A slow dream, a slow climb toward waking. Slow rumbles vibrate through flesh. A growing itch
quickens my awareness. There is a crack, a crumble, a cough, a breath, and here, sputtering,
blinking dust and crumbs in the dazzling light, here am I looking out upon a tiled pavement
littered with broken stone. Water trickles somewhere I cannot see. Thirst calls me to it.
I struggle, held from behind. Looking down, I see my body is half-merged in a wall that looks
half-melted, crumbling where it touches me. The hollow stone mask of a face lies below me
on the pavement.
I push, pull, twist, trying to free myself. The rock around my shoulders and arms breaks,
showering fragments. With arms, I can push, I can break the crumbly edges of the rock around
my body. But my legs are held fast, and hammering with soon-bloodied fists avails not.
A tool handle sticks out from the rock beside me. I pull and twist. It has a double head,
knob and spike. I hammer and spike my way out of the wall. It is too much at first to stand
and walk, so I sit, looking across the pavement to where it ceases between pillars
that no longer support a roof, feeling the breeze on my gritty bare skin.
At length I stand. There are other voids in the wall, rough negatives of human figures. Two
figures never escaped, and stare out as bone and husk. Beside my point of emergence is another
void, mostly empty, but still holding the withered remains of an arm captive in the wall above a
trail of dried blood stains. I hoped a successful escape, if narrow. Another figure is visible,
not quite emerged. I take the tool, digging into the wall, anchoring it close by the outline of
the figure's arm. Passing on the gift.
Thirst drives me toward the sound of water.
(ideas: Perhaps more than one hero's soul abides here.).