[Outworld] No Longer Alone

Previous Chapter.  And of course, here’s your musical accompaniment for this chapter.

So here I was, trapped in some oversized forest with no idea where or who I was. And what had I brilliantly decided to do?  Start walking away from my only landmark. Brilliant, I know.

I walked for a long time. I couldn’t see the sun, and although there were periods of darkness, they didn’t seem to be the same length. Sometimes the darkness would last for hours, other times it felt like mere minutes. Later on, 

I learned that different places in Outworld have different days. Just another bit of unfamiliarity in this place.

As best I can tell, I walked for about two days before anything changed. There were pools of water here and there at the roots of the massive trees, and my thirst quickly overcame my concerns about disease. The gnawing hunger was slowly growing, but I was able to ignore it.


I was struggling to make my way over the humped roots of an especially large tree when I spotted a small clearing just ahead. Finally, a change in the scenery!  Throwing one leg over the root, I hurried forward.  There was even sunlight entering the clearing through a hole in the trees above!  To my gloom-adjusted eyes, it seemed like a blinding heaven.

Arriving at the edge of the clearing, I paused for a moment before stepping forward into the tall, gently waving grass.  In the middle of the clearing, a figure was sitting atop a large rock.  The light was still overwhelming my eyes, but I squinted to see what details I could.

The figure appeared to be a young girl, clothed in a simple white dress.  Her blonde hair hung in waves, and she was smiling happily.  I guessed that she couldn’t be older than six or seven years.  She was gazing off into the distance, looking towards the far side of the clearing.

I felt a wave of paternal instinct surge through me.  Who had abandoned this girl, this angel, out here in this empty forest?  Who would leave her behind?  As I stepped forward to comfort her, a small part of my mind wondered if I had perhaps been a father, before awaking that first day.  Perhaps that was from where my protective instinct arose.  Sorry, still no answers there.

But that day, I ran forward without concern into that clearing.  My arms were open.  What for?  Haven’t the foggiest idea.  Maybe I was going to sweep her up in a hug, maybe I was going to protect her from all the horrors that I would eventually discover lurking out in Outworld.  But all I knew was that I was happy – no, that the child would make me happy.  That I would only be happy as long as I was with her, that I would do anything to protect her, to keep her happy, even if it meant my own demise.  

As I approached, she turned to smile at me.  Her smile was even brighter than the beams of sunlight.  There was no trace of fear in her expression, only serenity.  For that moment, as we were about to touch, I felt fulfilled.  For that moment, the last moment in a very long time, there was no trace of worry or confusion in my mind.

And then she reared up to strike.

Suddenly, through the haze of brilliant sunlight, she was growing taller, stretching, elongating, unfolding.  The folds of the white dress opened up, and the inside was blood red and lined with bladed fangs.  Her arms grew impossibly long and thin, wrapping around behind me like a cage.  Mind clouded with the fog of happiness, I couldn’t fathom what was happening.  Her mouth stretched, the bottom jaw falling away to reveal a hole, dark and red, reaching out for me . . .

Don’t stop now, go on to the next chapter!

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