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Into The Abyss

It's dark; completely and utterly dark. I stumble blindly in the black abyss, looking for something to guide my fumbling footsteps, or a way to get out. My search bore no signs of success.

Suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, a face appeared in front of me, making me jump in surprise. I wouldn't even call it a face. It had no head or body, just a pair of yellow floating orbs of light I supposed were it's eyes and a really large grin filled with sharp teeth that reached past where its ears should have been.

Just like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, I thought briefly. "Welcome." The floating face rasped. The voice was deep and rich with a strange hollow tinge to it that sounded like the tone never ended; never dropped its flow, always rippling into the ceaseless darkness.

"Come closer." It beckoned. My eyes widened, and my thoughts became murky and clouded, like my mind was pushed towards the back of my consciousness. The world around me dimmed; the face becoming blurry around the edges.

"Come." It coaxed impassively. I involuntarily took a couple of steps forward before I realized I was no longer in control of my body.

In my head, I gritted my teeth and raised my right hand so that it was level with my face. Steeling myself for the incoming impact, I mentally slapped myself, snapping my body out of it's mindless control.

Thankfully, I stopped myself from getting too near. This 'thing' was now confirmed to be dangerous. At once, I registered the profile of the floating face since I was closer in proximity.

I studiously scrutinized and filed away every detail I could of this floating masquerade and registered that it had ancient eyes that burned red with hatred and evil, as well as a cold smile that sent chills of fear down my back; shaking me to the core.

The face opened it's predatory mouth and spoke. The rasp that pierced my soul snaked into my ears and rendered me immobile. "Do you want the power?" It asks.

This piques my interest. "The power? To do what? Fly and shoot laser beams out of my eyes?" I question wryly with disdain splashed clearly across my features.

"The power... to obtain your deepest desires, your dirtiest dreams. Anything you could possibly want." It answers without twitching from my sarcasm.

The floating figure gives me a sly grin and for a moment I hesitated, thinking back to the sad situation of the last living family member I have left: my mother.

Without warning, a flash back appeared, and I watched silently as I saw my mom walking through the white door frame of our house, the same exhausted way she has been for the past year since dad's murder.

Her slight frame was slouched from over working, her pale face surrounded by messy, tangled hair, and her once pretty emerald eyes glazed over on top of dark, almost purple bags.

The time was 3:00 o'clock in the morning, and I had been waiting for her on the couch, watching tv. My stomach had growled, so I got up, and went to the kitchen to fix up a snack to satisfy the rumbling organ.

I heard the lock click open and had peered over the counter cautiously only to find my mom walking through the doorway like an undead zombie come to eat my flesh.

I froze momentarily and watched as she staggered over to the beige couch and immediately dropped her brown leather briefcase to the floor and fell face first, moaning, while doing a face plant into the couch's red and brown pillows.

I sighed loudly from the kitchen and whispered into the sadly quiet house, "welcome home." The only response given was the muffled sound of snoring drifting in from the living room.

"Mom, you're gonna catch a cold if you don't go to bed properly," I scolded.

"..." Silence. "Hahh... " I sighed and made my way over to the couch, my snack long forgotten.

Burying my hands underneath her stomach, I locked my fingers together and tried in vain to move her, but she wouldn't budge. I released my grip on her torso and looked down sadly at where my hands held her waist.

They were so thin... Just seeing that mental picture was like internal torture, and I ended up having to choke down the tears, remembering my oath never to cry and remain strong in my father's stead as promised to him in his final moments.

I could feel my consciousness being pulled back, and I fought to stay in that moment; to say that I would be able to take care of her, and that she didn't have to work so hard for my sake...

I jolted back to my original dream and stared at the expectant face in front of me. Hesitantly, I answered.

"S-sure..." I cringed at the sound of my own voice. I hated how it sounded. So insecure, so hesitant, so... unlike me.

The creature gave a knowing smirk and began to dissipate and reappear several times, circling me repeatedly, as if it was doing a magic show; and I was the single person audience.

It's leering face mocked me, as if amused by my decision. As I started to open my mouth to tell it to stop because I was getting dizzy, the air in front of me suddenly started to vibrate with power.

My eyes widened, and my muscles tensed. What is he- she- IT going to do now?

I could feel the friction rising in the stale air of this dark abyss, and I cautiously took a step back and raised both arms to my face in a defensive pose to protect me from anything about to explode.

