I opened my eyes for the first time, knowing I'd done so before.
Sitting up, I realized the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of birds in the trees. I looked down, trying to figure out who I was, as though I had only just begun to exist. My hands—and I made note of the fact that there were only two—were covered in grime, like a mechanic's. My yellow-and-black striped pants were also smattered by the gunk, and my shoes which could only have been formerly red were now brown and stained.
Was it really brown, though? Or was it something that someone had called brown and I had accepted that fact, not realizing that, while indeed they perceived it as brown, I saw it as blue? Others might see it as green or red, but we all call it brown, though we all see it differently. Brown; why was that word so important?
I remembered a word…then it was gone again from my mind, not even remaining long enough for me to have registered what it was. Per—-Perp—-what was it?
The children stared at me…were they children? I thought for certain that they were, but I really didn't know. Why were they staring? Was it an attempt at communication? And what was that noise? I remember there was such a thing as music, an orderly collection of noises set to a beat, but I didn't know whether or not this was music.
I stood up, only to fall down again, wracked with pain in my chest. Something felt…wrong inside me, as though I only had half a heart working…no, that wasn't quite it. My pulse reminded me of a long illness (or was it an injury?) that had caused my heart to stop. That was it, I had two hearts. Why wasn't one of them working?
Oh, hello, that's new; there was some red liquid on my shirtsleeve. Oh, that's blood, I realized. My blood or someone else's? Now what put that thought in my head?
One of the people, a boy, I supposed, came over to me and made some noise I couldn't recognize. It sounded like "Argh oo fyne?" but I couldn't be sure. I didn't know what reply to make, so I simply stared at the child. Another creature, what could have been a parent figure, hurried the boy away…
A metal man stood watch over the land, high atop a pedestal. On the stone, there were markings of a sort I knew I'd seen before, but I couldn't make sense of.
I stood to walk over, this time braced for the pain, and made it over to the statue. I wanted to ask the metal man for help, but I couldn't find words, only ideas that cannot be conveyed with speech. So I stood, dumbly, looking at the metal man, hoping he would be able to figure it out. He did not, or could not.
I walked away…
Entering a shelter of some sort, evidently a sort of communal gathering place, I wandered, observing the people. They made no sense to me, still, and I was beginning to wonder if I was dreaming. I passed by a window just as another man did the same, and I stopped. He stopped. I raised my arm. He raised his arm. He had light curly hair…and a trickle of blood…and oh such interesting furs. I leaned toward him to get a better look at his eyes, as he did the same. I saw a depth of profound experience and wisdom in his brown eyes, but confusion, as though something wasn't working right in his head. Perhaps the blood was telltale. As though he read my thoughts, he brought his hand to his head and felt it…as did I, and pulling my hand away, I noticed that I, too, had blood on my hand. Perhaps that was why I was so unsure of everything. The pain redoubled, and the world went dark as both the other man and I toppled over, still aware of the sounds and smells of my hodgepodge world.
I regained my sight in a white room. My clothing had been replaced with new clothes for some reason, and there was a sort of plastic creature leeching my blood. Or was it putting something into my blood? There was a steady beeping noise, which went along with the sensation in my chest. I looked around, only to see sleeping (or dead?) people all around me, on oddly bent tables.
A woman entered, with some strange apparatus on her face, resting on her nose. Was it meant to help her see inside me? She made noises at me; "Whut z oo uhr naymn?" "Syr?" I didn't know what to do, so I simply repeated the first set of noises. She turned to what may have been her tribal sisters, or perhaps her underlings, and made more noises I couldn't make out. There was suddenly a horrid smell in the room as a door was opened. I was shown a set of pictures, but what was I supposed to do with them? I felt very tired.
Perhaps I was a creature that had escaped from their zoo? But I looked like them. The creatures had an intriguing scent to them; some like flowers, some like fruits, some like other smells I didn't know.
The door opened and I got a mental flash and I spoke my first meaningful speech: "Hairy!" though the significance of it was not very evident. The man gave me a funny look, made some noises, and repeated the word I'd used. Why was "hairy" so important? Why did it sound familiar?
Night came, and the strange creatures handed me back my clothes. I realized I didn't know how to put them on! Absurd, I thought, a man of my caliber? What caliber is that? Who am I? They helped me get dressed, though I resisted.
I wandered the world, observing. There seemed to be two main species, the two-legged creatures I'd encountered earlier, and a four-legged metallic race capable of great speed. The flesh creatures must have a symbiotic relationship with the metal ones. I didn't know where I was going. I didn't know who I was. But words were starting to make sense to me, and I decided I must have been a genius as I was figuring things out so quickly.
One of the metal creatures nearly struck me as I walked unknowingly through its path. How rude! And it's symbiotes were just as rude, shouting things, and doing odd things with their hands. There was a girl in distress, slim, with dark hair…she was talking to a black-and-white metal creature. Suddenly she caught sight of me, and began chasing me. She was outraged at something I'd done to her. Was I a villain? How had I wronged her? I didn't have time to think as the strangely familiar creature pursued me. I wasn't watching where I was going, but I ran as fast as I could. But then suddenly I felt the fact that my heart wasn't right, and I began gasping for breath. She caught up to me, spoke some word of worry, but I couldn't hear. The pounding in my head was too great. I keeled over, only to have her catch me. She said something to me, but I could only understand it as noise. She pointed to me and said "Dock tohrr." What was that, I wondered, was it my coat? Or was a Dock Tohrr my vest? Or the name of my people? She pointed at herself, noting my confusion, and said "Pair ee."
So I was a member of the Dock Tohrr people, and she was of the Pair Ee species?
She began dragging me, but I punched her gently on the arm. She made a statement of pain, then said "Dock Tohrr" again while I glared at her for mussing my sleeve. She said something else I didn't understand, then one word I felt was as familiar to me as air is to the lungs: "Tahrr dys." I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was something special to me. My mate? The name of my tribe? I recognized that in order to be whole again, like the egg in the song, I had to see this Tahrr Dys.
The Pair Ee took me to the revered Tahrr Dys, which turned out to be a temple of some sort, and I entered. It was larger on the inside! How remarkable, I thought. And look, another door! The Pair Ee took me through the door to the other side, and lay me down on one of those odd soft tables. It felt like time to sleep. And as I drifted off, I was finally able to understand what the Pair Ee was saying:
"Goodnight, Doctor, pleasant dreams."