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Muscida

You take a shuddering breath and step forward and immediately feel as though you are slipping. For the first few moments you panic and clutch the shield tight to your chest, afraid that everything will have been for naught once you hit the ground with a sickening splat. After you realize this fall seems to be taking a while, you liken it to what Alice must have gone through and laugh to yourself at the comparison between you and a young girl.

The rabbit hole was dark and deep, the only source of light bits of dim coding that glowed and flickered like candles in the wind. You shuddered, wishing that your companions were with you but are somewhat glad they don’t have to face the experiences ahead. You feel a crushing loneliness overcome you, and realize the feeling is similar to that when you began to remember. You feel empty and sigh, waiting to get whatever is coming to you at the bottom of this chasm of a well.

The quintet entered a pitch black space. For as far as they could - barely - see, it was the utter blackness of emptiness. For a fleeting moment, if Myos closed his eyes, he could almost feel himself slipping into weightlessness of space that such a blank canvas of a room provided. His fingertips began to tingle at the sensation, and opening his eyes once again did nothing to alleviate it due to the fact that the blackness of behind his eyelids pervaded into every surrounding direction. It almost seemed as if the very air around him was sucking in every last speck of light.

Was it getting hard to breathe?

Myos tried to look at his companions around him, finding nothing but the stifling, suffocating blackness. He stretched his arm out wide, trying to brush someone, anyone, anything with his fingertips but finding nothing but more of the goddamn emptiness. The black hole room that he had fallen into was going to eat him alive.

He was going to die.

Myos couldn’t breathe.

He couldn’t breathe.

The boy with the hair of blood pressed his shaking hands to the smooth, cold metal of his headphones, trying to drown out the lack of sensations somehow. This complete emptiness was maddening, aching down to his very soul. Myos squeezed tighter to the protective casing of his headset, willing the instruments to turn on to fill the room with anything his senses could latch onto and ground him. He stumbled, vertigo creeping up on him as he struggled to keep a hold of his surroundings. With shaky knees he lowered himself to the ground, curling tight into the instinctive protectiveness of the fetal position.

Breaths came in short, shallow gasps.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, threatening to make its way down the young man’s face.

Myos let out a shaky breath, squeezing his eyes tightly shut. He tried to call out to one of his teammates. To those who had been behind him since they began this adventure what seemed like eons ago but in reality were only a few days. His voice choked in his throat, the muscles tightening against his will as if his body didn’t even want to free his mind from the sickening emptiness.

Myos.

He blinked his eyes; pupils pressing outward so only a sliver of green were present in his iris. For a moment the word blurred and rippled, and it took a moment to realize it was his own name flashed in front of him on the lime screen he didn’t remember that he was still wearing. Myos’s hand slipped down from his starred headphones to adjust the angle of his computer glasses, eyes beginning to focus.

Myos, what are you doing here?

What was he doing here? Myos wracked his brain for the answer that should’ve been immediate. He was going to defeat the Empress wasn’t he? To stop her from committing her evil plan of turning all of humanity into her robot slaves.

That’s it; he was going to ensure the survival of free will. Myos was sure once again, and the empty dizziness began to ebb back from to recesses of his mind, and the world became less of a harrowing place. He was going to be the hero.

Myos could feel his breathing even out.

No, Myos.

What are you doing here?

What was he? Myos tightened his face in concentration. Didn’t he just answer that? He was going to…

Did the air feel heavy?

Struggling to breathe. That’s what he was doing here.

He was in a dark place, cold and alone, so very alone and he wanted out out out. The breath came in painful gasps that resonated in his lungs and through his ribs and out of his veins and capillaries and arteries and the painfulness of it all poured through his whole body and the weight of the air was crushing him, suffocating him, eating him alive like this ominous empty space had eaten every light that had ever come into contact with it. Myos’s chest heaved in and out, restricted by the atmosphere.

You Are Alone.

Myos nodded his head in agreement with the disembodied words that had flashed in front of his face, inches from his nose and the only thing he had left to hold onto in the world. He had always been alone. No massive multiplayer alternate reality game could change that. As much he had tried to integrate himself with people he never could, always the one on the other side of the semi transparent glass of reality. He was endlessly drifting in a distended state through life just as much as he was in this darkened room. Myos lived his life in a virtual space.

Alone.

What are you doing here?

He was doing nothing here. The boy with the mane of fire lost his fuel and slumped down, all the tension gone from his body as he lay on the floor that should’ve been cool chrome but just felt like the velvety blackness that continued to surround him. Myos didn’t even have the energy to make himself comfortable on the ground where he lay motionless, the aura around him crushing him with its almighty force. He couldn’t fight the heaviness that seemed much stronger than gravity had any right to be, feeling the pull downward in his very atoms.

Give up.

What?

Give up.

Give up.

Give up.

The two word phrase flashed itself over and over countless times across his small screen, Myos’s eyes flicking all around to watch the words disappear and reappear in successive fashion. Give...up? The words snapped against the back of his skull like a tautly pulled rubber band being released and the invisible chains that had been growing link by link in his head were now broken. Like the satisfying cacophony of shattering glass, his thoughts raced and buzzed around in his mind and filled him with new vitality.

Standing up on unsteady feet, Myos glared in whatever direction he felt that his silent companion’s words had been directed from. He face was determined, eyes shining like the light of brightest stars of the Milky Way galaxy. There was no way he or his team would ever give up. They had something important to do.

Myos took a blind step forward, and as he did so, it was like slipping back from whatever parallel reality he had fell in to. The air moved across his skin like flowing water, and in comparison to the crushing might of the weight before it was positively refreshing. As soon as Myos’s boot clad foot hit the ground, the purple glow of black lights flickered into existence around the room, revealing his teammates and friends who all reacted in various stages of relief. He grinned a wide and toothy smile when he saw them, teeth iridescent in the welcomed lighting. Give up? No way. Heroes never give up.

It was unfortunate that the creeping seeds of the choking vines of doubt had already been planted in the boy’s mind.


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