Edgar Allan Poe

Today, 208 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe was born. In his honor, I want to post one of his poems that I recently used part of in my own story.

Dream-Land
by Edgar Allan Poe
By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule—
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
       Out of SPACE—Out of TIME.
Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters—lone and dead,—
Their still waters—still and chilly

With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
By the mountains—near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—
By the grey woods,—by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp,—
By the dismal tarns and pools
   Where dwell the Ghouls,—
By each spot the most unholy—
In each nook most melancholy,—
There the traveler meets, aghast,
Sheeted Memories of the Past—
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by—
White-robed forms of friends long given,

In agony, to the Earth—and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
’T is a peaceful, soothing region—
For the spirit that walks in shadow
’T is—oh, ’t is an Eldorado!
But the traveler, traveling through it,
May not—dare not openly view it;
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fring’d lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.
By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

By Route Obscure and Lonely

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Have you ever had a dream where you were somewhere you did not belong? Perhaps you were back at your childhood home, school, or old Job. You panic as you’re unsure what you are supposed to be doing and everything seems off. Soon reality seeps its way into your dream and you remember you don’t belong here. As I tell you my story I want you to keep such feelings in mind because it is the only way I know that may describe what I want through.

I awoke that morning to the familiar sound of my mom calling my name. “Edward!” she called several times as she flipped my bedroom lights on and off. I slowly got out of bed bewildered. Looking around I felt nostalgic. My room was a sanctuary for a teenage boy. Toys littered the floor along with dirty clothes, and a tv that was left on static. But, I could not escape the feeling that this was all wrong. I put on an old pair of jeans from the floor and felt in my pockets a set of keys. I pulled out the keys and looked them over, several keys were attached to a metal key ring. They felt familiar but I could not place their origin. Putting the keys back into my pocket, I put on an old shirt and went downstairs. My mother gave me a smile as I smelled breakfast on the table. It was the familiar and warm smell of pancakes. Still, I seemed to feel half asleep and dazed.

I followed a routine every morning and this one was no different. After breakfast, I got ready for school and walked out the front door to see the culdesac I grew up in. I still could not escape the feeling that this was wrong, that I was doing something wrong. That is when I saw in the middle of the street a large tower-like rock. It was at least two stories high and four or five yards across at its base. It seemed to stand as a sentinel watching over the neighborhood, completely out of place from the cement road it sat on. I had the odd sense that it was watching me. As I approached it felt as if a strong wind was forcing me away. My concentration on the rock was broken by a honking horn. I could see my school bus stopped at the corner where the culdesac entered and exited. Students loaded onto the bus and I made a run for it, fearing I would be late.

As I rushed on the bus I was met with staring faces. They all watched me coldly as I found an empty seat. I felt their eyes on me as the bus started to move. It was deadly quiet except for the hum of the bus’s motor. I put my head against the window and shut my eyes to escape. I was cold, and my head still felt clouded. I tried to fight through my daze with rational thought. “What class was first today? What day is it? Haven’t I already graduated?” I opened my eyes in shock with that last thought and slowly looked around the bus. Everyone was still staring at me. Each face seemed familiar but I could not pick out a name for any of them. The bus came to a stop and the door opened but no one stood up. They all still sat watching me. I rushed off the bus and onto the street when the door closed behind me and the bus drove away still full.

I looked at the school with distress. The building was familiar but also altogether different than any building I once learned in. I turned around and started to walk hastily away. I had no destination other than away. I desperately tried to clear my head of the fog I felt. Everything seemed nostalgic but unknown. I had no idea where I was and it was growing worse the further I’d walked. The clouds in my head grow worse as well and I felt dizzy. Soon I had no idea even wich way I had come from. I had passed people on the streets but they all ignored my confusion. I did not wish to question any of them, and I grow paranoid I was being followed. Each step I took felt like I was climbing a mountain as I grow weaker and weaker. I fell and crawled on all fours trying to find my way. Around me, people still walked on and ignored my plight as I completely collapsed to the ground. I then awoke in the same bed as that morning, my mom flipping the bedroom lights on and off calling my name.

I remember a part of a poem about dreams that has stuck with me since then.
“By route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an eidolon, named Night,
On a black throne reigns upright.”
I was stuck in such a dream. But it was not a dream as well. That pillar was the black throne, and something indeed haunted me. Even lying in the bed of my youth covered in blankets I felt cold. My fingers and toes grew numb. The room seemed a stranger to me, it was wrong but I can not describe why. I did not want to leave my bed but feared the end if I stayed. Quickly I got up and dressed. I rushed out the front door this time without eating breakfast or even looking at my mother.

