Fire I – Hoard
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My eyes blinked open.  The scales of limbo dropping away.  The shadows cast over my mind lingered, and after a time they ceased to humor me.  I lifted my torso and watched a web of darkness shift before me.

Braided silhouettes stood as high as my neck.  And continued as far as the eye could see.

Scaffold, tools, equipment, crates, trinkets, relics- the list went on and on.

I was standing in a sea of stuff, the only free space being the mattress I was standing on.

Awe was short lived, as a part of me began to despair.  I was not one to fear tight spaces, but if I didn’t find a way out of here I would die of thirst, starvation and eventual madness.

My feet moved before I placed the feeling, but they didn’t get far.  A row of bikes stood in my path.  Their various moving parts and wedged shapes are a nightmare to get over.  Beyond them was a single square of floor space.

I could rest there, but it would barely make a difference if I had as much trouble getting back out.  Precariously stacked boxes were next.  Paintings and drywall shifted beneath my weight. toys spun and collapsed.  I did my best to stay toward a single direction, but my temperament was reaching its limits.

The shadows moved, but the darkness never lessened.  It was a mental ordeal to gauge each new obstacle.  A constant battle between panic and orientation.  I saw a door and made my way toward it.

It was just a door.  Even the thought of opening it was a cruel joke, and I waded from one landmark to the next.  The space seemed to go on forever.  It felt like a lifetime of struggle would pass with every hour of this.

At one point I looked down to find gold and gemstones at my feet.  I felt a tear slide down my cheek.  Who would ever want something so cold and unforgiving?

I could walk across that at the very least, but the clutter and landmarks towered above me.  As I wiped my cheek, the shadows shifted again.

“What do you want from me!?”

From them a giant eye opened and the shadows came alive.  A flame licked at my chest, and I felt a river of it surge into me.

---

I woke up gasping for breath.  Sweat danced across my body and I could see it spraying from my arms.  A dull glow came from somewhere just beyond my sight.  But I focused instead on centering myself.

That pulsing light reminded me of that moment of finality.  Sped and rewound over and over again, but never quite reaching the climax of either end.

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