Chapter 1: Nowhere Near Normalcy, Impossibly Stray From Living Human

What's reality? Was it a fabric of series of proof that we were alive and we had an understanding of how things work around us? What's dream? Was it a fabrication of reality, where things that we understood in 'reality' were taken out of context into something more impossible, or more surreal?

I questioned that often. It's not just because I was bored, but because I wanted to gauge and fit in situations logically and within a rational boundaries; not like this, not like where I was, or why I was surrounded by darkness, a clear indication that I was probably dead.

I couldn't feel my body apparently. I couldn't see, nor could I feel with any of my other senses. As far as I knew, that was a close feeling to actual death. So was I dead, far from Earth, away from family and friends, dead even though I've never had any chance to accomplish my to-do-list-before-death. All those people that I've gotten to know…

Would they know? Would the people I knew, know that I was now lost, most likely forever to them? Would it matter? I guess whenever someone went to the border of life an death, he'd thought of his family, friends, loved ones. My family... first, the university might contact them of my disappearance, or traces of my body, if they could identify my remains... if there were EVEN remains. Then, the university would probably e-mail all the students on campus about it. After all, a death was not quite uncommon for students living in universities like mine. Not that rare... or shocking.

That of course, would happen days later, when my roommate and the others discover that I never arrived in class, that I was never in the room, everything untouched, no remnant of who or what I was. Then what?

Would they do anything? I knew, for sure, that most people would shrug it off. They'd say, oh, another person died. An Asian guy... okay, moving on, now to remove more junkmail. The people who knew me, would be like, Holy Crap, he died!? I thought he insert some sort of hypothesis here .

Those friends of mine, they would know even later, even after my parents - however they react - and what would they do? ... I didn't expect any funeral services, or a priest saying, oh so and so forth had been a good man/boy/kid, he died so young, at the age of 19, and blah blah blah, with people looking sad. No, I was too pessimistic to even think that people'd care.

Last but not least, would be the people I met on the internet. Oh, that curse... of a place, yet, I wouldn't have been any happier for finding it in the first place. It meant so much there for me, as much as my real friends were... I would of course, miss them, but... they wouldn't know. They would simply say: He's gone due to school, he'll be back maybe during the summer.

Just like that, memories of me would evaporate, erode with the passage of time, until I was no more in the minds of people whom I knew, hate, liked, loved.

Thinking back all of this, I would then remember one of them, distinctively saying, it's him being melodramatic again, then again, he's always melodramatic. ...

Just these thoughts along would make me feel quite sick at myself. When I had that feeling of death, those were the exact thoughts, asking for pity. No, if it's like that, then why must I die, unable to change anything? I didn't even get a saying into it, damn it all.

Perhaps the point was that I was just too shock in this sudden transition of an impossible reality, that I didn't realize I was not alone, and that I really wasn't dead.

"Most certainly not! You are as alive as you were when I just found you!" The voice that crumbled my sanctuary of reality was the first sound I could hear.

I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came. Not a sound. Was I even moving lips? Do I even have a mouth? For the count, do I even have a body anymore?

"What's that, cat got your tongue?" The black mist, or however to describe my only visual on its appearance, replied with an odd attempt at joking.

Very funny, you are lucky I can't say anything right now, because otherwise I'd-

"Hey kid, all I did was learn a few phrases from your world, no need to get touchy about it!" It returned indignantly.

You can hear my thoughts? I was certainly surprised that merely by thinking, he was replying as if we were just chatting normally.

"Every bit of it, including the fact that you are quite pessimistic about the life you left behind." It dug in at my inner barrier, making me feel unpleasant.

That.. that's none of your business, I thought.

"It's my business that I get you to the Prophet save and sound, ready to tackle what comes ahead. Not that I'll be telling you anything, of course. She'll be mad if she can't tell you personally." Suddenly, the voice of this entity changed into a serious discourse.

Wait, what are you talking about?

"No, not another word about that until I fulfill my duty. For the moment, you may ask me anything you wish. We still have a while left until I have transported you."

... Wait, if I am not dead, then why can't I move, or see, or speak, or anything, for that matter, except the ability to hear and think?

