You dream of a life that used to be. From before the present age of darkness, when sunshine reigned, and life bent itself toward you to please and gladden your heart. Leaves in the trees in a variety of colors brightened at your appearance. They twittered in the warm breeze singing adoration, hoping you’ll look upon them and smile. Though you did not often glance in their direction, it did not discourage them from trying. And when you looked, your heart danced in their beauty. Life, you realize, is vibration emanating from all things—plants and flowers, leaves and bushes, even the rocks and mountains—all in different patterns of energy, some stronger, others in shorter, rapid fluctuations. Even the sky, clouds, and stars beyond, all things vibrating on different levels, commending you, celebrating each other, all of life a symphony adulating peace and love.

And then you wake from the dream and feel the loss of Praise. Your heart aches in the constant thrum of loneliness. Every heartbeat pounds absence and separation deeper.
Now you open your eyes and see nothing but darkness. Your ears strain to hear something, anything, but the silence is painful. Instead, you hear only your own heartbeat and labored breathing. As your heart beats a little less frantic, other senses alert you.

You lay face up on a hard, cold, metal surface. One hand rests on your stomach, while the other feels the rounded corner of the table. You sit up, spreading your fingers above your head to ensure the air above you is empty. Swinging one leg at a time, you place your feet below you, but you do not feel the floor beneath the table. Wiggling your hips, you scoot to the edge and lower one foot down further, finding a solid surface on which to stand.
Again, raising one hand above your head, reassuring yourself by touching the table with the other, you put weight on your feet and rise. Bending one knee, supporting your weight upon it, you test the distance with the other foot and find a solid surface under your feet extending beyond.

Squatting down, you place one palm, then another on the floor. Like an infant learning to crawl, you test the unseen distance, find purchase, and move forward. Counting the steps forward, you reach fifteen before finding a wall. You turn right and count seven before finding another wall. Turning right again, you begin making a mental map of your cell. When you complete the circuit, you decide you’re in a room fifteen feet square. Your bed butts up against one wall in the center. You find no other furnishings, nothing but polished metal with no sharp corners; only rounded edges.

You sit on the edge of the bed and yearn for water. Your parched tongue licks rough, split lips. Resting hands on knees, you ask the darkness, “Okay, now what?” Your only reply is the thumping of your heartbeat and the echoes of long ago silenced sounds of life.

Did you really expect an answer?