Dark and Cold.
You awake in a puddle of blood. Whether the blood is yours or not is unknown, either way, it sticks to you like glue, crawling under your skin, entering your bloodstream. Just like the blood, the expanse of the ground was red, but not in the same consistency as the blood that covers you. The ground is gravely, boots squelched at the touch of it, sinking into the ground with each step. Large, rocky structures surround you, too tall to look over from where you stand. Getting to higher ground seems impossible. Above was more seas of red, broken up by splotches of black, resembling clouds. No sun was in sight, maybe due to it being night but somewhere deep inside, you knew that wasn’t the case.
Every so often, the squelching of steps other than yours echo in the otherwise quiet land. You never catch a glimpse of the things behind the noise, but maybe that’s for the better, if you ever want to see the blue sky again.
You continue your journey, searching for something, anything humane that could relieve your sanity. The terrain starts to blur as the days pass, if you didn’t know any better, you might think you were just going around in circles. Tricking thoughts clouded your mind; ‘was that tree there before?’, ‘are those footprints mine or someone else’s?’, ‘how long have I been down here?’. Hunger starts to crawl up the back of your throat, affecting your consciousness. You can’t conclude whether the black dots in your vision are a part of this world or if you’re fading into darkness.
Your body freezes up, collapsing on the gravel like ground. Parallel was the red void, a poor excuse
of the sky. Thoughts of how it would be like if it rained passed your mind. Would it be normal, maybe red and thick like blood, or something far worse. Your eyes clamped shut, maybe for the best. Maybe you would end up back in your own world, on a grassy surface, staring up at the azure sky you so dearly miss… or maybe the creatures of this world would find you and take you out. Both options didn’t seem that different from one another in your clouded mind, you would find solace in either.
So you closed your eyes and waited… and waited… and waited. Hours passed in your mind while you laid there, waiting for something, for anything to happen. The urge to get up again and continue, to seek out a creature yourself overthrew all other commands in your brain. You overcome your hunger, your exhaustion, and your fear and begin to move.
The sound of footsteps surrounded all the corners in your brain. Fear once again takes over, pushing you back to the ground. Gravel scratched at your skin. Playing dead seemed like your only option. You were too weak to run.
The footsteps only got closer.
The footsteps reverberated through your body, causing you to shiver. This was it, what you had been
craving, the release you so desperately wanted.
The footsteps were so close now. Light breathing filled your ears. You in turn, slowed down your own breathing, preparing for impact.
The footsteps ceased, you were certain it was right next to you now. You sighed one last time, your whole body relaxed, already shutting down, death didn’t scare you anymore. You waited once more, it was taking its time, you weren’t even sure it was even there anymore. Maybe it was a hallucination from your hungry and sleep deprived mind.
Slowly, you force one eye open, eyeing the spot where the footsteps stopped. Unlike the big ogre feet you were imagining, small human-like feet stood next to your dishevelled shirt, barely hanging onto your torso. You open your other eye as well, tilting your head up the best you could, blinking a few times to focus on the thing next to you. Trailing your eyes up its figure, you took in all its features, from its bare legs, to the dirtied white dress that clung desperately to its body. It looked like a child, who shared the same fate as you but as your eyes focused on its face, you could tell that it had lived lifetimes more than you. It was born in this hell.
Four completely black eyes, seemingly analysed you as you analysed it. Neither you nor the creature made any attempt to move, you were stuck in a stalemate of sorts. Your chest heaved up
and down in slow, sporadic intervals, eyes never leaving the thing in front of you as you muster up
the rest of your consciousness to mentally map up an escape plan with the small amount of awareness you had left of what surrounds you. Maybe you could stun it long enough for you to run and hide… or you could surrender hoping that it would show you mercy, it hadn’t killed you. Yet.
Your body refused to do either, lying there completely paralysed by the scrutinising gaze of the creature that hovers over you. Why were you fighting so hard? You were going to die either way, be it starvation, or this creature picking you up by the neck, tearing you limb from limb, forcing you to endure the pain as blood spills from your sockets with the last amount of consciousness you had left until… you flinched out of your morbid imaginings when a weight settled on your chest. Your eyes flickered to the creature and then down at its hand, that has been placed on you, a slight vibration flows through you as it connects to you. The weight of its hand was reassuring in a sense, a solid presence when all your senses were numbing slowly.
The creature made a soft noise, almost like a whine. You looked back up at its eyes, a distressed look replaced its once dead expression as the whining noise got louder and louder. Drops of blood red rain started to fall starting as droplets here and there until it progressed to harsh, almost piercing drops as it buckets down. The creatures whining had gotten alarmingly loud, your eardrums were moments from bursting and for a moment your mind tricked you into believing that the creature shed a tear, not that you could dwell on it as a finger started to dig into your chest. Alarms ring in your head as you darted your eyes back down to your chest, the finger continued to bear down on your chest, breaking the thin layer of skin, blood escaping to the surface streaming down either side of your chest.
Your breath hitches, panic fully setting in your mind. The creature digs another finger into your
chest, and another and another. Your lips part, willing for a scream to escape but nothing comes out. The fingers dig deeper and deeper, the numbness you felt has been replaced with a sharp stinging. You wriggle and writhe around, desperate for an escape. A second weight momentarily stills you as the creature places its other hand on your head, almost willing you not to resist. The fingers curled deep inside your chest, around your heart. Tears well up in your eyes, mouth agape as you beg for a noise to come out. The creature’s own sounds are now distant, blurred with the fight or flight sensation your body was going through while it shut down. Your eyes heavily shut despite your efforts to keep them open, but it wasn’t like you could see anything through the darkness its hand gave you. A warm feeling flooded your whole body, you couldn’t feel the creature’s fingers inside you anymore. You couldn’t feel anything anymore…
The creature cried out in pain as it secured the heart in its hands, ripping it out harshly, the rest of the body flopping as it lost its life. Other creatures come out of hiding, stalking the now lifeless body of the thing they had been watching for days now. The creature let out a pained shriek as it stumbled away from the body, its heart still in hand. The other creatures immediately pounced on the body, limbs and blood flying everywhere, staining the ground an even deeper red. It looked down at the heart, still weakly beating, its mouth salivated at the sight, despite its own protests. Sharp teeth present as the creature reluctantly raises the heart to its mouth, quick to take a huge and messy bite out of it. Tears form and quickly turn to acid as they fall.
It was cold…