A Man finds himself in a strange world, and foolishly tries to explore it
He woke up. A wave of immense pain flew through his entire body right into his mind nearly knocking him back into unconsciousness. Finding himself unable to scream only heightened the pain so he closed his eyes, and withered in agony, hoping to die, but death too escaped him. After an eternity the pain began to dull, eventually becoming only a shadow of its former self. Cautiously he tried moving his hands and found that they felt normal, as if the pain that felt so real a moment ago was only a dream. His thoughts were cut short as he opened his eyes and looked around. He was lying right outside an enormous metal gate in a state far beyond repair with a sickly brownish color from the rust that seemed as if it had centuries to build up. He struggled and fought with his unresponsive limbs to get up and scan the area. He soon realized that the gate was open just enough to squeeze himself through. He entered into what should have been a city in its prime; instead he found the skeleton of such a city. A city that had decomposed over hundreds of years yet still held onto a fragile thread of existence. The very essence of civilizational decay. Monstrous buildings dotted the surface, but were broken with crumbling walls and caved in roofs, while others seemed as if they had been blown apart, leaving only a wall or two standing. The once tall and proud towers, high enough to touch the stars, had gaping holes in them the sizes of the buildings on the ground. They now loomed over the bleak landscape, threatening to topple at the slightest hint of a breeze. However the air was dead as the city itself. Not a single breeze blew even through the tight alleyways and tall buildings. The air was motionless and stale, like that of a closed tomb. It was as if this place had held its breath never to let go again. A constant fog had settled onto the city but it was strange, it kept on shifting. The fog was dense in some places, usually nearer to the towers and thin in others. There was also a foul odor resembling rotting vegetation but he could find no source of this smell. The smell did not fade as he moved along. It was as if it came out of the fog, or was the fog.
He looked up towards the sky, noticing how unnaturally dark it was and that no stars or moons shone this night. What he did see was a small sphere in the sky that could have passed for a moon but it was too big to be one and too dark. Suddenly the answer came to him; it was a dead star, the remains of a sun that had once lit this land but had died. Somehow it fit perfectly with this picture. Not knowing what to do or where he was, he moved towards the biggest building still left standing. The walkways were eerily silent. Even his footsteps seemed muted. Soon his brain could not tolerate the deep silence, the lack of any sensory stimulation. No sound, no colors, the constant smell of rot. His brain, starved of senses, began to make up its own. His ears started to ring and arms starting to tingle. Ignoring the mutiny of his brain, he walked on until he reached the entrance of a building. Inside was a large, dark room which smelled of burnt wood and a strange, sweet incense like that of nutmeg or cinnamon, and had carvings littered all across the walls and some even on the ceiling. At first he could see nothing but an unsettling darkness. His eyes took time to adjust and when they did, the horrors flooded over him. The carvings were pictures, gruesome displays of gore and barbarity. They seemed to radiate a sense of fear and disgust, almost as strong as if the sense itself was oozing through the cracks and vaporizing in the air. He stumbled back and fell landing on his back. The shock soon subsided yet his heart only pounded harder, as if he had been running for days. He got up and slowly touched the carvings.
There were characters in those carvings, bent at angles even water could not match. Maybe the carvings showed rituals performed by those who once existed here, yet there was no image of anything those rituals could be attributed to. There were no statues or pictures showing anything that could pass as a deity or god. What all the carvings did have in common were nude people in horrible agony and anguish at the hands of masked figures while a single person sitting on an elevated throne watched. The face of the person on the throne was consistent in all the carvings. He then thought that maybe this civilization worshiped their kings or queens. Further along the room there was a carving showing one of those tall towers outside. The tower was split into levels and each level had something written beside it in an alien language he could not read, and showed a different group of people. At the top was a caped character looking down. At the bottom were the nude people looking upwards. The sections of the tower in the middle depicted various types of other people, all looking upwards. This place, this city, was a kingdom where the king or queen was divine. The ringing had returned to his ears and this time it grew louder and louder and soon matched the pounding of his heart. Suddenly the pictures on the walls began to move, slithering and crawling on the walls like bugs. The floor shook and the air became hot. Fear started to settle itself within his heart. He panicked, wailed and screamed trying to find an escape. He ran through the room where the carvings danced, where the smell of cinnamon turned to rot, ran outside and tripped over a loose stone. The fog engulfed him. Silence reigned once again.