Walking through the flames, I don’t feel the heat burn or even touch my skin. They leap out on either side of me while bright, hot embers shoot out and threaten to hit me. I can almost see their gleaming, evil eyes as they dare me to keep walking.
My skin is illuminated in a burnt orange shade, similar to the flames that surround me although without the intense, scorching heat. It’s like I’m walking through a version of Hell but for some reason I’m not burning or suffering; I feel just as I do every other day. Is it supposed to have this effect on you?
Smoke fills the air but it doesn’t fill my lungs. There must be a protective barrier between myself and the smoke, preventing it from causing any kind of danger to me. Ironically, a part of me actually feels safe here. I feel content and comfortable, even though I should be possessed with fear and terror.
I squint my eyes to see through the haze. It’s so smoky that I can’t make out where I am or anything else. Lifting my arms, I try to push the smoke away but it doesn’t work – it doesn’t even touch it. All I can do is just continue walking to see where I end up.
I don’t know what time it is or how long I’ve been here. I couldn’t even tell you how long I’ve been walking down this seemingly endless path towards the unknown. It’s like time doesn’t matter here; it’s pointless and irrelevant. Time means nothing…it’s not a concept that you should believe in or trust while you’re here.
I look down and notice that my feet have stopped walking. I don’t remember telling myself to stop moving…and yet I have. I have a strange sense that I’m not in control of anything here – not even myself. Still, this doesn’t scare me. I almost don’t want to be in control.
The thick haze of smoke slowly begins to lift and my vision becomes clear. I can’t make out anything to my sides but I can see something in front of me. A figure in black looms in the near distance. A man stands with his arms folded across his chest and his legs slightly parted, as if standing his ground. His face is almost blank and expressionless, except there is a faint resemblance of a smirk and a pair of menacing eyes staring at me.
His stare is so unyielding and relentless that I feel like he can see right through me. He can see every thought that’s ever passed through my mind as well as what I’m thinking right now. He knows every one of my deepest, darkest secrets that I keep buried so far down that sometimes I can convince myself they’re not there at all. He knows all of my regrets, my fears and my desires. I can’t hide anything from him because everything is already out in the open…it’s as if he’s drawn it out of me without so much as trying. He can see all of me and suddenly I’ve never felt more vulnerable in my entire life. I feel transparent.
He steps forward, moving closer towards me. I can see his face a little more clearly now. I don’t know who he is exactly but something about him feels so familiar…almost as though I’ve met him before or I know him somehow. Even so, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that brings me such a sense of familiarity.
His eyes continue to bore into mine, turning a shade darker every second that passes by. It’s then that I realise it’s his eyes that holds the familiarity…I’ve definitely seen them before. His dominating presence is overbearing and powerful, making it that much harder to return his challenging stare. That’s when everything else around me starts to slowly slip away. I focus solely on him and the leaping, fiery flames seem to diminish as I continue to concentrate.
It’s strange because I feel so vulnerable and yet so intrigued. In my mind he represents uncertainty and the unknown, so much so that I want to keep walking towards him until I forget everything I’ve ever known. He’s unpredictable, incalculable and capricious. I don’t know what he’s going to do next. I can imagine that trying to outsmart him would never work; he would be able to see your tricks coming from a mile off. You would never be able to surprise him or catch him off guard because he always has something up his sleeve. This is exactly why I don’t trust him. He’s dubious and questionable, at best.
I force myself to tear my eyes away and look behind me, desperately searching for a way out of here. But just as I’m thinking this, the previously diminished flames flare up again and snake closely behind me. Everywhere I look, mass amounts of impenetrable flames are blocking off all possible exits and I’m beginning to realise that I’m trapped.
When I look back I’m greeted with a face just a mere few inches from my own. He’s bending down to look me closely in the eye. He’s a good foot taller than me but his dominating nature makes him seem so much bigger than that. The sense of familiarity begins to feel overwhelming. His gaze is so incredibly piercing that it causes a thick knot to form and tighten in my stomach. I feel my heart rate speed up until it’s thumping in my chest so loudly that I’m sure he can hear it.
He raises a hand and places it on one side of my face, gently brushing my cheek. I expect him to take it away immediately but instead he leaves it there. Despite his cold nature he gives me a small, knowing smile. The intensity of the stare is unbreakable and I feel myself being drawn in…drawn closer and closer until I can’t think anymore. I feel as though I’m being hypnotised or put under a spell and I can’t do anything about it…I don’t want to do anything about it. I want to let myself fall into the unknown.
Lucy Rebecca x