I’m naked... my hands and feet cuffed to a steal chair at a steal table. The metal is cold against my skin. The wall in front of me is host to a large sheet of one-way glass. I turn my head left and right, and lean back as far as possible to locate a door. A door does not exist. A single flickering light bulb swings low over the table. It illuminates my cell so that I am able to see the table, chair, and restraints quite clearly but can barely make out the walls, which look to be a greenish-gray color, heavily damaged by water. The floor is home to a very large drain. I struggle at my restraints, wriggling furiously for freedom, which does not come. My lips are dry, cracked and split from lack of moisture. A chill. Something cold touches my feet and I look down.
Water. Black water seeps into the room through the drain, rising steadily. It covers my toes... my feet. I struggle more frantically now. The water is at my ankles, slowly maneuvering toward my knees. I scream, but no sound escapes my tattered lips. I fling my body side to side, but cannot loose myself from the chair. Crash.
I am on my side, the chair still clinging to me. Water cools my skin and hurts my head. I taste blood. My lips are torn. The water will make it impossible to breath soon. I gasp for breath; my eyes shoot around the room, looking for something. Anything. An aid. An escape. Keys. Three keys on a large ring under the table. I arch my body to the side to keep my head above water. My ribs ache. I consume one last breath, as large as I can muster, and submerge my head. I squirm and buck and slide my way toward the shimmering keys, wondering what good they will serve. The light, which was once swinging has fallen victim to the ever-rising water. It shatters overhead with a pop.
The room is dark and sinister. A flashing red light bounces an eerie glow over the room, from a source unknown. The keys are close. 2 feet. Vision flashes. 1 foot. Body is on fire. Breath is giving out. Sight fades slowly. I can feel the ring on my outstretched fingers, but no longer have the strength to fight this battle. My breath escapes. Bubbles scurry to the surface. Eyes roll back. My mind is thinking, but the body has died. The water no longer chills me. The room no longer holds me. Everything is peaceful. Everything is calm. I sink further into this deep relaxation. One I have never known. Nothing moves, nothing stirs, nothing corrupts. I let myself go.
Something cold touches my finger, sending a shooting sorrow through my soul. I open my eyes, no longer inside the cell. Instead, I stand in a thick, low fog. The sky is black, the stars cannot be seen. The full moon peaks through the thin clouds. I turn to my right to see what touched me.
The Grim Reaper stands there... gazing into me. We stand in a graveyard. An old metal fence, rusted and worn surrounds the bumpy and hazardous site. Tombstones rest on the ground, scattered unevenly... like each tomb was an afterthought... an unplanned event... a mistake. An ancient tree stands leafless some distance to my left. Its branches crooked and gnarly. Not a single leaf is present. A raven sits silently atop the highest branch. The guardian of the grounds. We stand silently. He is much taller than me, dressed in tattered black robes that drag the ground. A hood is draped over his head, and makes it impossible to see his face, which wanders sluggishly. He holds a scythe, taller than him. Its handle, old and worn. The blade, long and rusted. Long white hair escapes from under his hood, and blows in the bone chilling wind, dancing methodically. Demonic feathery wings are spread behind him… broken, torn, and charred.
He looks up, ever so slightly, and I see his jaw... skeletal and shattered. He points at the grave closest to us with his fleshless finger. No name is visible. Then, slowly it comes into focus. I can nearly read the blurry words. The tombstone creaks. Several long lines split the stone apart, and it crumbles to the earth. I continue looking at the pieces as they dematerialize into dust and are blown away on the back of a heavy wind. My heart feels sad, and I turn back to him... a tear streaming down my face. He also appears sad. His wings drag the ground now like his robes. He reaches over and grasps the scythe in both hands, propping himself up with it, like he is too weak to stand.
He begins to come toward me. His legs don't seem to be moving under his robes. He is just floating toward me. When he arrives, he hovers quietly beside me. After a moment he begins to lean towards me, bending his figure into unnatural positions to get down to my level. I don't look at him. I feel his gaze. He exhales a terrifying cloud, black and cold. It burns my cheek, and stings my eyes. He stays next to me for a long time, not saying anything to me. The raven in the tree screams. I jump, but he remains unmoved. The ultimate emancipator just stands there. I close my eyes and wait for it. For my death. My freedom. But it never comes. I open my eyes to find myself standing alone, in an intersection of a crowded road, under the lights. I don't know how I got here; I don't know what is real and what is fantasy. All I know is that I await an end that does not come. So I return to my monotonous stroll, and I walk alone, along a crowded street, in this concrete jungle.