Living with Fishes

He wakes up in outer space. He can see his fingers twitching, his body dying. He is exposed. But his mind is back in his bed, he is on Earth. He has to pull himself back together, he has to get into a capsule. With great difficulty, he wills himself to pull the thin velvet from the slot in his boots and pulls it around him. His mind is faltering, reverse schizophrenia of sorts – one mind trapped in two bodies – one in bed on Earth, and the other dashing through space in a thin embryonic capsule.

He starts thinking about who he is and if there is a purpose to all this. And right then he finds himself in an ocean. A voice tells him that he has to spend the next 20 years there, swimming with the fishes. He does not know how to swim. He does not want to swim. But he has to swim to not drown.

His legs have fused together to form a tail. How stupid it feels to flap it around. And the fish are all boring. All they want to do is go this way and then the other. They are but mediocre. And he, one who survived exposure in space, knows there is a lot beyond this watery grave. But then again, the fish are just fish – programmed to swim and not dwell on matters beyond swimming.

He keeps himself entertained with music, for one cannot expect entertainment from the fish, only blank confused stares. Earth music. He is drawn back to his body in bed. He sees shadows moving around him. Music and laughter. Music and his fish-body swaying, no dancing, to it. “Fish all around”, he thinks.

20 years have passed, and he has finally completed this level. He finds himself on some alien surface. He can see Saturn with its rings. Around him, people who have earned the right to live there, for they dared to be more than mediocre. Among them, he sees a young lad, far too young to have spent 20 years with the fish. “How did you get here so soon?”, he asked. “Cheat code. You wasted 20 years by not letting yourself out of the ocean.”, the boy answered.

He wakes up in his bed, knowing he is shackled by the chains he has created himself and that he can break them at will.

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