A Higher Language

by Breck Yunits

I was walking in the woods and saw a path on my right. I had never seen this path before.

It was a few feet wide and a foot or two taller than me.

Branches on both sides had been pulled back and up, forming a pointed tunnel through the dense forest.

On the ground, covering up the forest dirt was book after book, like someone had tiled a bathroom floor.

Curious, I started down the path.


The book path was flat like a road. It was easy to walk on.

At first it was a patchwork of hardcover and paperback.

Then at points I found myself walking on magazines. Then newspapers. Then academic journals.

Eventually I was walking on screens, flashing moving images beneath my feet.


At first these things were only on the ground.

But soon they started to build up in layers along the sides of the path.

Eventually I walked between walls of books and papers and screens, walling me off from the forest.


Finally they began to arch overhead, and soon I found myself walking in a tunnel, brightly lit by screens.

Occasionally I would spot a hole where the forest poked through. I would stop and patch the gap.


By now my stomach was growling.

I reached into my pocket for a peanut butter sandwich I had packed long ago.

It had been so long that the sandwich had flattened into almost nothing.

I couldn't figure out how to eat it or unflatten it, so I just pressed on.


I didn't notice the floor was vibrating until it was too late.

I realize now my body had sensed it. It was screaming at me to stop.

But I was in too much of a hurry to see what the next walls had to say.


The last thing I remember is falling through the air on my stomach as a steep rocky cliff rushed by my feet and spinning around to see a tunnel of books and papers and screens rapidly disassembling above me in front of a bright blue sky.

I saw the previous end of the tunnel went to nowhere, over a void, and the new end of the tunnel ended at the edge of the cliff, coming out of the forest full of trees rising high into the sky.


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