Nash took a long, slow breath. The forest was so dark. The pain he once felt had begun to subside. The sound of Erich’s voice whispered as if being spoken through a fog. Am I dying? Is this what it feels like to die?
A howling cry echoed through the Forbidden Forest. Blood and sweat poured from Nash as he began his long walk into darkness. At night, the Forbidden Forest was a playground for things that come alive in the dark. His only guide was the fluorescent glow of insects playing hide-and-seek through the trees. Faint glimpses of light momentarily vanquished the darkness. Two steps forward and a sharp turn to the right just in time to elude a statuesque tree ruling the forest floor.
Take a breath. Take a breath. Breathe….breathe. Nash silently yelled…..Breathe, as the crushing weight of sand was compressing against his chest surrounding him into a sea of darkness. An instant was all it took. In an instant, the earth sneezed releasing a blinding monsoon of dust. Across the horizon, he saw the storm build as it rolled in swallowing the sun. Shard grains of sand collaborated with the raging wind billowing dark clouds rising from below. Fear screamed for him to run. Instinct shouted for him to release his horse in order to survive he must hide…he must surrender. Nash followed the screams of his instinct searching for shelter…a hiding place.
A hoarse echo diverted his attention. The wailing was a crude reminder of the years he spent eluding the madness that lived within these walls. The more steps Erich took, the more compelled he felt to gaze into an open cell. The cell held a lone man cowering in a corner. His tormented body hid the signs of torture, but the look of madness in his eyes spoke of the emptiness of his mind. The sight of the man reminded Erich that, two years ago, he was a whisper away from enduring the same fate.