It felt as though I was falling for hours. The weightlessness became normal. There was no wind or any other sounds filling my ears during my descent. There was only a calm silence within the absolute darkness. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed. Could I be suspended in the air of my mind, or was I actually falling into my subconscious?
Everything was murky. There weren’t any thoughts through my haze. I wasn’t haunted by voices or images from my tortured mind. There was only nothingness.
Suddenly, my weightlessness fled, and my body felt heavier than usual. It felt like I was being sucked downward by a powerful vacuum, plummeting further into the darkness. Sounds began to fill my ears, ringing loudly as they shook my brain. Screams and distant cries overwhelmed me as the images from my life bubbled to the surface.
I remembered everything. I relived my life from the time I was young to the point I decided to leave home. A flash of unusual events smeared across the inside of my skull. Things I don’t remember living or hearing. They were conversations with family members I’d tried to forget, along with conversations with the detective. The images were blurry and the sounds muffled, but they were shadows of experiences I didn’t realize I’d had. The more I attempted to focus on them, the worse the visions became.
Before I could grasp everything that I was experiencing, my back smashed into a hard surface. The impact knocked the wind from my lungs, and I coughed, gasping for air. Pain surged throughout my body, from my fingertips to my toes. I rolled onto my stomach, placing my palms against the surface. It was cold and felt like steel.
I pushed from the icy surface and clamored to my feet. The darkness lightened like the dawn of a new day, and I could see objects scattered in every direction. A flash of bright light flickered above me, and the objects came into focus.
There dark objects formed into statues. They appeared to be carved from marble or other stone from the mortal world. I couldn’t make out the details within the quick flash or the pulsating flicker from overhead, but I could see they were bodies. Some had heads without limbs, others had everything but the heads, and a few had torsos with missing appendages.
I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t understand what I was looking at or what their significance was to me and my subconscious. They were unrecognizable, their faces expressionless. A few of the statues were formed in grotesque ways that made little sense. There were heads turned around, facing in the opposite direction. Arms and legs rotated at the wrong angles. A few of the bodies twisted at the stomach, resembling a tightly wound rope.
The flickering above me forced my chin to the sky. Lightning bolts danced across the darkness, spearing in all directions like fingers stretching or flexing outward in an attempt to grip something larger. The bolts changed colors, morphing from stark white to bright blue and then crimson lines.
It was like a whole different world. This place was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It differed immensely from the underground. The white bolts of lightning resembled the stormy skies in the mortal world, but the shifts in colors were out of this world. I marveled at the spectacle above, darting my eyes around to follow the lightning.
When I finally lowered my gaze, I was surprised to see blood pouring from the surfaces of the statues. It consumed them in a thick red shade and dripped onto the metallic surface they stood on. It didn’t stop there, flowing out in all directions. It was thick, like lava pouring from an active volcano. I was frozen in a confused trepidation that allowed the blood to wash over the tops of my shoes as it ran past me toward the sculptures at my back.
Thunder clapped from above, forcing my gaze up again. When the pounding subsided, I heard the slap of footsteps against the wet ground. They echoed all around me, making it difficult for me to figure out how many sets there were and what direction they came from. I whipped my head around, twisting quickly to catch a glimpse of the individual or individuals that may be making their way toward me.
There weren’t any shadows or other signs that revealed where they were. Too many distractions danced in front of me, and it was impossible to focus on any one instance. I longed to understand where I was and what was happening around me.
“Show yourself!” I demanded. I projected as loudly as I could, listening to the echoes of my voice recede into the darkness. The footsteps became louder as if whoever it was had begun to run. The pitter-patter and splashing added another element to the onslaught of sounds I heard. They grew to a deafening level before they ceased abruptly.
My eyes darted around the area, scanning the shadows intently. It had to be Love. He was messing with me in an attempt to bury me under the mountain of emotions he claimed I had done to him centuries ago. I anxiously awaited his presence, expecting him to jump out from behind one of the statues with his mischievous grin and cackling laughter. I prepared myself for his sudden arrival and planned to tackle him to the ground, taking back control of my mind.
The lightning flashed from above as I looked at a figure I hadn’t noticed before. The flash revealed a familiar face, one I didn’t expect to see. Jealousy glared at me, flaring his nostrils with disgust. I attempted to speak but stopped when I saw Hatred emerge from the statue next to him. Her furrowed brow summoned an angry expression I hadn’t witnessed in a long time.