She woke in a dark place, with no name and no memory.
Something rusty had been shoved down her throat, and thin, tight bonds ripped into her wrists and ankles. She tried to scream, but it became a gag and gargle. She passed back out, her brief moment of waking one of terror.
When next she woke, the rusty taste was gone, and she could feel the roof of her mouth, her teeth, and tongue. The bonds were a bit looser, and she could raise her arms and legs just a bit off the warm slab of… marble? metal? whatever she lay on. All the world was still black. Had always been black. Would always be black.
At some _point_ ahead – and it wasn’t really time for her, because she had no real concept of time other than the basic instinct that there existed _something_ that she was a part of – the lights came on. Her eyes became coals in her face and she screamed and brought her hands to her eyes, and it was only when the pain subsided that she was able to realize that the bonds had come loose.
She stood, and felt the prickling of the cool floor against her bare feet. It was so different, so unexpected and new, that she stood there with her eyes closed, _feeling_ the floor with every surface of the bottom of her feet. She stood there until the floor warmed against her, then shifted her feet to some place new and stood there too. Later, much later, she opened her eyes and looked around. Though there were now lights, smiling glowing orbs far above her head, the room still had a lingering darkness to it, as if it were tucked away somewhere someone wanted to forget. The room – and it was a room – was made of black stones, stacked one atop the other in a rather uniform, hypnotizing way. She had never seen something like this before, and the smooth lines between the blocks drew her eyes like a beacon. She went close, reached out, and traced one with the pale skin of her finger.
There were no grooves, no bumps, just a straight break of a line.
The wall opened behind her. She jumped at the noise, which was the loudest thing she’d ever heard. She put her hands to her ears this time, but still the scraping of stone on stone beat through her ears like a hundred painful drums.
Beyond the door were stairs, and they led up and curved around a corner. She couldn’t see beyond it, but even the act of stepping towards the door and peering out had been too much. She couldn’t imagine herself climbing those, and finding whatever she would find. Everything was so new and fresh and terrifying that all she wanted was for the lights to go back out and to get back onto the slab.
Eventually the compelling nature of the open door led her to walk forward, and she left the room she alone knew, and started to climb the steps. She saw many things on the walls in that narrow hall. Paintings and drawings and murals and etchings, and though she knew none of those words, and recognized less the purpose of each, she felt they were important somehow. She felt they were the answer to her identity and her life. But what could they mean? She saw things that resembled her. Torsos, heads, arms, legs.
They were small but floated high above what she thought must be the ground, and blue squiggly lines she could not identify. There were circles drawn and shown, vast places she couldn’t fully understand. But she thought that the people like her were slowly becoming more. They were _advancing,_ but into what or whom, she could not answer.
Then she came to the depictions of the bad things. These she understood less, because there was a certain formlessness to them. They felt oppressive, even captured within their renderings of black and gold. They were doing something wicked, they were _reaching_ and the people that looked like her seemed afraid, advanced as they were. Soon all the murals depicted these new horrors, and she still could not formulate what had happened or why.
She reached the end of the hall, and found a door. It was slightly ajar, and from its edge came a bright light, brighter by a thousand than the light she had experienced earlier. In her fear she found courage buried deep, and she pushed the door the rest of the way opened and stepped out…
… and into the sand. The explosion of her senses rattled her, and she looked all around. The massive blue sky, the endless sand, the light that lit everything up, but most of all, the enormous ball that hung just above the horizon. A whirring, silver gray node orbited by a thousand tiny spheres that sizzled with each pop of electricity. She stared up at it, its wonder eclipsing even the enormity of nature.
“Welcome,” it said, and its voice was fierce as a hundred thousand thunderstorms, and it shook her to her bones.
“Who are you?” She asked, the words tasting strange to her mouth.
It paused, as if thinking. Then it said, with a voice as strong as before, “God.”