The moment I opened the door I was greeted by the stone Sentinel in the middle of the culdesac. It seemed to stare at me. I tried to approach the spire but was met with a pain in my skull and a force I could not pass. I looked up at the tower and saw something quickly climb away from my sight. A dark figure that moved with speed like a cockroach. The longer I looked the more fear had entered my mind. I started to run and was met by the school bus driving away. From the back window, faceless children stared at me. I ran in the opposite direction, away from the bus and away from the culdesac.

I ran as fast as I could but soon ran out of breath and had to stop for air. When I looked around I saw that I was standing in front of the school despite my efforts to run in the opposite direction. Looking at the building I felt a sense of unease and loneliness. Still, I felt drawn to it. The world around me seemed bleak and colorless, the school was the only way forward.

I pushed open the large double doors and entered empty hallways. There was an eerie silence. I walked the halls passing classrooms filled with children. Looking through a door window I could see them sitting in their desks with blank expressions. They were motionless like looking at a paused movie. I crept away from the doors and tried to remember the school’s layout from my memory but I could not. I tried to remember my classrooms, teachers, or locker but I could not recall any of them. It felt like white noise in that part of my memory.

An ear shattering school bell rang causing me to cup my ears with my hands. The hallway was thrown into chaos as countless students filled it walking in all directions. I could barely move as they bumped into me from every angle. I felt a jab in my gut as if one of the students had punched me. Looking down I saw my shirt stained with blood. It took me a moment to comprehend what I was looking at as blood continued to seep out and stain my shirt. Then the sharp pain hit me, I had been stabbed. I looked around for my attacker but there were too many people around. Then another jab hit me in the back. I started to panic, trying to force my way out of the crowd but the hits kept coming. Stabbing me over and over. I fell to the ground in a pool of blood as students kept walking by. Many kicking and stepping on me again and again. The pain was unbearable, my hands were crushed under the weight of uncaring students. My ribs felt broken and blood left me at an alarming rate. I could not breathe, I was choking as the familiar iron taste of blood filled my mouth. A buzzing filled my ears as my vision filled with static then went black.

I awoke again, “Edward” a voice calling to me accompanied by the clicks of a switch being turned off and on. I slowly opened my eyes and was greeted by a room that was like my bedroom. However, the floors and walls were devoid of any personality. The colors all seemed bland and dull. “Edward” a voice called again. This voice lacked any familiarity. It was like hearing a robot imitate speech. I looked at its source and saw a woman very much the same size and shape of my mother. But her face, it was blank. A blur where her face should be and as I tried to recover my mother’s face in my mind I couldn’t. I could not remember her face or her voice. I started to panic as I searched and searched in my head for my mother.

The figure in the doorway turned away, satisfied that I was awake. My panic turned to misery as I searched my memory. I could remember something that seemed missing before. The church, the coffin, the nights I spent crying. My mother died years ago. I sat there lost for a moment as the sad memories came back to me. Then my sorrow turned to anger. My body was shaking with rage. It was enough to chase out any fear and confusion from my mind. The daze that surrounded me till now had started to fade. I got out of bed and walked out my bedroom door. This time I did not need to get changed, I was already wearing Jeans and a jacket. I did not look at the visage of my mother on the way out of the house, I did not want to acknowledge that it even existed.

I walked out the front of the house without shutting the door behind me. This time no culdesac greeted me. Gone were the concrete streets instead there was grass. There were no other houses only trees. The morning sun was replaced by a nearly full moon. A small clearing gave way to the large stone pillar. Looking around even the house I came out of vanished. I looked up at the dark stone tower. Several creatures crawled along it on all fours. They had dark fur and long arms. Claws grappled the stone with ease. But worst of all was the eyes. Their phosphorescent eyes that seemed to be able to stare into my mind.

Summoning all of my energy I ran past the tower of rock and into the trees. Looking over my shoulder I could see the creatures moving, climbing, and jumping off the rock to give chase. They moved with abnormal speed. My hands and feet were numb but I summoned all my energy to move forward. I kept running, everything but the path forward became a blur. I did not know where I was going, but the direction felt right. I followed that instinct till I passed a line of trees giving way to an open field. Beyond the field, I saw a road with a large Semi-truck sitting alone on the side of the road. Hearing the shrieks of the creatures behind me I saw they stopped at the line of trees.

