Sorrow and dread filled my chest as death permeated the air with the foul stench of burnt flesh. Ash and smoke consumed the overcast sky. I stared at the incinerated remains of what had been my home, family, and friends. Only two people I knew and cared about still lived and all three of us were now orphans.
I stood numb and frozen in place, my feet having grown roots and planted themselves into the scorched soil beneath my feet. I tried to process the events of the last couple of hours and accept them as reality. I looked away: too distressed to look at the area, or rather what was left of it. Instead, I focused on pulling my roots from the earth.
I looked back, once more, at the remains of what had been my life-long home, my thoughts jumbling together into a massive knot of confusion and distress. My vision started to distort and my knees gave out beneath me. I'm going into shock, I thought to myself. The earth rose to kiss my ashen skin. The world was falling in a revolving circle around me. I felt the air rush out of my lungs. I couldn't remember how to draw in a breath. My thoughts whirled faster and faster in an infinite cycle around my head. I could see the words that formed in my mind. The world stopped spinning; coming to a sudden halt, everything pitched into darkness.
I was drifting languidly through a massive sea of arctic water. My hair floated around my head like a halo. I couldn't see a speck of light in my world of obscurity. I didn't know if I was holding my breath or if I had acquired gills. That would be interesting...I wonder if I'd have a tail? I tried to move my head and look down at my feet, but I was paralyzed; the tranquil water having frozen me from the inside out, where I couldn't move even my eyes. I realized with a start that I couldn't tell if m eyes were open. I stared into the dark that had consumed me and waited for an internal sign that the paralysis I was experiencing was subsiding. That moment never came.
Suddenly, I could hear the murmurs of voices coming from somewhere above me and could almost identify whose voices they were, but when I tried to put names to their voices, I became nauseous.
"Dom! Domineak! Dom!!!
I could hear the voices clearly now, and could now distinguish them for the people I knew, but with the recognition of their voices, came the brutal, sorrowful memories of what had happened moments before I came to this plane. They're dead. They're all dead. I tried to fight the resurfacing of my conscious. I didn't want to retutn to the bleak world where almost everyone I had ever cared about was dead; where all I had left was my best friend, Score, and his twin brother, Zeek. I wanted to stay in this peaceful place, full of content and naivety. As hard as I tried to fight the merge of my mind and body, it was a losing battle; fought in vain.