He opened his eyes, but nothing changed. It was dark.
The dull ache in his head grew, alarmingly fast. The darkness was like a hurricane of wet concrete, battering Jonas's skin and forcing its way into his nose and ears. First his lips, and then his teeth were shattered as it wormed its way down his throat, setting his insides to motion. His tongue was uprooted and shoved down into his stomach.
He tried to shield his face with his hands, but felt nothing. He couldn't move his arms. Were they still there?
He could feel it inside his body, pushing. He was being simultaneously crushed and torn apart. His throat muscles rippled, the only functioning part of his respiratory system trying to gasp for air.
A tiny light pulsed in front of him. It was small. No, it was far away. It pulsed again, slightly larger. He struggled to concentrate on the light, despite the agony of the pressing cold liquid dark. Another, off to the right, flashed larger. He could tell now that it was circular. Then three, four, ten, fifty flashed; like puny growing strobelights. They were not perfectly round, he realized; they oscillated and stretched gently as they grew - no, as they got closer.
ohpleaseohpleasesaveme lightlight light light light drive it away, light please drive it away it presses and it fills drive it away grow until there is no more dark
And they did grow. The jellyfish kept rising; by now he could see their tentacles billowing out below them, the pulse of light starting from the center of their heads and spreading, ray-like, down their bodies and out through their curtains. Their tainted lightning illuminated the ground below them, rough and craggy. Like the surface of the moon, or
the gates of hell
And Jonas realized where he was. The water, its immense pressure kept filling his insides with lead and turning his limbs to stone and he knew that the only reason he could still see, the only reason his eyes had not turned to mush was so he could watch as the jellies rose, slowly, like mocking ballerinas, and took him.
An eddy swirled him sideways, so that the left of his vision was filled with rising luminescent beasts and the right with darkness. If he could have thrashed, he would have done so, terrified, until there was nothing of him left. But he had lost control completely. There was nothing more to do but wait and wail and die.
Green flashed across his field of vision, so small and close he could not focus his eyes to see it.
SAVE ME! he thought at the green with desperate strength.
It lazily drifted back into view, a tiny sea turtle waving its flippers in pitiful circular motions. It somersaulted and flipped, unable to control its path.
It's like me it shouldn't be down here it's helpless like me
Its flippers were overlarge, and translucent. The jellylight filtered through them, revealing delicate tracing blood vessels. It reminded him of leaves.
Then a tentacle brushed his leg and indeed, he realized, he still had legs because now they were on fire, his leg was on fire in the deep of the ocean and he would be eaten and the angel-bug could do nothing
He had never heard the word before, never thought it before. He didn't know why it came to him. But as soon as the word had crossed his mind, the angel-bug's head snapped towards him, effortlessly rotating itself to face him. As it turned he realized that the flippers were also wings. It had stone spheres in its sockets instead of eyes. Helpless to do anything else, he looked.
And saw continents.
He saw plate tectonics, shifting levels of heated and cooled rock, swirling inward on itself like curls of smoke. He saw granite and bedrock covered in iridescent, shimmering liquid metals. Plumes of evaporated fluids worked their way to the surface, bursting forth in gouts of steam. And he saw that water covered the earth, and green appeared and grew until the stone was covered and
This is your ancestry.
the green grew and transformed the earth in its own image;
You are a mote of dust, a seed scattered from the gods, and you are one among many.
The bluegreen globe was a droplet in a heaving sea, gray and angry
Many many many many.
The sea was a patch of haze in a nebula, swirling with the corpses of giants
You are small, said the angel-bug.
A blade of grass.
And Jonas slept, passing through his nightmare with the fluid motion of thought.
Angel-bug, tinest savior, remind me of my insignificance
so that I might be like a mote of dust;
so elemental in my simplicity that all my fears
and the Furies themselves
overlook me, until I am ready to stand up tall
and be swept away forever.