The Dark

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I'm running through a dark hallway. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. All I know is that I'm in danger and I need to run. Fast.

The hallway almost feels familiar, but I have no recollection of ever being here before now. I think I would remember being in a bizarre place like this. It reminds me of a medieval castle. Everything from the floor to the ceiling is made of large, gray stones. On the walls, I pass multiple bright-red banners, each with the same symbol. The symbol is a circle with a large dot in the middle like a miniature bulls-eye. Four "Y" shapes form from the middle dot in an "X" formation, the ends sprouting like thorns from the outer-ring.

I also pass various pictures. Some of the pictures are of dark, foggy forests with gnarled trees, bleak, lifeless wastelands, and many other landscapes turned twisted. I also see portraits that reminded me of regal paintings of kings and queens, portraying them in proud poses, but these are dark and twisted. Their eyes are wide, gleaming with insanity. Their hair is wild and unkept. They had wide, crooked smiles. Their clothes are torn and stained. These people were crazy! Who are these people? What do these symbols mean? What is this place? Where am I?

I keep running for my life from who knows what, but judging from the snarls and growls coming from whatever is chasing me, I have no intention of out. Turning around to see the creature would only slow me down, anyways.

My feet ache from stomping on the cold, hard stone floor. My feet are bare, nothing to protect them against the floor or whatever I happen to step on along the way. I'm also wearing tattered, tan rags, my pants tied on with old, handmade-looking string. There is no idea in my mind as to how I ended up wearing these rags, but there are more pressing matters at hand. This looks so surreal, as if I have gone back in time.

My lungs burn, my muscles ache, my body running on fumes. I see a circular, wooden table up ahead with a vase of roses resting on the hard-wood surface and I decide I can use the table to slow down whatever creature decided it wants me as its new chew toy. As I pass the table, I grab the opposite end of it and pull it to fall directly behind me. As the table slams onto the stone floor, the vase does too, shattering as it makes contact with the hard stone floor. Water, vase shards, roses, and pedals scatter as the pottery slams into the ground.

I start to feel confident that the table could be capable to slow down the beast at least a little bit. I start to slow my pace. Suddenly, I hear a loud, violent slam followed by broken pieces and shards of the table fly by me, stinging my back, leaving cuts and splinters as they barrage me. All of a sudden my sides and feet don't hurt so much.

Withe my adrenalin pumping, I sprint as hard as my body will allow down the hall. The hallway, up until now, had been barely lit by chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, but far up ahead, the chandeliers stop. A large, opposing wall of pitch-black shadows stand threateningly far down the hallway. Quickly getting larger as I sprint down the hallway right at it, I notice what almost seems like small, suppressed, shrinking lights on the chandeliers past the the thick shadows. It's almost as if the darkness is a living being, sucking and suppressing any and all light that its path crosses, like another, unnatural, force is at work.

Suddenly, I see what I can only guess is the source of the blackness looming before me. A tall, muscular figure steps out from the black bog. He wears heavy, steel boots that make small clanking noises as they are brought down on the stone surface. He also wears steel shoulder plates, chains crossing his chest in an X-shape to the opposite side of his thick, leather belt, a circular slab of metal connects the chains from his shoulder plates and belt together, that circular symbol etched into the smooth, metal surface, almost seeming to glow a deep, dark red. He wears long pants, his shirt has no sleeves, showing off his muscular, threatening arms, steel gauntlets covering his wrists and hands. A hood attached to the shirt with shadows almost supernaturally covering his face, the only features I can make out are his mouth and the end of his nose. His clothes seem to be made of leather, but not fancy, modern, expensive looking leather, this leather is ragged and rough, as if made by hand. I feel more and more as though I have gone back in time. Maybe I have, for all I know.

I am cornered, a beast behind me and a giant in front of me. Before it is possible for me to come up with a plan, the hooded stranger reaches into the pitch black bog. The shadows seem to ripple like a puddle as he reaches into the darkness. What is he up to? No sooner do I ask myself that then I immediately get my answer.

He launches his hand out of the wall of shadows, what I see I would not have ever believed this if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes. At first it looks as if the darkness seems to have consumed his arm, devouring his limb like an untamed beast. I soon realise that is not true. Not in the least. His arm, still very much there, is simply camouflaged. The realisation of what my eyes are seeing hits me, my heart skips a beat, and I stumble, tumbling uncontrollably towards the hooded man. His arm from his hand to his elbow, encased in darkness, shadows trailing up from his forearm like pitch-black smoke. The man launches himself at me. His body may be muscular and large, but he is still somehow fairly limber, and very agile. Very, very agile. The darkness trails behind his arm, spreading out as the smoke-like haze travels behind him, consuming as much light as it can. A cloud of blackness follows the hooded man as he rushes at me. I don't know what his plan is or what reaction the darkness will have with me if I come into contact with whatever it is, if it even is solid. Either way, I don't want to find out. Seriously, what is going on here?

I want to slow down, or at least maneuver out of his way, but I still stumble out of control, struggling to keep my balance, helplessly watching as the giant rapidly grows closer to me. As I get closer, I realise the shadows at his fingertips form razor-sharp tips, like five well-sharpened, black-steeled knives coming straight for me.

