Fade To Black


Day One, Continued


Good news, Basil. I'm not dead. Yet.

I should be. Dead, you know? Everything that has happened since coming to this place, it's impossible. I went from an office in some research facility to a ruin in some undisclosed place. Maybe it isn't a multi-verse, but what else could explain the things I've already seen?

You want answers. Would demand them, really, if you were here.

I'm safe, for the moment, so I could backtrack for a moment. Yet, when I think of the tense moments of my arrival, there is an underlining sense of things too difficult to explain. I don't know how to, Basil. It's all in my head, but the words are slow to come.

What little I do recall before all of this happened, it's nothing out of the normal. Work went by as usual, for all I couldn't say before this mess. The usual stuff. The day-to-day grind.

Clocking in, a brief meeting with the boss, the security guard walking me to my office and locking me in, the hours of watching the screens and jotting down the things I see. Or if something unexpected or unexplained happens.

Like the vase I was watching. I do remember that. The vase, it was wobbling where it stood on its desk. It was slowly rotating in circles, never going too far to one side to fall. Just rotating in place, the edges lifting off the desk in increments.

Then there was the explosion.

It was so loud, Basil. Deafening. I think it threw me back. I remember feeling like I was falling, so maybe the explosion was on the other side of the wall or beneath my office? What little I can recall comes in brief flashes.

Fragmented memories pulsing just under the surface. The fall, the blinding flash of light, the darkness that engulfed me. Then body-numbing cold and a sense of weightlessness. It was a moment of peace filled with a sort of pressure, a presence, pressing in from all sides.

A sort of weight that made the cold more…tolerable. That beckoned, a low-key vibration thrumming through the air around me. But that moment of weightlessness, the moment before falling from the office into the ruin, it reminded me of being underwater.

Weightless, but surrounded by vast volumes of liquid. Only I was dry when I hit the ground after what felt like an eternity, my hands bloody as if I had clawed my way out of whatever moment was between realities.

Basil, there was something above me. I had fallen on my stomach, dropped in at an angle. Face-first, arms up to shield my face. Right through a pulsating, circular orb that tried to cling to me as I fell. I have burns on my body, Basil.

Burns left by the tendrils of that thing trying to pull me back into the weightless, water-like place I had passed through.

It was only after I hit the ground that the monsters appeared. Tall, unnaturally thin monsters with limbs too long for their bodies. Sharp, angular faces.

Their eyes, Basil, they had no eyes.

The part of the face where their eyes should have been? It was broken. It was caved in, a blackened hollow absent of what should have been eyes. That space across the top part of the face, it was nothing more than a long, abyss-filled crack right across the part of the head the eyes should have sat.

So, I fled. Barefoot, terrified, confused.

The monsters, they screeched as I ran. I could hear them hitting the walls in the corridors I passed through. I could hear them colliding into stone passages that branched off into another hall.

They were moving too fast to slow down, too fast to turn.

The only reason I'm alive is luck. Or a lack of it.

You're probably wondering where I got the journal I'm writing in.

This thick tome filled with pages with frayed edges, more beige than white in color. Thicker paper, a bit rougher on the surface. It's obviously handmade, Basil. The cover is sewn carefully together, glued in and the stitches I can see inside the book are thick and carefully placed.

Someone took a great deal of pride in their craft.

I found it in one of the rooms I was hiding in. I grabbed it without a second thought, hoping, perhaps, that, if I lived, I could use it as a way to record all that's been happening. Might even keep me sane, in the long run.

Then, when I found that vent, knew those things would find me, I thought that, maybe, I'd write you instead. That maybe whatever force brought me here would, I don't know, somehow get this book to you.

There's something utterly heart-stopping about climbing through icy vents of stone with a monster dragging itself after you. The stone was unforgiving, the temperature steadily dropping as the cold nipped at my skin.

Demonic monsters. They had entered through the entrance I used earlier in the day, and had found the vent in the room where I had found this book.

I would have been caught if I hadn't been hauled out of the vent. Someone had found me, Basil. Someone had thrown a bit of black, thick oil into the vent before thrusting the head of a burning torch into it. As they dragged me along, the scream of the monsters in the vent echoed. Impossibly loud, shrill and echoing.

If someone hadn't clamped a hand over my mouth, I would have screamed too.

Now here I am, feet wrapped in bandages and some kind of hide wrapped and tied into place around them as makeshift shoes. A fur cloak tossed over my shoulders, my back tucked into a corner in a room filled with seven or eight other people sleeping on the hard ground.

They're all so thin, Basil. Sickly thin, like they're malnourished.

Or starving.

Weird thing is, Basil, that, when they talk, their mouths and words don't line up. It was like watching a movie and noticing something was off. It's only when you pay attention, do you notice what's wrong. It's hard to pinpoint, but it was a nagging itch at the back of my mind that finally clicked into place after a while.

I understand what they're saying, but the words they're saying don't match when they talk. It's distracting, in an odd way. Once you notice it, it's difficult to un-notice. A tick that sinks its teeth in your head, if you will.

One of them told me they were a forward camp of some kind of hunting party, that they had gotten ambushed and are now waiting for the others to arrive. They have swords, Basil. Actual swords with blades sharp enough to cut a living being in two.

It's in moments like these that I'm happy I have something to put my thoughts into. This book, it's useful. I feel as if I'm in some kind of horrific nightmare, but this journal, Basil, this journal might be the lifeline I need to get through this.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I managed to keep the journal on hand. I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't drop it, but I'm glad I didn't. In moments of quiet, when death isn't chasing me, I can vent. Write what is in my head, get it out, and maybe, just maybe, I'll figure out what to do.

First, however? I need to rest. Sleep a bit. Maybe I'll wake up at the office and learn all of this was a horrible dream. A too-real nightmare filled with sensation.