I'm running and I'm running and I'm running and I'm running and I'm running. Any second now, he's going to show up and I'm going to be trapped. Any second now. But I'm going to run anywa
And there he is. He's in front of me now, and he's pushing me into the ground and now he's standing tall over me. I look into my shadow's face and I scream at him, but he just kicks me in the head and that shuts me up.
"Welcome back Owen! That was my "welcome back" gift. Did you like it?"
I spit out blood and wipe it from my mouth. I try to get up, but he kicks me back down.
"Now where the hell do you think you're going?"
He's on top of me now, pinning me down, down, down.
"Out of here..."
He slaps me.
"You're not going anywhere! Not for now, not ever. You're staying with me, forever."
I spit in his face.
He punches me and my blood starts to trickle out of my mouth uncontrollably.
He places his palm in the center of my chest.
"I was too soft on you before. But this time, I won't make that mistake. This time, you're mine forever. And the sad thing, for you anyways, is that-"
He puts his other hand on my cheek.
"You can't do a damn thing about it, kid."
I panic. I struggle and kick and punch and cry and scream. But, it does absolutely nothing.
He slaps me again, and then another, and then once more, and then he punches me in the gut.
"Now... now that you're calm... or bleeding internally, whatever, let's have a real goddamn conversation."
A cut appears on my lower arm, and he notices it. He smiles, and leans in close to whisper something into my ear. I figure out what it is before he says it, and I have to fight the urge to faint right then and there.
"This isn't a dream. Or a nightmare."
His hands clasp around my throat.
"This is reality."
And he squeezes. He's squeezing and I'm choking.
And I die. I continue to be dead. But then I come back.
I came back gasping for breath. He lets me breathe, he's no longer grasping my neck. He gets up off of me, and stands a few feet away. He's laughing, facing away from me.
"What... what the fuck... what just happened to... me.."
He turns around, and he's still chuckling.
"I killed you, darling. I killed you and I brought you back from the brink."
"You... you what? I.. .I don't understand."
But I do understand. And he knows I do.
He grabs me by the collar, and he pulls me up.
"I am Death. I am the Grim Reaper. I am your personal Demon. I am your Hell. But, above all-"
His pushes his forehead up against mine. His eyes stare into mine. I cannot escape Death.
"I am you, and you are me; we are one. You're it, Owen. You're the Death of All Things."
"I don't... understand...I..."
"You seriously don't get it, do you? Like, seriously?? It's staring you right in the face, and yet you still deny the truth.... humans. I hate humans, you fucking know that? Pathetic beings."
He lets go of my collar and pushes me to the ground. His foot pins me down.
His shadow falls upon me.
"I'm the Dying Man. Or rather, a piece of the whole thing. But you get what I mean."
My brain shuts off. I am dizzy.
"...N-no... I don't get... get it. What are you talking about...?"
"You created me, father. You created all of Them. And now we're all alive, so so alive, all thanks to you!"
"I just. This is actually, really some type of dream, I knew it. This is a joke. I can't."
"This isn't a joke, this isn't a dream, hell, this isn't even a hallucination; Owen baby, this? This is reality. It's not only my reality, it's yours, too. I'm real. I'm so, so real. So very real. And you don't even understand what that means yet. But you will, oh, you will."
I get angry. I push his foot off, roll a few feet away, and get up. I run.
He smashes his fist into my lower back and I almost hit the ground but he kicks me up and grabs me and then slams me against a tree. The tree is dead.
We're back within nothing.
"I'm a lost piece of the Dying Man, and I'm going to make "us" become Him again. And you're the hand that will fit this lost piece into that puzzle."
I. I believe him. I knew all along but I want to throw up.
"If what you're saying is true... then how did I...?"
"How did you create us? How did you start the Provocation?"
"I don't have time for this. You had the chance for me to be friendly with you. Now I'm taking you by force."
I hear this... ringing.
In the background of everything.
And glass, cracking.
Anger appears out of nowhere and I push him off. I don't run away. I pick up a rock out of nowhere and smash his face in. I kick him over and over again while screaming. I throw the rock away and continue with my fists. He's growling. I'm screaming at him.
And then I pick him up and throw him against the tree. I'm still screaming at him.
"I'm sick and tired of all of this bullshit happening to me! I'm sick- of- it!!"
I throw him away from the tree and stand tall over him.
"I don't deserve any of this. No matter how much I hate myself... I did NOTHING to deserve it! Even if what you said is true... that I created the Fear Mythos and it all came true... I- I didn't know! And it's not my fault that this... I don't..."
I realize, in that small moment, I could say the same thing about my life and the abuse I suffer through.
He looks up at me calmly. Blood floods out of his mouth.
"Are you done?"
He gets up and kicks me off my feet.
He grabs me at the throat once again, and brings me back to reality with one sentence.
"And why is that of any concern to me?"
He holds me against the tree.
"So what if you don't deserve any of it? Do you think that means that it won't happen to you? It only proves my point: this is never going to stop happening to you, whether you "deserve it" or not."
"The world is going to break you, mark my words, Owen Norris. If I don't first, anyway. Now, are we quite done? Because I'm getting sick of this back and forth nonsense... how long are you going to keep this up anyway? Do you think it can last forever? I'm not leaving. Not ever."
"Who the hell are you to decide any of this!?"
I scream and it's as if my anger explodes and the world shatters to pieces and I wake up in my bed.