After Darkness II (Prologue)




There was a door.

A splintered door with pink lilies on it.

Behind the door lay a crystalline lake surrounded by trees, their branches and leaves rustling from a non-existent breeze. By the shore, on his knees, sat a boy with hair made from the night and eyes created from steel. His muscular shoulders shook as he cried. His robotic arms trembled from the fury he felt.

Terra Underwood’s dream always began the same.

A cry for help.

Her body in the icy cold water.


A crow.

The sand by the shore got caught between her toes. She didn’t care. Such things were irrelevant in nightmares. Her attention was on the boy that was now lying on the ground, screaming in agony.

Terra dove into the water, her arms outstretched, her legs pumping as hard as possible to reach the other side of the lake. As she broke the surface to breathe, her eyes focused on the starless sky.

Goosebumps appeared on her skin and the hairs on her arms rose. It wasn’t from the water. Something was moving beneath, slowly raising, creeping up towards her.

Terra twisted, searching for whatever was coming. It was closer and closer, she could feel it. She wanted to swim away, but her body became stone and her limbs stiffened, keeping her in place.

Bodies began to reach the surface, dozens and then hundreds, surrounding her. Crows. All dead. They floated around Terra as she screamed, wanting to swat them away but unable to do so as her body kept locked in rigidness. Her eyes bulged in fear as more and more began to appear, the water soon vanishing. The lake became a blanket of bodies connected to each other.

Their weight began to pull her down, and Terra cried out. Their black feathers came loose from their small bodies, sticking to hers. Some got in her mouth, stuck to her cheeks and hair. She wanted to rip it all off, even if that meant tearing her own skin off.

Slowly, very slowly, Terra’s body sank into the water, vanishing beneath the surface of bodies.

Terra tried fighting against the current that was suctioning her down, but her body wouldn’t respond. Crow upon crow lay suspended within the water, dead, their eyes open.

Terra tried holding her breath, but her lungs screamed at her to breathe. The water poured through her, filling her up as she fell deeper and deeper, until she too became a forgotten dead body at the bottom of the lake.

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