I awoke to find myself in a peculiar position. I was still alive, of that much I was certain, but I was somewhere else entirely. Below me the floor had become much colder, and much more solid. Against my back I could feel the cool mould of enormous bars pressing into my shoulder blades. My body felt the same as it had before, albeit a little weaker. When I opened my eyes at first I saw nothing but a blinding light. My head dropped instantaneously as I cupped my face into my hands in a meagre attempt to block out the blinding light. After a short moment I re opened them and slowly raised my head. Before me was the most curious sight I had ever seen in my life.
There seemed to be a gathering of sorts, of people, perhaps the strangest looking people I’d ever seen. It was difficult to see much of them at first, they were hidden so softly in the shadows. It was hard to tell where their hides ended and the walls began. Soon enough I could see them clearly, though they paid me no mind. The people before me were the size of ordinary people, though that was perhaps the only normal thing about them. Their skin was a shade I’d never seen before. I’d heard tales of people in the heart of Africa whose skin was so dark it was almost purple. These reminded me somewhat of those tales, but much more horrific. These beings had plainly purple skin, in a shade that looked anything but human. It clung to their bones as wallpaper may cling to an ever-decaying wall, coming off in peels and looking dry and stained. It didn’t bear looking at for long. The rest of their bodies weren’t much more pleasant. Their stomachs, if you could call them that were immensely small, they looked malnourished beyond possibility. The rib-cages on their persons was more pronounced than I could bare to think about. How they were still alive was beyond me. Below, their legs seemed muscular enough, but their feet were at least twice the size of any ordinary man. Their hands were especially disturbing, they were hairy, like that of a gorilla and on the end stood razor sharp talons that looks powerful enough to slice any living creature clean in half. Even more peculiar, they seemed to have two sets of claws, one protruding from the tips of their fingers and the others from the back of their hands.
But perhaps most disturbing were their heads. On their faces sat the most ghastly expression I’d ever seen. They had eyes and noses and mouths, but they were somehow hollow, as if in-bedded too deeply into their faces. Their hair was even more peculiar, each and every one of them had lengthy locks of orange hair, growing in spikes and trailing all the way down to their waists. They wore barely any clothes between them, and they looked all the more happy for it.
These beings, whatever they were most certainly could not be considered human. I wondered a great many things as I watched them, namely what they were called and how they had come to be. They didn’t notice me for a while after I had woken up, and even then they paid me no mind, as if I were simply a decoration upon their decaying walls.
When they spoke, it was in a language I recognized but an accent I did not. Truth be told their accent didn’t sound like it came from anywhere on this planet. They spoke of various subjects as I observed them, philosophy, astronomy, even the state or the ongoing war. From what I could hear foreign powers were now getting involved. They spoke of their thoughts on politics and its discontents, particularly the fall of Tito, the rise of Milošević and the failings of communism. Whoever these beings were they seemed curiously attuned to the modern world. In reality though I had little interest in the politics of our failing society, I wanted to know more about the origins of these people, though they seemed unwilling to divulge. I listened for what felt like days before receiving the slightest morsel of information. From what I understand, they call themselves the Garland people. Where they originate I still do not know but they speak under the pretence that they have lived on our world for thousands of years, mostly undisturbed and undetected.
They said all this in such a matter-of-fact tone it was hard to dismiss it as a mere exaggeration. Try as I might however I couldn’t figure out the purpose of my being present. I doubted they were going to eat me, as I’d been sitting here for a number of days now. They clearly didn’t want to talk to me either. I wondered, at a time like this what had happened to my dear family. As much as I missed them my heart sank as I accepted the probability that I likely wouldn’t see them again, not unless god himself intervened in all this madness. No, right now all I had was my cage, my own imagination and these highly disturbing beings sat in front of me, speaking in a language the same as my own, but not quite.
After some time my body was failing me. The hunger which had seemed so distant was now an ever present feeling that troubled my every waking moment. I tried to concentrate, but could no longer ignore the rumbling in my stomach, and I got the feeling neither could they. They seemed to notice me by this point, I caught a few glances in my direction in later days, though they still never spoke directly to me. That was until I reached out first. My voice was hoarse, I hadn’t used it in goodness knows how long, but eventually I attempted to speak to them. They didn’t respond, perhaps unsurprisingly. I was patient at first, but as the hours rolled by I was losing it. By now I couldn’t think of anything but food, food and salvation. My state of delirium seemed never ending, it was near the end of my everlasting state of consciousness that they finally seemed to pay me any real attention.
I jumped with a fright once realizing they were stood directly in front of me, staring at me with their hollow eyes. I attempted a conversation once more and this time they finally reciprocated. They whispered sweet nothings, telling me everything and nothing I needed to know. I asked them of my family, they told me they were far away, though I may still see them yet. I asked them who they were, they told me they were mere mortals like me. I asked them where they were from, they told me they were from a simpler time. All this and more was said between us as they carried me out of my cage, their skinny arms were surprisingly strong, they lifted me as though I were no more than a canine. Where they took me next I cannot say. Not because I do not remember, but rather because it would be too complex to put into words. I simply remember being carried there, and spoken to as we moved. They told me a lot more once the procedure was under way, they told me many things I scarcely dare repeat. This and much more as I drifted away to the elder world. And that is where I remain to this day. My physical body has long since expired but my soul lives on, as do the souls of my loved ones, in this prism of uncertainty. It was upon entering this realm that the thought finally dawned on me, everything they said now resonated with me in perfect clarity. For it was they whom I had to thank. They, the true geniuses of the modern world. They, the architects of the Earth, the Milky Way and everything beyond. They, the instigators of the cosmos. For it is they, the very first humans!