A Human Work
He waked up in the darkness. He felt sore and cold. Even like this, he could make out the shapes of trees and saw the branches and trees stirred in the wind. And above it all, the white glass moon. Confusion and terror raged around inside of him, condensing into panic that was running towards its breaking point. His breathing turned uneven. It hurt to take a breath.
He didn't understand. He didn't understand at all. Yesterday had been like always, and he had gone to sleep like always, so why was he here now, in a forest? He should be in his house. Yes, he should be in his house. There was no meaning or reason for him to be in such a place, at such a time, so it didn't make sense.
He tried to tell himself he was still dreaming, but he couldn't quite bring himself to believe it. Because this would be a dream. His view, the feeling of the wind, the wet ground below him, the muddy sensation all over is clothes. These things couldn't be a dream. They were too real.
He stood up. The muddy soil had stuck to his clothes, so they clung to his skin. It was messy and uncomfortable and he wanted to just rip them apart. That was what first went through his head, but he pushed that impulse down. It didn't make sense, it didn't make sense, it didn't make sense. Nothing about this made sense. So if this was reality, it had to make sense. With that in mind, he started walking forward. A meaning, a reason. They had to exist somewhere beyond this darkness.
The wind was very cool, and it blew strongly. But he didn't felt cold. He was feeling a nauseating heat, and not even that felt real. He walked on, half-sleep, half-awake. Not quite alive. The sound of his heartbeat was pounding in his ears, drowning out everything else.
He looked around wildly as he walked. A shadow streaking across the trees, something stirring behind the bushes. The croaking of a frog, the howl of what was probably some dog. The chirp of a bird. Even the breaches, rocks and the ground cracking under his feet. He jumped at every shadow, unable to stop himself, even though he felt it was silly of him. Because… because nothing could be out of there. Because it couldn't happen to him. Because...
(he wasn't going to disappear)
He had been walking for a long time. He couldn't quite tell how much. More that ten minutes, but after that, he didn't know. An hour? Two? Either way, he didn't seem to get any closer to the outside. And rather that finding light, the darkness all around him only seemed to grow deeper. It was only his imagination. Of course it was. But he still felt unsettled.
Quickly, quickly, quickly. He had to find his way home, or a t least find another person. His pace quickened. It seemed to go at rhythm with the frantic beating of his heart. He heard strange sounds behind him that his mind refused to identify. He didn't slow down. He didn't look over his shoulder, either. He didn't quite understand that why, but he felt like it would be the end if he did so, so he just pushed kept pushing himself.
Despite how long he had walked, he hadn't felt tired. Not really. But soon enough his legs started to burn, and not too long after his chest heaved with each breath. It didn't take much for the only thing that was keeping him to be the sounds from behind him, which were running footsteps and that they were getting closer and closer.
He had been lucky. Despite the darkness, despite his hurried pace, he had gone through the forest without slowing down like it was nothing. But, he lost that luck at that instant. He hit something he hadn't been able to see, and lost his balance. He fell like an idiot to the ground, on his head. It hurt. He thought his nose might… no, it was definitively broken.
He scrambled to his feet, but he fell down again, on his knees. He just couldn't kept his body outright. And to make matters worse, he had twisted his ankle. The eager panting behind him made the hairs at the back of his neck raise. He was trembling all over. He didn't think he could run, even if he managed to gather enough strength to stand up. His mind white from the fear, he turned his head back. Towards the final darkness.
It was there. A large black dog, bigger that him, rushing towards him. Its mouth was open. Its sharp teeth glistered under the moonlight. It was… coming… coming to… kill him. Yes, that was it. He scrambled back desperately, even though he couldn't run away. Even though there was no chance of him getting away.
“Don't come near me!” his panicked, broken voice echoed and vanished in the darkness of the forest.
The dog didn't listen, of course. Even if it would have understood, it wouldn't have listened. Because he could clearly see blood lust shining in those red eyes. When it came close enough, he lashed out without thinking at the animal, desperate to protect himself. He tried to punch in the head. But he missed. He pitifully missed, and not only that. The black dog dug its teeth through his shirt, and the skin of his arm.
He screamed. He screamed, but not out of pain, but surprise. That… that was strange. The dog was gnawing on his arm. Its bite had made a deep wound, and its movements were only deepening. A lot of blood flowed out. The blood stained the dog's head, and also, obviously, entered its mouth. The wound itself looked horribly twisted. But there was no pain. No pain at all.
Something clicked in his head. Like a switch. This was a dream. Yes, without a doubt. This was dream this was a dream this was a dream! And he, no matter how scared he had be, was this dream's master. So he could do anything. Concentrating on the feeling inside of himself, he grabbed and pulled it out.
A rushing wave of energy. It hurt. It hurt a lot, as if whole body was burning and that wasn't right, but the dog got blow away from him. But the wave took apart its body, and it was also split in half. He stared. The huge amount of blood, the four scattered extremities and its body, cut in half. He stared at the scene of carnage. He stared and, finally… feeling relief for the bottom of his heart, he started to laugh.
Good. That dog had been a real eye sore, it was good to see it disappear. Its remains were also an eye sore, but he enjoyed seeing it. Because it meant he had crushed it. Because it meant that he had killed the thing the thing that terrified him so much and had nearly killed him with his own hands. It was… satisfying, but even that couldn't quite cover it. He felt at peace. He felt certain nothing could hurt him anymore.
He stood up, conscious of the blood staining his clothes, mixing with the mood. But he didn't really care. That was proof, too. Proof that he was strong.
He walked through the forest without fear, feeling a lightness in his chest that he hadn't felt for many, many years. He could get used to this. It had started badly, but now it was nice. Not waking up ever again, staying in this dream where he was strong, would be even better. Yes, it had been so fulfilling… so he wanted to experience that feeling again.
He wandered in search of prey. He wandered in search of something to squash like a bug, because everything in this world was a bug compared to him. He was the one in control here. Idly, he noticed that the plants were strange, nothing he had seen before. But he didn't pay it much attention. After all, this was a dream.
He eventually got out of the forest, though he was so lost in his thoughts that he couldn't even guess how much time it had taken. Minutes? Hours? It was still night, though. He saw it. He felt himself smiling. Six. That many ponies or whatever were right in front of him, and coming to his direction. That would be nice. He would quite like to heard them scream. No, better yet. He would make them beg for their lives before he ended it all, anyway.
He approached them. He walked slowly, as if dragging his body, savouring the moment in his head. He heard himself laughing beneath his breath, and his body started to tremble lightly out of excitement. A pink haired whatever-it-was saw him, started trembling and fainted. Didn't matter. It would wake up when the pain started. A whistle.
“You're a mess.”
“All that blood...” it shallowed. “What is it, anyway?”
“We have to help it.”
“Yeah, it might even have seen what we're looking for.”
“Or it might be it.”
He stopped. They… they were talking? That was no right. They weren't supposed to talk. They had to be empty dolls in which he could take out all his bitterness and anger and hate, empty dolls to toy with as compensation for how he scared he had been before. But they were talking. And he could understand them. As if they were sapient. And if they were sapient, somebody like himself, then… wasn't it a crime to hurt them? How would hurt them make him any better that those people?
He took a step forward. He didn't know why; he hadn't even thought of moving. A sudden dizziness hit him, and he couldn't kept his balance anymore. He fell to the ground, flat on his back. He let out a gasp. He heard panicked shouts, but only the sound of the words, and even that was fading. His vision slowly grew darker, and the last sight he saw before he passed out was the glass moon overhead, reigning over the heavens.