I floated there for quite a while, occasionally swinging my legs aimlessly to pass the time. I looked around myself but only saw dark space, stretching to infinity. For a few hours I slept, perhaps, dreaming only of myself and my situation such that I was not sure, upon waking, whether I had slept at all. It seemed a little lighter, perhaps, or were my eyes just becoming accustomed to the gloom? I had been eating a lot of carrots in the weeks preceding. They had been on “special offer”.
It was definitely getting lighter, or at least undarkening. As the light slowly rose, the hum of an angelic choir, or perhaps a barbaric monastery, seemed to appear; again I was unsure whether this was real, or if my brain had begun inventing sounds to stop me from getting fearsomely, dangerously bored.
Eventually I saw a speck on the horizon – if there can be said to be a horizon in an infinite underground cavern, which there can’t – that began to grow larger as it moved towards me at an incalculable pace. As it crossed the line of recognition and became as large as the third-bottom line of letters on an optician’s chart, I saw that it was the wizard-king himself, floating towards my position and occasionally bobbing up and down like a school-child’s paper boat on a pond, gently stirred by the motion of swimming ducks on a windless day. I breathed in, sort of almost frightened but not quite.
Eventually, after what seemed like about seven minutes, he arrived. Withered and frailified by time and the lack of sunlight, he glowed in the darkness. I realised that he was the source of the light that now fell upon me, shooting gently forth from the pores of his skin. He spoke in a papery whisper, as if his vocal chords were writing the words down as his throat convulsed. The fibres of his beard-mane waved as the words rolled from his tongue.
“Good morning, Toby”, he said. “I have been expecting you.”
He produced a steaming cup of tea from his robes.