Darkness. It swallows you whole and eats you up from the inside, clawing at your fears and drawing them out into a false reality. In this mirrored world, drained of colour and reason, your eyes play tricks on you in the dark and show you things that aren’t actually there.
As I stumbled through thickets of brambles, the darkness was absolute, but for thin slivers of the moons reflected in the stagnant bogs of the marshlands. Another tremor racked through my body as the impenetrable cold enveloped my bare skin, scarcely covered with a simple silk shift. My bare feet were scratched and bleeding but my frigid toes were unfeeling. Glancing around me, I saw another looming shape on the ground and looked the other way, not wanting to see the things in my mind turn to reality.
My insides were groaning, but I had no food, shelter, or any way of getting warm. The only thing I carried with me was a heavy sword stolen from a corpse I passed along the way. My heart was broken, shattered into a million pieces, and it would never be whole again. I was alone.
The marshlands were hard to navigate in the blackness, and my progress was slow. Falling into a bog was not an option as my fingers were turning blue and any more exposure to the icy bitterness would surely kill me. I missed the sun, and the tingling feeling of warming up after going out in the snow. I wondered if I would ever feel that again.
Suddenly, there came a gurgling, bubbling sound from the depths of the largest bog. I clutched my sword to my chest with brittle fingers as ripples lapped onto the bank. Slowly, a great figure dragged itself laboriously upwards from the murky sludge in the malodorous bog and towered over me, mud splattering onto the dead ground.
Seven feet tall and with hulking limbs the size of tree trunks, the creature had no eyes, only sunken sockets in which the slimy skin stretched grotesquely over the ragged skeleton. Spiky black ears framed the terrible face and the huge nose with dilating nostrils was turned in my direction, dripping with curdled slime and remnants of the sludge that had been the creature’s hiding place. Its mouth stretched in a jagged, scarred oval and let out a huge bloodcurdling screech.
Stumbling backwards, I could not keep my eyes off the foul, yellow fangs from which long tendrils of saliva wavered with the beast’s every movement. As it lunged at me, I slammed into the frozen ground, just missing the great hairy arm that had come from no-where to swat me like a fly. Quickly rising once more, I held the sword tighter and swung out wildly in front of me, jabbing and stabbing thin air as, bemused, the beast paused to consider my feeble efforts.
The world became deathly silent as everything seemed to stop. The few tiny blades of withered grass stilled as drops of cold sweat ran down my back. I saw what was going to happen before it did. In an almost graceful arc the beast charged at me, teeth bared and talons ready. Tripping over my feet I hit the ground for a second time and squeezed my eyes shut as a scream erupted from my very soul out into the darkness. Razor sharp pain shot up my leg from where it had crumpled under my weight. There was a moment of hot breath on my face, and then nothing.
Cautiously, I opened my eyes a fraction to a sight that terrified me more than anything so far. For as I stared around me into the darkness, there was no-one there but myself.
– written by Ro_lucy