Last Regress by Rachael J. Thorne

Alyssa had absolutely no idea where she was or more to the point how she had got there.  For a fleeting moment it occurred to her that she might be asleep and consequently dreaming, but everything appeared to be so clear in her mind that this possibility seemed highly unlikely.  All around her, for as far as she could have seen, was a thick, overwhelming darkness that felt bitterly cold, damp and bleak.  It was as though the cold itself was gnawing through her bones, so numbing that it was almost impossible to breathe, like trying to inhale ice crystals.  She had the sensation that she was being suspended in mid air although she could not feel anything that could be supporting her there.  None of her limbs seemed to be touching anything and yet she was not falling.  It took her a while to realise that she was in fact moving forwards.  She was certain that she was floating toward something, but in that terrible darkness she could not see what it could be.  Confusion surrounded, penetrated and engulfed her.  Disorientation made her feel as though she was being pulled at from every conceivable angle, like something was trying to drag her away, off into that awful darkness.  She felt lost and she began to worry that she was never going to regain any control.

Somewhere in the darkness Alyssa could hear music, muffled and distorted as if the sound was drifting through the cracks in a closed door.  The sudden realisation that it was this sound toward which she was floating filled her with an inexplicable sense of comfort and contentment.  She now had a purpose, something upon which to focus her mind.  As she became aware that it was the doorway that she was headed for – and she was now convinced that it was indeed a doorway, although she had no idea how she could possibly have come to that conclusion in all that darkness – the music began to grow clearer and louder as though it had started to call out to her, to encourage her.

There wasn’t just music though, she could hear a voice.  In and amongst the notes there was a man’s voice, very deep and strong, chanting and singing over a beautiful haunting melody.  He was singing words that Alyssa could not understand, words that should have had no meaning to her, and yet somehow they did.  Stranger still, for some reason that she could not fathom an inner voice seemed to speak to her and tell her that she could trust that man’s voice implicitly, and she felt willing to give herself completely, to surrender herself to it – to give herself to him.  She felt comfortable and calm, happy to simply float along and let that beautiful music wash over her.  She could have stayed like that forever.

Suddenly there was a flash of something that looked like lightning and the area immediately around her was illuminated by an eerie blue light.  She was sure that she could see something moving out of the corner of her eye.  She tried to look around her, tried to see what it was, but beyond the boundaries of that light was the same black curtain of nothing.  She didn’t really want to know what was out there, she was quite content to just float where she was and listen to the music, and anyway, she had the distinct impression that whatever it was that she couldn’t see, it wasn’t something good.  Ignorance could be bliss and it was better not to know.  She lay back and allowed herself to float in the blue haze, carried along by the sounds surrounding her, but without warning her entire body was wracked with unbearable pain, like hundreds of blades all around her burrowing deep into her skin.  Whatever was out there wasn’t hidden in the darkness anymore.


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