This is a chapter from Waking Dream. Not telling where! This one took a very unexpected twist when I wrote it. Enjoy, and let me know what you guys think!
Frigid air flows around me. I cannot see, for black enfold my vision. My body felt chilled deep to the bone. Each breath I take shatters frozen ice off of my lungs. It was as if the ice cold grip of death had taken hold of me.
My thoughts whirled. Had I not passed the trials? Had I caused my own undoing? How strong was the magic I used against the beast of sands? Blue tinged became visible as I spun in the void once more. Stalactites of pure ice formed within my field of view. The haunting, slow, reverberating sobs that I have heard in this field before call out to me again.
But the ice formed into a solid platform. My feet touched ground, and everything around me turned blue. Cavernous walls stretched for miles before me, with no end in sight. Behind me was a giant wall, as if I was stuck beneath a glacier. I reached out and touched the wall and my own image came forth. I looked younger, stronger than I remember but the facial details were the same.
I nodded, turned and the image did the same. I stepped back, but the image stepped forward, through the wall and stood before me, real as real can get. My hand touched my blade instinctively, and the doppelganger smiled.
“Stay your blade. For this trial is not a test of strength in arms.”
That was my voice! I let my hand fall from the hilt, staring at the cold menace that was forming on the face of my twin. “Do you have a name?”
The expression turned even colder. “I’m you, David. I embody all that you are and were. All that will ever be.” It grinned, then turned to the wall. “Why do you think you have been brought here, David? This ice tomb, for that is what this place is, is home to what?”
I pondered for a time. I did not know the answer, and admitted it.
“Then let me explain. This is the inside of your very soul. Your existence. This place, here, is how your soul was when it was forged. Cold, unknown, without a true form. Let’s take a walk, shall we?”
The twin began to walk past me. I was dumbfounded, not sure as to where this would go, so I turned and followed him. We walked for a time before the walls began to take on a more structured look. Doors began to dot the hall, each one crude at first.
“This is your memory. This long hall reaches for a good while. Each door represents a stage of life from birth to death. The first several are crude, barely built.” He abruptly stopped, turned to the right, and tapped the door. “Let’s take a look at this one.”
The door opened, and immediately we were transported to another place, another time. I barely recognized it, but I knew where we were. It was the house my parents had when I was just a toddler of three. Sitting there, on the couch was my half drunk father, my mother sobbing at his side as my lithe, young form waltz through the house, not knowing what was truly going on.
“This would be before the lengthy divorce, I believe. A sad time for your mother, which led to you being raised solely by her.”
With that, the room faded, and we continued down the hall. Each door became stronger, better built, and more frequent. The formative years, I guessed. Soon, the walls were nothing but door after door. Finally, we stopped at a dead end. The sudden change in the walls turned from grey to burnt red, and there was no floor going beyond.
“This, my friend, is where your trial begins. You have learned of who you are, but where in your life are we that it ends so abruptly. Tell me wrong, you die. Tell me right, you’ll surpass the worst challenge any mortal has ever been faced with.”
I nodded. I understood what was meant.
“This is where I was pulled from my true life, isn’t it?”
The doppelganger smiled. The entirety of his demeanor changed, and his form began to change. Wings sprouted from his back, his hair changed to a solid gold and began flowing to the floor. His face became angelic, a soft, sad smile taking over.
“You nearly died that day. Instead, someone has pulled you from that world to the one you found yourself in. Since then, your true life is still going, but in a coma. Only an hour has passed, but your fiance still sits at your side as you are being rushed to a hospital. But this trial was a farce. Truth was that I was sent to retrieve you.”
I stared into the oceans of his eyes. If all that were true, then why walk me through this hall? The angel lowered into a deep bow. “It seems I have been discovered by your benefactor. I must take my leave. Farewell.”
The angel departed with a puff of white smoke. The walls shook, the floor beneath me gave way, and soon I was falling back through the void once more.