Zan woke up. All around him was a new world, one he had never seen before. The colors were bland; nothing special. He was lying on his back, the cool, metal ground chilling him to the bone. He was in a thin white top and bottom cloth, but still felt naked. He kept the back of his skull to the ground, staring up at the ceiling. He saw lines. Perpendicular. Parallel. Some small, others larger. Lines upon lines, without much detail or design. He traced these as far as his eyes would allow without craning his neck. Finally he managed to sit up, the effort shockingly difficult. Something told him it should not have been that hard. But then he thought, ‘why wouldn’t it be?’.
He had no real reasons formulated in his mind why it wouldn’t be a difficult task. He looked over his body, checking to his if all was as expected. He seemed taller. And thicker. But as compared to what? What was the precedent that kept appearing in his mind? Chills went through his body, signifying how cold he truly was. He flipped around to his feet, slowly standing up straight. He was facing directly down a long hallway that seemed to turn just slightly into an open room.
The lines from the ceiling continued in both directions, but he would start this way. He took a step forward. The proportions of his body kept his foot in the air longer than his mind would have thought, causing him to stumble forward. His large arms then swung forward, tossing his body to the side. As he fell, a laugh was pressed out of him. This was pathetic. Hilarious. He couldn’t even walk. After a time, he managed a few steps in a row, before the action felt natural and thought was no longer required for the basic movement. He picked up the pace, even accelerating to a slight jog. But the hallway curved, and he entered the open room.
It was the shape of a perfect sphere, though angles were all squared off. The color of the entire area thus far was in between a dull great and deep purple, hardly noticeable unless one truly tried to describe it. He caught himself taking note of it in his mind, though he knew not why. In the center of the room was a pulsing ball. It was perfectly round, designed with concentric lines that pulsed from the center in both directions on its surface. He had to interact with this ball. He knew not why, or even how exactly. But it needed to happen. Before considering what to do, or why to do it, he moved forward and drew his leg back, then bringing it forward to crash directly into the orb. A great pain shot through his foot, but was quickly forgotten as the orb cruised around the open room. It showed no signs of slowing, reflecting off of each surface with different angles. Neither the walls nor the ball showed any signs of wear or age. He realized what would have happened to his ankle if the ball had been much heavier. Probably a shattered, bloody mess. He got lucky.
A deep ‘thunk’ sound could be heard with each crash of the ball. It soon struck the wall at such an angle which sent it flying back down the hallway in the direction he had come. He could hear the ‘thunk, thunk’ of contact as it continued to bounce away from him. Not wanting to lose it, he quickly started running, the action again taking some considerable persistence for each move. Even sooner than walking though, he mastered it and headed in full sprint to the distant, familiar sound.
And he came to another room, just as before. It seemed now in his head that this was all there was. Two rooms exactly equal, and a long hallway connecting them. And also in this room, in the center, pulsing light, was a ball. Now together, both balls took on a different color. A color that actually made a part of his mind feel warm.
The color was yellow. The color was…
He forgot. The first time, the thought just flowed into him. But now as he tried to rethink it with concentrated effort, the word slipped from him. Panic began to rise in his chest, as did another terrifying thought. What was his name? He had just thought it not long ago. But he could not think of it to save his life. He felt so close, but couldn’t even think of what letter it started with. What even was a letter? 26 of them. How many of them? Answers flooded into his mind before the questions, leaving him to find new answers to the same questions that were already fulfilled, and therefore had no other answers. These in themselves became new, nonsensical questions with no answers.
His head started to scream. He clasped his hands over his head, bearing his teeth and clenching his eyes shut. Ahh. Ahhhh. AHHHHH…AAHH!!
The voices stopped. He was lying on the floor, curled up in a ball. Just like the only other form he had seen in this place besides himself. The two thunks. He stood up, brushing the embarrassment off of himself. Though what was there to be embarrassed about? Was anyone else even watching? Did anyone else even exist? He decided to walk back down the hallway again, to confirm it was indeed a closed circuit. But before he did that…
Zan sprinted forward, kicking one of the balls as hard as he could, then pciking up the other and throwing it towards the first ball. He missed, but both continued bouncing around anyways with similar speed. He was strong. And… he had remembered his name!
Zan. That’s who he was. He knew not how, or why, or for how long. But he was Zan. This one thing. This one, simple thing, he knew in his heart. His name was Zan. The balls suddenly struck each other, one of them dropping dead and rolling slightly away, the other bouncing even faster. Zan left the thunks, trailing back down the hallway. That was another thing he knew. The balls were called thunks. He decided and committed it to memory. Halfway down the very same hallway, it appeared to be not the same hallway at all. It split off to the left, descending down at a constant grade. How curious. The thunks then gently rolled from behind him, picking up speed as they passed and whirled down the slope.