In the Halls of Awaiting
"Do you walk in mourning, still wear the grief
Raiment of sorrow, remembrance of me
Through the years of bleakness, winters of bitter cold
Will you not forget me, forsake my soul
...Low-spirited is my song, downhearted my tune..."
Chrigel Ville's demise was not a pleasant one.
As he opened his sore eyes blankly to view the pulsating tones of purple and black before him, his mind was rife with panic and uncertainty. He blinked twice, and tried to move his head, only to be met with what felt like strong hands holding him fast. Pale, terrified eyes swivelled madly, pronounced lips parting in a scream which was instantly lost in the nothingness which undulated around and through him. He screamed in silence until his throat was stinging in protest, at which point he surrendered himself to the eerie quiet and realised, with horror, that he couldn't move any other part of himself either. It was as if a block of lead had laid upon his chest, as was forcing itself upon him, deadening his limbs and squeezing his flesh.
In his mind's eye, he scrambled desperately for some glimmer of explanation as to where in hell he was, and indeed, how he had gotten there in the first place. Nothing seemed to make any sense; He recalled nothing beyond his awakening here, a thought which petrified him to his very core.
Wait, no... a boy, There had been a boy.
Well, he was more of an early teen, he observed, as an indistinct, disembodied face swam before his flickering eyelids. It was a kind, gentle face; with soft, dark eyes graced already with lines of laughter and goodness. A curved, heavily freckled nose lay above small, delicate lips which offered the heartening upturn of a smile.
Stabs of recognition played about Chrigel's weary mind, and he tried vainly to reach for the warm, inviting face with long, nimble fingers. Suddenly, the boy's benign expression turned to one of utmost sorrow, as under a great bereavement. His eyes cast downwards, a single tear rolling slowly down an adolescent-blemished cheek and over trembling lips, laden with grief. Then, the boy's eyes gazed upwards once again, right into Chrigel's own, and began whispering fast, inaudible words which seemed strangely devoid of emotion.
Almost as a prayer...
As the boy's excrutiating face faded softly from his view, so too did the cursed weight holding him down disappear in sudden withdrawal. He cried out automatically as he felt his body begin a lurching descent into the purplish void beneath, and this time the sound pierced through the nothingness, shrill and shudderingly desperate. Chrigel's vocal chords vibrated painfully with the sheer level of the pitch, and his voice trembled and broke until again no sound at all emanated from within his aching throat.
Further and deeper he fell; on and on into the void, his limbs flailing madly, eyes wide and bloodshot as the force of the descent stung and scraped maddeningly over them.
"Is this eternity?" Thought Chrigel melancholically, "Is this the true meaning of 'endless'?"
But alas; Eternity was not yet ready for him. She ne'er accepts the newly deceased into her poetic embrace, and merely vows to deliver them to the next stage of their coil. And so Chrigel's lonely fall was brought eventually to a bitter halt, as his lithe and twisted form was flung carelessly upon grey and polished stone, with a force which should have eliminated him entirely.
Instead, he lay perfectly still for a few breathless moments, before shifting awkwardly, raising his head slowly in weakness and uttering a hearty groan. He winced in pain as he raised his left hand from the floor, and noticed with a quick gaze that his middle and index fingers were bent sideways, and his scrawny wrist was set at a terribly unusual angle. Raising himself gently to his knees, he noticed also that his right shoulder felt awfully out of place, and the labour of breathing was uncomfortable against inward-pressing ribs.
Chrigel twitched his still-sore eyes and cast his head upwards to see the menacing void ever present above him, still swirling and glimmering in smooth violet-like shades. It was impossible to tell just how far he had fallen, or even if any path had been carved by his descending form. The haze seemed to continue forever upwards, and it's remnants persisted to swirl around his shaking body in trembling wisps.
He lowered his gaze and surveyed instead the landscape in which he found himself. The ground upon which he had been delivered was part of a narrow pathway, the sides of which were unbarred and open to whatever lay beneath. This path seems to stretch an awfully long way into the distance, Where he could barely make out some form of towering monument; which appeared to lie alone against indistinct scenery. Chrigel coughed twice and took three shaking gasps; the air was heavy and pressuring, and breathing was somewhat difficult. Not in the least aided by his pained and sinking lungs, trapped against the burden of the crushing weight of his ribs.
He lifted himself to his unsteady feet with care, and, holding his throbbing hand tightly to his chest, gritting his teeth against the pain of his dislocated shoulder, he limped slowly towards the bare edge of the lonely path. As he moved himself forwards, he could feel an irritating pressure working against him from behind; something dragging and rustling on the smoothness of the ground below. He cast his head back in annoyance; and froze as his eyes widened in confused surprise.
Wings. Black, withered, tattered, unsightly wings.
They draped loosely in mangled feather and bone from his lean shoulder blades, offering nothing but mange and decay in their ungainly size and proportion. Ne'er a more useless and hideous appendage had he seen before; and he shuddered in disgust as he took another small step forwards, the dead weight pulling against him in hinderance.
"Revolting... What in God's name has become of me? Where is it that I find myself? And how is it that I came to be here? I recall nothing. Nothing. Except...except that boy. He is... important to me, I feel it with every inch of my soul, but..."
He cast his eyes over the side of the unbarred path, and was met only with a great chasm of nothing but the continuation of the terrible void above; The path seemed to float entirely on the nothingness.
"What insanity is this...?"