Ember restlessly snuggles deeper in the warm softness she was sleeping in....... Purrrrrrrrrrrr..........
Slowly, as she wakes, she realizes that she is cocooned in soft warm buzzing....FUR?!?! She keeps her eyes tightly shut as she feels around herself. "Hmmmmmm..." thinking to herself, "This is definitely sort of animal, but what? It must be huge! And what is this noise? It sorta sounds... like.... a ... really.....large.... CAT!!" She opens up one eye to peak at her surroundings and a few inches from her face is the enormous head of a tiger with huge sword long teeth jutting out from each side of its mouth. She gasps and jumps back but not before a long wet tongue licks her. "Oowwww!" she exclaims, as the sand-paper texture slides over her forehead. It starts to lick her again and she shouts, "NO," throwing up her arms to protect her face. The large cat simply blinks, nudges her with the bridge of its nose before focusing on a paw and beginning its bath, all the while purring softly. Ember sits up and runs her hands over the thick fur of the stomach she had nestled on and the purring grows louder. She lets out a sigh and laughs before saying, "well, you are just a big kitty cat, aren't you." The cat rolls onto his back and Ember slides down to find herself in a huge pile of socks.
"Socks?" She looks around and notices they are everywhere. Some are even continuing to fall from the blackness above her head. As she stands up to get her bearings, she notices all sorts of random items piled about and strange looking anim....PLUNK. Her thoughts are interrupted by a ring of keys hitting her shoulder. "What the..?"
"Where in the world have I ended up this time?"
"Technically, it's not really a world, per say....."
"Perhluna!!" She exclaims as she grabs her furry friend out of the air and squeezes him tightly.
"Hey! Hey! Hey! Not so tight!!"
"Sorry, I guess I'm just glad to see your bratty hide," she says with a grin. Perhluna poofs out of her arms and onto her shoulder. He puffs, "and my kind is considered strange, harrumph!"
"Perh, where are we? What is this place and what are those tree trunk looking things over there... coming straight at us?"
"What?" as Perh looks up to see huge legs supporting what appears to be a leathery boulder, passing over them. "Oh that. I think in your world they were called dinosaurs."
"A dinosaur? Be serious." She frowns at hims, but as the object continues on, she realizes they are all connected and in fact a dinosaur. "Oh my. Where are we?"
"Where are we? Where are we? Must you always ask that?"
"Why yes. I must. So?"
"Well..... this is.... hmmm...... how to explain...........this place........ well....... it's not..... really a place at all......it's more of a..... non....place.....really......it's...."
"Always with the impatience. Hrmph! This is where things from your world go. " he states finally.
"What do you mean, " she asks, frowning.
"When they are not there anymore, they are here."
"UGH! Can't you ever give a normal simple answer and not some sort of riddle?"
"You are always wanting answers, labels, definers. Sometimes it is not always easy to define. Here things exist/ They are here because they no longer belong where they were."
"Oh, like extinct animals, species. But what's up with the socks, keys, toys, etc?" She inhales sharply as something dawns on her, "Wait, does this mean I'm extinct? Am I dead?!?"
"Hmmmm, which should I answer first, " Perh muses.
"This is no time to mess with my head, Perh. Am I dead? I mean, in the real world?"
"Real World? Everything is real and yet as perceived, nothing is. That is what you do not understand. This place is as real as any other. Just because you label things doesn't make them absolutes. Are you dead. No, not in the sense that you are imagining. At the moment, you are just experiencing a different existence than you are normally used to. It is the same with these." Perh gestures towards the sleeping saber-tooth, a mammoth, odd looking insects and foliage. "They no longer belong in the world you come from. This is like a transition place, if you will. Eventually, they will move on to something else. Another place, another form."
"Oh my god, I am dead! Do they know? Do they think I just disappeared? Are they looking for me? Do they...., " Ember rambles.
"Stop that, you silly girl. You are not dead! To the people in your world, well, you are not there at the moment, but time as you label it, is relative. What is time? Ahhhhh, one more of your definitions, labels. There is no time here, there is no need. In your world, things function better with this 'time' thing defined."
"So how long have I been gone. I mean in... my... world? I would hate to know they are worrying about me," adding under her breath, "not that I'm not."
Perh pauses to contemplate the question, then disappears from her shoulder and reappears instantly floating in front of her. "I can not say what the time is in 'your world', but here you have been sleeping, just there," pointing to the tiger, "for about... what would seem... to you anyways... to be three years. But really..."
"Three years!! I've been sleeping for three years!!! How long have I been gone?"
"Tsk Tsk, no need to yell. As I said time is relative. I can not say how long you have been gone. One does not know in your world. For your body, in terms you might understand, physiologically speaking, three years has aged."
"Grrr, " Ember puffs, then pauses and sighs, "so really to them, I could have been missing years or not at all?"
"Exactly! time is relative!!" Perh smiles and claps his paws joyfully.
Ember paces a bit, kicking at the piles of socks. "So....no, never mind." A few seconds later, she pauses, "but....," then continues to pace. "I...." she starts and then closes her mouth and begins shaking her head.
Quietly to himself, Perhluna says, "and they say I am the strange creature." Ember shoots him a disapproving look, obviously overhearing him.
"I should just stop asking questions, shouldn't I?" she asks, finally.
"Ember, questions are always good. Remember you have a mission, that is why you are here. Never stop asking for then you stop learning........ but maybe not ask so many all at once, " he adds with a lopsided grin.
"But it's so frustrating. And your answers can be annoying. Like they are not answers at all! Or there is some deeper meaning I'm supposed to get. But I don't and then I get agitated trying and..."
"Do not get annoyed with me. This is just how I am and part of the process I am here to guide you on, one we all must undertake in some way. And as your kind would say, 'it's part of my charm'. With this last statement, he squeals with laughter and spins until he falls down into the socks, then reappears on her shoulder with a grin. Ember can't help to laugh in spite of her frustration. "Ok, so tell me, " thumping him on the nose lightly, "what is up with these socks?"
"They are lost things, just like those, " he shrugs, pointing to some toys, "and those," pointing to what appears to be paragraphs of letters or emails scrolling in the air, "and you. Come let's look around and see what we'll find."
Ember takes a moment to look around, then shakes her head and heads down what appears to be a path in between some sock draped foliage........