"My boy, we don't want you detected by that vile half-sister of mine. So, I am transporting ya in the safest method I knew."

And... what is that? Curiosity was getting the better of me, definitely. As long as I was not dead, I could worry about all that pessimistic flashbacks later.

"... Okay, well, think of it as splitting you up into the same material as the black mist. It's to make sure that you won't be able to see what was going on, so that the outside world cannot see you. Think of yourself as split into a million or... however many there are, pieces."

So... I am atomized? I shivered a little, in my mind.

"It gives you only a limited amount of senses, and so far, the best for you is to hear, and think, no need to cry about or yappering like a little baby out of fear, panic, or confusion. I wanted you to stay clearheaded so that my job could be easier, and there you have it, the end result... at-o mised, or whatever. yar."

If it were not for the seriousness of the situation, I might have bursted out laughing. He certainly carried about a humorous merit, too bad it's unappreciated, bad timing.

"Why thank you, boy, but I prefer to use that such way so I can talk to my cargo easier. Now then, any other questions?"

Where are we going?

"Ah yes, I was going to explain that, but you asked, so it's good. You know, Earth language bothers me, especially English. It's like speaking in vowels, I hate pronouncing those kinds of sounds, but to communicate, I had to learn it. Normally, I would speak- AH, I digress to much. Anyway, we are going through a few distortions in space, to as many worlds as it take to lose my half-wench-sister, and then drop you safely in the hands of the Prophet, collect my pay, and be outter there faster than I could speak to you." It said with an alien laugh, but it wasn't funny at all. I wondered just how much I could trust this … thing.

Okay... first of all, worlds, as in... Different planets, different star systems?

"Er... how would I explain it in the Earth language... ah yes, think of you as traveling in through different dimensions. When we travel through worlds, time does not concern us, because contrary to most species that live, time is not a constant, it can be altered, and a planet can host several worlds, one in the past, present, or future, depending on how far away each is. It's what you would call, time travel yes? Well, except it's not. Of course, there are also different universes, and different parallel dimensions, so to speak. Thus, we will be jumping through a few, no biggie. Damn, this English-requirement hurts my brain."

Wouldn't it be easier if you speak your own language?

"Then you wouldn't be able to understand it at all."

Try me. I guess curiosity was taking the stronger leash over me. Fear might be what I constantly feel, about the unknown, but because the unknown was the exact manufacture of fear, I had to know more, to conquer it.

"...If you insist. A sentence will do."

Then a sound like I had never heard before ring into my ears, deep into my mind. It felt like I was being prodded, the voice, or whatever it was, pierced through my mind, and I could feel the insane, burning, pressure returning. Then as soon as the maddening began, it stopped.

"Told ya, boy, no other species could withstand it, thus I am forever bounded to absorb the language of the species I encounter, in order to not draw out hostility."

So that's what the splitting headache was, he was trying to use his normal language.

"See, you are quite smart."

No I am not, all I could accomplish are Bs, and I couldn't even pass classes that are of my major. It... was torture.

"... What hellish incarnation is this... class? To give you such a hard time, and torture you nonetheless?"

I tried not to directly think it, but this guy was definitely an intriguing character.. if only I could see... but, it's just classes, nothing special. We take the subjects we had decided that went along with our specific majors, and hope the teachers don't roast us alive, so that our grades would be high enough to allow us to survive.

"Sounds like I rescued you from a battlefield. Glad I'm doing my job right."

You took me away from the only thing I could tell as reality, the physical world, my only comfort, all for this crazy... insane... prophecy of some sort.

"You may not discern the prophecy as such heresy, my dear boy! It's not something to be laughed at, or ridiculed. It's serious... stuff, you know. It's not that I need you, or the Prophet needed you... maybe she does, who knows. It's something to do with those prophecies, and 'her'. Our strongest clue was your dream."

Then he said no more, and I could only think, my dream... no, it couldn't be. Those reoccuring dreams... were it really something to do with her? That I need to... save someone... could it be that this dream was... no figment of my imagination, but real?

