Dive into the Night
Leon tossed and turned in his bed. Unable to sleep he opened his eyes and looked around his room. It was dark, all the lights were off and no light came in through his window. He could barely make out the shapes of the objects in his room.
“I need a drink.”
As Leon got up and slowly walked over to leave his room he realized the door was closed.
“Wait, I don’t remember closing this when I went to sleep. Or, maybe I just forgot?"
Doubting himself, Leon shrugged and reached to open the door. As his hand touched the door handle, he felt a strange sensation come over him. An ominous chill that went straight down his spine. His hand trembled. As if he knew that something terrible would happen if he proceeded to open the door.
“What’s wrong with me? Why am I hesitating?"
Leon grabbed the handle and opened the door. He looked forward and saw nothing but darkness. At this point, everything in his mind told him to turn back and continue sleeping. However, something in the darkness beckoned Leon closer, a silent call. Leon stepped forward, his foot felt nothing as his entire body tilted forward and fell. He had entered free fall, his entire body feeling weightless as he plunged through the infinite darkness. Leon could not see an end to the fall, nor did he want to wait for one. He reached out in front of him and to his surprise he felt another door handle. He mustered what strength he could to turn and push on the door.
Leon opened the door and fell forward onto the ground. He gathered his bearings and stood up, dusting himself off in the process. During this process Leon realized he was wearing the same clothes during his meeting with Kelvin earlier in the day.
“What the hell? Am I still dreaming?"
In his confusion, Leon surveyed his surrounding as he attempted to get some sort of bearing. He found himself in a small village on a large, flat grassland. Looking around, Leon noticed the grasslands stretched as far as his eyes could see. A slow wind gently swayed the grass. He looked up and saw a sun, or something imitating it. The object emitted no heat and stayed perfectly still in the sky.
“Doesn’t seem like it, this place feels pretty real. What is this place exactly?”
Leon took a couple steps away from the door before he suddenly stopped. He felt it again, an uneasy sensation; as if he was being watched. Leon pivoted around and stared at the roof of the house where he emerged, but the strange presence was no longer present.
“Alright, this is too much even for me.”
Leon looked down and noticed the door he exited through was closed.
“I came in through there, so maybe it’ll take me back to my room. Hell, anywhere could probably feel safer than here.”
Leon quickly made his way back over to the door. He opened it and once again saw nothing but pure black. He gulped and looked at the darkness with uncertainty before walking forward. After hearing an audible thud of the door behind him, another door materialized in front of Leon.
Opening the door, Leon finds himself in a forest surrounded by large trees. The light from the “sun” Leon saw earlier is filtered through the treetop leaves, albeit in an orange hue reminiscent of a sunset. He walked forward and looked back, seeing a similar house to the village he was just at. However, it was the only house among all of the giant trees, the door to the house had also shut itself after Leon walked out.
Well fine, if I’m not getting out of here I might as well explore this place. Leon thought to himself.
Leon looked up and noticed that the house is in the same direction as the light from the “sun”.
At least I’ll have some sense of direction if I want to find this house again.
Leon turned and started walking further into the forest. As he walked he noticed that he had not seen any animals, only plants. However, the plants that he past all looked somewhat static, as if they were not alive to begin with. Aside from the soft rustling of the leaves from the wind, the forest was completely silent. Leon continued to walk, looking back once in a while to confirm that he could still see the light. As he continued to walk, Leon also took notice of his surroundings. The somewhat orderly placement of the trees made him suspect that the forest may not be entirely natural.
Leon emerged into a small forest clearing, only around thirty square metres in diameter. He had made a significant distance from the house, the sky was a much darker orange than before. As Leon was about to take another step into the clearing, he quickly dove back into the line of trees. He lowered his body as he took cover behind the largest tree he could see. Leon’s breathing became coarse as he started taking slower, heavier breaths. He leaned to one side of the tree and peaked his head out of cover to look down the clearing again. Something had emerged from the other side of the clearing. The creature walked on four limbs, slowly as if it was looking for something. As the creature approached the center of the clearing, Leon could see it more clearly. Its skin was charred completely black, as if it was a burn victim. Its hind legs somewhat resembled those of a deer or a moose, yet its front limbs were completely different. Taking the place of arms or front legs, the creature stood on massive curved claws; their shape somewhat resembling the arms of a praying mantis. The creature did not have any visible facial features, instead its head expelled smoke at random intervals accompanied by a kettle-like whistling. It continued to move around the clearing, sweeping the area by slowly moving its head.
What the hell is that thing?! Leon wondered as he continued to watch the creature. This has to be a dream, there’s no way something like that is real.
