Are you lost? Because you’re way out here, walking through the Empty Places, and there’s nothing way out here in the Empty. Go back to the crowded and the stinking and the city… if you can.

There, in the city, is the constant noise of progress and change and life. That is where you belong, isn’t it? In that collection of concrete and glass and steel against the black of night. There in the factories, transports, trains, and buildings. And it is full of people living in color and sound. There you must work. You must play. You must contribute and learn and give and give and give….

Ah, don’t worry. I meant no offense. Those things aren’t so bad. But the constant war of obligations will slowly overcome you like rust, spreading and consuming and corroding. I’ve seen it before. But that’s what you want, isn’t it?

Oh, you’re not lost? You meant to come here?

Well. Then welcome to the Empty Places.

At first, you will find… nothing.

But… why did you come here? I wonder….

Since you meant to come here, I’ll tell you a secret: the Empty Places are deceiving. They are not nearly as empty as you’d like to think. There is dirt. And there are rocks. There are roots and trees and waving grass just growing and growing. And there is quiet. There is so much quiet that it startles. Don’t be alarmed if it fills you like hollowness. And you miss the sound of the city. The quiet will shadow you. It will make you miss the colors and smells and the thrum of the city’s heartbeat.

But you meant to come here, didn’t you? So what are you looking for, out here in the nothing? Do you even know? You weren’t looking for me…

And you’re not looking for bugs. They fill the earth: churning it, digging through it, living in it. They fill the air: flying through it, diving, buzzing. Did you know you hated the buzz of bugs so much? They are irritating, yes, but they help the plants grow. You’ll grow used to them.

Are you looking for plants? Do you know what Red-Berried Elderberry looks like? How about Columbine? Horse Nettle? Green Dragon? Wild Four-O’Clock? Do you know what a Destroying Angel looks like? If you’re not careful, you’ll find out. So many plants here are more dangerous than they appear.

But Ginseng and Lotus grow here too. And Thistle and Dandelion. Cattails and Sunflowers and Wild Bergamot and Strawberries. And Dewberries and—

No? You’re not looking for plants? And you’re sure you’re not lost? Because you seem lost to me.

Because if you want to be lost, to disappear, and to fade into nothing, then you shouldn’t be in the Empty Places. Some people want that. I’ve seen them before. They come looking for silence but find the noise in their heads to be too much. They come looking for… a way to forget. But there is no forgetting in the Empty Places.

Instead, if you really want to lose yourself, go live in the city and the crowds and the noise. Because if you come to the Empty Places to lose yourself and to forget, you will find the only thing worth finding in the nothingness.

Losing yourself, forgetting yourself, does not start in solitude but in chaos. It starts in the city and the noise and thrum, thrum, thrum of the city’s heartbeat and—

Oh. I see now. You’ve already forgotten yourself. They’ve taken what’s hidden in your mind and burned it, haven’t they?

I see. You’ve come for the Haven.

Then. Come, I’ll show you.

There, in a field, is the Haven. It is the constant song of progress and change and life. It is a collection of makeshift tents, in the white and gray and linen against the blue of the sky. There, in the Haven, you will find cooking fires and venison and pots of water fresh from the river and lines of laundry snapping in the wind. And it is full of people living in color and sound. You must work. You must play. You must contribute and learn and give and give and give…

And those things aren’t so bad. And the constant everydayness will slowly water you like rain, slowly feeding your soul. Your self. I’ve seen it before. But that’s what you want, isn’t it?

My name? My name is not important, for I am not really here… you’re persistent, aren’t you? Very well: I am the absence of sound. I am Silence… yes, an ironic name, I know.

But back to you… you’re not lost. You meant to come here.

Well. Then welcome to the Empty Places.

At first, you will find… nothing.

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