Then, with a deafening "POP!" a collar with a brass bell materialized, standing out in the infinite darkness.

"Wha...?" My eyebrows scrunched up in a curious arc, and I stared at the strip of leather floating in front of me. There was nothing holding it. It was defying the laws of gravity. So was the face. But then again, this was a dream right?

"Take it..." The invisi-man purred. I flicked my eyes from the collar to his face and looked at it with caution... this was a trick... I know it... Something about this is fishy, but what can I do? I'm stuck in here, and I can't get the dream to go forward and end unless I did something.

Slowly inching my way over to the hovering object, I reach out and and grasped it with the fingers on my right hand, afraid it was dangerous to claim.

I waited for something to happen... one minute passed, maybe two. Once I was sure it held no traps, curiosity took over and I studied it intently, pulling the red leather to my body.

The brass bell on the front of the collar was a dull and smooth sphere beneath my finger tips and had two holes on the bottom where a little ball made of the same material as it's casing chimed happily enclosed in it's metal shell.

The top was attached to what I assumed was the head of the collar and rang softly when I turned it over in my palms. The red ring I held in my hands was made of dyed leather with a waxy texture to it.

Probably water proof, I thought to myself. Unsure of why I decided to do this, I lifted it up to my face and inhaled a breath of musty old attic smell.

I recoiled from the scent and wrinkled my nose. It didn't look old - in fact, it look brand new. Then why did it smell so... legendary?

Something about this collar bothered me. What was it? Was it the shady opening ceremony? Or was it something else, an unknown factor?

Gripping it tightly in one fist, I could feel energy pulsating deep from within. A tingle snaked up my arm, and to my chest; The mysterious power flowing through me in waves, ending at my neck.

I reached up with my left hand (the hand of the devil apparently) and brushed my fingers over where the power stopped, and with a blinding light, the collar transported from my right fist to my neck.

Disoriented, I struggled with fumbling fingers to pull it off. Let me tell you now, I did not succeed. I was bound. I could feel it. Forever belonging to this floating monster was a thought I quickly and brutally destroyed, no mercy.

A quick twisk of my torso and I was facing the Chesire's smile once more. "What did you do!?" I snarled, brows furrowed, and drawn tightly over my gleaming eyes.

"It's not what I did, it's you. YOU accepted my offer. THAT young lady, is proof of our contract." The face indicated my collar with a nod of it's invisible head, still grinning that infuriating smirk.

"You can never get out of it. NEVER." The monster gave me a smug look and added, "I believe I am late in introducing myself," It cooed, putting on an English gentleman's accent.

"I am Satan. Power and embodiment of darkness. I live in the hearts of those corrupted and cruel. You and I now have a deal. I shall provide you with power through the collar for the rest of your mortal life so you may perform your deepest wishes. However, shall your body perish during the task, young or old, the soul you hold returns to me, and you will be stuck in hell FOREVER."

Returning to his original hollow voice with a tinge of contempt, he said, "Be grateful. This is a one in a lifetime event. Literally."

The devil smirked at my shocked and disbelieving expression then continued. "You are now the first of my collar bearers! Congrats!"

After he finished that sentence, the skin on my neck started to heat up and I cried out in alarm. The collar started to burn against my throat, the bell glowing white with heat.

It's hot... What the hell is going on?

When the glowing subsided, I risked a quick glance at the bronze bell and saw the numbers "01" etched into the now cold metal.

I just gaped as Satan chucked lightly and said, "Work hard to find the other four, m'kay?"

With that, he gave a sarcastic wink and was gone.

My eyes widened as I realized a second too slow. "Wait!" I yelled meekly, running towards where the devil's face had dissipated.

Too late, I thought. He's vanished and I have no idea how to get out of here...

I crumpled to the smooth black ground underneath, devastated at my helpless situation. This was a dream right? There was really no reason to panic...

Though... It felt strange... like the atmosphere was choking me. Dragging me down with tendrils of darkness, willing me to be swallowed whole.

I looked around frantically, hands running over any kind of surface they could find...

But there isn't any surface. My mind screams weakly.

No sign of an exit. Just a murky black void.

"Help!" I mouthed wordlessly, hands outstretched into the air, grasping for something that wasn't there.

The last thing I saw before sinking into the void called desperation, was darkness. Complete and utter darkness.