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Awakening

By Leigh Flaherty All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Prologue

Dreams.

Dreams can mean many things to different people and can come in many different forms. For some they are an escape; the ability to go on grand adventures to visit far off lands or other worlds where they can be heroes or villains, save the day and win over the hearts and minds of their imaginary audiences. For others it is a chance to revisit past decisions or moments in their life, to let them wonder about the ‘What if’s’. What if they made managed to catch that train? What if they had stood up to their boss? What if they had the nerve to ask out their crush? It lets them wonder about the roads not taken and where they could have ended up.

But for a rare few dreams are a vision of things to come.

A man is running, he’s frantic, desperately trying to find a place of safe haven. He’s breathing heavily, the air not reaching his lungs as fast as it leaves him but he doesn’t dare stop, he continues to run as if his life depended on it. Because he knows full well that is does.

The man is used to high pressure situations. Dressed in his finely pressed grey suit, he is used to commanding the attention of this employees and board members alike, working to tight deadlines, negotiating contacts, dealing with unionists and paying the occasional bribe to anyone who needed an incentive to see his way of thinking. But running for his life made all those things unimportant and distant.

He charges down barren corridors of plaster, wood and paint desperately searching for a way out, for someone to help him. In his mind he knows this building like the back of his hand, after all he helped develop the designs, worked tirelessly on the layout and employed the construction company to build it to his exact specifications. But his mind was no longer working as it should. Fear and anxiety and paranoia rules his way of thinking now, making him stumble and second guess himself, leading him into dead ends and wrong turns. And with every wrong turn he makes his fear grows, like the oppressive shadows that seem to surround him no matter which way he goes.

However, a green exit light shines in the distance like a beacon of hope, one that makes his heart pound in his chest with a similar eagerness to escape. He storms down the deserted hallway, his eyes firmly fixated on the way out. Nevertheless, in his fervour he fails to notice pots of paint and varnish piled against the wall and runs straight into them. The pots scatter over the floor and man tries desperately to maintain his balance but struggles in vain, as he lands hard on the ground. He scrabbles frantically amongst the tubs of coloured paint to get up, to make it to the exit that was so close that he could almost smell the city air on the other side of the door. As he makes it to his feet, his dreams of freedom are near to fruition until he feels a hand take hold of his shoulder in a vice like grip.

“You knew this was coming.” Spoke a voice from behind that makes him freeze in his tracks. The man recognises the voice, it’s familiar to him but yet somehow different, more damaged and angry. Slowly he turns to face the owner of the voice and his heart drops.

“No, no, no, not you, it can’t be you.” The man stutters, fear causing his voice to quiver.

“You left me to rot,” says the voice. “You will suffer my pain.”

The man squirms, trying to free himself but deep down he knows his efforts are futile. He knows that the voice is right, that his past had led him to this moment, had hunted him and now the hunt is over. The owner of the voice raises his other hand and with a flick of his fingers, the hand bursts into flames. The man begins to scream, his feeble efforts to free himself growing more and more frantic.

“With this,” the voice growls. “I shall have what was taken from me.” And with one swift movement he thrusts his flaming hand deep into the man’s chest.

The man’s screaming falls silent.

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