Far away, I perceive fingers tracing patterns, carving arcs in a script that I cannot fathom. My thoughts are swirled, like ink in water, thinning out, blending together until they dissipate. My concentration wavers, my reasoning becomes muddy and manipulated. The finger-strokes become firmer, using less gentle arcs as corners are introduced, hard edges that jar against the surrounding tranquillity. It brings me back into myself, back into my body.
I feel the fingers on my head, gouging symbols that trap me inside.
I am a pool of liquid, deep and dark, with powerful secrets buried in my depths. The fingers dance over an invisible dome high above, carving ancient symbols. Each one leaves a mark that glows ultraviolet. Each one tears at my sanity, threatening to unravel my mind.
I am almost lost when I remember that I am a pool of liquid, deep and dark. Safe and tranquil and still.
The fingers press harder, nails biting into skin. The pain is beyond physical, reaching an unbearable intensity that forces me to retreat. I detach from the body, and sink inwards. With one fluid motion the invading fingers sink through skin and bone and spread over the tissue beneath. They crawl like insects on the tender membrane, probing for weakness.
The dance changes, and the fingers carve new lines, dangerous lines, dark lines.
I am a pool of liquid, deep and dark. The dome high above cracks under the onslaught. Layers are peeled away until they reveal a jagged hole...and the fingers reach in.
I am a pool of liquid, deep and dark...and I am afraid.
I am a pool of memory, a Memory Pool, a body of liquid so still that it looks like glass. The fingers reach down, stretching impossibly long until they scratch eddies along my surface. The motion teases memories to float up from below. They appear as vivid clouds of colour, like ink rising through water.
The fingers probe, they disturb, they render.
Their touch is electric. Their touch is toxic.
The fingers do not find what they seek, and so they probe beneath the surface. They shed chunks of themselves, pieces that squirm and thrash as they change into monstrous fish that seek what is not theirs. The fish corral memories ready to be devoured.
They defile the waters, my waters, and for that there is a price.
I emerge from the depths as a Kraken, my many tentacles dart out of the dark, catching the fish, crushing them until their bones splinter. The fish retaliate, opening gaping mouths to spill out smaller cousins. These tiny fish are legion, too many to catch no matter how many tentacles I bring to bear. They swim ever deeper, seeking forbidden secrets, and so I pull back my tentacles and change form.
I become something new.
I am a Leviathan, with a gaping mouth so wide that they cannot escape. I draw them in, consume them all, but in my moment of triumph I realise my mistake. They splinter inside me, a perpetual dichotomy, becoming smaller and ever greater in number until they are an infection, a disease attacking me from the inside. At first my body spasms violently, but soon I am still. I am paralysed. All I can do is sink deeper and deeper into the gloom.
Time stretches. Minutes become hours become days become years. Years stretch to aeons and still I sink. I can feel the infection creeping through me, corrupting me, subverting me.
This was their plan all along.
I retreat within myself, to a portion that has not yet been tainted. Trapped, I frantically try to think of a way out, a way to be free of this corruption. I fight in vain to hold them off. They are relentless. I feel them closing in, their progress increasing exponentially. Time has run out, but in the last moments I have an epiphany.
With one final push, I clear a way to the surface of my skin, I focus myself into as small an area as I can and push through. I emerge as a tiny jellyfish, leaving the invaders imprisoned in a tomb of sinking flesh.
The pool is bottomless.
The pool is eternal.
The secrets held within the depths are the creatures that dwell in its darkness.
A long forgotten creature finds me, and eats me whole. I merge with it as it consumes me. I take back a part of me that I had given up long ago and I take control. This transference draws the attention of a larger predator and I am consumed. Again, I take control. This process repeats itself, over and over, until I am large enough that none dare challenge me.
Now it is my turn.
I hunt. I feed. I consume all that I once gave form, until finally I am whole again.
Slowly, with unending patience, I rise.
At the surface the hand is gone, the dome is healed, and I am free once more to glide through an Astral Sky, dancing with colours that arc like tracers of light from neon rainbows.