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I was deposited to awareness with an abruptness normally reserved for the newly born, and much like them, my first view of the world was enough to send me into wracking sobs. I attempted to recoil, to fall back to the nothing that I had come from, but found myself frozen, my body not my own, only able to watch and look in horror at the world I now found myself in.

Cracked bricks and blocks formed an endless road before me, while behind laid only a flat mass of black more dark and empty then the place I had already come from. Stones and clumps of masonry floated here and there, as if frozen after being flung free by some massive explosion. Yawning tubes dotted this narrow, cyclopean highway, and the road had even crumbled away in sections, to reveal gaping maws of oblivion.

It was not this alien landscape that filled with me horror. While it gnawed and gnashed at the edges of my strength of mind, it was the subtle… awareness of the place that cause me to recoil in my frozen body. Everywhere, half-perceived faces leered from the bricks, the ground, the clouds. Everywhere eyes, dull but gleaming with a mocking, predatory awareness, seemed to watch, their vapid emptiness vanishing when perceived too closely.

Faced with the blank nothing behind me, or the unknown horror before, I forced my unresponsive limbs forward, each step a jerky ordeal. I kept my eyes locked ahead, seeing only the next step, the next stone, never looking at the impossible islands of floating, decayed brick that drifted over me, nor at the mocking faces laughing at my plight from every crevice.

Merely steps in to my journey, I froze, nearly recoiling back to beat at the blank nothing-wall behind me rather than take another step. Where before had been naught but the crumbling road, there was now another traveler. It shambled forward, slouching low under its own rotten weight, pulpy black lumps of feet slowly dragging it along the road. Two staring, blank eyes floated in the bloated, fungoid mass of its body, fixed on me with the unseeing focus of a mind as alien to mine as a deep-sea worm.

I stood, frozen and uncomprehending as it slowly strode forward, its wheezing body barely bigger then that of a child. Its glaring eyes were fixed on me, the pulpy thing slowly drawing closer. I could not move. To retreat would result only in eventual capture by the thing, but to advance would mean crossing it, and the thought of touching that… thing…

The decision was made for me, for as the thing drew close, I was galvanized in to action. By horror or rage, I leapt forward, screaming nonsense, and struck at that bloated body. I kicked and stomped at it, crushing the flabby and far too soft flesh under me, sobbing in horror as I felt the flesh touch me, then melt away, rotting to nothingness in seconds, but leaving such an unclean memory in me that I knew I would feel that dull, soggy weight against me long after even the sweet, cold embrace of the beyond.

After that, I ran. I ran and cursed whatever black fate had brought me here, and obliterated my memory, my life, and left only the road, the eternal road. I would have cried, have balled up and thrown myself down one of the endless pits that had broken open the road, but I was compelled to continue, legs continuing in a jerky rhythm that propelled me over the crumbling brick, leaping across the pits even as I secretly wished to fall in to their depths and obliterate the road, the faces, and myself.

As I ran and jumped, I came to one of the thick, twisted tubes that dotted the claustrophobic landscape. I thought to look in for a moment, curiosity fighting to overcome my almost manic desire to be free of this place, but upon hearing a strange shuffling and gurgling, coupled with a deep, bass pulse from the bowels of the black pipe, I decide against it and squeezed around. As soon as I was past, there was a sudden rush of air behind me, followed by a sharp, oddly muffled snap, as if two iron bars wrapped in cotton had been thrown together behind me. I did not turn, merely using this to further galvanize my stuttering walk, ignoring the continued snapping and rustling as it faded behind me.

Far ahead, I saw a long, glossy stair, leading up, and beyond it what looked like a squat dwelling made of the same crumbling brick as the road. While I feared what may lie inside, the idea of someone else, some other person with which to share this horrible place with filled me with the first hope I had felt in hours. I ran, eyes fixed on that stair, and soared across the final gap. It was mid-way across the abyss when I saw the thing waiting on the other side.

It was a twisted parody of some kind of reptile. Its elongated face was filled with a dim sort of menace, and his mouth yawned in anticipation of my reaching the other side, the jagged edges glinting as it made a choking squeal. Its body balanced on two squat, shapeless legs, a shell of hard, cracked flesh encasing the bulbous torso. Two stunted limbs projected through the flaking shell, coated in fibrous growths, and slowly shifted in a sick mockery of wings.

I screamed and twisted, trying in vain to return to the far edge, but it was too late, and my struggles were enough to bring me short, slamming in to the hard wall of the pit, the thing above me shrieking in frustration as I fell. Down, and down, spinning in to the endless blackness, I felt the dark enclose around me. However, seconds before the emptiness could provide me its final solace, I suddenly remembered.

Endless roads, lakes of fire, crumbling tombs filled with the rotting, shambling bones of beasts, hazy forms of glowing slickly light following in the dark, floating networks of ancient wood drifting in a hot sky, it all came back to me in a flood, the remembrance of where I had been, what I had done, and knowing that it would continue.

I do not know how long I have done this, nor what I have done to earn this.

Only that I must walk the road.


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