I wasn’t sure where I was at the time. Confused and slightly hungry, I continued walking, the bag feeling heavier on my back. I was told I would find something out in this wilderness. This place scared me. I walked on flat grass plains, but this wasn’t the strange part; above me was a stone ceiling going on for as far as the grass went, with only occasional holes in the ceiling through which sunlight struck the ground, or at least my ground. The grass I could see, anyway; a fog encircled the area centred on me. It was all the same inside and outside my field of vision. I could hear faint, undefined noises beneath my feet, clearly echoing. It sounded like there was an ocean beneath the grass.
I sometimes saw rocks, which were so few and far apart they served as checkpoints. These rocks were the closest I had to company. But for all I knew, caverns were above my head too. Maybe there was something there. Maybe something lived in the ocean below. No, that sounded silly. Why would there be an ocean in a place like this? Then again, this place itself made no sense either. What was I looking for? They told me it was somewhere in here. I wasn’t sure if I was outside or inside. This was so maddening. Maybe a hole would open up and swallow me, and I’d fall to the darkness below. I didn’t even notice that I was walking. Only myself in this godforsaken place. Only myself.
I took back that thought the moment a dark black shadow took form in the fog around two hundred metres ahead of me. Something was wrong with it…just like this place. Maybe it belonged here. From what I could see here crouched behind the rock that was several metres left of where I was standing, it appeared to have…three heads? Was this a hydra of some sort? Did those even exist? The hydra was the closest I could get to describing this…thing anyway. Its limbs were contorted to grotesque proportions, its claws on its freakish arms touching ground each time it walked. Were those limbs even able to support it? Every so often, it would stop and look around while making a rather neutral-sounding growl, bordering on “curious as to what it might find”. That was it. That was the only normal thing about it.
Maybe being along wasn’t so bad. Of course, my thoughts only seem to have made it worse as it saw me. It was terrifying. One eye appeared to cover a fifth what looked like its head, while the other was at normal proportions. That was only the first head. The other two looked at me lifelessly, misshapen eyes staring through space right at me. It didn’t look natural. Did it live here? Was this really what the wildlife here would be like? Who knows, maybe this thing killed everything else? I turned round, looked down and walked off to the left, hoping it would lose interest. Tough chance. It was likely as bored as I was here. Maybe I’d leave its vision and it would leave me alone.
Just when I felt like I had become invisible to it, I heard it advancing. Fast. Evidently, its legs were okay for running too. I have no idea what this…thing wanted but I didn’t want to find out. I bolted, hoping I would find whatever I was told I would find, and that it would provide shelter. What a stupid idea bringing my bag with me was. I could have left it behind and distracted the thing now chasing me. But I didn’t even unfasten the straps. It was keeping pace with me. Maybe it was capable of catching up. It seemed to be. Just as I turned around to take a look at it – its hide was a dull yet shiny black – I ran into something. There wasn’t anything at my height here. I slammed my hands against it in a desperate attempt to get around it, scrambling sideways.
It was a house. Was this what I was looking for? It didn’t matter. I ran round and in a stroke of luck, found the door. This wasn’t a very big house but I had to make do with the door locks and windows. Maybe I’d trapped myself in here and it’d smash through the window any time now. But it didn’t. I heard nothing but the echoes from below, only drowned out by the sound of my heart working overtime. Could there really be somebody living here? How could anybody live in a place so desolate? This place was basically a kitchen. Counters lined the wall to the right of me, complete with cupboards, an oven, a fridge and a microwave. The rest of the room appeared to be a living area. The sofa I could see was fairly large. Perhaps the occupant slept on it.
In the corner, a TV. There was a coffee table next to the sofa, seated for the best view of the TV. Living like this? In this wasteland? That’s just arrogant. There was a note on the table. I picked it up and read it. “Gone out for a few hours. Feel free to eat anything from the fridge. -L” The handwriting seemed familiar. Maybe “L”…Lane. I hadn’t seen him in years. What was he doing here and more importantly, how? And how could any of this be a coincidence? Of course, it wasn’t. But I started to feel worried. What of that thing out there, likely waiting for me to eventually exit? I only had to wait. I unstrapped my bag and set myself down on the sofa to rest. Perhaps he would explain all. If he ever came back.