He sank, deep into the darkness. Above him was the waking world, the world he controlled. Beneath him was the swirling vortex of his subconscious. It was spinning so fast it would tear him apart. The moment his feet touched the edge of the vortex he found himself standing on filthy tiles.
It was a filthy room with no doors and the windows high beyond reach. The tiles were once white but had been aged yellow and there was a thick, indistinguishable slime caked onto them. There were beds lining the walls, sheets brown with squalor. From under the sheets spindly arms with too many joints jutted out. They flailed around madly with sharp talons grasping at nothing. The bed he was facing had no such monster. It had a normal human head, looking terribly sick and it stared at him through sunken eyes.
Looking down at it he saw long grey hair, so familiar. Even more familiar was the face. It was his.
‘I’m not ready!’ It screamed.
He shut his eyes tight.
He slammed his hands over his ears.
When he opened his eyes he was standing on a rotten metal frame in the shape of a star. Standing on a distant plateau in the shape of an N was his family, his children ran around playing and his wife beckoned for him to come to her, smiling as radiantly as ever. He tried to walk forward but his feet wouldn’t move. He strained against the mysterious power that was dragging him away from them. He looked over his shoulder and saw an embalmed corpse reaching out for him with venom spilling over its lips and empty sockets staring accusingly at him. It sped towards him. Appeared in front of him. It put its mouth to his forehead. The venom burned his skin.
In a flash he was sitting in an endless corridor. Cheap stud walls went infinitely, punctuated by cheap wooden doors, paint peeling and a sign underneath written in gibberish. He could only see out of one eye. He was wearing a torn white shirt, bloodstains down the front. His knuckles were skinned. He looked up to see a glowing white light. It was radiating from a human figure but he couldn’t see it. The figure touched him on the arm and he couldn’t feel the pain anymore.
Platba? Two voices asked in unison.
The light increased until it was all he could see. It blinded him. It then disappeared in an instant and his surroundings changed.
He was sitting again, in of a table. At the foot of the table was his family and at the head of the table sat a monster. It was thin, bald and eyeless. Its skin was as black as tar. It hissed. His family retreated away from it. The eyeless sockets scanned over the food on the table, as its gaze moved onto the food it began to rot, turn black and shrivelled. He looked to his family, trying desperately to get away but unable to move from their seats. They looked at him in wide eyed panic. He tried to move. He was stuck too. The creatures gaze moved onto his plate and he saw the food decay in front of his very eyes. He began to shake the chair with all his strength. It was pointless. His son’s food melted into a brown mush in front of him. His son screamed, he tried to call out to the boy but all he could manage was a whisper. The plate in front of his wife cracked in half, spilling putrefied food all over the table. The creature gaze was turning to his wife. He tried to fight but he couldn’t. His muscles wouldn’t obey him. The creature stared at his wife. She began to shrink in front of his eyes. She looked thinner, her eyes sunken. She turned to him, with eyes full of despair. Then everything disappeared.
Finally he found himself standing in a black void. In front of him there was a bed with his face staring back with that familiar grey hair. Both his hands were inside his doppelganger’s chest cavity, squeezing rhythmically. He looked at the still body for a long time, his hands pumping. Then he slowly and deliberately pulled his hands out. He looked down and clenched in each of his hands was a heart. The one in his left hand was spilling out flame. The one in his right was spilling out icewater.