It starts when you wake up. It doesn’t matter the day or time. It happens randomly. You open your eyes, still misted over with sleep, and realize that you are no longer in your nice warm bed. The blankets are gone and you have no pillows. You are flat on hard, rocky ground that pokes and prods your back. There is a moment of confusion, of course. When you went to sleep, you were safe and sound at home, content in the knowledge that you would wake up in the same place in which you drifted off.
The fog of rest clears when you peer at the sky and feel the icy grip of fear surround your heart. There is no ceiling, white and popcorned with little dots of plaster. No ceiling fan or lights. Hell, there is not even a blue sky above you. Not that being outdoors would have been much of a comfort, but the existence of a baby-blue expanse looming overhead would have provided some sense of grounding in reality. That is not the case, though. Above you is a sky that is undeniably red. You try to think of words to describe it that don’t upset you. Ruby. Crimson. Cherry. None quite fit, however. There is, of course, one word for the color that is perfect.
Now, the liquid that runs in your veins is pulsing and you feel yourself hurtle to your feet as you survey your surroundings. Honestly, you wish you hadn’t. Around you is nothing but rocks – sharp, jagged, and colored rusty-brown-red. In the distance, you see hills spiking into the horizon like angry teeth. There are no birds flying. No animals running around through grass. Not even the sound of wind whistling over natural barriers. There is no sound, save the pounding of your terrified heart and the air pouring in and out of your lungs in great, deep gasps. You recognize nothing around you, but ahead of you sits one undeniable fact, nearly screaming at you from the matted dirt of a path.
You need to walk.
You trudge off, being careful to avoid any rocks or pitfalls, and find yourself relishing the crunchcrunchcrunch of your feet on the path. The sound breaks up the oppressive silence in a way. It’s almost musical to your ears. You walk and walk until it seems there will be no end and then – and only then – do you reach the table.
It is out of place, to say the least. Short, thick, and wooden, it sits with two buttons on it. Below the buttons, there are words. The button on the left is labeled ‘Break’. The button on the right? ‘Someone Else’. You stare, confused, before you take in the rest of the scene. Near each button is a thin sheet of rock with carvings on them. One has all. The other has none. A choice. Your hand hovers over the buttons, wavering on your decision.
Finally, you slam your hand down.
Here is where I''ll post random stories that aren't, as of yet, in a larger book. Call it a free ride into the mouth of madness, yo.