For a moment I thought I was safe, that I made it. But then I saw one of the creatures brave past the trees. I ran again making my way towards the truck. Instinctively I reached into my pocket and pulled out the key ring. I did not have to guess the key, I know the one. I reached the door with only seconds to spare. I could feel the creature just behind my back as I opened the door then slammed it shut behind me. I locked the doors but it proved unnecessary. I could not see the creature anywhere. It was gone. Out of the night air, my body began to heat up. My hands in feet cried in pain. I started the truck and drove away, leaving many questions for when I was safe.

I immediately took myself to a hospital. The ER gave me plenty of time to think. I did not dare tell the hospital staff the truth, as far as they know I passed out in the cold for several hours. Am not sure If I could ever explain what happened to anyone. I was treated for frostbite if I had been out longer I could have suffered much more. However, I did lose something. I’ve forgotten things that are important to me. My mother’s face, she is now only a stranger in my photographs. I’ve lost bits of my childhood that I will never get back. The creatures took them from me, feed on them like vampires. I have never looked for that road or the stone pillar again, the details of where I stopped are fuzzy at best and I have no intention of clearing them up. Still, I can’t remember what possessed me to leave my cab in the first place.

Overpass

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When I was young I suffered from Depression. Well, I suppose I should say I still suffer from Depression. Over the years I have learned to manage the symptoms, to live a seemingly normal life. Saying that, I understand why some people commit suicide. I can’t condone it, but I understand that they have become blinded to any other course of action. To them, there is no reasonable option and anything that waits for them after death is better than the life they have been living. They can’t see that their actions may hurt people around, or even the action itself scaring someone.

I am a truck driver for a living. I ship packages overnight to many surrounding states and make it home for the weekend. As such I spend long hours by myself but it has never bothered me. However, I wish to tell the tale of when one such late night nearly cost me my life and my mind.

Suicide by Truck is not unheard of in my business. I doubt the victim ever considered they might even hurt the driver, but as I said before they are near unable to. There is one overpass that had become notorious for suicide. I’ll have to refuse to tell you where it is, but if you live nearby you likely heard of it. A large fence was put in to keep people away from the ledge. I’ve passed it a number of times before. Sometimes flowers can be seen hanging on the fence to pay respect to poor kids who ended their lives. I always have given it a glance as I passed, knowing how easily I could have done something similar in my past.

It was early on a Tuesday that it happened. The sun still had a few hours to go before it would give any light. The road was empty. I was haveing a typical night before the engine on my rig turned off on its own. I carefully slowed to a stop and pulled over to the side of the road. My Headlights were the first to go after that then the lights in the cab. I was nearly surrounded by darkness before I even realized where I was. I could see the lights on the street start to go out when I realized I was only a few feet away from the overpass.

A living darkness surrounded my truck and everything around me. It filled the cabin and it seemed to force its way down my mouth and nose suffocating me. I couldn’t see anything and I could not breathe. A great wave of despair had washed over me as I struggled. I know I was going to die and felt things I had not faced since I was young. Part of me fought for life, while another simply wanted the suffering to end.

Only seconds passed before a small light entered my world. A blueish light outlining a person. Then another appeared and another. They moved painfully slowly towards the truck. As they moved closer they showed their shapes to be disfigured. They looked broken and twisted, it did not seem possible they could move at all. All while I struggled to breathe they moved closer. I was afraid they were coming to finish me off. A part of me was ready and waiting for them, begging them to end this suffering.

My head was screaming in pain as my body was about to give into the darkness. Just then the first of the blueish figures reached the truck. It’s hand touched the side window and its head looked in at me. He must have been impossibly tall or floating to even reach such a height. It did not have a face, but a dark void where one should be. Then I saw the others touch my truck surrounding it. Suddenly the headlights turned on, cutting through the darkness like a sword. I gasped for air as I could breathe again.

The blue lights were gone, and the darkness had left with them.I turned the keys to my engine and my truck started without a problem. The lights on the streets seemed to shine like they had never turned off in the first place. I drove away and pulled into the nearest motel I could find, leaving a message with my boss that the delivery would be late. I could not sleep, so I watched the sun rise wondering what happened to me. The darkness had nearly killed me, and the creepy figures in blue. They scared me, but it felt like they saved me from the dark. I thought of my own past and thought of me back then. I never wanted to hurt anyone, and I wondered if what I saw were the spirits of those who had hurt themselves but did not wish to drag anyone else down with them.

