I feel like I’m so much lighter than ever before.
I’m floating off the ground, like my [Agility] stat has gotten so high that I can outright defy gravity. As much as I attempt to ground myself, my legs refuse to move.
This is strange.
My body responds only vaguely to my actions. I want to move forward, and I move, but it’s more like I’m pushing myself that way, not making the effort myself.
Right now, I am in some sort of unfamiliar wood house. The fireplace is smoldering and a full set of dinnerware is laid out on a small dining table, but there is no-one here.
I walk past the dining table and keep going. I try to stop myself, but it isn’t working. I’m about to hit the wall, run right smack into it—
—but for some reason, now I am outside, safe and unharmed.
It is nighttime. I am in a small wooded area, just trees and forest critters skirting about. I am paid no mind even by the squirrels right by me. It’s as if they don’t even know I’m here.
In fact, I’m not sure I know I’m here, either.
My mind boggles. Where am I? What am I doing here? Who am I?
The sky is dimming, turning from sunset to dusk, the colors around me fading into dark. But now is the first time I notice that I can see everything. I mean everything. In a full 360-degree turn, my eyes show all sides around me at once.
Just taking in this view makes my skin crawl. Or it would, but I can’t seem to feel anything right now. Why am I seeing such a vivid image of the world around me? Why am I near this small wooden house and this small wooded forest? What kind of person am I supposed to be?
A wolf passes me by, growling. Behind her are several small pups that she guards with great care, nearly in attack mode at whatever is nearby. It seems to be aware of my proximity, but it cannot see me. Cannot smell me. It barks and snarls, lunges in a random direction, but does not take heed that I am standing—floating—right next to her.
I go deeper into the forest. Perhaps my answers will be found in here. With the night sky coming into itself and the moons rising, the forest has become like a cave. It draws me in with its pitch-black essence, its foreboding sense of dread.
The further I go, the less I can see. The full-circle view around me becomes so dark I can make little to nothing out. And the night predators do not stalk, do not attack. My body continues to move unheeded by even the tree roots sticking out of the ground.
What is happening here...?
Suddenly, I realize something very important.
I have no HUD.
No health bar to show my Life Points. No skill list. No achievements board. I cannot even pull up the Destiny Deck.
Whoever I am, I’m not me.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.
What is that infernal racket?
BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEP.
I sit up off the mat I slept on, wide awake.
My HUD is here. I’m in Francis’s bedroom. Light beams in through the window.
It was all a dream. That makes sense. It felt so vivid and lifelike, but it was probably merely a result of all of the horrible deaths I have been through in the last day.
Still... I don’t know. I am going to have to wake up a little bit more before I can let these feelings pass.
Beside me on the bed rests Francis, who looks more comfortable than I’ve ever seen anyone in my life. He truly looks like he’s gotten the best sleep of any human to have ever lived.
“Marky Mark, stop, you’ll...” Francis mumbles something in his sleep.
“Francis, what is that sound? It woke me up very suddenly.”
“Huh... I...” Francis snaps awake. “Oh! Eryk!”
“Sorry!” He hops out of bed and rushes over to his computer desk, where his phone is currently charging with the magic of electricity.
The annoying sound cuts out.
“That was my alarm,” he says. “Sorry for not warning you. I guess you don’t have alarms in your world. Or clocks.”
“Oh, boy, I really need to figure out what you have in your world...”
Whatever a clock is, it sounds like something I should be embarrassed about not knowing.
“Anyway, it’s time to get ready and eat some breakfast,” he says. “We’ve got a long day ahead of us!”
That we indeed have. And despite the very disturbingly vivid dream I had, I have no less excitement for the trials we shall endure. I will earn as many Destiny Points as possible!