1. We've been so hungry, who knows for how long. who could ever know.

I've always heard that the number one fear is speaking in public. I find that very hard to believe. Not that I don't find that terrifying, nor that I doubt that anyone would find such a mortifying act beyond their ability to calmly consider, but it's just that I find it to be rather circumstantial. Perhaps they were only considering the quality of the fear, perhaps more people are regularly forced to speak publically than I would estimate, but how often can someone really say they lay sobbing, curled against a cold wall with only public dictation as the single ghost endlessly haunting them?

It's a shallow stab at an ocean of fear. It was the biggest fish they could catch.

A child girl stands on a blackened stage; she is pinned in a spotlight, helpless and squirming like a spider caught within a clean plastic cup. Watching her from the universes beyond the stage are unknown crowds of seated figures. The black sounds surrounding the spotlight are enormous and terrifying; she closes her eyes and pretends she is standing in an open field. Above her a sea of clouds shakes with explosions, below her the ground is tearing apart. She places her tiny hands on her stomach and remembers the message she has come here to reveal. Her mouth opens slightly and the shadows below come to a dead silence, then she speaks in god's voice, "You've been afraid for so long, but I know that you've been having trouble figuring out exactly when you're so scared of. It's okay, I'm here now to tell you."

She opens her eyes for a moment and the blackness below seems moist; there are too many eyes, everything looks translucent and primal.

"You've been wondering if your life has any meaning."

Someone in the front row rubs their hands together too perversely, the sound is similar to an old house sagging in against itself.

"You're worried, I know, because there is nothing to say that your life does, in fact, mean anything at all."

Some people are silently crying. The whole room smells like an ocean. Everyone feels like they've taken a look around them and there was no land in sight.

"I'm only here to say how sorry I am, I'm so sorry. I can't tell you if your life has meaning, no one can tell you that, and worse, if your life does have meaning... I'm not sure that you will ever be aware of it, even then. Even at the height of meaning, even when you're the only thread holding this horrible quilt together."

"I'm so sorry. I. Personally. feel that being afraid is okay. I'm so afraid, I can barely speak right now."

"I hope that everything will be okay, but I can't make any promises."

"Thank you for coming."

The stillness is suffocating.