"I will say no anything regarding that, you know it better than anyone else other than 'her' and the Prophet, that is why I found you to be the only one qualified, in so many worlds."

But... I don't fit any of those prophecies... sure, I mean, some of them could be familiar, but it could apply to anyone. You can't base it off some random dream I've had either.

"The same dream, of the same scenario, for a week straight, each time under a face of the moon."

How did you...

"Let's face it, my duty was to bring someone back who share those dreams, bring someone who fit every piece of those lines of prophecy in either the past, present, and future. Every one of those, could be yours, are yours, were yours. Think it over. We are here to the first stop. Bear with me, you will probably need to hang on tight and brace yourself."

Wait, what are-

Then the first light, and the first clear sounds of something other than myself and this person, came flooding into my senses. So blinding... the air, I could feel it rushing past, I feel... I am materializing.. ugh. The feeling wasnt very pleasant, it felt like being sucked on by a giant vacuum machine at full blast for too long, and any moment now, I could see myself split further... or not...

We were falling, or should I say, I WAS falling.


No way was this happening. I was not suppose to be here, which is... nothingness, except I knew I was in a tunnel of sort, kinda like Alice in Wonderland, and before I knew it, gravity was screaming murder in my ears. I might expect a giant 'Splat' sound when I hit the pavement, if there is one... or maybe a burning lava pool, or a bed of spikes.

Wind whipped about my face, as I felt like going a mile a minute. Soon, I would reach terminal velocity, and there won't be any organ left to resemble a human being, just a pool of blood, when I collide. I would truly die then... what kind of nightmarish hell is this?!

I was still screaming, but now I could feel my body suffocating slowly to the giant air resistance that was crushing me as I fall. Then, light came once more, clearer, into my eyes, and the darkness vaporized away. My glasses was slipping, and thus, with one hand, I tore at it, keeping it at the ridge of my nose so that in my trembling hands it would not disappear on me, so that I could better see...

"Brace yourself" It warned.

"Wait, what are you saying, you are saying I am going to die here and right now?" I panicked.

"Watch where you are looking, boy!" It yelled back.

Adjusting my vision as much as I can, what I saw before me, despite still falling, took as much breath away as I gasped for air. Any time now, I was going to be asphyxiated due to the overflow of air… maybe.

There was a cityscape before me, with rows of tall, gothic-like structures that usually exist only on gothic churches across France before Renaissance. Except, the spirals and archs and flying buttress, with statues, everywhere, every single building, them.

Oh wonderful, not only was I falling at insane speed, I was going to have my body impaled atop the rooftop of those giant, sharp spikes. Yeah, a city of spikes, waiting for me to decorate their roofs... Oh and did I mention that I was screaming very fricking hard despite my fascination?

"AHHHHHHHH… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" Yes, something like that.

"What's wrong boy. Never did something like this before?" The voice that I now recognized as coming from a black mist spoke to me, somehow following me despite my insane accelerating fall.

"Do I look like I could fricking handle something like that?!!!!!" I screamed back, air whistling past me like speeding demons. Apparently, air resistance wasn't going to help slow me down at all.

"Come on boy, use your abilities, just like what the prophecy had vindicated!" The black mist advised.

"… thank you very much for your advice, but I am about to make a gigantic splat across one of those roofs , and for the last fricking time, I got no fricking power because I am just a regular college student!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed back at the mist, wherever it was.

"Oh no… glasses… slipping… my eyes…" I panicked, holding my hand close to my glasses to prevent it from slipping. The power of all that rushing wind had dried my eyes completely of any moisture, and if I didn't feel like I was dying before, now I definitely was.

Honestly, screw the prophecy and whatever it said about me; I was already regretting how I ended up like this. Damn it all. Out of all the people out there in the universe, it had to be goddamn me.

"You do have powers, boy! You have just never thought about using it like this. I understand how it might be quite difficult for you, but if you don't do it, you really will die." It continued to lecture me despite me being at least eight thousand meters up in the sky.

"What the hell are you talking about? Of course I don't have any powers. Plus, that fricking… Prophecy… it's so vague, how can I possibly understand whatever the hell I have?!" I screamed back, exhausting my voice at the same time.

