“Stay On The Path!”
With that Zap-Zap races off into the woods. Stay on the path? I’ll start by trying to get across these rocks. My friend vertigo decides to allow this. The sounds and smells of this place are overwhelming. I can’t imagine the engineering that was involved in putting this humongous ecosystem in a spaceship. It’s starting to feel like I’ve won the lottery. Not that long ago, it wasn’t really clear how many days I had left to live. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m dead. Or used to be dead. If that’s the case the whole rebirthing process is turning out great so far.
It feels good to be up and moving around. My body is not all that happy about it but I’m used to that. I have this overwhelming feeling that everything is going to work out perfectly. Like I’m exactly where I need to be even if I don’t know where here is. And I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. Overwhelming black hopelessness had swallowed me so completely that escape seemed impossible. If winding up here is some sort of divine intervention then I’m grateful for it and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Stay Focused! Don’t get lost!”
Zap-Zap appears long enough to disrupt my train of thought and then he races back down the path into the forest. The trees are starting to get more unrecognizable as I get further down the path. Bizarre leaves and curious flowers. Some of the bird songs are so alien and hypnotic. A large cluster of unknown flowers appears to turn and track my progress. Even the vines and roots seem to be shuffling about nervously as I pass. What is this place?
It’s starting to feel like someone is watching me. A rustling in the woods, just off the path, but it stops when I stop walking. And then the smell hits me. Strong and potent. A weird mix of burning garbage and skunk butt. Standing next to one of the trees is a gigantic humanoid man-ape. Dark brown, almost black fur, and it appears to be standing in the middle of a mist or cloud. It slowly raises a hand to its mouth and I see the cherry of a cigar light up. The creature exhales a large plume of smoke and the smell gets stronger. It then turns and walks behind the nearest tree and vanishes. I can clearly see the other side of the tree and it does not come out the other side. No sound, everything is quiet, dead quiet. What in the #@$%! This can’t be happening. First a spaceship, then the future, and now I think I just saw Bigfoot.
If I wasn’t awake before I am now. You learn to control the panic after a while. The brain gets used to the shock and you are immediately able to think strategically. One of the byproducts of a lifetime of paranormal experiences. I’m going to get out of here before something bad happens. The sun is going down, or whatever you call it in here, just say no to blunt force trauma. After a few more minutes of walking a glowing clearing appears ahead of me.
Good timing because it’s getting dark in here. The clearing looks more like an orchard for trees covered in blue bioluminescent blooms. The entire area is bathed in blue light. Multitudes of odd butterflies float between the trees. Surreality is trying to push the panic button again. I can hear Zap-Zap shouting about coffee so I must be close.
In the middle of the grove are a bunch of long, futuristic looking buildings. Rounded on the ends and edges with flat roofs. They appear to have the same flowers growing out of them. Zap-Zap looks like he is having the time of his life serving coffee to a bunch of people in lab coats. As I approach, another cup of coffee floats out of the Tai Chi maelstrom.
“Medicine for the TRAVELER!”
A scruffy looking gentleman with a shock of red hair reaches out to shake my hand and says “I’m Ensign Cole, I’ve been waiting for you”.
There is that strange sensation of deja-vu again. Did I see this in my dreams somehow? “I think I just saw Bigfoot!”
“Do not be alarmed. The Recon Team is doing some research for us today,” he said while looking at me seriously.