A man awakes in total darkness with no memories.
| I awoke suddenly, surrounded by darkness, gasping for breath. I lay shivering in a frigid puddle of what I assumed to be water. Not that I could tell. I could see nothing. I tried to think, where was I? What was I doing here? Questions began to swirl around in my head like leaves in a tornado, tossing my mind this way and that. The harder I tried to grasp for the answers, the further they seemed. In my panic, I finally stumbled onto the question of "Who am I?" All other questions seemed to vanish into thin air as I sat up in the darkness. My breathing steadied and I no longer felt cold. All I felt was bewilderment and focus on the one question: Who am I? I was at a loss.
After pondering for some time, I slowly rose to my feet. I didn't know what to do, but it didn't feel right to do nothing, so I began to shuffle forwards, meekly groping in the black. The water sloshed around my feet as I advanced, until I eventually reached the edge of the puddle. I stepped forward onto solid rock, then again and my finger tips brushed against a surface. I examined it with my hands, deeming it the rocky wall of a cave, and continued on, steadying myself by dragging one hand along the wall. I kept walking. One foot in front of the other, one hand on the wall.
Minutes went by, then hours, or what seemed like eternity, as I crept through the cave. I began to distinguish the dark shapes of the caverns. I could sense the turns and crevices that my feet needed to avoid. This allowed me to quicken my pace, as I treaded either further into or out of the cave. Perhaps neither. Maybe I had been walking in circles. It didn't really matter to me at that moment. All I felt was an urge, a primal instinct to keep moving forward.
My senses grew stronger. I could navigate the cave with no hand on the wall, keep a steady footing, and even scramble up a particularly steep section of the cave. The keener my vision grew, the more and more I wanted to escape the darkness.
My vision wavered slightly. I stopped and the spot on the wall that tricked me. I second-guessed myself, but then again I saw it. I finally realized that it was a soft glow of light emanating in the cavern. I continued toward it, the faint glow growing to a yellow hue. I could finally see myself. I examined myself. I was in ragged, but surprisingly muscular. For not remembering anything, my muscles hadn't atrophied. I must not have been there for very long, but I didn't have much time to think about it either. A guttural cry echoed through the cavern. Instinctively, I threw myself against the wall and lay silent. Shortly after there was a crash and the clanking of metal, then more silence.
I waited, studying the mouth of the tunnel from which the sound came, hunting for any anomaly in the flickering light. None came. Once again, I felt the need to press on. I slowly edged further into the tunnel. The light was quite bright now, and I found myself near a bend that I was sure concealed the source of the light. I continued to inch towards it, stilling my breath. As my eye rounded the corner, my heart went cold. I saw the source of the light: a wall torch, flickering brightly. But despite being the first light I had seen since waking in this darkness, this is not what captured my attention. My eyes were locked in a deadly stare at the most vivid pool of red I ever seen. And with it, a large, furry corpse. I watched to see if it would move, or for any other sign of danger. Nothing.
I noticed that the body lay just beyond a doorway of iron bars, only the door lay on the ground nearly two meters into the cave. I couldn't imagine what kind of force could manage such a feat, nor did I want to find out. My fear screamed for me to turn around, but a deeper instinct continued to call me forward.
Cool sweat dripped down my neck as I rose and rounded the corner, slipping slowly, silently towards the scene. As I approached I recognized the corpse to be that of a minotaur. Fantastically strong creatures and predisposed to violence, but much more intelligent than most species of that share their brawn. I knew to steer clear of these guys. Why did I know that? The thought seemed superfluous as I stared at the remains of this creature.
Few of its members remained in tact, and its intestines were hanging out of a large gash to its abdomen. The sheer volume of blood was something to behold. I felt my heart rate increase and began to feel nauseous.
"I see you're awake," A voice called coolly from the shadows.
I fell backwards against the wall, eyes wide like a cornered animal. A golden mask stood floating in the darkness. The mask inspired a sort of cold dread. It was shaped like the face of a bird, with a long beak and dark eye holes so black they could have been portals into the abyss. The masked figure stepped out of the shadows, revealing a creature in fully cloaked in black. He was relatively short; no more than five feet. He gave off a deadly aura despite his stature.
"Collect yourself, they are coming." He continued in an unwavering voice.
"Who.. Who are you? How do I get out of here?" I exclaimed, once again finding myself in a flurry of unanswered questions.
"You must master this darkness on your own, or it will have been a waste of my time to free you. Hurry now, they are almost here." He gestured towards the sound of heavy footsteps echoing through one of the tunnels. I glanced where he pointed and when I turned back he was gone.
Just then, two minotaurs rounded the corner and spotted me and their dead comrade.
"Stop him!" One shouted.
Once again, the questions in my head were silenced. I ran.