"Just do it, will it happen. If you can put your will, and your imagination aside all into something, it will happen. That's the most I can say regarding the prophecy, because it is within your own strengths, not something other people can easily understand and help I am afraid." The black mist said with an apologetic voice.

Sure, he made it sound so easy, right, like if I were to imagine something to happen it will. Nothing in the world I choose to believe in as the reality could allow something as irrational and impossible as this to become possible. Even though the idea was feasible and appealing, it didn't mean crap... but hell, what could I actually do in this case?

Facing against my fear of heights, facing against my fear of death, facing against this literally impossible situation, I concentrated. What could I possibly do in this situation… those towers were like rows and rows of teeth waiting for me to plunge into them. What could I possibly do to slow myself?

My mind racing, with each second getting exponentially closer to the ground, I could only think of one thing. Rubber. Pathetic as it was, I did consider a parachute, but knowing how fast I was already falling, the sheer amount of force of drag would probably kill me if I suddenly make a parachute open and restrained to death due to the sheer pressure of the dragging force. So, rubber sounded good to me at the situation.

Rubber was elastic, and it had plenty of area to absorb plenty of impact. Next thing, come on, yes, next thing to happen… no, NOT a rubber chicken! Why the hell was I thinking of that… okay, why not a giant rubber rope that stretch from one tower to another, right where I would fall at? Ya… then I would fall, impact on soft rubber, and it would absorb most of my fall… oh wait, then wouldn't I be slingshot back? The recoil could probably kill me. Oh hell whatever, let's just go with it, maybe adding layers to form a rubber web…

So I concentrated while falling while trying to keep my mouth shut so that the flowing air won't fill up my entire body and go for quick asphyxiation. I just fell, spread-eagled, trying to imagine, to put my human will into thinking that the rubber ropes existed. At this moment, I was probably only a few thousand feet from hitting the first tower, and yes, I was scared shitless out of my mind.

For a few moments, I held my breath, and kept concentrating, but…

"AHHHH I give up!!!!!!!!! Nothing's fricking happening; and I felt so dumb for doing this…" I screamed frantically.

"You must, otherwise you will die!" The voice was grim.

"But really, I can't make any fricking thing happen. Why can't you fricking save me instead?" I asked, blaming myself for not thinking of this sooner.

"… I am not allowed to make too many interferences in the worlds. Bringing you from Earth was already pushing it in a way-" The black mist replied, but I really didn't give a damn. It's not that I didn't want to, but because…

"ARRRGGGGHHHHHHH" I was really going to die. The spiky ends of the towers were fast approaching me, and I could already feel that death was approaching. Damn this would be a painful and sad way to go…

But before I could even think up a last will, something flooded my vision, and before I knew it, I was once again swallowed in darkness. However, this time I felt like a great pressure was stopping me in motion, and seconds later, I heard a heavy thud as something impacted, and before I could even process it in my mind, I was unceremoniously dropped onto the ground.

"Ow." I yelped. The pain was certainly refreshing change. It was then that I felt the solid ground beneath me.

"AH… ground… sweet Jesus, I am alive! I am alive!"

I felt my limbs recover from all that cutting off of circulation. They felt unusable for the moment, but red blood was definitely flowing through them again, rejuvenating the muscle cells and whatnot.

YES! I really was alive! I felt my tension drop to zero, and my entire body collapsed. Ah… ground, I could even taste the asphalt…

It was when the rush and exhilaration of almost feeling death finally dissipated when I realized that perhaps… that was the black mist's doing? I slowly got up, finally seeing the world around me not from a bird's eye's view. I was on a platform with many symbols drawn that reminded me of what helipads were like. So perhaps I was in a landing zone?

There were people about, some staring at me. Right… should I be expecting human or alien… then a hand came out of nowhere. I looked up from the hand, and followed it to a green-haired young man wearing casual… clothing. Oh my god, if it were not for how natural his green hair was, I'd have mistaken him for a human right then. Yes, his face was human enough, but it's rather easy to tell that his green eyes and green hair were not from what I knew of Earth.