A Haunted House Story

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I do not have a name, but I’ve been called many things. I have been called a demon, a ghost, a poltergeist, a spirit and even the boogeyman. However, I have no memory from before this incorporeal existence to confirm or deny any such names. I have no eyes yet I can see, I have no ears yet I can hear. I do not have a body, I have no shape. If I strain my will I can mimic a human’s. If I will it I can move objects with my thoughts. However, both take a great toll on me and grow more and more difficult as the number of witnesses increases. I do not know what I am, but I know am very old.

I can not escape the property of the house I was born in. An old 1937 American Foursquare. A very square looking home sitting in a rather average American suburb. My cage reaches as far as the sidewalk where I can watch people pass by but never follow. I do not believe I was born with the house as my memories only reach as far back as near the end of World War II. I lived with the Stockley family at the time. William Stockley was the master of the house and was married to his wife Ann. They had three children, two boys and a young girl named Ashley. Both boys joined the war and never returned. Like any young thing I craved attention and tortured the family with mischief. If the Stockleys could not find something, it was because I hid it. If they heard sounds at night, it was me banging on the walls.

My youthful antics never scared the Stockleys away. Time, however, made much faster work. Ashley had grown up, married and moved away. William and Ann stubbornly stayed in the home till they both grow old. One night, not long after the 70’s had started, William sat in his study reading while Ann slept. William suffered a heart attack and died on the floor. He did not join me as a spirit of any kind, he just simply ceased being alive and I could do nothing to aid him. It was the first time I truly realized how helpless my existence was. Ann moved in with her daughter and I never saw any of the Stockleys again.

I was left abandoned for a while after that. I felt loneliness for the first time. However, soon a new family moved into the home. I remember it was around the time a nuclear scare happened not far from the home. Protests were a topic of conversation as the Grahams had moved in. Donald and Maria Graham and their two children Mark and Robert. I was much more reclusive with the Grahams. I was much more brooding and withdrawn. Always watching, but no longer trying to be heard. I had long since stopped trying to test my limits.

The Grahams lived a rather uneventful life. I watched them for years go about their dull lives. I kept my distance, stayed unattached. They grow older and eventually left. They moved out west for a better job. This lead to the Youngs moving in. A modern family for a more modern age. Jane and Hank were the parents, both worked for a living. Elizabeth was their daughter, the kind of girl that would put posters of then-popular boy bands on her room walls. James was the youngest and most fascinating in the family.

James was broken and everyone else in the family ignored it. He was thirteen when I first met him. As I observed him, he observed others much the same way. He would spend hours alone and the rest of his family seemed happy to be away from him. His room was his sanctuary; a place he could be his true self. He changed when he left his room, he faked normalcy. Any breach of his sanctuary caused him to turn violent. The first time I saw this was when he nearly broke his older sister’s arm slamming it in the door. So his family avoided trying to break into his world.

As he grew older, James grew worse. He had a terrible fascination with death. What started with books and pictures grew into him sneaking corpses of small animals into his room. When he was fourteen he started to sneak out of the house at night. Going where I could not follow and coming back hours later. He had a habit of writing when he was upset. Often words or phrases in repeat like a mantra. Most often he would call his family and anyone else around him a liar. He seemed to think that everyone around him lied to him when they spoke of things like love and wanting the best of him. He hated them for it. He then started to collect knives.

It all came to a conclusion when he was fifteen. After one of his night trips out he came home with a handgun wrapped in a towel. The kind with a clip and sliding barrel, I had never seen one outside of what books and newspapers I could read around the house. He calmly grabbed a nasty looking knife with at least a 7-inch blade, out of a table drawer. He stuck the handgun in the back of his pants and calmly and carefully snuck into his sister’s room. He looked at her sleeping in her bed for a moment before grabbing a pillow and violently holding it over her face with one hand. He took his knife with the other hand and started stabbing the knife into the blankets his sister occupied. She screamed for a moment into the pillow but repeated stabs to her chest and lungs prevented her from giving much resistance.

When Elizabeth stopped moving James looked down at his work. After he was content he slowly started walking to his parents’ room. No longer comfortable just observing I tried to warn them. After a bit of effort, I managed to knock a lamp by their bedside off a table causing it to smash on the floor. They both awoke, but were completely unaware of the danger heading towards them. James walked into their room and saw that they were no longer sleeping. In a single motion, he dropped his bloody knife and pulled out his gun. It was still dark and his parents did not have time to figure out what their son was holding before he pulled back the slide on the pistol and fired several shots into each of them.

