As Matthew regained consciousness he was greeted by darkness and silence so intense that it was almost unbearable. His first reaction was to try to speak but no sound came, then he tried to move but it held no results either, which only served to increase his now very prominent fear.
Then the memories of heat and pressure that only lasted for a few seconds finally came at him.
“...Am I dead? ... I… I can't believe it”
“There were so many things that I wanted to do. So many things that I wanted to say and see, so many things that I will miss."
The first thing that he thought was how he said goodbye to his family before going on the mission. The casual way he talked, and all the things he couldn't say to them anymore.
“If I had known it was going to be our last time chatting.”
A sense of sadness gripped his heart at the thought of how the news of his death would impact his friends and family. He was supposed to be gone for around 20 years which with the average life expectancy was long but not too long, now he would never return.
Then a bunch of unfinished business came to his mind. The biggest being his expedition to Proxima Centauri B. His biggest regret was not being able to explore this new world. The fact that he was so close to it made everything worse
If he could yell and cry in his current state he would already be yelling like a maniac and crying like a baby.
In this state, thinking about his life and death, he kept floating in the darkness without him even realizing how much time had passed. It could have been thousands of years or just seconds, but eventually, he calmed down.
“Well, there is really no use in thinking about my life now there's nothing I can do anymore-” His thinking started to slow down. Matthew felt darkness taking hold of his consciousness, but it was no darkness. It was the absence of everything, even darkness
Some part of him or maybe in a corner of the only thing that was left of him, Matthew knew that he was disappearing.
In what seemed like slow motion, Matthew thought. “But...it doesn't quite feel like I'm disappearing... its more like... my memories are being assimilated into a part of myself.” That idea, for some reason, didn't bring any peace to him He was falling asleep, or the equivalent in this strange place.
“No…...no…..NOO….NO! I HATE THIS FEELING!! Come on, think! Stay Awake! ” He screamed in his mind. He could tell that if he let go he will be no more. Some part of him was saying that it was okay to let go, to fall asleep. But his rational mind was screaming to not let go or everything will be over.
trying to not fall asleep, he started to explore as best he could his current condition.
“If I'm really dead, how can I still be producing thoughts?” It was the first thing that came to his mind after he calmed down and tried to put some order into the situation.
“Is this even real? Maybe I did survive and I'm still on the ship. Maybe I'm just in a coma or something in the medical area. I have to admit that this weightless sensation is exactly what it would be like if I was floating in a dream.”
This first thought to try to put some logic to the situation came really fast but was dismissed with the same speed, for a not so logical reason.
“But there's something that is telling me that I have died, it's almost like an instinct, is the same part of me that is telling me to let go, inviting me to fall asleep.”
“Besides, even though it's still the first reason that made my mind, now that I start to concentrate I can tell there's this new sensation. Something that I have never felt before, and although in a dream you can feel things that you have never experienced, like the sensation of flying, this feeling is something more profound and too complex to be made in a dream.”
“….It feels like a skin made of water but more ethereal that spreads around my very being. It's weird but somehow it feels natural, like a mix between the five senses but at the same time without being like any of them. As if the five senses were just a cheap imitation of this, or maybe just a simplified version.
His inquisitive mind, the same that pushed him towards science in his life was starting to act up again
“Well, for now, let's call this feeling original sense since it feels like the origin of the senses.”
Come on keep going don't fall asleep.’ Something inside him kept pushing him.
The first he did with this new sense was check himself. Because nothing has happened to him for what seemed like an eternity. He deduced that wherever he was, it was a safe place. He doubted it was even possible to get hurt in this state. Along with the fact that the more he spread his original sense the harder it became to control, the easiest choice was to figure his current condition.
What he felt with it left him shocked, he had to take a few minutes to comprehend what he was sensing.
“I can feel myself being in the form of some sort of ball. But even with this original sense that I know by instinct that is way sharper than the normal ones, if I try watching my whole form it feels blurry. Only a small sphere is nitid, the rest feels like I am unable to comprehend it. It's like the form of something I cannot process with my mind. I can only comprehend it as an amorphous blurry figure. So my current form is a small sphere attached to a much bigger and blurry amorphous part.”
