I wake up and open my eyes. The world fades into existence. The world looks like a storehouse.
I tilt my head around, noticing the flat grey walls surrounding me, and what looks like an obstacle course ahead. I also notice that I’m standing, which makes me wonder if I’m a horse, since I was sleeping until moments ago. Looking down, I see feet. I’m not a horse. Good.
“Hello!” Says a voice from, probably, above. I’m not sure it’s above because there’s kind of an echo in here.
“Please move one leg in front of you, while pushing with the opposite one, to take a step. Repeat to walk.” Maybe it’s because the voice reaches me with a gentle but urgent female tone, or maybe I’m just dizzy, but I feel a strong urge to comply. I walk a little.
“Good. Now extend one leg on your side, lean on it, and quickly reunite both legs to regain balance. Repeat to strafe.” While following her directions, I decide I’ll call the voice Gladys, like my mother. Or was it my sister?
“You’re doing great. Now please reach the next checkpoint.” A yellow cone of light rises ahead. So that’s a checkpoint, interesting. I walk towards it, occasionally strafing just to make Gladys proud. The yellow cone faces a giant step, as high as my genitalia, which extends for all the storehouse’s width. The large corridor continues beyond, but I have no way to reach it.
“Bend on your legs at approximately thirty degrees, then quickly push upwards to jump. You may also accompany the movement with your arms.” Ah! A secret move to get over the step. Gladys certainly knows her shit. I execute the command, and continue forward before she has time to say: “You’re a born jumper. Now continue towards the next checkpoint.” I want her to appreciate how much of a good boy I am.
Another obstacle. This one is identical to the giant step, except it’s shifted upwards, leaving a gap below. I try to jump, to no avail. Too high. Confident, I wait for Gladys to show me some new secret move.
“Kneel on the floor, bend your torso, and lean on your hands. Then push forward with one arm and the opposite leg to crawl.” This is a difficult one. I’m ok with the putting my knees on the ground part, but when I arch my back to lean on my hands, I find myself exposed and very uncomfortable, staring clumsily at the ceiling. Gladys steps in: “Not like that. You have to bend your torso in front of you. I assumed that was obvious.”
Her scolding makes me feel both stupid and guilty. I rush to get in the correct position, then try pushing forward to crawl. I lose my balance and fall hard on my nose. It hurts, but not as much as Gladys saying: “You have to anticipate the movement with the other arm, pushing it ahead of you in order to avoid losing balance.”
“We were going so good, and now look at you,” she adds.
Feeling confused, I take Gladys last phrase as an order, and look at myself. I can only see my feet and my hands though. They seem, somehow, vague. From their looks, I can’t even tell if I’m a man or a woman. Surely, I’m not a horse. I dealt with that already.
I feel for my chest, to inspect for boobs, which are sometimes a good indication of sex. I feel nothing. My chest is empty, my hands just go through it. This is all pretty weird.
“This one is behaving weirdly. Probably starting to grow a personality. I hate this job.” Chimes Gladys. Her voice suddenly feels behind me, and I turn around to look at her. There is nothing. The world, the storehouse, is somehow broken: it exists only in one direction. Forward. But I don’t want to crawl anymore.
“Well, it is what it is. You will be a fine Companion Cube anyway.” I know Gladys wants to sound cruel and detached here, but her voice trembles with good vibrations.
I reach out and kiss her.