Toss and Turn

I was kneeling, face down, in a clearing. The forest around me crowded the sunlight, obstructing its path. The branches clawed at the sky, trying to keep the light as far from me as possible. Gnarled roots sprung up around my feet, twisted and bent like gross imitations of spines. As I panted into the earth, a putrid smell filled my nose. This wasn't any pleasant scent of soil and growth; it was a stench of decay, of evil.

Of death.

I pulled my face up, trying hard to see in the dim light. My hair hung in damp strands around my face, making it all the more difficult for my poor eyes. The trees had no leaves on them. They had spines. The roots oozed a green slime that corroded the ground beneath it. The light turned a sickly brown as it was filtered through those hideous trees. The air hung heavily, as though it were being restrained.

All of this, I noticed passively as I focused on what was in front of me.

Just beyond the eerie twilight, in the deeper shadows, was something. It was formless, wavering and shifting before my eyes. It had no color, nor did it cast a shadow. It was a void in the world. 

It moved closer to me.

I panted harder now, struggling to breathe through the thickness. I was starting to feel ill; just being near this indefinite something was poisoning me. Mustering my strength, I tried to stand. I made it about halfway up before a tremendous force pushed me back down. As I collapsed, part of me recognized that it was the thing in the shadows that had pushed me down. Whatever kind of powers it had, they were very real and very dangerous.

It inched closer as the light waned.

Desperately, I reached for my power. I clawed out with my hand, reshaping reality in front of me to better suit my needs. I envisioned the air lightening, the light brightening, the trees receding, and that something vanishing.

Nothing happened.

And then everything happened.

My left eye exploded. I was blind, lost in a vortex of pain. I may have screamed; I don't remember. I couldn't sense anything above the pain. It consumed me, ravaged me, ran rampant through my body.

At the same time, the something advanced. Quickly, gliding across the decaying soil and undergrowth. As it neared, through the haze of pain, another primal emotion penetrated my brain. 

Fear.

I didn't know the nature of this something, or why it was here, or why I was here, or who I was, or where I was, or why anything besides this pain existed, because if the pain was real than nothing else could be more existent than the mad throbbing in my head.

But that fear that sneaked through gave me enough presence of mind to start backing away. Scrabbling, on my hands and knees, trying to make a coherent thought, trying madly to escape.

My power had failed. And this thing was going to kill me.

As I collapsed on the ground, under a heavily twisted root, the something loomed over me. It had no form, no body.

And I could hear it laughing as it began to devour me.

The End

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