I awake in a place that, clearly, is not home.
As I look about in a blurry daze, the expected trappings of bed, chair, and scuffed, dirty walls have disappeared during my wretched slumber. All the familiar has slid away, swirling downward, but not swallowed, into an eerily black vortex above which my stiffened body floats unaffected by the devouring maelstrom. My immediate surroundings are an atmosphere of greenish hue that is a most peculiar expanse of sky. Emerald. Iridescent. Extraordinary. Suspended amidst the shimmering splendor of these undulating waves of a surreal firmament is a golden sphere -- a moon. The gentle but steady rays of illumination it sends forth warm me. I find this puzzling: the celestial body is not a star.
I continue to have no control over my body, yet I am not uncomfortable, nor do I sense any imminent danger. Something has changed regarding the direction put upon me. A force -- what I would imagine to be a tractor beam -- draws me upward and away from the strangely silent but malevolent whirlpool below. Coming into focus at a distance seemingly close, but probably an infinite space away in light years, is an incredible edifice of glass, porcelain, and adamantine steel, a veritable temple of a night's vision, most likely dedicated to some constellation's mercurial god. Opalescent double doors of immeasurable height, hung upon hinges of gold, begin to open in protracted slow motion. Blazing from within this celestial palace is a brilliance like that of Earth's noonday sun. I gaze directly upon its supernal glory; in the manner of a dream, I am unharmed.
I startle as there emerges from doors now fully opened the likes of which nightmares are made . . .
A stream of congealing blood-red water gushes with ferocity through the newly opened doors. With frightening abandon it rises and falls sharply, wildly, to the accompaniment of an unidentifiable, shrill blast. This cacophonous herald blares forth like shrapnel from outsize trumpets played by a dozen rampant jackals, goose stepping in strident march tempo upon a trail of stars. Their hideous aspect in this unfamiliar role of court musicians is repellent yet singularly alluring; I cannot look away, much as I wish. I am sick. As the wash of roiling waters loops round and round the monolithic plank of stars, it disappears suddenly into a crevasse torn into the fabric of this swirling, greenish sky.
As though nonexistent for the din of the screaming trumpets, I perceive a harmonious but somber backdrop of a passacaglia pouring luxuriantly from some impossible, heavenly pipe organ, rising steadily, from pianissimo, to piano, to forte, to fortissimo . . . FORTISSISSIMO! At the zenith of this divine explosion of purest sound, the jackals and their brassy salvos implode. Gone, swept forever into the abyss. I wince, attempting to cover my ears. I cannot raise my hands from my sides.
My innards melt away, like those of a snail, from this insane and deafening sound attack. Oh, man! My life is over!