All was dark. An endless stream of pictures ran across the black canvas, but those pictures were as blurry as anything else. Not even a sound could be heard. Nothing made sense. There was nothing to be done. No arm or leg to be moved. No mouth to let breathe. No heart to feel beat. No mind to even think…
A state of being that was hard to describe. Everything was nothing, and it felt like one’s sense of ‘self’ was something that had long since disappeared…
If there was an emotion to be felt, then would posit that it had to be ‘panic’.
Yes. Panic. An emotion of fear never before felt. Panic as if one was trying to reclaim everything, but was that ‘everything’?
And…why? One wasn’t quite clear about it…
A beam of light dawned across the darkness, scattering away the tendrils so that the blurry pictures once more began to take shape…
Things were hazy, but something was starting to take shape out of the visual snow. If one were to focus, one would be able to see large buildings everywhere and a road as flat and smooth as a mirror. Countless vehicles moved this way and that at blinding speeds like non-stop objects. Even in the skies, one could see many things flying about…
One might believe this was a place called ‘Earth’, but one wouldn’t know why it was.
People could be seen in these pictures. They were doing all sorts of things, but none of which seemed to bear any sort of relation to the other. How unfathomable.
Some things in these pictures were clear, other things were not. Some connected to another, some did not….
Right there. The sensation of coolness around the ‘body’. Then the realization of the existence of a ‘mouth’ lapping greedily at something. It was sweet.
Then the throat. The stomach. The arms and legs. The subconscious….everything was ‘coming back’.
“Ah! He’s awake! He’s awake! Grandfather, come quick!”
The next existence to make itself known was the ear. A noise was apparent to this ear, though it was muffled at first before the ear could properly register what this noise meant.
The sensation of having ‘eyes’ was next. An experimental push was made, and light soon began to sprinkle in…
A groan was had as Bai Yunfei opened up his eyes. The light was blinding to him and took him a second before he could see what was around him.
Taking up the majority of his range of vision was the face of a young man. His eyes had a particular light to them that seemed unblemished by anything in the world as he stared happily at Bai Yunfei. Just barely within the corners of Bai Yunfei’s eyes stood a small wooden hut.
“Quiet down, Stone. Let the elder Zhong take a look.”
An enfeebled voice spoke, prompting Bai Yunfei to turn towards the source. He wanted to turn his head, but he found himself lacking in strength.
“Oh, grandfather Zhong, please take a look then…” The one known as ‘Stone’ replied meekly. Stepping away, he allowed for a second old man with him to draw close to Bai Yunfei.
This old man had a kindly expression on his face. He was studying Bai Yunfei closely as if trying to discern if there was anything wrong. Clearly, there was something about Bai Yunfei that puzzled the man, as the man kept tugging at his eyelids and then at his jaw. Two hands poked at Bai Yunfei’s body as if to test the response, but Bai Yunfei was as still as a statue.
“Curious…very curious…all of your wounds healed in just two days?! This is simply phenomenal! Could my medicines be far more effective than I thought?!”
The white-haired elder seemed satisfied with his observation of Bai Yunfei. Groaning to himself as he stood up, he dusted himself off. “He looks fine, if not just a little confused if his eyes are anything to go by. His wounds are healed, but let him rest and he should be fine by tomorrow. Find me if anything in particular changes.”
“Thank you for your troubles, elder Zhong. See elder Zhong out, Stone.” The voice of the first elder spoke again. Bai Yunfei heard the one known as ‘Stone’ chirp in affirmative before he heard the door close and two pairs of footsteps walk farther and father away…
Bai Yunfei saw then an elder dressed in gray approach the bed he was laid on. “Young man,” The voice spoke warmly, “how do you feel? Can you speak?”
Bai Yunfei blinked. Opening his mouth, he noticed that somehow, his body had enough strength all of a sudden. Both palms pressed gently onto the frame of his bed so he could boost his body up.
