Vignette: A Benign Horror
Hello, my name is Sam. I am dead.
I woke up a while ago. At first, I was content to simply lie there in the silent darkness. My thoughts came and left like the tide. One day, the tide brought in a thought that lodged itself in my mind. Who am I?
I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me earlier. As I began to explore the question, I stumbled upon others that cluttered up my mind. I longed for answers that would make my beach pristine again, but answers never washed up on the shore — only questions. Questions like: Why am I here? How did I get here? Is there anyone else here?
I don’t know how long I suffocated under the weight of those questions in the darkness. Time just didn’t seem to be important to me. It didn’t answer any of my questions. When I had decided that I had enough of my question’s mockery, I started to try to get away from them. I didn’t fully understand the implications of the questions, of the darkness. It hadn’t dawned on me that I was dead. So I sat up and tried to kick my legs over the edge of the bed. Nothing changed.
This brought on a whole new level of panic. I could tell that I was now sitting, but for the first time I realized that I had never felt the bed. I guess I just assumed that since I had been lying down, I would have been on a bed. I sat there for a long time, trying to think what I should do next. I stood up, even though I could not feel the ground beneath my feet.
I think this is when it really started to make sense, in a morbid sort of way. It started with a: What if I am a ghost? This inevitably was followed by the thought: I woke up in a coffin. As an experiment, I began to pretend to walk up a flight of stairs.
When I first broke through to the surface, I was blinded by the brilliance of the overworld. I glanced at my tombstone. My name was Sam. One question down — I knew who I was now. I didn’t know how I was going to answer the rest of the questions, but I started my journey of self-rediscovery at that point.
I wish I could tell you that I’ve made progress. The Others tell me that there are no answers, that “Why?” is the most foolish question of all. They don’t understand. I must know. Can you help me? Why am I here?