You tumble backward as a shockwave of force bellows out from the cavernous pit descending before you.
Crashing to the dust below, a mighty rumbling can be felt coming from beneath the ground, accompanied by the growing sound of a kind of whooshing, air moving from one place to another.
Shaken about and head spinning, you raise your brow toward the hole just in time to receive an eyeful of dust as the howling current torrents upwards, blasting the area clean and bare.
Trying not to feel discouraged, you scramble to your feet.
As suddenly as it had begun, the howling ceases and calm is restored almost instantly.
Confused and intrigued, you edge towards the pit to get a closer look.
Heel to toe, you edge slowly across the bare earth until within reach of the rim, you peer over cautiously before dropping to your belly and crawling headfirst to the edge.
Blackness. The dirt walls visible for a few meters before impenetrable dark.
You toss in a small stone to see it vanish without consequence, not even a sound.
A small scuffling can be heard behind you, and you calmly turn over your left shoulder.
Standing before you is a red fox, seemingly young and healthy, wandering alone through the wasteland surrounds.
After scratching at the ground with its paw, it holds it elevated mid-scratch before slowly turning its head to meet your gaze.
Its eyes glimmer a sullen gold as it twitches its ears in curiosity.
You carefully roll onto your back, and slowly sit up without breaking eye contact.
The fox watches on, unmoved.
You place your hand out in front of you, in your mind telling the fox that you are no threat.
The fox slowly walks towards you without hesitation, places its paw on your outstretched hand and sits on its hind legs, all the while never breaking eye contact with you.
You lay your hand on the ground beneath the paw, and sit.
The fox says nothing, as it cannot speak the language of man, though its eyes are a gilded hallway, a grandly lit gallery of ethereal knowledge and experience unattainable through the words of the tongue.
It pours wisdom into you, and you invest deeply in understanding what it has to teach.
The sun rises and sets upon you, sated in sedation at the hands of a lone canid and the knowledge it bestows.
After many moons have waxed and waned, the fox raises its paw and looks toward the sky.
The world begins to return to you, the smell of the air, the feel of the sandy dirt around you and the weight of mortality all creep back into your conscious mind, as if your brain has just received a to-do list and is trying to complete everything at once.
Dazed and confused, you look up to see the fox slowly walking away into the wastes.
“Wait!” you yell hoarsely. *cough-cough* “What am i supposed to do with this? How do i use this knowledge, what does it all mean?”
The fox pauses before bounding back over to you.
It slowly approaches your face before licking you on the nose.
It sneezes twice before once more turning around and ambling off into the distance.
As the red fox fades out of sight, you wonder to yourself what it all meant.
So much time elapsed in the eyes of a wanderer, unparalleled experience that cannot be comprehended by the sane or sound.
Journeying through universes with alternate laws and incalculable differences to one another.
Where our minutes could become years, and matter could be created from nothing as if it were the apparition of some wizard or warlock.
Swimming in an ocean of possibility, your mind commands you to do only one thing.
Your body lurches suddenly and throw yourself into the pit.
Plummeting relentlessly, time once again dilates to nothing before finally you stop falling.
Instantly and without sensation, you are surrounded by pure blackness.
Time stops moving, or at least it appears to.
You feel no more hungry or thirsty than earlier that day, and after some time your mind begins to rest, freeing itself of the curiosity and fear that had previously prompted so many unanswerable questions.
Floating aimlessly within an insurmountable black abyss, you wait.
—– — —– — — —- — — — — — —
Within the blink of an eye, all that was black changes to bright blue.
You close your eyes to hide from the new brightness, which after a few seconds seems to be more than just a universe of blue to replace the old black nothingness.
There is dirt around you, and you are very close to it. Low even, as if laying face down.
There is a bright light above, and you feel itchy all over.
You start to move, walking on all fours like a lizard, you scurry impatiently across what appears to be nothing more than an open expanse of dirt and dust.
In the distance you notice a small shadow on the horizon, and with your rapidly improving motor skills, you bumble towards it to get a better look.
The blurred figure slowly develops into view and you begin to make out the visage of a lone human sitting in the dirt.
You sit and watch from afar for a while.
Once the sun sets, you stand and begin walking towards the human, who upon realizing you are there, vanishes into thin air, leaving a trail of grey dust whirling into the wind.
Everything slowly fades to black.
You reawaken atop a pile of lush green grass.
A babbling brook can be heard nearby, and the smell of sweet pine needles fills your sinus as fresh air wafts through a nearby stand of conifer trees.
The hole is gone, replaced by a small black box, made of metal with the characters “01” stamped on it in white.
It has no latches or panels, and is bolted to the concrete slab below it.
Confounded but at ease, you lay back into the grass and close your eyes, a gentle breeze blankets over your thick red coat and caresses your cheek.
A small orange butterfly flutters above you before landing delicately on your nose.
As you drift into slumber, twitching your ears playfully, you suddenly hear an ominous howling noise emanating from deep within the forest.
You fall asleep.