It was a painful life.
A purgatory fashioned just for him. Its psychedelic flames an all-consuming void. The planes' lips were firmly shut. It refused his presence, refused to swallow him whole. He could be offering a veritable buffet and he'd still be purged out of its stomach.
His life less than a dog. Less than waste.
"Who do you think you are?"
"Who am I?" he repeated.
Sharp teeth pushed at him, threatening to mince him into pieces. Its hungry fumes exuded out in waves. But that hunger was not for him. Never for him. Cold, rubbery, wetness licked him, its saliva leaving a trail of doubt.
"Who are you gainst him?"
He screamed his name yet there was no reply, no trace of him anywhere.
"Who are you looking for? There's no one here."
There was no one there.
He was spat away, hurtling into the clouds of his consciousness. The colours bled away as the distance grew. Darkness greeted him and he was forced to float freely in an uncanny space with no control at all.
Were his eyes open or closed? He couldn't tell. All he knew was that he was alone.
He was very alone.
The scene slowly faded away as his sleep was slashed into tatters. The man woke up, gasping for air. He scrambled through the hay he turned into his bed until his mind settled. Rotting flesh dropped onto the dried grass.
This was reality, the human world, the world he first knew--
His hand latched onto his chest, grabbing onto his most precious treasure. His thumb traced over the ring that was laced onto a cord which he wore as a necklace. It wouldn't fit on his finger anymore.
The man slumped down as his breathing steadied. The person he was looking for… who was it again?
Dust crusted over his eyelids as the phantom hands of slumber attempted to take his body.
Everyday, rinse and repeat. Stumbling through life in a daze, making mistakes that could have easily been avoided. No one there to save him.
In and out.
Breathing was becoming painful.
In and out.
He could feel his stomach caving in at each breathe. He no longer cared enough to eat
In and out.
A part of him wanted to give up.
In and out.
His vision was blurring over.
The hay was tickling his exposed skin, wriggling closer to him as though in search of warmth, wrapping themselves into his skin. Only when his hand brushed over his cheek did he realise it was maggots eating through his flesh.
He could easily kill himself. Yet, even in this reality, he was never in control.
The barnhouse was unlatched. It was pushed slightly and slithers of light sliced through the man's scarred face. A dark shadow appeared, protecting him from the red light. "Hey, wake up," a feminine voice commanded. "It's not the time to sleep."
The man groaned and forced himself up. He flexed his aching shoulders, stray hay falling off him. His dark wounds slowly inched together, blending into his dark skin which had regained its colour. His broad back filled out his coat. He picked up the sword of his dearest one, circling the scabbard's belt onto his body.
The woman chuckled at his appearance. "My, you're a mess."
The man only grunted as he stepped out of the barn.
The harsh wind blew into his eyes. Within its breeze, it carried a smattering of sand, ready to blind unsuspecting travellers. The woman brushed over his coat with her hands, lint and hay accompanying the breeze at every stroke. The effort was pointless as dots of sand painted themselves onto the man's dark outfit.
"Have you ever considered that perhaps the one you're searching for simply does not exist?"
"The creative source for the universe is there. The first reality and the end of all. If it doesn't exist, then where did this all emanate from?"
"Is it even a being at all? Something so otherworldly… it is surely beyond anything."
The man offered no reply.
The world was a vast expanse of sand. Buildings were wasted into their core, leaving an uncanny space behind. Nothing could be seen at the end, the darkness an ever-expanding infinity. Each journey felt as though they were cemented in a transitional reality.
The cloudless sky turned into a blinding light as a brief flash of an upper plane crashed into a distant valley. The horrific screams of humanity and other creatures alike reached into their ears. The smell of death spread through the air.
The tragedy ended as quickly as it came. The world returned to its strange silence and the sky regained its muddled appearance.
"You must be envious. Death exists for them," the woman began. "That person has cursed you. Life itself has become an eternal hell for you."
"That's not true," the man said with no conviction.
The woman only smiled and, as a heavy breeze blew, disappeared.
The red moon hung aloft, casting an eerie glow to those beneath it.
The soles of his feet dug through the sand as he traversed the barren world. The wind blew on, cleansing every imprint, leaving no trace of his existence behind.