.

Then, she saw it again. Right there in front of her, radiating golden yellow light. She couldn’t see a clear shape, only the colour. She stopped moving to observe it better. It moved again, only this time it was coming straight toward her. Still staring at the golden object she stood perfectly still as it approached. All of a sudden, her knees buckled and she collapsed. The awe she felt for the being coming toward her made her react on instinct. It stopped two paces in front of her. She still couldn’t see what it was she’d followed, only the yellow part of it. But now, she could see that the yellow light was in fact boots that seemed to be spun of gold so pure it emanated its own light. The longer she stared, the more she could see of the intricate pattern woven into their top half. But the light was so bright and the pattern so varied she couldn’t make it out clearly. No matter, at least she knew someone was standing there in boots made of yellow light. Everything else was still blindingly white.

As if on cue, the boots turned to her right and began walking away. She really wanted to get up and follow them but couldn’t find the strength to move. She felt as though she’d fainted without actually losing consciousness. The boots disappeared into the whiteness. Deciding to rest a while before pondering this mysterious encounter, she lay back down again. Feeling her surroundings with her arms, she found a comfortable crook within what felt like the base of a large tree and fell asleep.