But the greatest surprise came when he began speaking in a language completely different from English. For a moment, I thought he was speaking Alien, but I realized very quickly that the way he held the syllables in pronunciation, and the four different tones used for the same spelling… yes, he was definitely speaking in my home language.

English's not my home language, but to find someone in the middle of nowhere speaking it, I didn't know if I should be happy or freaked out.

Are you alright? He spoke in my home dialect, and I replied in the same way.

Ah, yes, thank you. I took his hand, and he quickly lifted me back to my feet. It's scary in a way, but I could feel hidden muscles and power within his average to thin body-size, and where his height was barely around six-feet tall.

Be careful, strangers like you are not welcome here. Best of luck to find a safe haven, but do not worry, we shall meet again. He then gave me a light pat on the back which felt like a giant clap, before departing, waving a little.

Right now, my mind was running on zero sense. Too many things were happening at once. First, a black mist warped me here. Then, I fell several miles from the sky. Third, I landed somehow, and it felt like the black mist had saved me in the nick of time. Fourth, as I was returning to functioning body, a guy came along with crazy green hair and spoke to me in my home language (which was Mandarin, in case it needed to be brought up again). Fifth, he was telling me that I was in danger, before politely waving farewell to me.

I just want to go home… Standing there, I was now even more aware that there were many set of eyes staring at me. This was not good. I tried to look normal as I speed-walked out of the landing zone, entering the more crowded town area. It all looked rather freaky, with symmetrically similar constructs everywhere, and people simply walk around… maybe I should go talk to them… maybe get the communication going…

Damn it, where's the damn black mist when I actually needed his assistance. Hmm, that looked like a shop owner… and he looked… human enough. Yes, let's try asking him.

Ten minutes later

I was running, gasping for breath in my burning lungs. That's right, all I knew at this moment, was that the impossible was reality, and I was in deep shit. Yeah, so much for attempting to talk English to some alien from another world.

"Quick, he must have come this way!" A voice came from somewhere behind me. Yes, some of them actually do speak something like English, but just not good enough to be considered a human language…

"Follow, we must catch him to prepare for the incoming festivity!" Another voice shouted as well.

Animalistic and inhuman growls came in short bursts as well. They were after me, and I knew I won't be safe for long in this hiding spot. I felt my heart beat. It was raging inside in concert with my exhausted lungs.

Who were they? I did not know. The closest picture I could discern would be guards wearing heavy medieval armor with bright red insignia on them, and each of them carried a halberd or bardiche.

More voices followed, and then as I looked carefully out through the corner of my eyes, I noticed they were all marching away in the distance. Good, I've regained some time hiding in the shadows.

Easing my breathing and regaining some of my breath, I sat down on my butt. It's been an awful day, I was hungry, I was sweaty, I was exhausted, and I was resting against a building made of some sort of rock material on a world that was definitely… not Earth.

How should I explain it… no, did I even have the logical reasoning to explain HOW and WHY I was here, or why this impossible situation existed in the first place, or maybe why I won the damn lottery? Maybe I should ask my black mist friend, a mysterious life form that should be here telling me what the hell was going on. However, he's not here. Oh well, I'll try to think of something.

"What's wrong, did you miss me boy?" Speak of the devil! That voice which I sought came just in time. For the first time since I landed on this damn world I felt relieved.

"Why yes, obviously! Tell me, why the hell did you drop me here like that?" I asked him… er, it, since it's still a mystery if this organism even had a gender.

"What can you possibly mean by that, boy?" The mist which I couldn't see within the shadows spoke with a soft laugh.

"Oh, nothing really, except that you transported me to this world and let me in on the first sky-diving lesson of my life without a damn parachute! I almost died!" I replied indignantly. To be honest, I really didn't want to recall that incident merely around half an hour ago. A part of my lifespan probably died right there.

"The reason is simple. I am here to seek help in escorting you to the place where we are going, and because you are my ward, I must have you come along as well." Somehow, this alien creature spoke like a human to the degree of really creeping me out.

