Leonard a. Wronke Leonard a. Wronke
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need to fix the structure of the last sentence in this paragraph.

Davide Castel Davide Castel
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(a I begin) should be(as I begin)

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Jim Miller Jim Miller
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She had a friend.

What if your worst fear were true?

I awake.  I sense nothing.  No sight, no sound, no smell...no sensory input of any kind.  I am standing.  That I know.  Standing in the darkness.  Standing on...something.  What, I do not know, but there is a down, and I imagine, therefore, an up.

“Hello?”  I call out.  No reply.  Every fiber of my being is straining to perceive something...anything.  

I continue to peer into the darkness, hoping to discern something.  Slowly the blackness lessens, and, slowly, I can see a bit.  In the dim light, an object appears.  I take a step forward.  I take another step, and then I begin a slow tentative walk towards the shadowy object.   I find that it is, in reality, two objects. 5 comments

The largest and most prominent is a massive desk carved of a dark, foreboding wood.  It has symbols carved deeply into it which are indecipherable to me.  It’s ponderous, unyielding, and ominous.  I think that it would take an earthquake to move it.

Upon the desk is a dark, metal sculpture. Human figures writhe upon the surface.  Each figure appears to be plunging outward as if in terror of something within.  An urgent, overpowering need to escape is portrayed in each expression.  I know the feeling.  It is within me, too.

Suddenly there is a sound that breaks the stillness---the creaking of a door being opened, or...perhaps...closed.  I quickly scan the dimness around me and see that I am in a room.  There are no visible doors discernible.  “Hello?” I inquire again.  The sound of silence answers.  

But recessed into the wall I see a fireplace.  There is a fire in it, mostly embers, with just a very few tiny flames.  It makes no sound; no crackling; no popping.  The red-orange glow emanating from it is the only source of illumination in this meagerly lit room.  The room is windowless, but floor to ceiling, the walls are adorned with thick, blood-red drapes.

My eyes return again to the sculpture.  It has changed.  There is an increasing glow emanating from within it, backlighting the "escaping" figures.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see that the flames of the fireplace are increasing too.  Soon they billow out and begin to lap hungrily at the drapes and to devour the room.

I am included in that room.  There is no escape.  The flames change from red-orange to white-hot, accompanied by a whoosh like a rushing train passing by.  The flames begin to feast upon me, but don’t devour me.  There is an indescribable pain which courses through my entire being.  A primal scream escapes me---an intense cry of agony.   I cannot bear it!

There is no turning back...ever.  Surely, I never intended to be here.  I thought hell was just a myth.

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