The moment I stepped through the door, I was greeted with a vile stomach-churning odor that assaulted my senses. A sickening sweet yet noxiously foul smell, like rotting fruits mixed with raw meat. I held my nose, nearly gagging, as my foot touched a wet surface. The place I entered was nothing I had expected, as if I’ve been transported to another world. It was dark, my eyes struggled to adjust to what limited lighting there was. From what little I could make out, I seem to be in an open field full of…flowers? The sky glowed an unnatural dark red with no moon in sight, dying whatever little that can be made out in its own color. There was no wind. No sounds save for the loud thumping of my beating heart.
“What-, where am I?” I wondered with a mix of fear and excitement in my voice. At that moment, I heard the door behind me close with a click and vanished without a trace.
“No way!” I frantically searched, but there was nothing there. I was trapped, with no way back. There I stood alone, not knowing what to do. My legs were shaking uncontrollably.
“I-IS ANYONE THERE?” I yelled into the darkness against the best of my judgement. No reply. Not even an echo.
I could feel the sweat running down my neck. I was afraid to even move but I know I couldn’t just stand here. Scanning the horizon, I try to find somewhere I could go. My eyes finally made out a very faint silhouette of what looks to be structures in a distance. Slowly, I worked up my courage and step towards that direction. The ground was wet and disgusting, as every step I felt a splash of liquid hitting my legs and my foot would get sucked into what seems like mud yet at the same time felt nothing like it.
As I made my way closer, the silhouettes became more distinct. It was still hard to see but they were buildings. When I finally arrive, I was able to make out what appears to be a ruined city. Street lamps flickered and provided more yet still limited lighting, as I was able to see streets and sidewalks. As my foot finally touched solid ground, I quickly glanced around my surroundings. Rundown buildings and apartments, these are all modern architecture.
Was this place…a city of some sort?
Curiosity ran through my head as I took a closer look at the rundown ruins. There were hardly any dust, rubble or even vines covering them but oddly they looked as if they were…melting? What is this place? Was it once a lively city? If so, what could have caused such desolation?
This place was big. The further I moved in, the more lost I got. Without any indication of day or night, I don’t know how long I’ve been walking as I got more and more anxious. I want to get out of here but how? My only source of lighting was those flickering street lamps that littered the area, their dim lights glowing red. How are these things still functioning? Does this mean that there are electricity being generated somewhere? Are there people here? If so, where are they?
“Hello! Is anybody here?” I called out. Silence.
This is too much. I don’t know what to do anymore. My mind began running wild with fear. From the shadow, I even thought I saw something move.
“Hello? Is someone there?” I called out again, my voice trembling.
“What do you think of paradise?”
“Waah!” I cried out in shock. I jumped at the sudden sound of a voice. I quickly turned around and there, standing behind me was the strange figure that I was chasing before.
“Hello there.” The person waved to me. Despite the darken world, that person was illuminated, as if lights were emulating from the figure’s body.
The person had a very androgynous look, the body was a slender build that reminded me of a model from a fashion magazine, dressed in a suit that hid any and all hints of their gender. If I can estimate this person’s age, it looked to be in the mid to late 20s. Silvery hair that glowed in the dark flow down the person’s head as it was gathered and tied up into a single braid drooping down the left shoulder. The face was mysteriously good looking. Young, but mature but…, it was also uncanny. Spread across the person’s face was a mysterious smile that was devoid of any and all possible emotion. As if it was drawn across, lacking any facial muscles, that was just downright unsettling. But most of all, were the eyes…
The moment my eyes made contact, my heart skipped a beat. However, it was not from any sort of infatuation but rather from fear. Those silver eyes, they were empty. There was no light, no pupil. Soul-less eyes that felt as if I was staring into a void. I couldn’t break eye contact, as if I was being sucked in. Terror ran across my body as I gaze into them, every possible sense telling me that this person was not human in any way at all. A ghost? A monster?
“Are you not going to greet me back?”
I started to back away, when I suddenly tripped and fell backwards.
Something soft broke my fall. It was a familiar feeling, as If I landed on a…person?
A cold shiver came over me, as my hand picked up something. In my hand was an arm, severed and rotting with blood still dripping from it.
My mind went blank as suddenly, all the lights around me flashed on. Slowly, I looked around.
“Ah…ah…AAAAAAHHHH!!” I screamed as I now see the piles of corpses, covered in strange flowers, scattered throughout the area. All at once, the stench hit me as I realized the smell of rotting flesh and blood.
I couldn’t hold it anymore; my stomach finally gave out.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” That person said, a flower was plucked and floated in front of them as if by some mysterious force. “These flowers are grown from the sacrifices of countless people.”
My stomach was burning from the sudden loss of its contents, yet it still felt like there was more to come. I couldn’t stand. My mind was still in shock.
“A paradise built on the blood and corpses of others. How sickening.” That person spat, crushing the flower and turning their gaze back at me. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was paralyzed.
“Now, what to do with you, young lady.”
“Ah…ah…” Only whimpers came out of my mouth. My mind was blank. I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. But, the only thing I could do was stare into those empty eyes.
“Hmmm…, you are an odd one. You’ve broken free but you’re not infected. But how could that be? Unless…” The person’s eyes widen and suddenly a terrifying grin spread across their face. “Could it be?”
“Ah…wha…wher…please…” I stammered as I mustered everything I could to speak.
“What-,WHAT IS ALL THIS!?” I finally yelled at the top of my lungs. My voice echoed throughout the ruins.
Calmly, came a reply.
“This is Eden. Welcome. Now, I suggest you keep your voices down. They are coming.”
I swung around as I suddenly heard the sound of growling and snarling. The numerous corpses got up and started contorting and bubbling. Bursting and turning white, they began to morph into strange and disgusting shapes that are a mix of human and animal, forming claws and mouths as their skin melted together. Slowly, they converge on our direction and roared.
I was frozen in horror.
“If I were you,” I heard a whisper in my ear, “I’d run.”
With terrible sound of death following closely behind me, I ran as fast as I could.
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