I almost fall forward, momentarily looking at the stone floor as it travels rapidly under me, loosing sight of the hooded man. I eventually regain my balance and quickly spring back up, desperately trying to get him back into my sights. As I spring back into the standing position, I come face to face with the hooded man. Found him.

His facial features are still concealed by the shadows, but there almost seems to be a low, demonic red glow coming from where his eyes would be. Suddenly I stop. I feel as though my body is still sending signals to run, but I go nowhere. I notice I am no longer able feel the floor either. My eyes are locked on his. The glowing red lights are so bizarre and shocking, I cannot look away. I feel a warm liquid well in the my throat and seep out of my mouth. I pull my hand slowly to my mouth. when I pull it away, my hand is covered in crimson. Blood. My heart skips a beat. Again. As the pain and realisation hits me, my eyes jolt downward. I had had so much adrenalin going through my system I didn't feel it until now. His evil, black arm is lodged square in my stomach, going straight through my back, my spine, and out the other side. I feel warm blood on what I can feel of my front and back. I see that the entire lower-half of my shirt is drenched, deep, dark, red with blood. It isn't possible for me to see the lower half of my body through the smoke-like darkness radiating off of his arm. The shadows slowly lick at my face as it drifts from his arm. It is cold, extremely cold, to the point it almost burns.

I suddenly start to feel a strong chill go through my body starting at the point he has impaled me at. It is as if the darkness is coursing through my veins. I grow colder and colder, and weaker as it travels through me more and more, like a venom. I lift up my hand and am shocked to see that my skin is a pale, snow white, my veins, black and very obvious. Out of weakness and panic from the darkness coursing through me, I start to shake uncontrollably, my vision blurring. Flickers of darkness start appearing on the edge of my vision as if the darkness is consuming my mind and very consciousness, working its way into my vision.

I look back up to the man's face. He has a smirk across his lips. A calm, confident, serious, but still sinister smile. This... man... is crazy!

He puts his other arm on my shoulder and yanks his arm free from my gut, like a lumberjack pulling his axe out of wood. I fall to the floor with an excruciatingly painful thud as my weak, limp body slams into the stone floor. I hurt so bad I want to scream, but the only sound my body is willing to use energy to make is a weak groan. My body feels so weak I am unable to move. I landed flat on my back with my face to my left. I start to see my own blood seep through the gaps between the stones. My blood is crimson, but streams of black liquid mixed with it as well, like two colors of paint put together before they are mixed.

I gather enough energy to look back up at the man, above him, a chandelier. I am able to see the smokey darkness swirl around in the air in front of and around the candles. The man's arm still covered in darkness. Shadows crawling up his muscular limb, which is completely shrouded by the darkness. With him looking down at me, I can no longer see his face, the light casting a shadow over his every feature. The flickers of shadow outside my vision start quickly consuming more and more of my eyesight. As this happens, the candles on the chandelier start going out one by one, the darkness smothering the candles and devouring all light, growing larger with each candle the thick shadows smothers. It continues until the only candle left is the candle above the hooded man. The darkness encircles us, my vision narrows as shadows consume more and more of my eyesight. As my vision is almost completely gone, the last candle goes out. I see nothing but darkness. I hear nothing. At first I'm freezing, but my body suddenly heats up, the pain dissipates. The stone seems to disappear and I feel as if I am floating. Now what's going?!

Then, with as much intensity as when I hit the ground, I am slammed back into life. My eyes jolt wide open, I take a large gasp of air, my lungs feeling starved for oxygen. I sit up gasping, my face drenched in sweat. There is a split second where I see the castle walls and the hooded man, like the flash of a camera, but quickly fades away. The stone walls, replaced by the ordinary dry walls of my room, still lacking decor. The bare bookshelf in the right corner which is connected to the desk that stretches along the wall in from of me. The end table to my right and piles of boxes to my left. It had only been a dream. It had seemed so realistic! Almost as if I were really there. The pain, the fear, the cold, it was just all so real. I quickly stumble out of bed, my body still full of panicked energy from the dream, my heart still beating fast. I stumble out of my room into the hallway and work my way past the safety rail of the stairs still dazed from waking up and having trouble keeping my balance, almost stumbling down the stairs, but catching myself before I take a dive down them. As I stumble by, the shadows seem to shift, bend, and contort, but I just tell myself that it is my eyes playing tricks on me. I eventually make it to the bathroom. I snap on the lights, blinding me. I feel around for the sink and turn on the cold water. I splash the freezing water on my face, trying to wake myself up. I look at my reflection through squinting eyes. As my eyes slowly adjust to the light, I am able to open them more and more. In the mirror I notice the shadows start to slow and return to their normal, stationary state.

I shake my head, trying to come back to reality.

"I gotta get a hold of myself..." I mutter to myself. "What a bizarre dream."

After calming myself enough, I start walking back down the hallway, able to keep my balance this time around. I walk into my room and plop myself back into my bed. As I roll onto my side, I have one last thought, looking at the boxes, of how I need to get unpacked soon and that maybe the new house is to blame for giving me the nightmare. Then, I slowly drift to sleep. The rest of that night, I sleep uneasy.





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