He didn’t know who he was or how he got there. In fact, he didn’t know much of anything.
What he did know, however, was that everything was white.
No shadows, no edges, just a world of whiteness in every direction.
He looked at himself, and noticed his arms, his legs and his body. He opened and closed his fists, and wiggled his toes. He was fascinated when his body moved as he willed it and his arms and legs did what he wanted them to. He realized that they were a part of him.
But was the whiteness a part of him too?
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t.
He couldn’t move it like he could his body, but he still felt a strange connection to the whiteness that he couldn’t quite explain.
His legs brushed the whiteness below and he felt the sensation tingle up his body. He moved his legs again, exploring this new sensation and the smooth, white ground beneath him.
He brought his legs together, realizing that he could feel himself. He lifted his hands and touched his cheeks and then he patted his head, felt his forehead and rubbed his chin. His skin felt softer than the whiteness, but less smooth. He touched his arms and felt his muscles twitch and flex as he moved them.
And then he placed a hand on his chest and felt something thumping, throbbing and pulsing inside him. The rhythmic beating felt relaxing, so he stayed like that for a while, letting his heartbeat comfort him.
But he was curious. If the whiteness beneath him felt hard and solid, what about the ‘world of whiteness’ around him?
He slowly reached out as if to touch the air, but his fingers hit something hard and smooth in front of him. He opened his palms and felt the solid whiteness in front of him. He slid his hands across the surface and, to his astonishment, found another solid wall emerging from the first.
He gingerly reached out to this new surface, and noted how similar it felt to the other wall and the ground. Soon, he was tracing the edges of the walls with his fingers and turning in circles as he explored the limits of the whiteness with both of his hands outstretched.
There were four walls around him, emerging from the edges of the surfaces above and below him. None of them were too far away, since he hadn’t needed to move from his original position at all, but he could still stand comfortably without hitting his head on the whiteness above.
Unlike his skin, the surfaces were smooth, unblemished and uniform. As far as he could tell, they were exactly the same size and shape.
They enclosed him, trapped him in a perfectly white world that he might never be able to leave.
But then again, he didn’t even know what was outside the walls. In fact, he didn’t even know if there was something outside the world of whiteness.
Were there others like him outside?
Did their skin feel like his, or did it feel smooth like the surface of the walls?
Could they move their body when they wanted to, like he could?
Did something thump inside their chests too?
Did they ask questions like he did?
Did they live in a world of whiteness, like he did? And if they did…did they want to get out…or were they scared of what was outside, like he was?
But did any of this matter? No, of course not. As far as he could tell, there was no one else in this white world and there was no way to get out.
His finger tapped lightly again the surface it was trailing against, sending a soft sound echoing around the walls.
He was startled. What was this new sensation that went into his head seemingly out of nowhere? Where had it come from?
He tapped the wall again, heard the sound reverberating around him again.
It enraptured him, this new sense, because it made the world seem even bigger than before. Now he could see, touch, and hear. He relished his senses because they were the only things that gave meaning to the world of whiteness around him.
But…what was the point of being able to see, touch, and hear, if all you could sense were empty white walls? Was this the extent of what he could feel? Was this all there was to his senses? The senses that were his only joy in this world of whiteness…was this all they could do?
Wait, he couldn’t see nor touch what was outside the walls, but maybe he could hear them? He pressed his ear against the wall and listened with all his might.
Soon, he could make out a light tapping noise in the distance.
He was excited! Not only could he sense the world outside, but if that tapping noise was being made by others like him, maybe they could help him get out.
He resolved himself and started tapping on the walls, hitting them harder and harder until he suddenly realized that the other tapping noise had vanished.
Confused, he pressed his ear to the wall, and tried to find the sound again. He tapped the walls, hoping it would hear him and maybe start tapping again.
He strained his ears and tapped the walls, focusing entirely on the sounds he could and could not hear.
And then there was a loud bang that made him jump in fright and hit his head on the wall above.
And then there was another from behind him.
And then one from his right.
And then one from his left.
Then one from above.
And one from below.
The loud bangs were coming from all around him, flooding his ears with sounds and making the white walls shake in a frenzy.
This was too much…it was too much for him to bear!
He had to stop it…stop them from banging the walls…but how? How could he make them stop?
They were hitting the walls all around him now, and one particularly powerful hit made the walls lurch forward and crash into him.
Suddenly, there was silence. No more loud bangs and thumps, just him and his empty white world.
Then, there was a tapping sound on the walls again, but this time he was ready. He wouldn’t let them start banging the walls again. No, this time, he would hit them himself!
So he smacked the walls with his hands and ferociously beat them. He kept hitting them and hitting them, daring the things outside from banging the walls again.
But they didn’t. Even when he stopped, they didn’t.
He sat down on the white ground and stared at the walls. He was all alone in his quiet, empty white world.
Sometimes there would be a tap on his walls again but he just had to start hitting it again to make it stop.
Soon enough, there weren’t any taps anymore. He was well and truly, all alone.
Was he happy that no one was bothering him again? Or sad that he never got to see the world outside.
But then again, did he really need to see the outside world? Wouldn’t it be full of things making loud noises or disturbing him in other ways?
But…maybe there were other senses that he didn’t know about. Maybe there were other things in the world that he could enjoy as much as his senses, if not more.
Maybe…those loud noises weren’t so bad?
After a long time, there was a gentle knock on the walls. Then there was another from behind him. And another from the side.
They were gentle taps that didn’t hurt his ears or pound his head with vibrations. They didn’t shake the walls, but for some reason, they were the clearest sounds he’d ever heard.
He waited in silence, the taps stopping as well, as if awaiting his decision.
He thought of the world that could be outside the whiteness, the world that he wasn’t sure even existed. The world that could be full of the loud sounds and bangs that had hurt him before.
But it was also the world where he could use his senses more and maybe even discover more of them. It was where he could, perhaps, find something even more enjoyable.
And well, at least it wouldn’t be as boring as this silent, empty, white world.
He reached out a hand and tapped the walls gently. Soon, there was another light tap in the same place but from outside.
And another. And another.
The taps echoed around the empty white world, filling it with colors and sound. The walls fell back and vanished as he stepped outside into a world he had never known.
But he wasn’t frightened anymore, because he didn’t have to hide behind his walls and scare away the loud noises. He could always just…stick with his friends.