THERE WASN’T ANY SOUND. Nor was there any smell. If there also hadn’t been any light, Paign would have thought he was entombed in a coffin, dead. But he could see, although not much. Wherever I am, it’s dim, like twilight, or maybe predawn. Howlong have I been here? He ordered his hands to reach out in front of him and sweep away the gloom. His brain registered movement, but that was only because he felt his shoulders contract as his arms swung up from his sides. Why can’t I see anything? So, he held his right hand up in front of his eyes. As before, he was certain that his hand did, in fact, swing up directly before his face. Still, he saw nothing but the pale orange shimmering that had been twinkling all around him for what seemed like ages. It’slike being covered in dry, orange water! Growing more anxious—and in an effort to confirm his mind’s command—this time he ordered his right hand to strike his nose.
“Ow!” Paign cried. “Svarte! Why can’t I see my hand when I just hit myself with it?” The sound of his voice was odd, like it had been bellowed into his pillow.
Still, all that registered in Paign’s view was the pale orange glittering. By now, Paign was fully worked up and agitated. He struggled to move his feet, but they seemed to be bound, or stuck. Of course, he could no more see them than he could the hand he’d just given himself a bloody nose with. At least he assumed the warm, moist sensation dribbling down his upper lip was blood. Furious now, Paign pushed down with his left foot as hard as he could, while pulling up with his right leg. Not seeing what bound him in this bizarre, glistening place angered him all the more. But, straining as he did, even mustering more energy than he thought possible, Paign still was unable to break free from his hidden bondage. However, he could tell that if he tried much more, he would do serious harm to himself. Something had already popped in his left ankle, which was now throbbing.
“Aaaygh!” he screamed. “What is this place?”
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