A boy floated limply in endless darkness, the cold damp feeling of a storm night all around him and in his heart. He felt as though he was falling, and yet, nothing moved except a shard of pale light which could be viewed through half-lidded eyes. He breathed softly, wondering with thoughts that seemed to completely consume the unending silence of this massive void.
“I’ve been having these weird thoughts lately…”
His mind flashed with momentary visions of familiar faces, and hauntingly beautiful eyes. A voice and a name came to mind, but he couldn’t place it.
“…like is any of this for real or not?” He heard his voice, but his mouth never moved, instead only parting in a wistful sigh.
A sudden crack and the unmistakable sound of shattered glass broke his dream and he was falling. He flailed his arms; afraid of what would happen when he reached his final destination.
He sat up on the beach, barefoot and damp from allowing the waves and foam to splash over him. The tide was out, and he turned, hearing the mischievous giggle of someone close by.
Turning quickly, he faced a girl with short red hair and wearing violet-hued clothing. She hopped from foot to foot, laughing and smiling in a way some would question.
Suddenly, she pointed past him, seemingly awestruck by the sunrise sky that bathed them both in a pale pink and gold glow. He turned again and stared at the sky with her, his eyes glued to a falling form that he soon noticed was his own.
And he was falling again, the girl looking down at him in horror. However, he was fell slowly this time with no sense of urgency or dread. Someone caught him in strong, sure arms.
A smiling girl with short dark hair and a rather friendly lop-sided grin set him right side up upon the sand in the midmorning warmth of the sun, teasing him playfully with something of great importance to him in her small, worker’s hands.
Without warning, she bared down on him, eyes filled with disappointment and a sense of betrayal. He felt choked, and unable to move… suffocating in a sea of mistrust.
Again, he was somewhere else, searching for someone he knew. Above him, the sun beat down upon the little beach he stood on. A taller figure turned to him, standing knee-deep in ocean water, holding his hand out as a tsunami threatened to overtake them both.
Running, feeling as if there were rocks tied to his ankles, he reached out to this friend with pale hair and hard eyes. The wave collapsed onto him and pulled at his body, while this figure remained standing strong in his place. Unable to breathe, he let the current take him, and once again felt the familiar sense of falling into the abyss.
Dark sand greeted his feet and he found himself in an unfamiliar place of eerie darkness. Soft, rather blank and empty green eyes stared back at him from a young girl with long, auburn-gold locks. Upon meeting with his gaze, irises appeared and she smiled with a childlike
innocence matched only by his own.
They reached out to one another, but failed to touch. He felt the ground beneath swallow him up slowly, and the girl frantically reached for him, panicking. Unable to stop this unending fall, he closed his eyes in silent prayer all would end soon.
Gently, as if his mother were settling him out of a warm embrace, he felt his feet touch ground. The floor was bright stained glass showing pictures of a girl with short black hair, eating an apple. Three pedestals surrounded him, each bearing something of significance.
Staring at each in turn, he reached for them all, finding the items to be a sword, shield,and rather oddly shaped staff. He swung with the blade quickly, bearing the staff and shield on his back. A shadow caught his eye, but nothing was there. Looking around with a new sense of insecurity, he walked across the stained glass to meet his invisible foe.
He fell, glass shards flying like brilliantly colored butterflies all around him. He landed a second time on a new brightly lit glass portrait, the woman this time wearing a blue gown with golden hair. Strange shadows flicked across her, reaching him in split seconds. A strange creature with glowing strobe-like eyes and lanky appendages crouched, ready to pounce.
Instinctively, he held up his blade in defense, blocking the oncoming creature. Another leapt up behind him, and he blocked with the shield in his other hand. The moment the creature bounced off, he watched the staff crumble into dust.
“So this is your decision…” a voice spoke without words in his mind. It seemed both amused and pleased. “Come then…”
Again he was falling, falling into pitch black nothingness, waiting the next turn of events. Slowly, he stopped and landed on another depiction of a beautiful woman. Her hair was brown and her gown of a golden hue. A stairway of stained glass led up to another, so he climbed with tedious exhaustion. The next floor was of a golden-haired beauty with a dreamy sleeping expression.
“Where am I?” he asked the void.
He hoped the voice would answer back, but instead a soft humming filled his ears and he was forced to close his eyes in confusion. When he opened them, the scene had once again changed, something representing three other women. A door stood at the end across from him, no wall supporting it, and only succeeding in confusing him more. He stepped towards it cautiously, feeling an unseen presence watch him.
“Oh, you won’t be able to open that door…yet…” the voice chided gently.
Startled, he stepped back, searching around for the owner of the disturbing voice. Instead, he was greeted by more confusing words and a stressed spotlight on his shadow.
“You have a good heart full of light… but the more light, the stronger the darkness… you must be ready to face it… but don’t be afraid…”
As the voice spoke, his shadow grew and twisted until this silhouette resembled nothing of him. It towered above him, waving ape-like arms by its sides, until it finally took notice of his smaller form and attacked. He lifted up the sword again, only to find that it had disappeared.
He wanted to yell or scream, but his voice choked in his throat as the thing plunged its hands into the ground next to him, eyes beating into his own. The glass turned into a pool of liquid darkness that swallowed him up, and he twisted in fear and panicked. The voice came to him again.
“For you hold the greatest key of all.”