V (from Errata by Jacob Smullyan)

They removed the blindfold only after the long trek on circuitous, mountain roads had given way to miles of flatter highway. For several hours, the cool air had provided evidence that it was night, and when the rag over his eyes was roughly torn away, Z. at first saw nothing. The brigands would not answer his questions—not why he had been taken, so long ago, nor why he was released so suddenly and so in the present. At least, he assumed that this, whatever it was, was what he used to call “present,” long ago, before the Night fell, when (he had thought) there was something to present. In his confusion he cried out, “Is this the present?” He could not be sure whether, in the strange mixture of sounds that followed, the laughter of his captors was the predominant ingredient, or the cackling of animals—chickens? hyenas?—or the wind, or the noises of demonic machines. And he heard, or imagined, words buried like fossils in the mingled sounds, like faces in clouds, or like faces. “Where is he, he asks?” he heard, and he thought, “they think I asked—where I was present.” Another voice, deep and guttural, or was it a loud engine rushing by? rasped out something: “Papa,” or “Pisa,” or even: “Piss off.” The sounds grew faint; only a twittering hiss, the aural equivalent of starlight, surrounded him. Finally his eyes, so unused to discriminating light and dark, or even right and left and up and down, showed him that his world again consisted of regions, distinguished from one another by shades of light, or its absence, which was the same thing.

When this happened, a memory, not of a time or an event, but of a state, like a trace in the body, or a child’s first smell of coffee, came to Z.—a memory of “standing.” This concept was not one he could define, but he knew it was a feature of the past, like Mama and Papa and like Light, that he felt with his whole being. Light had returned; could it be…could he stand?

As Z. lay stretched in the dirt and rubbish behind the truck stop outside (perhaps) Pisa, his eyes neither closed nor open, not knowing whether he lay facing the sky or the ground, he fought to stand, although he did not know what it was to stand. The stump of his left arm shot out and a foot tensed at the end of his leg. It began to rain, and his open mouth filled with mud.