Foreward: This is raw, unedited. More than a few years old at this point, but being shared publicly for the first time. It's a fragment from a larger story, but given that it's the best month of the year, October, I figured it'd be a perfect time to share it! Criticism and comments are absolutely welcome!
I've walked these paths too many times to be fooled into death by a simple guise of life. The forest swallows me whole in it's vicious grasp of unrelenting duskiness, like the penumbra of midnight. The sounds of hell surround me, though my eyes cannot see them. My will skips its beat, I freeze for a moment, to take in near nothingness all about me. The edge of the path my destiny, mine is courage once more, and I ride.
The clearing brings with it light, an archway of thorns, this is no man's land. Beyond here lies true horror, though I must continue, my heart cries out in vain. Through the threshold the air takes sour, bitter to the nose, and acidic to the eyes. Trails of crimson run from my nostrils, the horse loses it's mind. Toppling from the saddle I fall onto the rough dirt below, the beast behind me panics, tripping over itself. It's collapse reveals the true nature of the fall, gnarled, dead hands grip at it's ankles, pulling, ripping, stripping meat from bone. The mental decay its undoing, poor creature.
I cannot break, for my fate will be similar. The atmosphere weighs down on me from every angle, my armor, sword and shield grow unbearably heavy. The sky turns from umbra to kaleidoscopic, thunder crackles amidst the illusion. Behind me my horse still writhes as the dead hands rip out its vitals, though I dare not turn around to witness the act. Finally the exhaustion becomes too much, with what has seemed like miles being in actuality a dozen steps taken. Dropping to my knees, my breathing comes heavy, trying to block out the onslaught of filth and terror that so desperately tries to entrench my mind. Circling in a noxious pool of trepidation.
The vileness beyond the gate already wrapping its tendrils tightly around my sanity, despite only having just crossed the border. Somewhere upon his throne of thorns the Crimson King smiles in the face of my agony. The thought spills from my stomach, splashing the decaying land beneath me. Somehow the act of vomiting brings will to my quivering knees, and I stand, barely. The body convulses, threatening to collapse at any moment. Stubbornly I stumble forward, my sword dragging limply, my shield left somewhere close by.
And it begins. Paranoia begins to seep from my trembling lips as I whimper that of a young girl, rather than of a woman. Tears streak my face now, madness begins to take root. The sky bleeds, thick gashes made in the kaleidoscope, gushing thick life fluid like small waterfalls. Behind me I can feel the nails of the hands of death raking at my heels. I continue however, I can see the silhouette of the dark lord's fortress now, looming ominously above the multicolored heavens. The end of my journey, I must continue.
My joints stiffen, movement slows to a near crawl, my breathing has became hollow now. The unyielding pressure of the atmosphere forces me to shed my armor, it topples behind me, and I look down onto my clammy hands. The flesh is rotting, like that of the undead claws underfoot. I watch as the flesh melts and falls away before my very eyes, exposing putrid muscle tissue. The trek comes to a closure as the my right leg snaps, folding in atop itself, I fall. The blackened hands close in around my form. The nuclear winds carry my lament, a sad song hymned by the Crimson Kings victims. Sharp nails tear my torso apart, spilling my guts. Dead fingers wrap my intestines around themselves, pulling and twisting with each thrust from the soil beneath.
No scream can come, as my throat is rent, my lower jaw snaps from its hinges, and my cheek is ripped away. My eyeball pops under the prying assault, and somehow I twist, a death throe. A gargling squish that was meant to be a cry and everything begins to fade into monochrome. My eye takes in the two tone shade of the gouged sky, no longer bathed in psychedelic brilliance.
With fear I kiss the burning darkness.