"Sigh, so if you are supposed to lead me to find help, then why am I stuck here being chased by guards that somehow spoke English just like you?" I asked, since as far as my knowledge went, English wasn't exactly a universal language.

"That's not of your concern now at this moment, because they are here. Run for it!" The black mist responded by whispering urgently in my ears, and sure enough within a few seconds later-

"There he is! I've found him. Quickly he is escaping through the alleyway, cut him off!" One of the guards must've spotted me, and he was calling for others. Not good at all…

I swore in-between breaths, launching myself into a sprint once again, trying to avoid trashcans here and there. Since I've been here, it's nothing less than hell. God, I want to tell you that I was not made for this, physically or mentally, and that whatever destiny or whatever happened way too fast in my life to my liking.

Escaping through the alleyway back to one of the main bright streets, where the sun shone its spotlight on me, random townspeople whispered and shouted in surprise. No biggie, come on, just a human coming through, and all ya'll looked alike… some medieval town this was supposed to be.

I dove into another alleyway, and feeling scraping metal across my legs and pants, I pushed my body through more crevices back into the shadows just in time. The guards were getting closer, and some of them passed me by barely since I managed to sink into darkness in time. I might not have enough time for a breather anymore though. Damn it, this was going nowhere… how much longer must I continue to escape them persistent bastards?

I've said before that this was not Earth right? Of course, because the truth was very simple: From the bird's eye view of a human not latched onto a parachute falling at exactly the gravitational constant of near-Earth acceleration of 9.8 m/s2, the buildings were all impossible in design to be of Earth.

In fact, my bodily experience could easily assure you that I wasn't lying about my existence in a farfetched place. I screamed more than I ever had in years, I felt like my body was going to fall apart, and even now I questioned my sanity. Was I really still in reality, and this was not really just a dream? Now I just had to stay put, hoping that my sought-after reality would return.

"Don't just stand there and do nothing. We need to move boy." The familiar voice of something I could not see returned.

Once again, I urged my tiring body to move. Nice and quiet… letting no one detect my presence… it's actually a lot harder than I thought, since after like two minutes, I found myself once again running up the paved road pass random people with guards on my tail, their weapons glistening, ready to impale, decapitate, or just disembowel me if I got caught up.

"… hah… if I… Had… whatever goddamn power you said I would have, I wouldn't be in this fricking mess right now." I spoke with exasperation. Resting against one of the many stone walls, temporarily escaping their clutches, I spoke, hoping that the black mist was listening.

"It doesn't come easily it seems. The Prophecy has already indicated you as the one person alone capable. If you cannot exercise it even to a visible amount, then it only means that perhaps like any ability, it requires maturation and development. Meaning, you have to try to your limits if you want any results. It's going to add labor to my job, but oh well, can't be helped." The voice made me feel like shit, honestly.

That's right, the whole reason I was here was probably because of this one prophecy made by an unknown person telling me that I was made for this. Right, only big mistake was that I was too fricking normal to exhibit any sort of beyond human abilities.

I was just lucky I suppose, to survive that long.

Regaining breath, I once again began my movement. There's no apparent direction I was going, but every now and then the black mist would tell me if I was doing okay, in a voice that only I could hear.

I really didn't like my situation. It's a long story to explain just what the hell I was doing here, but for the moment, I could only think about runningSo I ran. To where? That was a good question. The buildings were so clustered that the only space left were alleyways, narrow, dark streets, with trash bins placed strategically to allow easy maneuvers for the single traveler. Luckily, I was not fat to begin with. Unluckily, I was not as nimble as when I still had Physical Ed three years ago.

"Oops, ah crap. ugh." I accidentally collided into a corner of the numerous buildings. This went to show that I was getting toward my limit, running on nothing except reserved energy, and hadn't even eaten anything for the past ten hours or so.

"They are going to hear you like that boy, you've banged them pretty good." He meant to indicate the wall and the trash can, and sure enough, the voices were getting closer yet again.

"Tell me something I DON'T know." I rebutted, taking off once again into the narrow alleyways. This sucked, being a repeated process of over a dozen times by now.

