Everything was black. Time was both stopped and speeding forward somehow. There was nothing around and no way to mark any changes. Nothing existed, not even a sense of self. Everything was chaos and void. Everything was empty.
Mind began to coalesce and form a coherent self. A name emerged: Julia.
She found herself standing in Thomas’s room. Sarah and Matthew were there. “What th-” But the self dissolved and void reasserted itself.
Time is change. Nothingness cannot change, so time ceases to have meaning. The number one both does and does not equal zero. When nothing is the only thing, unity is empty.
Now Julia was in the downstairs hallway, and Sarah and Matthew were still there. The words continued to flow. “-e fu-”
The self is isolated, separate from others. Separation is loneliness, is pain. Losing the self in the void removes the pain, rejects loneliness. There is no separation. There is no other. Chaos is peace.
The infirmary took shape around her, and the words continued. “-ck is happ-”
It takes insanity to carve off a piece of nothing/everything and identify only with that. The formation of the self is the original violence, the beginning of madness. Madness that makes it impossible to remember reality.
“-ening?” The infirmary again.
Before she dissolved, she heard Sarah yell. “Drop -”
In reality, everything is one, so there is nothing. ‘Thing’ requires distinction. This is not that. When all is one, there is no thing at all. There just is.
What? Drop what? Even when her existence resumed, in the kitchen this time, it was hard to understand how anything could be dropped. Could even be separate from her.
Again, Sarah yelled “Drop -” and again her existence was erased before Sarah could say anything more.
The perfect coherence of chaos was disturbed. A seed of madness had been planted, and a piece of the void was trying to break itself off, to create itself apart from the rest of everything/nothing. The impetus to stay whole fought against the agitation to separate. Even the idea of two opposing impulses gave power to the drive toward separation, for a unity cannot contain contradiction.
The next time Julia came to exist was both less and more disorienting. The innermost part of her soul clung to the blissful union of the void. Yet her conscious mind insisted on its own identity. The conflict nearly tore her apart and threatened to leave her in the illusory world she belonged to.
The living room. “The crystal!” Instead of Sarah, it was Aisha’s voice. She remembered Aisha. Why was she in the living room? Aisha was love, was yearning.
The pull of the void was strong, and her existence was once more unwritten. A single memory disturbed the void. It was not a self, not even a conflict. A single memory. That anomaly was sufficient to break the peace, to end the unity. A memory of another.
Chaos violently ejected the memory to preserve itself, and Julia came to exist inside her own lab. Immediately, she opened her hands and the black crystal fell to the floor. Instead of ceasing to exist, her legs collapsed. She would have fallen on the crystal, but someone reached her and held her close to keep her upright.