The creature suddenly jerked its head towards Leon and started at his location. Leon immediately ducked back behind the tree, he covered his mouth and held his breath. Behind him he heard increasingly louder thuds, the creature reached Leon’s side of the clearing watched. Leon continued to hold his breath as he listened for the creature, through the tree he could hear thuds whenever the creature moved alongside the occasional whistling. Leon could feel himself slowly getting lightheaded, but he continued to listen for the creature. The sound of movement continued, but after a couple seconds they slowly faded into the distance. Leon began to slowly breath as he peaked his head back out from the tree, the clearing was empty. Leon leaned back on the tree and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Whatever that was, at least its gone." Leon gasped as he slowly regained his breath. “I should just go back to that house and try to figure a way out of here.”
Leon slowly stood up and prepared to walk back in the direction of the house. He then heard a sound right beside him, a low whistling like a kettle heating up. Leon instinctively raise his arms to his side as a massive black claw swung at him. As the blow connected with his arms, Leon was knocked a couple of metres into the air. He managed to recover in the air and land on his feet. Leon looked at his arms and realized they were undamaged.
Somehow I didn’t feel any pain from that, but I definitely heard something crack.
After checking his arms, Leon quickly turned his attention back at the creature. It had made its way into the forest and now directly faced Leon, its massive claws punctured the ground as it walked. Leon could see the creature more clearly now, it stood around two and a half metres tall and its skin resembled the texture of a burned tree. Leon raised his arms into a combat stance.
“Alright you charred freak, you want to dance? Then let’s dance.”
Leon then heard a louder whistling as the creature proceeded to expel smoke. The smoke quickly filled the forest and Leon lost sight of the creature. He could still hear the sounds the creature made, a low crack whenever the creature dug it arms into a surface. Turning and looking in the direction of the last sound, Leon barely managed to roll out of the way as the creature leapt towards him; its attack instead horizontally bisected a tree. Leon looked at the tree stump briefly before he took off running in the direction of the house.
“I’m just going to hope that thing can’t run as fast as it slices.”
After a short time running, Leon spotted the house in the distance.
Home stretch, he thought. I only need to clear another hundred or so metres.
As Leon continued his run towards the house, he heard a cracking sound behind him. He turned his head and saw a log flying towards him. Leon transitioned his run into a roll, narrowly dodging it. The log slammed into a tree and landed on its side in front of Leon’s path. Leon began to climb over the log, having not heard the second thud that followed the log landing on its side. As he reached the top of the log, Leon noticed the house was only around ten metres away. A second log slammed into Leon’s back, sending him flying forward. He watched as the house sailed past his view as he was thrown forward around forty metres. Leon landed in an area just outside the forest, a connecting space that connected the forest with the grassland plains.
Leon slowly got up, slightly concussed but somehow completely uninjured. He looked up and saw the creature move out of the forest. As it reached the grass, Leon heard the sound of cracking bones as the pushed itself onto its hind legs. It let out audible sounds of broken bones as it straightened its back. Now standing upright, the creature snapped its head down towards Leon. He watched in horror as countless eyes began to open all over the creature’s face, all of them stared at him. Steam and smoke continued to leak out of the eyes, albeit at a slower pace. The creature then snapped its arms apart, giving the creature four bladed appendages instead of two.
“Alright, fine. Round two it is then,” Leon raised his arms and pivoted his legs back into a combat stance. “You got nowhere to hide for your sneak attacks.”
The creature took two steps towards Leon before it leapt towards him, its arms swinging down as it attempted to crush him. Leon dodged forward and found himself behind the creature, but he had no time to catch his breath. The creature dislocated two of its blade arms and swung them down from its back towards Leon, he managed to push himself out of the way just as the blades slammed into the ground. The creature rose as it turned back around to face Leon, its two blades snapping back around to the front of its body. It let out a small amount of smoke as it arched its body forward, before it lunged towards Leon with all four blades pointed forward. Leon could barely react in time as the four blades slammed into his chest. He could hear something shatter during the initial impact as the impact sent him flying. Leon hits a tree and lands on the ground with a thud.
“This really isn’t a dream, huh?” Leon groaned. “Whatever just broke must have been keeping the pain at bay.”
Leon looked up at the creature, it had regained its upright stance after the attack and it continued to make its way towards him. With each step the creature took, Leon could feel his anger slowly rising.
“Is this how I’m going down, done in by some freakish abomination?"
Pain ran though Leon’s entire body; he could feel his legs but he could not get them to move. As he watched the creature continue to approach, he only had one line of thought run through his head.
Get up. Move. I have to get up. I will not let it end here. If only I had a weapon. Some way, any way, of fighting back.
Leon remembered his conversation with Kelvin, the promise for a group trip. He remembered his dream from last night, the same promise with a forgotten stranger.
I’m not done, it’s not over until I say it is.
The creature stood over Leon, it combined its right arm back into one blade before swinging down. Mustering his strength, Leon pushed himself off of the tree using his left hand. He gripped his fist tightly as he swung his right arm towards the monster, screaming as he did.
The creature stumbled back as it recoiled from the blow. Leon recovered from the swing as he brought his arm back to his side, he then looked over with a mix of adrenaline and confusion as he realized he was holding a spear in his right hand.