"Cityguards, four behind, two to the left of the exit ahead, two more running toward our exit, should arrive in about ten seconds." The mist warned, and I heeded.

"That... okay, what can we do?" I asked frantically, grinding up to sprint speed dodging and weaving obstacles.

"When you reach the exit, dive low to avoid their grasping hands. Just like... what do you call them, sportsmen wearing funny white tight uniform and began the game holding bats?" Oh god, the black mist was speaking of the impossible.

"You crazy? Want me to slide as good as the major league?!" I shouted. The last time I saw major leagues or baseball anything was like last year.

"Three seconds, remember!" Count down? Wtf.

I charged through the alleyway, entering into the opening. Outstretched arms were coming for me, and then I shoved an empty trashcan out as a method of distraction, and slid, as best as I could, as if I was playing Limbo on an ice rink, except, there was friction, and my legs hurt like mad.

Arms went past me overhead, just as this voice said, and as soon as they realized they missed, they went lower to grasp for me, but by then I was clumsily clambering back upright, my legs screaming for rest, but I couldn't stop. No way.

Didn't stop to hear what language they were speaking, just instinctively knowing that they'd follow and give chase, I ran. Somehow, these guards switch between alien and Earth-speak. Up and down the streets. More guards came around the corner. I almost ran into them, but apparently, my choice of clothing kept me light-footed, and I spun a bit, almost like a football player, except that I wasn't going to be ready for a full-front tackle.

Charging across the streets, I felt air generated from swinging polearms as they missed me. However, while I missed them, I unceremoniously stumbled and crashed into a nearby trashcan. My back buckled against the impact, and then I saw them coming even closer. Clambering back up, forgetting the momentary pain that was rippling through my entire body, I spun and ran again.

Sure they were encumbered by armor and weapon, but I was like a defenseless lamb, and once they catch or kill me for whatever purpose this festival was, I knew if I let my guard down and gave up, I was good as dead.

Outdistancing them once again with the remnants of my stamina and strength, I charged into the closest alleyway, panting hard, lungs on fire. I did say that I was not physically fit, and now I really was at my fricking limit.

"Why me, why must I go through all this trouble just for absolutely nothing…" I grunted out, finding comfort in the limited amount of shadows.

"It's your destiny. You will find the answers you seek, but until then, you must keep charging on, holding on to survival. There is something in it all, you just have to find it. May sound harsh, but… watch out for that opening." The black mist responded calmly, but it still pissed me off.

"What the hell do you mean watch out, I don't see anything, and most of all, stop spewing this bulls-" I was running through the darkness complaining, before something just popped out right in front of me. Something large, square… and very solid.

Bam, I saw stars flooding into my vision as it shift from black to white then back to black. Apparently adoor of some sort magically opened out of the indistinct walls in the alleyway, slamming into my right shoulder, torso, and face. I lost my balance, losing myself into the pain and became blind in my path, swerving to my left, losing footing, slid, fell, and crashed into another 'strategically' placed trash bin, one made of metal, head first.

What happened afterwards I didn't really know, just that I was dragged in slowly by some unseen strength with vice grips over my arms. I felt my body entering a dark room; I heard the door slam, then the lights on.

Regaining my conscious amidst the stinging pain, I saw the visible form of the Black mist again, which still took no clear shape. A man's voice spoke, gruff with age. If I choose not to question his age, I'd say he's through with the forties and fifties already.

"So, you've come eh? Is that him?" The man spoke with a daft air about him.

"Quite so. He seemed to have the most extraordinary luck I've seen in any normal... species of his kind. He's also showing promise." The black mist spoke confidently. I questioned that, I really did. How the hell was I extraordinarily lucky? If you ask me, I felt like I've had the worst luck of most people on Earth, disturbed from the normal path of life, forced off to some insane impossible scenario of a nightmare.

"Ah, good, good; very good, just what I wanted. The Prophet would be delighted that the chance finally came. You know, after being coped up in this body for three hundred years, it was nice to see some 'normal' folks for a change. I'll go make some fungal tea." The old man made a wrinkly smile as he took a deep sip into his mug.