“Oh? You can move?” The elder uttered in surprise, but not before quickly reaching out to stabilize Bai Yunfei before he could fall and rest his head against the wall.
Bai Yunfei heaved a sigh at the feeling of his strength slowly return to him. His eyes swiveled over to take a better look of where he was.
It was a simple bamboo hut. Nothing too remarkable about it.
The next thing he took note of after the room was the elder seated next to him. “Senior, I…where is this? What happened?”
“This is our village. Stone and his father found you laying unconscious on a mountain before they brought you back here…” The elder replied, “As for what happened…that is a question you must ask yourself. Where are you from, young one? Why were you found with blood all over you? What happened to you?”
“I…” Bai Yunfei trailed off, his face was scrunched up in confusion. “I was covered in blood? And unconscious? What happened? I…I don’t remember…”
The elder blinked, this wasn’t an answer he expected.
“Haha, so you’re not fully recovered as I expected.” He laughed, “Worry not, the answers will come to you in time. What is your name?”
Bai Yunfei paused. There was a strange sensation in his head. What was it? He paused again.
“I think…my name is…Tang Long?”
“You think?” The elder gave him a puzzled look, “Where are you from?”
Again, Bai Yunfei looked almost lost. “I think I’m…from Earth…”
“Earth? Where is that?” The confusion in the elder’s eyes deepened. He was more and more at a loss on how to treat Bai Yunfei.
“Alas, let us speak of this another time. Rest up for now and wait to be fully healed. Maybe all will be clear then.”
“Yes…” A dazed nod. “Ah, senior…” A sudden realization. “What should I call you?” A polite query.
The elder cracked a warm smile this time. “My surname is Wu. You may call me uncle Wu…”
“Uncle Wu?” Something in Bai Yunfei’s mind registered a stab of pain, but the pain was only for a moment. This name had to be important, but he could think of no such reason why. He blinked the feeling of daze away from his mind. “Thank you, uncle Wu…”
“Haha, no need. Heal up first and then we can talk.” Uncle Wu smiled. Rising up from his seat, he stepped for the door. Just as his hand was about to push it open, the wooden door slammed open from the other end first for a golden-brown shadow to fly through it and towards Bai Yunfei!
The first instinct Bai Yunfei had was to give a yelp, but the warm sensation of something licking at his right hand prompted him to look down. Right there on the bed with him was a large wrinkly dog that laid on top of his person so it could lick his hand incessantly. Its tail was shaking non-stop and the amount of joy in its eyes was unmistakable to see…
These two words flowed forth from his mouth before his mind could even catch up. But where did that name come from? He had never seen this dog, how did he know its name straight away?
“Lao Sha? Is that its name?” Uncle Wu seemed to have recovered from his small fright. “This dog was found with you. Stone said that it was standing guard over you when they found you. They mentioned that they saw a heavily-injured wolf stagger from the opposite direction before they came across you. That dog of yours must be quite the fighter then. I was told your dog wouldn’t let anyone get close and even bit a few of the villagers. Stone’s father seemed to have convinced its mind when he put down his weapon and waited. It wouldn’t even leave your side on the way to the village, surely it must have been worried someone would try to hurt you and was prepared to snap.”
The curiosity on uncle Wu’s face only deepened at the dog’s appearance. “Your dog stood outside the door for the entire two days and night you were out. It wouldn’t eat anything. In fact, I don’t even know if it’s even hungry…”
Bai Yunfei was even more surprised. He looked down at the large dog on the bed with him in confusion.
Aside from this dog being ‘Lao Sha’, Bai Yunfei wasn’t quite sure what else there was about this dog.
“What…happened to me?”
As hard as he might to try and jostle his head for memories, Bai Yunfei couldn’t find any. A new type of fear gripped at his heart in a way that made him feel pained.
He had…forgotten many things it seemed.
Or maybe it was better to say…he didn’t remember anything at all…