Sleep came to me as death follows a knife through the heart – fast, and with little pain. But, unlike death, sleep haunted me, even after I had been taken. The confines of my mind lost its limits, and sleep was able to haunt each corner of my being with whatever terrors it had to offer. It showed me dark and light, and the spaces in between; it offered creatures I couldn’t ever imagine, and creatures I have only recently encountered; it took my life and showed me every haunting mistake I couldn’t ever take back, my weaknesses, and my unwanted strengths; and it showed me shrieks and howls of creatures long extinct. It filled my mind with encounters and experiences and things I could tell I was yet to see, but wished would never come.
Waking didn’t offer much relief. Though the images and the words dissipated, the shrieks of the dead continued to haunt me, not just in my head, but as though I could actually hear them. Which is, of course, ridiculous, isn’t it? The living in this place is far from conventional, but they can’t have bloody dragons, can they?
I pull my head from the pool, and shake the water free from my face, before pushing my hair back with my hands. My left thumb runs across its opposing hand, but, as I expected, the ring is still gone. I don’t know what happened to it, but it was gone when I awoke, and I want it back. As it turns out, the whole thing was a waste of time. Though, strictly speaking, that’s not entirely true, I think, right forearm catching my eyes, free of any previous injury, and darkened significantly in colour, despite the thick tree canopy which had kept the previous days in darkness.
Stickiness from the humid air envelopes me, and my head’s throbbing, probably from dehydration, but that forsaken shrieking certainly isn’t helping. It’s not getting any better either – in fact, it might even be getting louder. I don’t even know what to do. About anything. I’m hungry and fed up and I want to leave. Let. Me. Go. I mutter to the greying sky above me, and crumple back against the flat cliff rocks, a safe distance from the forest behind me.
I can’t decide whether I’d be safer in the open land, at the edges of the cliffs; or back in the forest, hidden, but also trapped. I’m pretty much doomed, either way. Cursing, I lift one of the loose rocks from beside me and throw it back against the ground. Its edges shatter, and the pieces fly up towards my eyes, but I hardly even notice, because I’m focussing on what’s still intact, still unsatisfactory. I take another, and throw it again, to no avail. Frustrated, I throw the third rock as hard as I can in the direction of the forest, and drop my face into my hands as it passes through the foliage, and causes a flock of birds to scatter through the canopy, startled.
But the forest alarm continues, and I frown, because the rock’s gone, it did nothing but fly and fall. And I think, maybe, something else is setting off the alarm, because it can’t be me, can it? And then I’m wondering, if they’re all scared, then maybe I should be, too-
The shriek hits me at its loudest, and I open my mouth to scream back, but no sound escapes because I’m looking at the forest and it’s moving and something’s flying out, and it’s shrieking and I’m blinking because it’s no bird-
It’s a dinosaur.
Which isn’t even possible because they’re supposed to be bloody extinct, and what the heck? But it’s heading for me, and whatever it is I need to move, but my legs are stuck to the ground and I am so damn confused because it-
It hits me.
And I’m screaming in silence, until I realise that’s a stupid idea, because it’s gripping tighter and tighter around my chest and if I can’t get out I’m not going to be able to breathe, and wasting my oxygen on soundless screams will get me nowhere. My stupid mouth shuts and my hands go to its talons and try to prise them open, but its muscles are set and I can’t even shift them. So I panic and start punching them, though I know it’ll do nothing to set me free, but I’m desperate, and then suddenly, I’m not. Because I’ve looked down and we’ve passed the edge of the cliff, so there’s only me and the air and an impossible dinosaur who wants to eat me.
Which is not an ideal situation.
I take a deep breath, and go back to screaming.
The pterodactyl swerves, making the wind take my screams and pull them away from me, so I’m terrified and can’t even hear it in the air. But I feel the monster descend, and I’m hearing something else – water. I look down, and rocking subtly beneath me is ocean, hungry, as the dinosaur and I both are. And it keeps coming closer, until I fear that the pterodactyl will drown me, but then it stops its descent and just glides above the surface, like we’re hanging and the rest of the world is moving below us.
And then it shrieks.
And I shriek.
And I’m turning because there’s something else approaching, and it’s huge. Like a colossal, towering wall that’s just consuming everything in its path. And then I realise – it actually is.
The pterodactyl realises too, and it tries to turn and fly away but the great wave is drawing in far too fast, and we both scream as the wall of water looms over us, and then it crashes, and in the thunderous noise we are separated. And we are swallowed.
I noticed that I never did write an entry for Challenge Three of Gepard's Island. And since the Island helped me a lot in actually making me write, it seemed silly not to do the challenge that I missed. So, I wrote it. And now it exists (with little handfuls of help from Eldritch and Adra, when blockiness struck - Thanks. :3 ). And it was a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll get back into writing frequently, soon. Hopefully - enjoy~ :3