Chapter One: Rust

Humid air was stagnant around my aching body. Why did my whole body ache with pain? Why...? The smell of copper, of rust, surrounds me, dizzying with its pungent sharpness. What is that smell? What...? The ground smelled of fresh rain and was moist against my heated face and naked flesh. When did I get here? When...? My chest pressed painfully into the ground of leaves and decay. How did I get here? How... Here... Here... Where was here? Where...? A question above all others haunted the far corner of my mind. Who...Who...Who was I?

I lifted my throbbing head to view my where. I opened my eyes to find it just as dark as the perpetual darkness of my closed eyelids trimmed with thick lashes. What's that sound? It's so primitive, so feral, so dangerous. A warning, if only I wasn't too gone to comply with its wishes.

I turned my head ever so gently to see if I could spot anything. Nothing. I turned to what I assumed to be my left side. A pair of large piercing yellow eyes were directing their glare at me from the dark covering of the brush. I sucked in what felt like the first breath since I had arrived in the realm of questions. The golden eyes closed, then opened again. The gaze sharpened as if it were sizing up its opponent. Was I its opponent? Another question. Shall the list never cease? With one more savage noise the eyes were gone into the shadows. All that was left was the rustle of wind on perished forgotten leaves.

I forced myself to move my leg, just extending it out and back. It moved and I was glad, but the pain was close to unbearable. The darkness seemed to be creeping closer to me, like it was closing me inside, squeezing the air from my rasping lungs. I dropped my head as it was too stressful to hold it up. My forehead dropped, meeting the soggy ground in agreement with a slight audible squish.

The ground was like a cushion around me, comforting me, telling me to let my lids meet and sleep deeply, but I feared if I slumbered I would never again wake. I fought it, to that I swear, but on their own account my lids fluttered closed and refused to part. I was so pathetic, too weak to hold open even an inch of skin to view my where long enough to put an end to one of the many questions haunting me like shadows inside my mind.

I flicked my tongue out to lick my chapped lips again. The salty copper tinged liquid lingered on my soft tongue. I tried in vain to identify it. No matter how hard I tried, the name would not connect, and I could come up with nothing that had such a defining taste. Not even names such as rust, copper, or even metallic could fit the salty taste well enough. I could feel the stickiness on my arms, legs, face and on my painfully arched back. It was dripping like rain, from where I did not know. I could feel it sliding across my body like a virus, spreading it's bitter indescribable trail.

My head began to swim, my senses becoming dimmer, the taste still in my mouth. The taste of what? I still did not know. I fought but slowly began to fade back into the unfeeling comfort of which I had not so long ago awoken. It was becoming too much and I began to welcome it with metaphorically open arms, seeing as I couldn't physically do so. I lifted my head once more to view my where or at least try And to my great surprise there was a light ahead. A bright glowing beam was a beacon of hope in the dismal darkness creeping closer to me, lecherously drinking at the life force leaving my body. And soon I could see bright blue eyes in the distance. They got closer and that was all I could see. And as they stared down at me I knew, I knew everything would be okay. So with one last languid sigh, I let my head fall and my mind finally ebb and weave into total silence...