Titanic arcs of lightning erupt from the electrodes like they are trying to split space and time. Each crackling surge of power zipper zig-zags towards me, rending the air into a nitrogen and oxygen plasma soup.
The bass roar here from the planet is a standing wave of sound, a semi-solid wall of wails that thickens the closer I creep. I have to remind myself the discharges are minor fluctuations in the output and while terrifying, they can only stun, not kill. The real power lies within the contained fury and pain trapped below the surface.
The ground here looks torched. The rock is black and frozen in twisted ropes and bubbles from when it was red rivulets. It looks like nothing could grow here. But what’s this? In pockets that must collect dew in darkness and shadowed from sun and showers of sparks are tiny ferns. Little spores of life blown on the wind, now settled and thriving as small oases dotting the desolation. I was warned nothing could thrive here. They were wrong. It gives me hope.
I approach the stone door set between the electrodes. A spark gap I couldn’t see before spits ball lighting onto the vertical surface. Each ball spins and bounces against others like a gravity-defying billiard ball before appearing to melt into the door, which shimmers like supercharged moonlight.
This is it. This is the door I must pass through. My steps have brought me here against all cautions. It feels like folly and destiny. I’m trembling, scared, terrified. I want to run away from this place but I know if I walk away I’ll be back here another day, just like all the other days I’ve stood upon this very threshold and turned away from my future.
There’s no knob or latch showing, so I reach out to push. The surface current engulfs my arm and then my whole body before I even touch the door and I am plunged into madness as I fall across the threshold.
A cacophony of voices! Thousands, tens of thousands, maybe more, talking, shouting, whispering, crying out, grunting, whimpering, making every human noise imaginable fills my head. I become dizzy from it. It fills my body, setting every nerve alight from its raw, unmodulated power. The wails I heard earlier pour through me like a fountain of hot lead, each one heated by the pain suffered by its utterer. I cry out in my own pain.
It suffuses and buoys me, and I discover I am floating in a dark ocean of hot, angry tears. The madness recedes and I begin to hear individual cries and feel angry trembles moving through the deep. My anger heats my part of the ocean.
Like during meditation when a thought passes by, I note where I am and realize the door was an illusion.
Have I always been floating here?
Before the thought is complete, silence isolates me. I feel abandoned and lonely. There was a womb-like comfort in the pain and anger since I was a part of it. I note I miss it, but I am not it, so it is no longer here.
‘Hello?’ I call out tentatively.
‘Hello,’ comes a calm reply.
It sounds like my voice. I am taken aback. I note I am alone.
‘How long have I been here?’
‘Why am I here?’
‘To discover yourself and decide.’
‘How long you want to keep a part of yourself in pain and anger.’
I consider this in silence. I note I’ve already spent a lifetime here.
‘How do I leave?’
‘You have already begun.’
I blink in the darkness. When my eyes open I am sitting in daylight on top of a large lava rock in the middle of a cooled lava field. A squall line delineates the horizon and it is driving a rainbow towards me while the ocean crashes in the distance. The air is wet and smells of gardenia. A few early drops splatter on the rocks and I see tiny ferns in every nook.
The rain comes to water the ferns but I am no longer there.
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