Djoric's Sandbox
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Isabel’s bright red high-top sneakers crunched through the snow. The shadows had grown long in the pines, and night was falling. She walked with her arms wrapped around her thin frame, attempting to keep warm. Jeremy waddled next to her, less enthusiastic than he had been when they had begun their journey those hours-days-years…forever ago.

Truth be told, Isabel felt her spirit fading as well, sapped out by the cold wind and the darkening shadows. Emma was gone now, and Isabel didn’t know where she was.

She was, for the first time in her memory, afraid. All she had wanted was a fun little adventure with her friend, and now…now she didn’t know where she was. She had lost her friend in a very bad place, and she kept imagining bad things happening to her. Scraped knees and bruises and even a cut, and one image that kept repeating; Emma lying on the ground and not moving.

Isabel kept walking, though she didn’t know where she was going. She couldn’t feel her toes. She wanted to go home, and for Emma to come back, and for everything to be all right again. Let the Factory make their games. She just wanted to go home with her friend.

The sun set, and the forest faded to blue, and slipping into black. In the glimpses of the sky above, Isabel could see the stars and the moons between the trees, but their light was cold and distant. She stopped walking. There was nothing but darkness around her, save the patch of moonsilver snow that she stood in. She could walk further into the darkness, further into the woods, to where she would not even have the stars to guide her, but why? There was nothing there.

Just nothing.

Isabel curled up in a ball and lay down in the snow. Jeremy licked her face, and curled up next to her. Being a dog, he did not understand why her face tasted saltier than usual.

*

The sun was black iron, pocked with craters of sickly fire. A halo of ragged smoke drifted from its pores, crackling with aurora bands of lightening. Streams of glistening, burning oil pours from its grinding mouths, into an eternal, abyssal ocean, its water thick with oil and slurried flesh. Shards of bone, the corpses of old gods, rose above the water, fashioned into crucifixes for the ones who were spared. Icebergs, filled with thousands of bloodied souls, melting slowly.

The air, cold and empty, hummed with the distant moans of pain.

Isabel stood on the water, and saw beneath its obsidian sheen the pale, bloated faces of hundreds, packed together tight enough that each bone had been broken. Jellied eyes spun about in misshapen sockets, as crushed jaws mouthed without sound.

[Bodies beneath begin to drag her down, has vision of dead Emma]

As she struggled against the hands that dragged her lower, the cold that numbed her body, gasped for mouthfuls of air, Isabel saw, in the distance, a throne.

Upon the throne sat a King, all adorned in scarlet, and the king had seven spears, which pierced the brides that lay bloodied at his feet, from whose bodies spewed the great Leviathans.

[King does something. Thumb-down? Message? Something else]

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