The Painter was falling too. But as he fell, he brushed a stroke of paint onto the next step down of a stairway that seemed to go forever up and forever down. With a perfect even stroke the Painter brushed step after step.
"Work, work, work" he hummed.
"Excuse me," Mika finally said as he watched the Painter. "Why are you painting those stairs?"
"Must keep busy now," the Painter said without even pausing in his work. "Can't think about falling, now can we? Soon we'll reach the end, and then we won't be falling anymore. We'll be free. Right!" He continued his singing.
"But sir, what if there is no end? What if we fall forever!"
The Painter missed a few steps. "Now look, see what you've done. Of course there is an end, silly. There was a beginning, wasn't there. Now go away. I've got work to do!"
Mika shook his head and watched the Painter brushing stroke after stroke. He let himself drift slowly away.
Mika continued to fall for
he knew not how long. Finally, he through he could see a light in the
distance. He hoped it wasn't the Painter again, and began swimming towards
it. He swam and he swam until he fell onto a soft dirt floor with a