Soon we all were lifted, wet and dripping, from the empty pool and put in the tumble room. This was my favorite part! Here we tossed and spun and caromed off each other, while the air got steadily warmer until it was pleasantly hot. It was like a sauna and a roller-coaster together; these fifty to seventy-five minutes were always the most fun of the month for me.
I assumed I'd be taken out, tied to my mate and put away as usual, but this time something different happened. Suddenly I wasn't tumbling anymore; just falling, and the darkness of the tumble room was replaced by an bright, horizonless whiteness. And all around me were objects of every description: gloves, sheets of paper, watches, coins, ballpoint pens, hats.
No two of them were alike, and we weren't even falling in the same direction. Some bisected my path behind me, rocketing off toward what I considered the left. Others fell "up," from my perspective, and I was nearly hit several times. It was as if gravity decided to be random.
I called to my mate, but there was no answer. Terror paralyzed me. What was this place? Was it even a place? Where was everyone else from the tumble room? What happened to my mate? Why was I here? What happened to me?
I kept falling, without an end in sight. Myriad other things continued to race past in every direction. Terror melted into despair. I didn't know what was happening, but I was sure it couldn't be good.
After what seemed like hours, the whiteness suddenly turned to a kaleidoscopic swirl, and then I stopped. All sensation of movement was gone in an instant, and yet I hadn't felt an impact.
I was on a surface now. It was smooth and hard, like a floor. Tentatively, fearfully, I rose and looked around.