A horror from the deep takes a moment to reflect on the life choices that lead to it being here, impaled on a spike of some unfamiliar nature, floating on more than one border between this world and the next.

You have come strongly to appreciate the possibility that more than simple custom leads your kin to keep to the depths which are your home. Nothing like this ever happened there. But mostly what you feel is pain—pain, and a strange giddy tearing lightness, deep inside yourself, which might be gases liberating themselves from your tissues into this unaccustomed lack of pressure, or might simply be the beginning of your dying, or both.

There are some in this world for whom enough pain renders thought impossible, but you and your kin are not among them. So you are able to perceive these feelings in yourself. These, and one other—the thing that is in you, the thing that sliced through the top of the world and sliced through your upper side and tore open one of your ballast bladders and sent you falling to the top of the world, unable to control your ascent. There is something about it which is strange beyond even your accustomed strangeness—some feverish heat, pervading all of you which surrounds it with a sickly killing warmth like nothing you've known before, or wished to. It freezes you and numbs you and burns you and hurts you; that your integrity should be compromised is not a new thing for you, but that you should be constrained from acting to repair it is new, and the horror of it is all the worse for the intimacy with which it is so cruel.

Yours is not often the experience of regret. But it is certainly yours now. You felt yourself so broad, to be so at home with strangeness. You dared the loose warm heights just below the top of the world. You nearly died once already, chancing with that pale, and refused to be dissuaded—and this is where it's brought you. Most uncharacteristically for one like you—you wish you had done otherwise. But such wishes avail you nothing now.

You are not alone, you know, dying here atop the world. There is a great hulking dark dead thing close alongside, a corpse almost your own size, shifting and groaning as if with some great force beyond itself—and not a corpse alone; you hear the tiny sounds of tiny things within it, parasites in a hollow cadaver perhaps. Perhaps they threw the thing that is killing you. Perhaps they will throw another. It is very hard just now to care.