Friday, 4 November 2016

Artel 13, Oblivion

Artel blinked, the harsh sunlight cutting through the soft skin of his eyelids. It was morning, past sunrise, he had overslept. He felt groggy, more so than he would have anticipated, maybe it was the stress of his capture finally catching up with him, or the fact that he hadn't eaten since he'd escaped the underground warren of the strange creatures. He shook his head, hoping to clear it, and pushed himself to his feet. He needed to take a piss, badly, but his head was spinning and the world seemed to be shifting uncontrollably. He managed a few stumbling paces away from the burnt out fire before he nearly lost his footing and decided to stop while he was ahead. He stood still for a second, looking blearily around him at the empty landscape, then he undid his trousers and took a leak, the relief from that simple action coursing through his tired body. When he was fnished he looked around, unsure quite what to do next. He supposed he should pack up his small camp, but that seemed so inconsequential right now. What was it he was supposed to be doing right now? He drifted for a moment, then blinked and found himself back in reality.

How long had he been travelling now? How many days ago was it that he had left the forest? He couldn't be sure. He imagined he'd seen three moons, made four fires, slept twice. Maybe he was going in circles, maybe he was losing his mind. He peered into the distance, his eyes earching for the village that he knew was there. Long moments passed, one after the other after the other. Then he spotted it, the telltale smoke rising slowly into the blue sky, curling over itself, twisting and turning and rising, always rising. That was it, that was where he was headed, where he needed to be. He turned slowly and picked up his cloak, disturbing the pile of leaves and brush he'd haphazarly scraped together the night before to make a bed. Then he looked around, nothing, he had nothing else, the underground creatures had taken everything else from him. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. He didn't really want to walk further, the village was so far away, he didn't have the energy. But he couldn't just stand there staring into the distance, and he didn't fancy laying down to wait for death. What else could he do? Walk. One foot in front of the other, until he could walk no longer. He let out a sigh, pushed his hair out of his eyes, and put one foot in front of the other.

The time passed in the way that time often does, slowly and steadily and somewhat hazily. The sun rose and hung and set, then he slept. And the next morning the sun rose and hung and Artel finally felt all sense of hope slipping away from him. The world around him swam in front of his eyes. His head hurt, his brain hurt, his body hurt, his self hurt. He dragged himself forwards, slowly, so slowly now, one foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. The plains moved, jolted, floated, in front of him, out of focus, just out of reach. He could feel his stability failing him. One foot in front of the other, except this time it didn't work, this time his foot twisted, his ankle wobbled, and he hit the floor. Pain shot through his left side as he landed and he felt the wind knocked out of him. He heard a cry, was that him? He gasped, sucking in air, but his head was spinning and the world was already going black. There was something in front of him, two somethings, three? Noises, the somethings were making noises. The black was calling, softly calling his name, willing him to join it. He didn't have the strength to fight, couldn't remember why he should fight it, it was so inviting, so warm.
As the figures drew closer he gave in. He din't care any longer, couldn't understand enough to care. He let the darkness take him, enveloping him like a familiar blanket, pulling him down into it's warm, comfortable depths. He sighed, a last release as he slipped into oblivion.

No comments:

Post a Comment