Mandala: noun. A schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.

Can I spin the threads of doomsday and be touched by what I see if the substance it's composed of cannot ever touch with me? Can I look into the future and be struck by what I know? Can I see lost days gone ages past and still withstand the blow?

If I spin a world unending will it always pull me in? And if I am not the weaver's loom then must I be the one to spin? Am I dream or am I dreamer and do nightmares ever die? Shall I face a darkened future from a shattered crystal eye?

If the world is crushed and broken will I stand here all the same? Can I stay just a player and not be part of the game? Do the hands and feet that move me do so by my own design? As I weave the threads of other lives is someone weaving mine?

If I am but a shadow then who else is casting me? If I look into the darkness then what can I hope to see? And if I am just the spinner and I watch the wheels spin and I become too dizzy will the pattern pull me in?

Can I escape the weaving that I've set about us all and if we're sinking ever lower do we have as far to fall? When I look into the shadows are the shadows looking back? And at what point do the followers become the hunting pack?

If there's a purpose to the pattern it evades my desperate glance for the path the weaving takes is not of me but up to chance, so the shape behind the shaping yet remains a mystery but it's evident at first look that no creature wanders free.

Entrenched within the threads that boundless cross both time and space those who shape the very future cannot see in time to trace. All entangled in the chaos of desire, rage, and pain every heartbeat that still pulses serves to further knot the skein.

Spinning out beneath my fingers weaves the web that holds all lives as they endlessly endure frantic leaps and desperate dives and I watch the middle distance lest I look and really see—in the fear just my reflection will be what looks back at me.

Written in response to the prompt 'dizzy', and previously published as 'Bonus Chapter 0' for "The Stretch in the Strings: A Rurouni Kenshin Story", where it can still be found in a slightly different form.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, which I've taken to like a fish to water. And no, I was neither tipsy nor tripping when I wrote this. Although I had read 'Preludes and Nocturnes' about twelve times running.