Friday, November 22, 2013

Bryante's Last Nightmare

It was like every bad dream he’d ever had. That shiver up his spine, as if he was cold. That ache in his bones, as if he was trapped and unable to move. The tightness in his chest, as if he was breathing cold, liquid oxygen. The pinch of his skin, as if a dozen hands had simultaneously dragged him, silent and unable to scream, into a world he was totally and utterly detached from.

Of course, this was no dream.

The Sepsyon sorcery, bringing forth the detached hands of the spirits of the Unreal and forcing them to do the sorcerer’s bidding, had grasped him so completely, their grip so utterly tight and unbreakable, that when the spell had worn off and the singular will keeping the hands in the Real had faded, not only had they returned to the Unreal, but they had dragged poor Bryante with him.

The breach of the barrier separating the two worlds, side by side for all intents and purposes, had sucked the air from his lungs and drained the life from his skin. He was ever so cold and ever so afraid, but found his tongue clung to the roof of his mouth, and when he tried to speak, he found the words that he knew, that he had spoken all his life, had no place here.

All around him were buildings that defied reality, and creatures that did significantly worse. The dozen hands that had brought him here were gone, mere spontaneous beings living spontaneous lives in a place that cared not for structured existence. He tried to walk forward, but found the path he was on curved in ways that his legs couldn’t follow. When he tried to run, the air seemed heavy around him, and he quickly began to tire.

Where before he was ignored as some passing fancy, in the way a normal man might ignore a ghost seen only for a second, his continued presence here began to attract creatures of greater permanence within this realm. Those spirits were short lived because they were weak, the passing souls of the deceased who had lived satisfied lives and died old and warm in their sleep – they existed here for hours, maybe days at a push, and where the Sepsyon could call upon these weak, peaceful souls to perform their bidding, their strengths tended to lie in numbers, and one was no stronger, no weaker, than the next. Those whose deaths were more brutal, lives cut short through suffering and agony, they were the real dangers here in the Unreal.

Bryante, for once, knew true fear. A thousand eyes glared at him through the darkness and mist of the Unreal. The creatures that began to slink through the fog were deformed and monstrous – a one-eyed beast with three long, thin arms, grasping wildly; a beast with five heads mounted on a tiny body, each mouth screeching soundlessly in pain; a giant slug-like creature, suspended on a dozen hands, with fat oozing arms pulling it along the floor. They began closing in on Bryante, these abortions of reality, the experiments of a braver, less noble existence.

A single voice echoed through the Unreal, powerful enough to be heard between planets, if such distance meant anything here. It was soundless and without feature, but he could feel it, as a shooting pain through his skull. The creatures turn and flee, exploiting the shifting geometry to vanish in mere moments, lost in the distance and the fog beyond Bryante’s sight. He tries to breathe a sigh of relief, but his lungs are still tight, now getting tighter. He manages a few meager steps before another shot of pain brings him crashing to his knees. And then…



He feels no pain.

He feels… nothing.

He feels his body slowly pulled to its feet. Gentle movement, as his arms fall flat to his side, and his head slowly raises. His smile is hollow, empty, and on the inside, he knows he should be afraid. The strings moving his limbs should frighten him. And the face staring back at him should terrify him.

He couldn’t even focus on the creature before him. Not for lack of trying, more, the creature seemed immutable. If it existed at all, it seemed to exist in all realities, taking every form and no form at once. A dozen set of arms stretched from a dozen different torso’s, as a dozen set of legs held it aloft. Even its face was a mis-match of a thousand different features, all with that same empty smile staring back at Bryante. He found his eyes couldn’t focus, he was always looking away, and then forced to look back. He felt dazed, sick to his stomach, but that soothing wave of peace kept everything hidden, in a place he couldn’t mentally reach.


The voice was all at once familiar to Bryante. Although it hadn’t made a sound, hadn’t spoken a single word, it was clear in his mind. It spoke from his memories, taking the voice of his family, his friends, the victims he’d left dying at the side of the road. The creature abused Bryantes memories in a vague attempt to talk to him, stripping them into their component pieces and reorganizing them to get its message across. He couldn’t reply, couldn’t force his throat to move even if he tried, but found that a reply wasn’t needed.


The creature raised itself on its numerous legs, standing easily 12 feet tall, and towering over small, petty Bryante.


It stretched out its mismatched arms, and slowly began to encompass Bryante, wrapping him in a blurry, unfocussed darkness to which he didn’t even try to escape.


Where he expected the empty smile of the creature to open, he was surprised to find the mouth actually sat beneath the head, a wide maw opening on his throat, tilting back the limb that he once confused for a head. The eyes continued to blink aimlessly as they fell from view. He felt again the sensation of a dozen hands locking tight on his skin, but these were harder, sharper, with a significantly more nefarious purpose.


He knew he should be scared. But found himself unable to scream. Unable to even fear. And that quiet, hollow grin remained on his face, as he was stripped down to the bone by a creature with a hunger utterly alien and endless..

What replaced Bryante still had that empty grin on its face. It turned, walking through the Unreal with a ruthless confidence. Nothing dared approach it now. It slowly closed the second mouth just below its head, and began searching for a way out of the Unreal…