Darkness surrounds me, enfolds me in a shroud of doom. Where am I? I can't remember. I'm floating, levitating. I can't see where I'm going, but I feel the motion. Is there anybody here? Nothing. I'm scared. Where am I?
‘Fight it Sharon, fight it,’ my mother pleads desperately. I look around. I'm in a bed. Not my bed. Where am I? There are tubes everywhere, all attached to me. And machines. Machines by the bed. In the distance, people in green are talking. I don't know them. One with brown hair approaches, and injects something into a tube.
A hospital. I'm in a hospital. I was sick. Something's happened. I can't remember. The darkness, there's nothing but the darkness all around me. What is this? Am I dying? Yes I am. The darkness pushes against me with its oppression. My mind freezes, caught, trapped in that single instant of time. I'm losing myself.
This won’t help. The doctors. The doctors will help. I can't do anything. I'm dying.
Apparitions appear some distance before me. All white and translucent. Their pale light swallowed by the darkness. As I approach, I recognize them. My friends, my family, all standing in groups, deep in conversation. Someone's missing. Who? As I float onwards, they turn towards me, and stare in silence with emotionless faces. I look upon the image of each in turn, their blank eyes watching me as I slowly float by. I can't help them. I felt numb. I couldn't even say goodbye. Mum was last. I linger on her image for a time. She has Ian. He can help her. I don't know what I can do. I'm dying. I turn away with regret, and let the tide take me. The darkness beyond is vast. Where am I going? I'm dying.
Realization dawns. Adam. Where's Adam? I turn back to the apparitions, to see my son run towards my mother and take her hand. He wore a beaming smile as he watched me float away. My son. I can't leave him. I won't leave him. What can I do? I have only my mind. If I think then I am. What shall I think? Here there is only darkness. Nothing to grip. Nothing to hold. I'm dying. Do I believe in God? No. What do I believe? Science. Science or God. I brace myself against the flow with that thought, and feel the pull of the tide. I must think. If I think then I am.
The darkness is disturbing, so I close my eyes and immediately feel more secure. A debate, Religion first. I must remember. The Bible. I never read the bible, only bits at primary school. I must remember. In the beginning there was nothing. That's how it starts. Seems there's nothing at the end too. I let out a small laugh, and nearly lose my grip. ‘In the beginning, there was nothing,’ I yell in my mind, taking hold again. I must concentrate. Nothing is nothing, so no God either. Where did God come from? It doesn't explain. Okay, God appeared and created heaven, earth, water, and everything we see around us. And God was pleased. On the seventh day he rested. No rest for me now.
He created Adam, The first man, then Eve from one of Adam ribs. Is that taken literally? Or does it suggest that Man and woman are complementary units? That there is a Woman out there somewhere made for every Man. Seems like romantic nonsense to me. The Garden of Eden. A paradise. Well except for the tree. Why put the apple tree in Eden? A temptation. A test for Adam and Eve. Did God have doubt in his own ability to create perfection? What is perfection? Diversity? That seems to be what has been created.
Symbolism. The serpent: Adams genitals. The lush fruit: The pleasure of intercourse. The Tree: The tree of life, a representation of future generations with each dividing branch. Eve was tempted by the serpent. Adam and eve ate of the fruit. The taking of pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Adam and Eve put themselves in Hell. The pleasure should be given for the sake of creating life, as God himself took pleasure in creating life. Pain of child birth was Eve's punishment. Does that mean that restraint should be used at all times unless a child is desired? Was it too much to ask? It appears so. The pleasure is desired, but not always the Child. Cain and Able. I never read it. What's next? I don't know. I can't remember.
The tide becomes more forceful. Evolution. I desperately search my mind for every scrap of information I have seen or heard. Television programs light my peripheral vision in succession. I reread The Origin of Species. This makes sense. Physics. The big bang theory. Again my mind is filled with images. The tide grows stronger still, but I am winning. Gravity, space-time curvature. Chemistry, atoms, the periodic table, sub-atomic particles, nuclear bonds, it all comes together to create life. Atoms form amino acids, amino acids form proteins. I can see it all working in my mind’s eye. This is amazing. The images have a life of their own.
Suddenly the pull becomes immense. I scream and force a tree into existence, and wrap both my arms and legs around a branch. I will not fail. I must think! I recap on everything that I've thought, going over and over it in my mind. All the time the tide threatens to drag me into death. Harder and harder it pulls, but I will not let go.
Eventually it abates. I open my eyes. Still there is darkness everywhere, but I can feel the tree branch that I'm clinging to. I won’t let go, but I do relax a little. It's over. The tide has abated. Science wins.
The forest was silent, the trees sleeping bereft of leaves as if in mid-winter, but it was not cold. A hazy light shone through their skeletal branches from all directions, but there was no sun. I took a step forward and my foot squelched in something soft and moist. I look down to see a carpet of ripe red fruit beneath my feet. I made to take another step, and watched as I slowly lowered my foot into the sweet slushy mixture. The juices oozed between my toes, splattering my ankles. There was no pain. The carpet formed a path stretching into the distance as far as the eye could see. On either side of the path, the trees stood tall and foreboding. The dark earth around them strewn with dead leaves and sharp twigs. That way leads to pain. The path was safe, wherever it went. So I walked.