I wake up once again submerged in an unfamiliar Gorepit within the Bloodfields– scrambling towards the surface through malformed chunks of tissue, cartilage, and bone marrow saturating this endless well of stale blood. Blazing sun hits my face, welcoming the fluid I spew out my mouth allowing me to breathe my first breath of semi-fresh air. My hands are lucky enough to find the neatly arranged stone ledge that surrounds the Pit. I find myself on the scorching tile crawling as my body remembers how to walk. Bold red goo runs down my face and plops by my hands. Awaiting me in this wasteland is no one.
The only direction I have are the veins and arteries scattered across the landscape. Their sprawl isn’t random; they connect to each other. All I have to do is follow the flow. But time here passes slowly and my brain gets itchy.
Sometimes I would need to feel my face to know if anything is there, but every time, I’m reminded I am numb. Did my the nerves deaden in this cycle of Awakening or did I never have them in the first place? Is this body even mine? I would look at my hands– gazing deeply into these fleshy coverings of bone, fibers, and tubes of fluid. I like to bring each finger to its attached thumb, one at a time. I don’t know why, but it reminds me that, yes, this is my body– at least this time; at least for now. Then I would be brought back to the external world, following the blue veins from one Pit to another– looking for a friend; looking for a fight; looking for anyone.
It feels like I’ve been going in circles for the days. At this point, I’ve been assuming every pit I come across is the one I spawned out of. Finally the pulsing veins bring me to a Pit with someone else inside it, struggling as I did. It looks like he’s drowning in gelatin– his bladed fingers not letting him swim.
Then his hand shot out of the goop, begging me to pull him up. Reflexively, I meet his grip. His hand is warm but his grip pierces me like razor blades. Is this a trap? Is he pulling me under? Either way, this really fucking hurts and my grip is loosening. The desperation I feel in his hooked fingertips tightens, making me leak blood, mixing with the collection of liquids he spawned from.
At that moment I feel like I’ve known him; I feel like I want to be him; I feel like I love him. The Bloodfields connect fellow spawnlings in a way I cannot begin to understand nor do I want to; but in this moment, I feel his electricity run through my nerves.
Suddenly, he weighs nothing and all my pulling flings him on top of me, coughing up fluids like I did. We are both naked and alone, but we’re going to make it. I’d rather die than let him go.
My first memory is drowning. My second is their face staring down at me through the hostile liquid as I choke on it. At first I was scared, but they look at me with such sorrow and empathy. When I reach, they catch me. It feels nice even though I think I am hurting them.
But bad gravity isn’t on my side. This pool of malformed tissue chunks and bone shards are suddenly heavy, pulling me back in. I’m not about to die in this fucking pit. My nails are digging in too deep– I can feel it; I can feel their blood against my skin.
I black out.
Why does my body keep shifting? I’m not doing that. There’s pressure on my chest, belly, and legs as my weight shifts around. Wait, are we moving? Hands grip tighter behind my kneecaps. I can feel a wince every now and then when I slide in a way that separates their wet chunks of flesh. Wait is this them? Am I on their back?
Fuck, everything really hurts. The pain finally shocks me awake causing me to almost fall off their back.
The first thing I see is that we are approaching a suspended structure grown of muscle and hard tissue guided by pillars of bone.
“Is this where I die?” I accidentally say out loud.
They stop walking.
I am set down gingerly, as if I was a broken toy. With tears in their eyes, they say, “I didn’t even know you were still alive.”
I was told we were going to a hospital. To them that means a building that looks like dried meat. For the first time, cloth covers my flesh. It’s warm but itchy. For now I choose warmth over comfort. I touch my face hoping to be whole. I am immediately disappointed. It’s obvious that this jaw isn’t mine and that these eyes are mechanical. Maybe I am broken. Can I even walk? I attempt to get up. I don’t stumble. I could probably just leave if I wanted to. I look at my hands- well, the bio-prostetics that are where my hands should be. My delicate fingers have been replaced by curved knives made of nail and bone wrapped in tendon. I run them along my chest– the muscles now malformed from perpetual micro-tears, regenerating out of my control. Maybe I’m not broken. This is who I am– a monster.
The door opens. It’s them. I finally see them– an exposed ribcage and skull covered in bio-mechanical scrap, both too wet and too dry. Fireflies illuminate their eyes.
“I know who killed us,” they say as if I already knew I was murdered. “And we’re gonna tear the flesh off their bones.”
To be continued …