The first thing I felt was silence...

And yes, I did say I felt the silence. In fact, it wasn't a silence so much as a pressure, a pressure all around me that forbade my ears from hearing or my eyes from seeing.

Maybe I was dead.

I hoped not.

I breathed in, out. The noise of it pressed on the silence and was rebounded back.

I whispered, "Hello?" It almost made a sound.

Then I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and shouted with all my might-

The silence broke.

It was a little while before I realized my eyes were still closed. I didn't open them, afraid of what I might find. I had destroyed the Story, the framework for my life and the only structure that had ever been. My imagination offered up things that weren't pleasant. Without opening my eyes, I said aloud, "Ghost? Aka'thor?"

"Myamei?" came a reply in front of me. "Why Do You have Your Eyes Closed?"

"Hello, Ghost," I said, and opened my eyes...

I was in a room without a ceiling. The wallpaper was garishly pink with lime green flowers, and the roof opened up onto depths of nothingness. On the floor was a rug decorated with vaguely Asian swirls and birds. The Ghost was in front of me, shimmering strongly.

"Where's Aka'thor?" I asked, then realized exactly how ridiculous it was that I asked where the dragon was first. "And where, or what, is this place?"

"I'm here," Aka'thor said from behind me. "And as to what this is, we don't know any better than you. Touch the wallpaper."

I wrinkled my nose. "No. It's, um..."

"Pink?" suggested the Ghost.

"Just touch it," Aka'thor ordered me. Hesitantly, I walked to a wall and prodded a neon flower.

My hand sank into the wallpaper abruptly, pulling me into it. My hand felt like it was sinking through pudding, and I screamed. "What? What? Ah! What is this stuff?"

"Holy pigeons!" yelled Aka'thor. "It didn't do that when I touched it, my claws just went through it like it wasn't there-Myamei, grab my leg!"

I reached out and made a swipe for the huge black foreleg the dragon offered, catching hold of a claw, but the pudding wallpaper continued to pull me in, and Aka'thor was dragged with me despite her weight. I slipped and fell, feeling my legs also travel slowly into a few bright green flowers. The wallpaper engulfed my waist, my torso.

"I never thought I'd die this way," I moaned.

"I was supposed to fall off a cliff with the Evil Overlord on my back," wailed Aka'thor. "We should never have left the Story. What's going on?"

The Ghost raised a single transparent eyebrow as the pudding wallpaper crept up my neck. "Something Tells Me This Is the Beginning of an Adventure," she said thoughtfully. "And if It Isn't, well, There Are Better Ways to Die than With My Friends."

The last thing I saw before the wallpaper swallowed me completely was her, jumping onto Aka'thor's back...