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The Unknown Abyss

the unknown abyss


Estimated reading time — 12 minutes

Deep in the state of sleep, I arose from my bed without any hesitation. With no reason whatsoever, I was covered in a cold sweat that felt that it would forever stick to my pale skin. It was as if I was in the lightest sleep because of the way I no longer felt tired. I stood up from my sweat-stained bed and was immediately overwhelmed with the feeling of nausea. I immediately vomited on my carpet but rushed to the corner where my wastebasket lay so I could finish. Shortly, I slowly rose hoping that my uncontrollable heaving would come to a halt. To my luck, it did and my stomach was at ease.

I quickly cleaned the area in which I hurled, still feeling weak. My legs were barely stable, shaking uncontrollably. I thought to myself, “I haven’t been sick for ages. Why am I sick all of the sudden?” Anyway, where I slept was a tight room in the back of my house, down the slim hall. It is hard to explain the setup of my house, but my grandparents usually slept in our living room because they were never comfortable in their own bed, for reasons which I never understood. Grandparents, you may ask? Well, in simple terms, my parents were fools. They had me unintentionally and did not want anything to do with me. I guess I was too big of a burden.

Not even two weeks after my mother birthed me, my grandparents signed the adoption papers needed to properly take care of me. In those two weeks, I was apparently only fed a dozen times. Do you know how disheartening this felt? I still haven’t forgiven them, and probably never truly do so.

My grandparents are most likely the most loving and caring human beings ever. Living with them is such a joy, and I assure you they would say the same about me. I fear the day that they will eventually pass away. I immediately shook that thought away as my sickness worsened – I had to find out why and how I developed this sudden curse.

I twisted the handle to open my door and exit into the hall. As I did so, a feeling deep inside of my soul told me to stop myself from looking at the TV when I reached the living room, where my grandparents resided. At first, I shrugged this off and didn’t think much of it. When walking through the hall, the kitchen immediately curves to the left and the living room immediately curves to the right. Everything was pitch dark, but when turning the corner to enter the living room, the brightness thereof is unexplainable. The living room was extremely cold, it was eerie and felt as cold as Antarctica. where I rushed over to my grandmother, who was reclining on the couch, directly staring at the TV set in the middle of the living room. A special note, I never cry, even in the most difficult situations. But, when I saw this empty look in my grandmother’s eyes, my heart broke. The look thereof was inhuman, she didn’t even have pupils, or as a matter of a fact, anything normal to a human eye. I stood up, not even batting an eye toward the TV, I walked to where my grandfather lay. He was in the same position, looking directly into the TV, with the same dead eyes I had once seen a moment before. For a moment in time, I considered the feeling I had felt earlier; do not look into the TV whatsoever. But, for some reason, I did so because of the overwhelming feeling that I received.

As I did so, I simply just stared directly into the screen. I swear, I blacked out for this moment of time, because I cannot recall what happened until a few seconds later. Believe it or not, a grim voice inside of the TV started to speak. For a moment, I was spooked but soon decided to listen as the information it started speaking confirmed it was specifically talking to me. It whispered my name, and said, “It shall be, who shall therefore reach.”

I stood frozen, not knowing what to say. The voice on the TV did not continue to speak, but I noticed the TV almost looked translucent. I slowly inched towards the TV, while stretching my hand out. I barely lay my pointer finger on the center of the television, and I immediately blacked out.

I opened my eyes, the only element filling my vision was the endless haze of gray clusters of clouds. I could faintly smell oil or something of that sort. I rose up from the cold & wet soil and spun in a slow circular motion, examining the area around me. I looked to see if I was injured in any way, but I was perfectly untouched. For the next couple of hours (or so it felt) I wandered around this place, and there were endless red flags everywhere. The fact that there wasn’t a single human, animal, or any other species around felt strange. It started to become dark outside, so I figured I’d travel to a small building at the end of this long street that looked somewhat normal. This shack-looking house and the wilted, static garden around it seemed to be the only area I felt safe in as I looked at it.

I cannot explain the eerie feeling centering on this place; it felt as if I was being watched no matter what I was doing, even though there wasn’t a single soul around. The gray streets of dreary buildings were silent. Every element such as the sky, concrete, houses, everything, was black & white. Not even a single object in this ‘place’ had different colors. I noticed the scent of this place – or town – was just oil, nothing different. After walking for several minutes, I sat on a conveniently-placed bench on the side of the street, resting for a few seconds.

I was not necessarily certain of how quickly time moved in this place, but to my luck, I saw that my Timex watch was on my wrist. I did not own a cellular device or any of that sort, because my grandparents believed it was “of the devil,” which I learned to accept. I wished I could go to my grandmother at this moment and explain to her that times like these were important for cellular devices, but ultimately, I needed to stop fantasizing and become focused on this place. I rose from the small bench from which I was resting and began searching for food or water to keep myself full/occupied. As I was walking, I noticed that to my benefit, the weather here never seemed to change. It always felt the same, like room temperature. But oddly, when I would walk near specific buildings, the heat would begin to increase.

