The Gate served as my entrance to that watery world. The cave was a yawning black abyss against the lush forest floor, but it brought no danger with its presence. I climbed inside, searching for something my soul couldn’t quite articulate.
The cave floor was a shallow sea. My feet sent small ripples sailing across the surface, imbuing the static land with a heartbeat. White sunlight filtered through holes in the ceiling, illuminating the deep pools on my right like blazing, white fire.
At the end of my path was a machine. Discarded metal parts laid rusted on the ground, small enough to Hold. I stopped amid the running water as it rushed down the smooth slope, and tinkered with the machine parts in front of me. Metal rods, spinning gears, chains—they combined to create a lantern. An artificial flame burned inside, and I found its place on the cave wall. I hoped it would guide some other weary traveler to the end of the cave; a beacon left by a ghost.
I walked from the cave into A Mysterious Land. Holographic flickerings of giant mushrooms covered the earth, like a long-dead fairy forest. Once home to towering trees and thick moss, it was now only barren gravel, eroded by small streams. Echoes of the past flitted across the lifeless earth, filling my chest with warm nostalgia. It was my grandmother’s farm on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I was a child. Comfortable longing whispered soothing words to my heart, reminding me of the pleasure of knowing I once experienced the joys of that simple time.
My journey brought me to another cave. Soft moss reached from the floor, grasping my legs, bidding me down, down, down into The Middle of the cave’s cathedral. Flickers of my old life drifted around me in the form of glowing, watery orbs.
The sweet serenity they brought was replaced with cool, sharp air, set into motion by the smooth wall of water before me. In that Reflecting Mirror, I could only see the broken vessel that stared back.
The cave ceiling opened, allowing Rain and Water to pour in. The watery orbs floated upward as rain from the cloud-covered sky soaked the earth around me. I hovered above the ocean, no longer shallow, no longer coating the cave floor. Tumultuous waves raged across that Cold Field, but they did not interfere with me or the orbs. They merged together, becoming a reflection of my wavering soul.
The orb held nothing, but everything. Regrets, loves, desires, futures, pasts, rights, wrongs, decisions made and decisions missed. It pierced my heart with invisible claws, creating holes that could never be repaired, filling it with longing I would never be able to satiate, and desires I would never be able to fill.
This was a world lost to many, and found by few. Most could not look into their souls directly and see the flaws that resided within. To the few who did, to me, it was translucent serenity.