"...Fungal... tea?!" My current situation could do with less worry as I responded. I like tea, but fungus + tea?

I stirred, my vision returning to me, and slowly adapting to the dimly lit background. Moving a bit to the left, to the right, out of breath and energy spent, unable to do anything else except half-talking and mind racing, I still couldn't see any sign of the two. They were further back.

"Ah yes, fungal tea. It's the best, I've heard, on this world. It cleanses the body of any foreign invaders, heats up the body, and provides limited rejuvenation and complete stamina recovery. In short, think of it as an elixer." Black mist thought I needed an explanation, so it explained. Well, now that I thought about it, it's not really it, easier to say it's a he… mist thing.

Oh, how nice, I was thinking along the lines of poison or status-causing potion that'd make me even more vulnerable than a pig waiting to be slaughtered, but some sort of hands forced the cup to my lips.

It burnt, I complained. Nothing changed. My tongue must have been paralyzed. Sure, I love tea, but those were made from TEA LEAVES, not fungus... and this tasted like ash.

However, it seemed that my systematic recovery had increased, and I could finally move about. I've also found the true appearance of the tea maker.

He had red, fogged eyes. His skin was akin to that of tree bark, and I could have sworn he'd look almost exactly alike if placed next to a tree. His hands, which held the teacup, had a mixture of straw and bark into it, and thick, almost scale-like hands. His mouth broke into a toothy grin, and though the teeth were blunt, I knew better. This ... something, was definitely capable of more threat than the voice in my head.

"So, how you taking into this world so far?" Another sip and the old… something spoke.

"Splendid. Nice air." Out of nowhere the other voice replied.

"I'm not talking to you, I am talking to the boy, the prophecy-to-be." The old man chuckled.

"Me? Ah oh.. yeah.. the tea is good. I am no longer thirsty, and more rejuvenated. Thanks..." I replied, feeling a sensation close to anxiety rising up just as I was finally relaxing.

I took a wild guess and realized that I no longer had any choice in this matter, and whatever I was here for; I needed to be ready, even if a situation might come and I face imminent death. Unwilling of course, but that didn't mean I was ready to give up and die.

"Good, have some more tea. Now, let's have you answer my question. How, do, you, take, this world, so far?"

Something inside me tensed. I didn't know why, but this man was dangerous, and any wrong move I take would be the end of me, but... truth was still so much better to hear.

"To be honest, I didn't like this world at all. The exit led to a giant fall that almost killed me, and then I had to be chased around by city guards that carry the weapons which could easily mutilate me... too much. I honestly don't feel any special, and probably shouldn't be here at all. Hell, I don't even know what I must do from now on…"

For a moment, I watched him, he watched me. As if thinking of something, he simply shrugged and walked away.

"What can I say; this is pretty much all the new visitors say. Well, boy, I now, officially and humbly, welcome you to Sinnssykdom, the city of, as you called, Insanity." With another smile, this time different, the old man replied, setting his cup down.

He winked, and I knew why, because I dropped the cup from my hands, its contents spilling all over the floor. I didn't feel much, except that I dropped on the floor like a puppet with its strings cut. Ah, once again I found myself in a situation where things couldn't possibly get worse. Oh dear God, why must I travel through impossible worlds just for this piece of shit?

Perhaps, it's thanks to that dream… yes, that one special dream which shattered my reality forever…

Author's note: Welcome to the first chapter in this rather long story. Lol. First, I'd like to make a small apology for making this a long one to read but ya, that's how it is. It could appear as if rather clichéd, since an opening usually involve a dramatically different situation, and of course, lots of unexplained crazy things going on. Well, that can't be helped :P What can our drugged/unconscious hero (who is too average and human for his own good) encounter next? This is merely the very beginning of what can be a life-long journey toward something impossible. I am unsure how things will turn out actually, hahaha… Here are a few things to reflect: What will happen next? What can this dream possibly be, and how can reality and dream mix before each loses its distinct features? Read on to find out! Also, REVIEWS are always welcome and deeply appreciated. After all, what makes a good story is when the author and his readers collaborate, contribute, to make it happen