James looked at each of what used to be his parents and simply walked away. He went back to his room, pulled out another clip for his gun, collected his knife and started walking towards the front door. I realized he was not going to stop. He was going to keep killing till the police killed him. I was horrified and furious as he walked toward the end of my cage. I focused all of my will power on him, trying to stop him from moving. In a flash, my point of view had changed. I was now holding a gun and stopped several feet from the door. I had possessed him. I was in control of his body, but I did not know for how long. I pulled the slide back on the gun like James had done not long before and put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. With a thud, I was once again watching a boy bleeding on the floor, lifeless.

The police arrived not long after. The house was closed off, the bodies collected. It all seemed to go by in a blur. It was not long till I was alone again. I could hear people talk as they passed the house. Another version of what happened emerged from the murder-suicide the police had reported. They said that this house is haunted. That a spirit had possessed the boy to kill his family and then himself. Perhaps it was because they could not comprehend anyone doing what James had done. However, I never felt more alone.

Red Doors

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It is easy for the lost and the outcasts to find solace in technology. When you are lonely, you grab hold of anything that grants you comfort and eases your pain. Robert was such a person. He spent his days on forums and comment sections seeking out validation in his existence. He has never met his closest friends, they exist only as words on a screen.

You can find the worst and best of humanity on the web. However, people like Robert rarely seek out the best. They spiral down dark corners looking at things worst than themselves. That is where he met John. Robert did not know much about John other than that he was a cynical person who enjoyed talking about the downfall of society and failings of mankind. He showed Robert images. Pictures of people in pain, or dying. Pictures of monks lighting themselves on fire, of little girls trapped in a flood. They were images meant to elicit a certain type of emotion, Despair.

Robert and John spoke to each other for nearly a month since the first meeting. Robert became fast friends with John and started to adopt many of his nihilistic views. As John had planned, Robert truly grew tired of his life and humanity around him and like a predator stalking prey, John carefully waited for the moment to strike.

“What if you could escape this reality?” John asked.

“That be nice,” Robert agreed.

“All you have to do is agree and I can show you something,” John replied.

“What are you talking about? Whatever show me,” Robert finished.

Rob immediately felt a dizzying sensation as the lights went out around him. For a moment the world went black, then his eyes adjusted to the dark. He was still sitting at his keyboard, but the screen had no power along with the computer. He tried switching the computer back on but it was useless, the desk lamp next to him also failed to turn on. He stumbled around his dark house till he found the front door. He looked outside to find that every house around him was much the same. No lights, no power. The streetlights were out as well. “A blackout?” he thought to himself. However, he saw no one else. It was cold, and the world seemed to glow lightly with the light of the moon, but he could see no moon or stars.

Walking outside, Rob could not escape the feeling of everything being slightly wrong. Walking to his car he noticed the color seemed slightly off and the body felt cheap. Like a poor imitation of what it should be. The sidewalk, street lamps, and even the windows of the houses and cars all seemed like cheap imitations of the real thing. Like a Chinese knockoff of a whole town. This surreal world only grew odder with the lack of the wind and any noise outside his own footsteps.

Rob walked the streets of this imitation world for several hours or at least what felt like hours as the passage of time seemed impossible to tell. It wasn’t till he saw a light at the end of an empty road did he have a direction. At first, it was simply a glow in the distance but as he approached he could make out the shape of a monitor. In the middle of the road sat a computer on a desk. The only thing with any power for miles.

This world seemed like a dream. Slight imperfections giving away hints that this was not his reality. None more so than the glowing computer screen that sat on a desk in front of him. On the screen was only a basic text program with a line of text blinking, waiting for a response.

“Hello, again Robert”. Rob instantly knew it was John.

“Where am I?!” Rob reached down to the keyboard and typed.

“You are still home,” John immediately typed back. “However, I suppose that is not what you wanted to hear. Your body is home, your mind is in another reality just like you asked,” John continued. “As long as you are not using your body, I will take it in the meantime. Enjoy the peace Robert,” John finished. As the last words appeared on the screen the power went out. The glow was replaced with darkness. Robert desperately tried to type back and turn on the computer but it was useless.

Once again Rob was left alone in this dark world. He had no sense of time and was unsure how long he had been there. The only thing he could think to do was walk. He tried opening doors to surrounding buildings but they were sealed shut like they were never meant to be opened. Windows only showed near empty insides with furniture that looked fit for a model house. He kept walking, never feeling tired or hungry as surely hours must have passed. It was as he walked that he found a small gray building fitted with a red door that looked completely out of place in this world. On the door, a white piece of paper with the words “Keep Out” in black ink sat.

