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He wasn’t quite sure where he was anymore. At first his house seemed normal, the same way he remembered it when he went to sleep. The way it should be. But then he noticed that there was no light coming from through the window, in spite of his clock clearly reading 8am. It should already be approaching daylight and yet, there wasn’t even the pale light of the moon. He looked out the window. There was nothing. Not that normal kind of nothing when its just too dark to see, but really, nothing. He ran over to flick the light switch on, and the room remained pitch black aside from the faint red glow of his alarm clock.

He fumbled about in the darkness and found a hefty old battery powered flashlight. When he shined it out the window, he saw nothing. The ground, the sky, the bits of dust in the air, not a trace of it. He opened the window and stuck his head out. It was empty. The air was cold and sour, almost enough to make him sick before he drew back in and shut the window in somewhat of a hurry. Now he was struggling to rationalize what was going on. There was nothing outside, just a massive void for as far as he could see. But it didn’t make sense! He struggled in silence for a moment, trying to somehow force his body to wake up from this nightmare. But it didn’t work. It was far too real to be a dream, and if he was lucid, he had no control over it whatsoever.

It had been more than a day then. He knew time within dreams was distorted, and he clung on to that idea every moment. There were stories of people who had lived an entire life in a dream or a coma, going on 70 years or more. He’d be here for a long, long time, possibly. But he’d wake up and not remember this horrible dream at all. He’d wake up and see the sun rising in the sky, the grass on the ground, the world on the horizon. He’d wake up and live out his life like nothing ever happened. But he felt a thought tearing through the back of his mind like a rabid beast, ripping away the comforting veil. He’d never wake up, he was already awake.

He was barely consuming any liquids. The water didn’t work, so he had to conserve every last drop of it. It had been a week then. There was nothing to drink save for the old, clouded bottles of water he had found under his bed. Food was running low as well. Most of the things in need of refrigeration have gone bad now. Canned food was the only thing he had, and he was beginning to run low on that as well. One day, on a whim, he took an empty can and threw it out his window, into the vast void outside. It fell on and on before it eventually disappeared from sight. He never heard it hit the bottom. He wondered if there even was a bottom to the void.

It had been a little over a month then. He was beginning to fall into delirium. He was suffering so many caloric deficiencies that he could barely move to keep himself distracted. He had run out of water now. He peered from his bedside, out the window into the vast blackness. For the first time, focused solely on that void, he felt dread turn into true, unadulterated horror, for something popped into his mind. What if he had died. What if there was no end to this void, for the void was the end? He screamed as loud as he could, at first a plea for help, and then simply incoherent shouting.

He no longer knew what the time was. Some time ago the alarm clock had died, and with no sun or moon, time slipped into the realm of an unmeasurable abstract. Had it been years, months, weeks, days, even just hours? He couldn’t tell. His skin had begun to cling to his bones, and his eyes sunk into his head. The act of lifting his own body was a feat of strength. Without even a sense of time to ground him to reality, the act of rational thought was impossible. He was not fearful anymore, not even apathetic. He simply wasn’t

In one of those brief, flashing moments of lucidity in the nightmare, there was a hope that came into his mind. A faint muffled vestige of a thought. “If you...in a...wake up” He screamed in shock as he tried with every bit of his decaying mind to cling to the thought. “If you...in a dream you wake up” Just a little more, he thought. He had to physically strain himself. “If you die in a dream, you just wake up”. It was so simple. He was going to be free.

Slowly he dragged himself out of his bedroom, down the hall, and into the living room. The front door, which had been left shut and locked, was his goal. He  struggled to maneuver the latch and pull it ajar. That cold, sour air hit him at full force now. Then there was something new. A sound from the void. It was barely loud enough to get his attention at first. It was a rumbling, distorted sound. And then it got louder. And a moment after that it was louder still. Was it getting closer? Was that sound simply a creation of the void or of some horrible thing within the void? It was a horrible sound, an almost human-almost mechanical roaring, echoing across the nothingness. It was loud enough to hurt his ears now it simply wouldn’t stop. He could no longer hear his own screams. There was one option.

He threw himself out the threshold, into the void. There was no sensation of air rushing past his body. He was unsure if he was even falling at all, but the house grew farther and farther, faster and faster, until he had nothing around him but the blackness. And the horrible sound only seemed to get louder and louder, as though it was latched onto him. But there was nothing that he could see. Nothing to feel. He simply awaited the end.

He never hit the ground.

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