Then when I would walk near vehicles (there were endless of them lining this dark road) my temperature would begin to drop, and then I felt like I was freezing.
What is this place?

I found an abandoned fridge inside of a tight building that held water & granola bars, which was odd considering the circumstances I was in. I quickly grabbed these items and ran out of the building. How would anyone know that I was in need of these specific items? I traveled back to the bench on which I rested, and noticed it was missing. Not just the bench, but the entire space. By now, this led me to believe that there was someone (or something) fooling with my mind. I peered down the road where this bench used to be, and not to mention, it was near impossible to see because of the immense amount of fog layering everything. But in this fog, I faintly spotted an object moving. At that moment, I dropped everything I had in my hands, and I darted toward the direction of whatever this figure could be.

When I reached the area of which I saw this object moving, an unbearable amount of vertigo struck my body. I fell backward and slammed my head against the pavement. Within seconds of this happening, I stood as quickly as I could to attempt to run away. I started moving, but my feet felt as if they were glued to the pavement. My arms were limp and I was unable to move them. This ‘thing’ that I had seen a moment before was approaching me, and quickly too. I decided it was best to play dead, so I lowered myself to the pavement where I lay silently.

This unknown figure moved toward me, and I did my best not to create panic in myself because I was not certain of who – or what – this was. I kept my eyes completely shut, and to my astonishment, this figure whizzed past my ear. Once I was about 99% certain that it had passed me enough to the point where I could look up and take a good look at this person, I did so. As soon as I could make out what this was, I shrieked as loud as I believe I ever have. This ‘thing’ was not a person whatsoever, but a shadow with a disfigured face. I noticed my legs had gained some feeling back to them, so I tried my absolute best to limp away from the situation.

Once I reached a cove near a building that was desolate, I lay down on the cold pavement. I began bawling, crying that I wanted to go back home. I had some insight of money that someone, or something, would hear me and help me out of my wretched state. I looked at my watch and didn’t even notice that I must have cracked it earlier. This somewhat threw me into an immediate panic, because this was the only item I could use to at least tell time.

After a little while (not sure of the exact time), I slowly crawled into a ball to the wall next to me. I hoped that I could at least warm up a bit because I was near a vehicle and was afraid to move. I didn’t want to confront what was unknown. I reflected on my past, and I couldn’t think of a time that I felt more terrified. I lost all of my hope at this point because nothing/nobody was there that I could lean on. As soon as these thoughts swirled through my head, a lightbulb seemed to flick deep inside of my brain. For an unknown reason, a burst of courage started flowing through my stick-thin body. I cannot explain it, but I felt way stronger than I ever have, and ever probably will.

I rose from the freezing pavement, where I walked onto the sidewalk almost directly next to the cove where I was just a moment ago. By now, it was pitch dark outside, and when I’d hold my hand a couple of feet away from my face, I could barely make it out. But this darkness did not stop me. I had gained this courage, and I would not waste it on something pointless.

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After standing on the sidewalk for a couple of seconds, I walked onto the road and ran. I ran straight down the road, where I had fallen earlier that day. I ran straight past the bench where I slept yesterday night. But, when running, I realized, where am I going? But as soon as these thoughts ran through my head, something caught my eye. This object was extremely bright and shiny, and honestly, I’m surprised I was able to see it considering the amount of darkness covering this damned place. I immediately flipped myself around, and I ran straight towards this object. When I became closer and closer, I realized what it was. It was a portal!

I have never had the amount of excitement flowing through my veins at the moment when I jumped through that portal. But, my excitement quickly turned to fear the moment I saw where I was. This wasn’t home, no, nothing near home. This looked like a prison. Except, I wasn’t inside, I was outside of the prison, the courtyard. I looked everywhere around me, but the only area surrounding me was this prison. It stretched as far as I could see in every direction, and I wasn’t even sure how this was possible. I was more focused upon possibly finding human life because I was certain that I hadn’t seen another human for a couple of days and it was truly nagging my spirit.

I ran for the next couple of hours around the prison, and it felt like I was running in circles. I kept seeing the same cell numbers, the same desks, the same everything. After a few more minutes of running in the same ridiculous direction, I finally sat down at one of the desks in the black office chair behind it. On the desk, I noticed a folder that had never been there before, or at least I thought. Maybe I was too freaked out about the fact that I had been running in the same circles for the past three hours. I looked down at the folder, and it read “Classified” in dark-red lettering. The folder wasn’t too thick, in fact, it appeared that it had maybe a couple of papers in it at the most. I decided I would open it and take a look at what was inside. I slid my fingers under the yellow-tinted folder, and slowly opened it. It was a picture of me.

This paper had my name, grandparents’ phone number, address, birth date, age, everything! I thought this was the only paper included in this folder, but I lifted up the first paper, and there were a couple more under it. I started scanning these papers and reading them quickly, and I was horrified. It named everything from my favorite hobbies to my darkest fears. How did anybody know these things about me? I looked up from the folder to make sure nobody was watching me when I could hear a distant screech. I knew exactly what it was.

