I remember it all:
My little feetsies go a pitter-patter on the metal rungs.
I look to my side to see the feetsies of the innumerable faces scrunching in exertion as each foot of theirs carries their wheel round. The wheel turns over, and over, and over. My breath is laborious. My hands pump up and down. With each turn a little ding chimes from the bell, and louder the faster you go. A satisfied smile passes over the face that I spy to my right. He slows for a moment, only to begin anew his sprinting. My hands have relaxed and shake with excitement as I watch the hammer coming round to hit my bell. Ding! “Yes!” I've just screamed aloud. There my hands have raised in the air, and I continue to move my feet, never stopping, never slowing -no, that would be disastrous. I must follow this path that winds ever around me in my wheel.
He -there in front of me, larger than me- a man. His beard covers the lower half of his face, neck obscured by the straggly hairs. He is panting hard from exertion. With each forceful thrust of his tree trunks the wheel spins. This is harder for him than I. He's stopped.
Ding! “Yes!” I didn't even know I'd reached a turn.
He's just looking out, wiping the sweat off his face. “Hey! What are you doing? You're going to fall behind all of us!” I didn't want him to fall behind.
“What are you talking about?” His eyes took in the sweat dripping from my forehead as my feet propelled me no where. There in that look did I soon realize, in the beat of a heart, the span of a question, in the breadth of a breath that I was going no where. Ding! “YEEESSS!”
He turned and walked away from me.
His wheel was slowly coming to a stop. A mouse like ding was heard as the weight of the hammer brought it round once more to click off the bell. At that, he stopped. He turned and walked the few paces back to his bell. Ding! I didn't ever imagine he would do what he did next.
He grabbed the bell.
The bell! He grabbed the bell! Then-Then he pulled it. Ding! In one single whip, no grunt, just a sharp tug and the bell had a muffled d-din-ing-din. He glanced up to me, and shook his head. I was still running. Ding! I heard my bell for the third time, “Yay...”
The bell landed at my feet and was caught up. I can't touch the bell, especially another's bell. I hopped, but as the bell went up the wheel on my back side, it fell down again with loud ding-ding-ding-dings. I tried to jump out of the way, but only hit the wall in front of me. I fell with a loud thud.
I tried to get up, but the centripetal force kept me down. I was pulled down to the bottom where I run, and up the far side, where my wheel turns to. I went up, up, and up. Until I no longer went up. I was dumped, right on top of the bell, still clanging away below me. As I fell, I considered my predicament. He had been off for something like eight or nine average bell-chimes. He'd not been hurt, he was no longer exerting himself. The exerting face to my right was still attached to a body whose feetsies were still running along the bottom of the wheel, which was still turning and still swinging the hammer on the bell that was still chiming with its Ding!.
Then I smashed into the ground. I was thrown to the floor of my wheel, stopping all of its motion. The bell lay crushed underneath me. He was now at least 100 bell-lengths away. Walking, perfectly calm.
He was walking the rows of the white room and their spinning wheels with the faces all scrunched in exertion. He was walking towards the door. On that door, there was a sign. That sign had been my inspiration for running that wheel, I had smelled its odor for so long, longed for it, wanted it, desired it -there was a lust in me that could only be sated by it, and by sating it would leave me wanting for more, because it is such a strong lust- and it read simply, “Your Dreams”.
He opened the door. With one last glance back towards me, his shoulders rose and fell with a slight shrug as his head motioned towards the sunlight I could see streaming in. I stepped from my cage. I was no longer capable of hearing the bells chime. I reached up, my hand trembled and shook, and I stopped an inch away. I couldn't do it. I couldn't grab the bell.
I could feel the bell clank, but heard nothing. I snapped it off in the same manner I'd seem him do. With that, I turned and looked at the face to the right of me. He glanced towards me, turning one eyebrow up and the other down, and cocking his head as if to ask, “What are you trying to do here?”
The bell landed at his feet as I turned away. I heard the pounding of his feet as he tried, more valiantly than I, to avoid touching the bell. Half the distance to the door I heard a louder thud that signaled to me he'd fallen, and a second followed shortly thereafter.
I didn't wait for anyone else once I'd reach the open door, being held patiently for me by him. I just walked through. No one mattered to me like he did. If anyone wanted to follow they would, and if they didn't...well they don't matter anyways.