Robert ignored the warning without any hesitation and opened the door revealing a completely dark room. The horrible smell of rot and death reached out. Still, without hesitation, Rob stepped into the room and as his eyes adjusted he could see what was making the smell. The building was one impossibly large room, like some sort of warehouse, with concrete floors. Stacked in the center were dead bodies all in deep stages of decomposition. Skin hung from them like leather.

“Ah, ah, ah, Robert, you should learn to read signs. No need to look on at your predecessors,” a voice rang in Robert’s head. The smell began to overpower Rob causing him to flee. As he walked away from the building the red door slammed shut behind him.

Unable to work up the nerve to try the door again Rob walked away. He found himself wandering endlessly in a daze. He no longer recognized any of the scenery. Architecture and age seem to change rapidly. Buildings in styles years apart sat next to each other. Yet, it all seemed fake. Like props on a movie set, they could pass for the real thing from afar but fail on close inspection. He could not escape the feeling of being watched as he moved along.

Continuing his journey Robert noticed other red doors like the one he saw before. They did not have any signs on them, but he still hesitated to touch them. His courage from before had faded. However, as time passed and any other options failed to reveal themselves he decided to try. The closest door was attached to an old stone building that seems fit for a long-lived city like New York or Philadelphia. Slowly opening the door he saw a deep darkness in what appeared to be a glass door holding it back, but it was not glass but a perfect slice of water. With a touch, Rob could feel water drip onto his skin, but the larger mass refused to fall out the door. With a deep breath, he smelled the nostalgic scent of the sea. Daring not to enter, Robert moved on looking for another door.

Another red door sat attached to a wooden cabin. A building completely out of place sitting between two brick buildings. Slowly opening it, Rob shielded his eyes as bright sunlight spilled out. Inside the door, a vast savanna spread out before him. A dry golden grass seemed to go on for miles only broken by the occasional small tree. He had ever only seen such a thing on TV and pictures of Africa. Looking at the gray world behind him and the golden one before him Robert stepped through the door.

The first thing to hit Rob was the oppressive heat. The change was drastic from the cold world behind him. Looking back, the door he stepped through seemed to sit attached to nothing. The world was much different than the one before. If the world before was a dream, this one was more a vivid memory. A sense of odd nostalgia entered Robert’s mind. Walking forward into the endless planes the red door behind him vanished. Despite the heat, he still did not feel thirst, hunger or exhaustion. He was fascinated by the vastness of the world before him. Besides the vegetation, not another living thing seemed to exist. That was why when he noticed the grass moving in front of him his eyes focused immediately. Time seemed to slow as a female lion burst out of the grass and sprinted at him at full speed. Rob only had time enough to turn away before it reached him and pounced on him. Hugging and grappling on to him with sharp claws. He hit the ground with a hard thud as his vision went black. A few moments later Robert was able to open his eyes once more. However, he was unable to move. He did not feel any pain but could hear the sounds of footsteps as the lion moved into his view. It looked into his eyes before opening its jaws and reaching down to bite him in the throat.

He awoke once more on the cold streets of the grey world before, gasping for breath. A dark voice laughed in Rob’s head once more.

“Curiosity can be a dangerous thing, Robert, it killed the cat after all,” John said with a laugh. “Am about done on this side, you will be home soon enough. You were a good sport so perhaps I’ll sate your curiosity a bit.” The red door before him opened again. This time, a different scene lay before him. A vast village made of sandstone sitting under a bright sun. “Am old Robert, very old.” The door closed again as John spoke, only to open again. This time to a small computer server room, electronics in black boxes lined the wall while a single computer screen and keyboard sat on a desk at the end. “However, even old things can adapt to the age, Robert.”

“It’s time now, I can’t stay here for long,” the voice of John spoke for the last time, “The human body simply can’t handle it.” The world around Rob started to fade, his vision blurred, it turned black with a familiar dizzying sensation. When light entered his eyes once more he found himself in a cold wooded area. Rob tried to center himself but he did not have the energy to stand. He was desperately thirsty, his whole body felt dry. When he finally glanced at his arms he tried to scream but his dry throat could not get a sound out. He could see his bones with leathery skin hanging off of them. The last of his energy left him as he collapsed completely to the grass floor. His eyes quickly dried to the point he could no longer move them, not a tear could escape. His body was already a long dead corpse that would never move again.