A timeless, sightless void stretched beyond the mind's eye of his floating subconscious. The sensation vaguely reminded him of the death and revival function his class featured. A new collection of sight and sound entered his awareness faster than lightning and painfully slow simultaneously. Shane opened his eyes and found warm sunlight barreling down on him.
Once his eyes adjusted, a beautiful sight of majestic mountains and nature lay endlessly ahead of him. A feeling of overwhelming awe and potential filled his mind as he took all of it in.
"Master, where are we going next?" An even yet excited voice spoke within his mind.
Shane turned to his right and wasn't surprised at all to see Sharlot. A giant black spider the size of a four-door sedan, with multiple big red eyes looking at him, eager for an answer. He smiled wide and pointed down the mountain they were both standing on. The next moment, he was jumping and falling toward where he pointed.
All he knew was that he needed to get to where he pointed; it was the only thing that mattered to him.
As he fell, countless people and hybrids joined him in his lazy flight down the mountain's snow-caked slope. Glancing at them showed a myriad of constantly shifting faces, yet they felt like beloved companions all the same. After a disorienting amount of time, Shane landed softly at the base of the mountain, covered in soft, dewy grass. With his eyes searching ahead for a location he couldn't quite quantify, he started walking, having already forgotten about all those that fell with him—and failing to land with him.
The dark shadows under the trees and flora began to soften and disappear as the bright noon sun overhead was occluded by an oncoming storm front. It was such a sudden shift that Shane didn't want to proceed further down the mountain's base any longer. It was all so confusing and troubling that he didn't even notice Sharlot appear ahead of him. Except, this time, she was in a small, familiar human form.
"I've been waiting for you," she said in a haunting tone.
Her ghostly voice boomed and echoed from her tiny mouth.
Without warning, she disappeared, and before he could look around to find her, he felt a small cold hand grab his chin.
"Sharlot? What are you doing?" Shane asked, already feeling like he knew her words before she even spoke them.
"I told you that if I saw you again, I would be forced to slay you."
Her voice was different now. It still sounded like her, but there was another layer to it. It was his voice; Cain Prime spoke through her and for her. The only thing that overpowered a fresh, boiling rage within Shane was a terrible certainty that her knife would end him entirely. There wouldn't be any reviving this time; the confidence in that truth filled him with a chilling dread.
Then it happened. The long, thin knife raked across the sides of Shane's neck on either side of his adam's apple. Torrents of warm blood seeped from the fresh wound as the darkening clouds opened up above, releasing copious amounts of rain for miles all around. Shane tried to scream, but only bright red blood escaped his lips. Everything began to shift as the sound of rain faded, replaced by hot, moist breath and a wet tongue lapping against his face.
He immediately sat upright with a horrified yelp, confused and disoriented. Shane's head swiveled around wildly as realization slowly crept into the forefront of his mind while the dream faded into obscurity. God damn, what a nightmare. He was almost sure his relief could become a tangible, touchable object with how much was coursing through his frayed nerves.
Gaining a sense of his surroundings, Shane saw it was the dark of night. He heard the sounds of sleeping nature as his three summons surrounded him, tilting their heads with a quiet and tranquil concern. Having long since finished the destruction of Cain Prime's wooden dwelling, the skeleton crew now stood around him, scanning for potential threats—a feature he was delighted they had.
However, a fourth shape much closer to him than they were finally caught Shane's eye, and he cried out for the second time that night.
Surprisingly, it was a dog, a greyhound to be exact, and not just any greyhound, but a loot pupper! After the initial shock wore off, he noticed that the chest strapped to its lengthy, toned hindquarters was made of Adamantite. The infinitely intricate and equally resilient, unbreakable alloy used in only the rarest items, armor, and weapons. By far, the scarcest of loot-pupper chests!
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I'm currently writing my 2nd original story after learning from writing volume 1 of The Man Who Taught The Machine, which you can find on Amazon's Kindle Vella platform - https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0BSFV1B1Z