Bright World

February 20, 2012
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The man was running through the forest as fast as he could. On one side of him, reality, and on the other, nothing. The world seemed to drop off into oblivion on that side. Which way should he run? He didn't know.
The man thought of reality, a place of hardships and troubles. Then, he thought of the other side, a mysterious place that could be anything. Heaven, hell, or even back to reality. Maybe there wasn’t a choice of going back to reality or not. He would end up there either way. His curiosity led him towards the nothingness that was now in front of him. He looked down, but there was nothing to look at. Everything below him was white. How could he know what was down there? There was only one way, and that to jump off the ledge that he was standing on. It was the only way, and so he did it.
There was no feeling when the man fell. No wind gushing in his face, and no feeling when he hit the ground. He landed in front of a giant, gloomy castle. Around him, the red sky glowed. In the corner of his eye, he caught something flying. He turned towards it and saw that it was a dragon. A dragon! It was really a dragon! Just like the ones you hear in fairy tales.
“Who are you?” a big voice boomed behind him.
The man instantly turned around to find a dragon standing at least twenty feet tall behind him. Then, he realized it was the one he had seen flying a minute ago.
“What...?” the man was speechless.
“You have invaded my realm,” the dragon boomed once again. “You will have to die.”
The dragon lifted up it’s massive foot. There was no escaping now. He had made the wrong choice to jump into the nothing. All of a sudden, a white chasm appeared beneath the man. And then he was falling. Falling into an endless chasm...
Again. However, he didn’t expect it this time. What was going on? At first, he chose to jump, but now the world was moving him. He was in a world of complete whiteness now. A voice spoke, “Welcome to my domain.”
“What the... who are you?” the man asked.
“I am the god of the Bright World.”
“What the heck is the ‘Bright World’?”
“It is a world located in your dreams where I will test your strength. The dragon was just a mere example of what the tests will actually be like,” the voice paused. “That being said, I will now warp you to your first test. Good luck.”
“Wait, why-” But it was too late.
The man materialized in the test area. A humongous tree towered above him about fifty yards away. A mysterious voice spoke, “This is the first test. You must get to the top of the tree without dying. Good luck.”
The man looked up, and saw that this was not like the present world. The trees were exotic and there were these big dinosaur-like birds... pterodactyls, flying straight towards him, ready to eat. He started for the tree, sprinting as fast as his legs allowed him to. At the same time, he tried to examine the tree trunk. There were a footholds attached to the tree, which would make things a lot easier for him. He gripped the first foothold but hoisted himself up on to it. Then, he climbed up onto the second and third and fourth ones. He began climbing faster, and before long he was halfway up the tree. All of a sudden, a bird crashed into the tree just a few feet above him. The man fidgeted, but he continued climbing. The birds were already catching up to him. Another pterodactyl crashed into the tree, causing it to shake. The man grabbed the foothold above him, hoping that he wouldn’t fall. The shaking continued for a few seconds, and that’s when he lost it. The foothold below him snapped loose and fell. He was left dangling on the one above him. Already he could feel gravity dragging him down, but he didn’t give up yet. His muscles felt like they were about to rip apart.
Then, the man heard a cawing of a bird behind him. He turned his head around and saw a full-grown pterodactyl flying straight towards him. Adrenaline flowed through him, and somehow he was able to pull himself on to the next foothold just before the bird slammed into the tree. The man climbed the remaining footholds; adrenaline still pumping through him. At the top, there was a small wooden hut. He entered it, and standing in the middle of the room was a wooden door. Curious, the man opened it, and saw pictures of a bunch of other dimensions. Behind him, a pterodactyl was hovering in front of the hut. Before it could attack him, the man ran straight through the door into the next area.
The man appeared in a new area. He looked around, only to see that he was standing in the middle of a dried-up desert.
“Welcome to the second test,” the mysterious voice said. “You must find the key, and unlock the door to proceed to the last test. Good luck.”

The man began walking. After a few minutes, he came across a canyon. There was a path that led down, so he assumed that the key was down there. He began strolling down the path, being cautious for falling rocks or anything that might attack. Surprisingly, nothing happened. Suddenly, the ground began rumbling. The path was tearing apart, and before he knew it, he was falling. Luckily, he had only been about ten feet from the bottom. But still, it was enough for him to bite his tongue hard. Now, it was time for the real challenge.
In front of him, five blood-thirsty crocodiles were swimming around in the river. The crocodiles saw him, and stared at him with their demonic eyes. The man thought for a second on how he was supposed to get across, then he came up with a risky idea. He was scared that it wouldn’t work, but if he didn’t try it then there probably wasn’t any other way to get across. He jumped onto the first crocodile, and then the next, and the next. The third was prepared for him, though. It cocked its head up, mouth open. It’s over, the man thought. He jumped up onto the crocodile’s nose, and over the fifth crocodile and onto the other side. Then, he snatched the keys and thrust them into the keyhole. The man kicked open the door and ran straight towards the dimensional door, into the final test.
“Welcome to the final test,” the mysterious voice greeted him once again. “You will be put to the true test here. You will also meet someone you might have seen again. Anyways, good luck.”
The man already knew where he was without needing an explanation. He was at the dragon castle, where he had first arrived when he came into the Bright World. The dragon was standing in front of him, waiting.
“You have come again?” it boomed. “I will teach you a lesson this time.”
The man sprinted under the legs of the dragon while it picked up its foot. In the distance, he spotted a lava lake. An idea immediately formed in his head. The dragon followed him quickly, not realizing what the man’s plot was. The dragon was quicker though, and he was capable of crushing the man with its foot. The man continued running, though, until he was just ten yards from the lava lake. Then, he took a sharp turn to the left. It was too late for the dragon, though. It plunged straight into the lava. There was a large splash. The dragon roared as it melted into the lake. The man could feel heat pressing against his back, but he was safe now. He couldn’t believe he had done it. It was that easy. Now, he could be free. Underneath him, a white chasm opened, and he let gravity take him from there.
The man entered the blank space once again. “Hello,” the god greeted him. “I see you have passed my tests. Congratulations.” There was a silence. “Anyways, you are probably wondering why this whole thing happened. You see, there’s a war coming soon, and that calls for the strongest and bravest people in the world to come fight it. You are one of them now, so be prepared.” No comments were made.
The god continued, “I will send you back to the real world now. Enjoy your life while you’re at it. You will be called to action in a few months.”
A door opened in the space. The man slowly trudged towards it, and then passed through.
What he thought would be his home was now hills of ashes.

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