At once a terrible flood of confusion leapt across his mind. His reflection on the water splintered away in a waltz of Technicolor fragments. He glanced sidelong across his shoulder and saw rippling shadows quickly flee from his periphery. Bastian turned back to the water and saw only blackness and infinity. He swept his hand through its depths and felt no resistance. From far off, barely visible, the faintest of lights appeared. It pulsed so near the edge of his perception he felt compelled to chase after it, for fear it may wander too far away. Bastian pulled his hand back and steadied his balance to dive into the void.

He turned, one last time, to see Patrice's smile, but she was gone. In her place was a raucous maelstrom of light and shadows. Bastian squinted his eyes but couldn't focus on the wildly shifting images flickering across his vision. Behind him, the urge to leap into the idiot darkness pulled at his guts and needled the back of his neck. But he thought he saw people moving...he thought he saw her moving. All around him a million voices echoed in endless conversation. The sky bucked and shifted with violent tremors. The ship was gone; the breeze and sickly sweet smells replaced by the oppressive heat of friction and pressure.

This is all wrong. Bastian thought.

then, "This is all wrong." He said aloud.

He fell back on his haunches and clawed at his face. A shuddering growl boiled up in his throat and he pulled his knees up to his chest as the chaos of movement and sound crashed like a wave against his mind.

From somewhere infinitely far away, Bastian heard the slightest titter of laughter. Patrice's laughter. He opened one eye and fought away the glaze of madness.

With all his strength, Bastian set his feet beneath himself and struggled to stand as if he had a thousand pounds across his back. Nausea crawled up his chest and the somersaulting threat of unconsciousness vibrated through his knees.

In the last moments before he blacked out, key in hand and 'sakurasou' on his lips, Bastian slammed his fists against the cracked plaster wall of the hotel, and fell backwards into Oubliette's waiting arms.


1 comment:

Fitter Happier said...

With this post I wanted to pull a few things together and start to define some of the qualities of Bastian's "Seeping" trysts.

I took Will's post as a jumping off point for a kind of time-and-situation triggered fall into the madness of those realms he occupies. I saw these other semi-realities as being hostile and unwanting of his presence.

If adding "END PART ONE" was a bad idea, let me know and I'll revise it. I thought it was a good point to break the scene and take a big narrative breath.