I stood from the chair, and I ran as quickly as I could away from the direction in which I heard the screeching. Once I had been running for a couple of minutes, I looked behind me. It was on my tail. When I say “it” I mean the figure with the disfigured face I had seen a couple of days before this. I will refer to them as “trailers” because of the fact that there is a dark trail left behind their figure. I was terrified, and I wasn’t sure of what to do. There was nowhere to run or hide, so I had to think of something quickly. I glanced to my left and noticed a stack of bricks sitting perfectly. I grabbed one of the bricks, turned around, and hucked it with all of my strength toward the trailer. It did nothing. It passed through it perfectly, as I had never thrown anything in the first place. Instead of staying where I was, I simply walked to the desk directly next to these bricks and sat under the desk. I cupped my hands around my ears and closed my eyes as tight as I could. I started screaming at the top of my lungs as well as crying. Even with my ears covered I could hear the loudness of my voice and feel the vibrations of the bellowing sound waves.

After I didn’t hear a single noise, except for my breathing, I slowly removed my hands from my ears and opened my eyes. The figure disappeared out of thin air. I was speechless, because, how is this possible? Just when I thought this was over, a whole swarm of these trailers came out of the hall to the left of me. I picked up the desk and set it in the middle of the hall, hoping that it would possibly slow them down as I began running. I was incorrect, as they all morphed through it. I kept running when I decided I would attempt turning around and facing my fears. After all, what happened to the courage I had felt earlier? I placed my feet on the hard tile and looked directly at the trailers. I started yelling, “You are just my imagination!”

Although I thought this would work, to my surprise, this didn’t help my situation whatsoever. At this point, I didn’t know what to do. But, as I continued to run, I noticed something was different. When I’d run through the section of the jail known as “Column B” there was a door. This wasn’t a door I had ever seen before, so I decided to attempt opening the door. I fiddled with the handle, and luckily, the door flew right open. I ran through the door, and it was a cafeteria.

I thought that this area may lead me to another area of this jail I had never explored before. But, I had to think fast, because the trailers were not far behind me. I ran around the cafeteria a couple of times, and I didn’t see anything special. I started to run back to the door that I once entered the cafeteria through, but the trailers were blocking it. I was stuck.

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I backed up with ease, as they were now staggering over me. I had my hands sliding across the cafeteria tables when I noticed one of the tables had a gun sitting on it. I quickly grabbed the gun, and I knew what I had to do.

I pointed the gun directly at the temple of my head, and I sat for a moment with my eyes shut. I flipped through the endless memories I have cherished with my grandparents. I couldn’t imagine life without them, but I had no other choice. I pulled the trigger without hesitation.

The scent of old carpet and drywall quickly filled my nose. I opened my eyes and rolled my head to my left shoulder. Not only did I recognize that scent, but also the comfort of the bed. This was my room. I stood up slowly, and just to be sure, took a scan of my room quickly with my eyes to assure I was safe to stand up. I sunk my cold feet into the carpet and stood for a moment, confused. I looked out my window and noticed it was nighttime, so I glanced at my clock resting on my desk. It was 2:21 AM. The feeling I recognized when standing in place was eerie, a feeling hard to explain. I felt like I was at home at last, yet I felt misplaced. I decided it would be best to leave my bedroom and enter the living room where my grandparents were. I slid my doorknob at snail speed and poked my head out of my door to examine the halls. It was dark, but I felt safe to exit. When doing so, I walked slowly through the halls and entered our living room. I couldn’t fathom what I beheld.

The television in our living room was blasting some sort of early 1900s music, and the volume was almost unbearable. I slowly sat next to my grandmother, or what was left of her. I was horrified, a perfect skeleton in the shape of her (and my grandfather) lay still on the couch. The exact clothing they were wearing the day I disappeared was present on their remains, which struck me. I felt immediately overwhelmed, and soon angry. I looked at the television which was blaring this music, I stood up, and I kicked the TV in with all frustration. I started grabbing all of the other items around me and smashing them against the wall, floor, and practically trashing everything. At this point, I was furious. I stormed back into my room and slammed the door behind me, breaking the hinges holding it in place. I didn’t care.

I sat against the wall sobbing for hours on end. When I finished, I sat down at my desk chair and grabbed a couple of tissues. I finished wiping the remaining tears on my cheeks and looked down at my desk. There was an envelope sitting with my name on it.

I picked the envelope up and slid my pointer finger behind the small flap that was barely lifted. I opened it and there was a black and orange card inside. I opened this card, and it read:
“Congratulations. You finished Level 1. This is just the beginning, the end is never near. Best of luck, T.R.”

I trudged to my bed, lay down, and sunk into the cold feeling of the bed I had always known. I never wanted to open my eyes again.

Credit: Tad Simonson, Winston Smith

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