“Is this my soul?” Matthew had never thought something like the soul was real. Nevertheless, this surreal feeling and his current form made him think about the famous soul. Yet again some instinct was telling him that his guess was correct.
Next, he proceeded to send his senses into his own “body” or soul, as his gut told him. Waiting there was a boundless space, so big that he could only feel an extremely small portion of it. Filling the space was an uncountable number of tiny specs of white light and strings connecting this dots light.
“I can tell there is some kind of information inside these simple structures, in fact, they're so much and in such a cryptic way that I can't make heads or tails of it.“
The quantity was such that if his consciousness was to be compared to a glass, the information in a single dot would be an ocean. Trying to understand it would be like compressing the later inside the glass.
Then there were a lot of blurry parts just like on the outside, he couldn't sense them right.
“The more I keep looking inside the more I feel like I will lose myself and “fall asleep.”
“agh.. this is so frustrating the only two things I can do are extremely restricted. I think I better focus on trying to control the original sense and spreading it further away, maybe if I can expand it enough I will know what is happening in my surroundings.”
With the only other option being to fall asleep to oblivion, he kept manipulating his original sense to expand it and experiment. He soon found out that he could spread the original sense in a radius around him in pulses and they then bounced to his surroundings coming back with the information.
The function was very much like a radar. That is if the waves instead of being sound or electromagnetic pulses were a sticky substance that stuck to the surroundings before coming back. And it came back even if there wasn't anything after spreading to a distance that with his lack of instruments o reference he couldn't measure it. He could only call it his observation field.
He could tell there were other ways to use this sense and other ways to observe instead of using pulses, but this was the easiest way.
He spent what he felt like a lot of time trying to filter the information given by his new senses. Luckily it was not like the information stored inside him, where the smallest part still looked like an astronomical amount.
“There are other spheres just like me!!!” He could sense a total of 20 other spheres in his observation field. Like him, they were actually more complex than simple orbs but he could only interpret the rest as a blurry shape, and what was more astonishing was that he could even feel emotions and simple thoughts coming from them.
They were all in a hibernation state sending emotions of peace and serenity, which made him want to let everything go. There were only two exceptions, one that was showing emotions that he interpreted as intense regret and hate with a strange mix of love. The other sending signals of anxiousness and fear the moment he touches these spheres they shuddered as if they could feel someone touching them, even then, they were gradually calming down and Matthew knew that they would soon join the rest.
“Wow! They are all like me, and I feel this closeness to them. It's so weird, how come they don't seem to have the ability to use this original sense? Matthew could tell they had it but it was in the state it naturally took form when it wasn't being used. It was surrounding them like a layer of skin
“Also, now that I have other things as a reference I can tell that I'm moving and it looks like I'm going slower than the others. Does it have anything to do with me being the only one capable of using this sense?.”
Just when he was about to start another round of exploring Matthew felt something taking hold of him together with pressure all over this new form of his. Followed by a boundless presence that felt immense and superior to him and everything else in any imaginable way.
He didn't even have the thought of resisting, it was impossible. It was like trying to oppose a planet in its path, he stretched his original sense in search for the being that grabbed him but he couldn't see anything. The only thing he got to perceive with it was that he was being taken from his original place, besides that was pure terror and innate awe for whoever this being was.
Again that instinct from before appeared telling him something very different this time. That there was someone out there, someone with such power that the best he could do was to let this being do whatever he wanted and not resist. This time he couldn't help to take the advice to heart.
“Can this possibly be a god?”
Matthew knew that science could not explain everything and that it only used simplified models to comprehend the complex reality. Though he was very open-minded he didn't believe in any religion, but he never discarded the possibility of the existence of a god. Right now he was really inclined to believe that this presence without even looking at the origin of it, was, if not a god the closest there was to one.
He felt himself stop and the pressure over him decrease a little but not much. As it lessened he could feel through a strange awareness or connection, that the being was watching him. It was a cold but amused gaze that almost hurt him as if whoever that gaze belonged had complete control over his very existence encompassing his past, present, and future.