Everything went wrong that day. It started with that crow: its obsidian black feathers flapped with alarm as it screeched “Danger! Danger! Danger…” Its eyes were deep, like a dark pool of oil. Staring across the land it flew away, leaving only a poignant memory in my mind. Then I got trapped. I couldn’t remember how, but I opened my eyes drowsily, blinking sleep out of them. I was lying on the floor, motionless, until I got up and took in my surroundings.
The forest had a thick mist that meant I could make out only hazy silhouettes. I was in a forest, surrounded by circumambient trees. Each tree appeared the same, dry, old, and shrivelled. As though all life had been sucked out of it aeons ago. I couldn’t see how tall they were because the tops of the branches had been completely shrouded by the fog.
My legs straightened as I attempted to stand, my limbs felt frail, and I stumbled uneasily. But still, I knew I wouldn’t go out like this, I would go out fighting. I took a slow step, then another, each time growing more confident, until I was walking like I knew I had before.
After what felt like years, the quiet plantation suddenly seemed to go on mute. Even the once distant cawing of the strange birds had withdrawn. I lumbered on, the mist gradually parting, for me. I tripped and landed with a harsh THUD! A serrated rock jabbed into my knee, cutting through the flesh, my body was in agonising pain and my eyes stung from the oppressive air. Forcing my eyelids to open I realised my face was hovering over a precipice, leading into – what seemed – a unfathomable abyss…
I rapidly pulled myself to my mutilated feet, ignoring the excruciating pain. The feel of an ice-cold finger traced down my spine as a flicker of movement caught the corner of my eye, I turned. Nothing was there, only the cruel wind that swirled around catching the brown, dying leaves, and whipping them along. Cautiously, I crept towards the cliff face of the abyss and peered over, no sign of any life, only an ominous mauve radiance and dark, thundering, caliginous clouds.
Before I could back away, I felt a hard impact on my back like a push. Wait, it was a push. I tumbled, falling into the endless pit, I twisted and turned to face the opening, in time only to see a ghostly figure watch me fall before ambling away. Then the mouth of the chasm closed, swallowing me whole. I remembered my vow that I would leave this world with a smile on my face.
It was time to fulfil it.
I left this realm a smile on my face.