You continue along your way. \n\nAfter some time, you come to a river. The water is calm and clear, and schools of colorful fish swim lazily just below the surface. The light is very far ahead now, and you can barely see it through the growing night.\n\nThe surface of the water breaks for a moment, and then again. A fish springs out of the water and lands on the wet riverbank. It methodically begins to flop its body, moving slowly but pointedly toward you. \n\nYou examine the [[fish.|pro:fish]]\nYou look for the [[light.|pro:lightfin]]
Sam Neufeld\n
<<set $Nature = "Forest.ogg">>\n<<set $bass = "bass.ogg">>\n<<set $bell = "bells.ogg">>\n<<set $drone = "drone.ogg">>\nThe light dances, just out of reach. You follow it from the empty field, through the bleachers, and into the [[forest|pro:forest]] beyond.
You duck down and enter the fox's den. The opening gives way to a dark tunnel. The entrance is wet and cold, and mud lines every inch of the long passage. As you proceed, the tunnel seems to constrict, making it more and more difficult to move forward and casing you in black mud. The consistency of the tunnel becomes more and more liquid, and soon every move you make causes you to sink farther into the amorphous muck.\n\nYou hear the crying of an animal ahead. You are getting close.\n\nThe mud is at your ankles. You continue [[onward.|pro:onward]]
The smell is mildly unpleasant, like a creeping [[mold.|pro:2]].\n
The crying grows louder. The mud is at your knees.\n\nIt is too late to turn back now - the tunnel is too narrow for you to do anything but crawl forward, and you're afraid that if you turn around you'll sink even lower. \n\nThere is no light here. You feel blindly for the exit to the sinking, shifting tunnel.\n\nThe mud is at your [[waist.|pro:waist]]
As you follow the fox, it begins to walk slower and slower. You notice that it is limping - perhaps some of the blood staining the the fox's coat is its own. The fox leads you to a dense thicket, and thorns begin to prick your feet as you navigate through the brambles and creeping weeds. \n\nYou come to the fox's den, a rough cave in the side of a muddy hill. You are surprised to see that the entrance is not too small for you to fit through, should you choose to crawl. The fox disappears into the dark cave.\n\nYou crouch and follow the fox into the [[cave.|pro:cave]]\nYou turn around and look for the [[light.|pro:lightfin]]
<<fadeinsound $Nature>>The ground is damp beneath your bare feet. Wind hums through the long grass. The smell of an hour-old rain permeates the air. \n\nIt reminds you of [[home.|pro:home]]\n\nThe aroma is [[overpowering.|pro:decay]]
<<playsound $drone>>\nYou walk to the fish and pick it up. It goes limp in your hand, gives one spasm, and dies.\n\nAs you watch, the fish's silver body begins to rapidly decompose. After a few seconds, the fish has been stripped to a small copper skeleton. Inside the interweaving metal strips of the fish's ribcage, there is a small scroll. \n\nYou [[fish it out|pro:scroll]] of the skeleton.
You close your eyes and try to remember.\n\nA field... someone asks for help. Or is it a bathroom floor? \n\nA smack of leather, an empty diner stretches seamlessly into the infinite void.\n\nThe memory flickers and is [[gone.|ad1]]\n\n\n\n
<<playsound $drone>>\nYou gulp in your last remaining breath and lurch forward, using all of your strength. \n\nThe cry of animals reaches a piercing climax as you break through the mud into the den.\n\nYou collapse on the floor, gulping in air and shaking off the cold mud. The den seems to stretch on forever around you.\n\nSlowly, you regain your composure and pick yourself up off of the ground to survey the space around you. Great piles of bones litter the floor, stretching ghostly white as far as you can see. Some bones are recognizable, while some seem completely alien. Several long black snakes wind lazily through the bones. \n\nThe air is thick and muggy. The animal howling must have stopped when you broke left the tunnel - the only sound is the raspy slithering of the snakes over bone and mud.\n\nOne of the snakes approaches you. It has yellow eyes. It moves in wide, hypnotic curves.\n\nIt opens its mouth to speak.\n\n- [["Forget."|opening]]\n- [["Remember."|opening]]
You are [[born.|birth]]
Your parents drive you home. From the windows of the car you can see other cars passing and people walking on the street.\n\nYou cry all the way home. Your parents try to entertain you.\n\nYou try to speak and a bead of drool falls onto your lap. \n\nYour parents talk excitedly and smile at each other. Your father holds you and tickles your feet. A memory flares for a moment and starts to fade.\n\n[[You smile at your father.|smile]]\n[[You try to hold onto a memory.|infmem]]
<<playsound $bell>>\nA ballad, slow and quiet, over the radio.\n\n//I left my heart on the mountain\nOn the mountaintop so high\nWhere a flower grows for lovers\nNear the river run so dry// \n\nYou feel as if something of vital importance is escaping you. A memory, fading.\n\nYou begin to [[cry.|2]]\n\n\n
For My First-Born Son
Your eyes open, and color floods into your consciousness: the sterile white of the hospital walls, the pale blue of the operating table, the deep crimson of your mothers blood stained deep into your flesh.\n\nForms ebb and flow. Your mother [[speaks.|2]]
<<playsound $bass>>\n[img[SoledadQ.jpg]]\n[[(Open Your Eyes)|1]]
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The light, dancing just ahead, begins to move faster. You begin to pick up the pace. The canopy of trees overhead becomes more and more dense as you move into the heart of the forest, and the slow patterns of light belowfoot begin to blur and distend as twilight approaches.\n\nA small fox springs from the underbrush. It carries a dead bird in its mouth. Blood stains its jaw and breast, and stains the grass behind you where it passes.\n\nYou follow the [[fox.|pro:fox]]\n\nYou follow the [[light.|pro:light]]
It is a miraculous thing. You are born in the same second as 29 other babies around the world. It is the happiest day of your parents' lives.\n\nYou open your eyes and the world floods in. \n\nThe light is [[blinding.|2]]\nThe room is filled with [[music.|music]]
Your father smiles and shakes your foot. The watch on his wrist gleams.\n\nYou close your eyes and dream of [[an endless sea|ad1]].\n\n
The crying intensifies. It has reached a panicked, feverish pitch. As you proceed, more animal voices join in. The sound seems to be affecting the integrity of the tunnel - as the howls rise and fall, the thick mud of the tunnel rises and seethes. \n\nThe mud is up to your neck.\n\nYou begin to panic. \n\nThe mud is up to your [[mouth.|pro:mouth]]\n
The scroll contains a single line of text. It looks like it was written in a hurry.\n\n[["On his bed, three suitcases."|opening]]\n[["In her heart, she still knew."|opening]]\n[["Find me at the JM Diner."|opening]]
The smell is pleasant and [[inviting.|pro:2]]
<<playsound $drone>>\nScanning the horizon, you realize that you can see no light. It has gotten away from you. \n\nYou feel a strange sense of loss.\n\nYou turn to regard your situation, and suddenly the sky explodes into light. For a moment, you can't see anything. And then, as the world swims back into focus, you find yourself standing in the middle of the outfield.\n\nThe glove is warm and crisp in your hand. It feels familiar, an extension of your will. Your muscles vibrate with restless energy. A muggy evening. The last leg of summer. Nothing to do tonight but play. \n\nAnd boy, can you play. You toe the grass. Dig in. Time stops, a note suspended for a brief unending moment.\n\nThe crack of the bat; [[the blood through your veins.|opening]]