“Regression is slow. Gradual. Unhurried in it’s bid to drive one to madness. Creeping tendrils digging further and further into the mind like forgotten seeds, sprouting forests of disquiet and skepticism as to ones’s true self; the conundrum of self-agnosticism.”
It was a thought that passed through his mind as quickly and as slowly as it took to say it out loud. The sprawling forest echoed back his stilted voice, rising with the muffled squawk of bird somewhere above and beyond the slits of light breaking through twisting vines. A golden hue that saturated the world in blurred sepia.
He’d been walking for a while now, though it was hard to tell. The smell of pine was rich in his nostrils, overbearing and powerful against his senses. Muffled voices rose and fell about him, sifting through tree barks, carpets of grass and thickened tree roots about him.
Drifting between them were familiar songs he’d heard in his youth, at church and at home with his mother’s soothing voice. He could almost see her silhouette against the golden aura of light seeping through the kitchen window. Could almost reach out and touch her…
The world fell into silence.
A crackling sound echoed above his head like thunder.
His body contorted into itself against the sound, frigid coils shooting through every nerve ending. Images of his mother slid away into the blurred vision of forest before him.
The sound shot through his mind again.
He took off through the forest, suddenly aware of the rising crescendo of wails that followed from above. Screeching his name through the cracking shots resounding all about him. Yet no matter how far he ran, the sounds blared through his mind and ears.
The slits of light were quickly fading, throwing him into a cold nothingness. The air around him grew thicker, making breathing almost impossible. A weight fell over his body, bringing with it a crashing realization; he hadn’t been running at all.
The stillness of his body kicked his fear into overdrive, bolts of it rocketing through his petrified limbs like lightning.
With what felt like superhuman strength, he fought through the syrupy air trying to keep him locked in the darkness. His arms shot forward, only to bounce against a barrier and flop back against his abdomen. His constricted body bounced again in the darkness, arms floundering against the barrier in futility.
He found his voice again and began to yell against the consuming darkness – despair his only hope against the nebulous confines.
A sea of shocked faces in an ocean of black cloth, gazed at the coffin as it began to thrum. Inhumane lamentations surging through the wood.
“Bury him quicker.” A woman said, stepping forward quickly from the crowd, bible clutched tight against hitching bosom.
“My real son is dead.”