“So quiet,” Gale mumbled to himself as he lied on his bed with his arm draped over his forehead. His face was flushed and an empty wooden keg lay on its side on the floor nearby. “It’s nice.” He let out a sigh and closed his eyes. He rolled over onto his side, causing his bed to shake. He grunted.
“I must’ve gained weight,” he said and yawned before scratching his naked belly. The bed shook again.
“Stop shaking.” He thumped the bed with the back of his hand. A minute passed with only Gale’s rhythmic breathing breaking the silence. An ear-piercing screech rang through the room. Gale let out a groan.
“Stop,” he said and covered his ears with his pillow, “that’s too loud.” The bedframe rattled and one of the legs supporting the bed splintered, causing the mattress to tilt.
“Damnit bed!” Gale yelled as he rolled onto the floor. “You never listen!” He clambered to his feet and placed his hand on his nightstand for support. He tilted his head and stared at the broken bedframe before narrowing his eyes and kicking it.
Gale swore and clutched his toes while hopping around before he crashed into the empty keg and fell over backwards. He whimpered as a familiar feeling built up in his throat. A torrent of acidic smelling alcohol sprang out of his mouth and painted the carpet in front of his face. He attempted to stand up, but his knees buckled and he fell onto the pile of vomit.
Gale sighed as he rolled over onto his back and stared up at the marble ceiling. “It’s alright. Everything’s fine,” he said and closed his eyes. “Only a bad dream.”
Gale’s chest rose and fell as ten minutes passed in silence. He shivered and clutched his shoulders as his eyes moved from side to side underneath his eyelids. Whimpers escaped from his lips as his body spasmed in the puddle of puke. “No. No more. Please.”
The runic formation in the temple’s basement emitted multiple colors, alternating between dark purple and light-yellow. The walls shook and dust rained down from the ceiling. Creaking noises echoed through the room as the runes on the floor twisted and bulged, causing cracks to form on the surface of the runes.
Ear-piercing screeches split the air every time a rune gained enough cracks to shatter into pieces, revealing a pitch-black surface underneath. A mist, which smelled like rot and morning breath, streamed out of the surface, coalescing into a sphere above the formation. As time passed, more runes shattered and the sphere continued to grow, gradually taking a humanoid form.
A pair of eyelids formed as the last runes disintegrated. The floor became less opaque as more and more mist joined the humanoid figure. When the floor cleared, revealing a mirror-like surface, the humanoid figure’s eyes shot open. “I’M FREE!”
The figure cackled as it spread its arms up towards the ceiling. “COME AT ME,” it yelled and spread its legs apart, “I know you’re there you stupid piss-colored orb!”
It waited with its arms spread out for thirty seconds. “Seriously. Come,” it said and frowned. “I’ve been biding my strength for a few centuries. I’d like to see you try to seal me now.” It put its arms down.
The figure scratched its head before walking towards the door. It hesitated before kicking the lock, causing the metal to erode. The door creaked open as the figure stood with its arms raised in front of its body, ready for a fight. “I know; you’re waiting to ambush me, aren’t you?”
“Well, bring it on,” it said and puffed out its chest as it stomped up the stairwell on the other side of the door. It reached another door at the top of the steps and eroded it away in a similar manner. It peeked its head out of the doorway and looked both ways before it stepped into the hall.
“There’s not even one guard?” It swiveled its head around a full 360 degrees without moving its body. It crossed its arms over its chest and frowned. “I bet you’re laughing at me right now, aren’t you?”
The figure snorted as it stomped down the hallway, leaving a trail of eroding footsteps in the red carpet. It wandered through the whole floor, unable to find traces of any humans. “You think I need a body to cast magic, so you had everyone leave, huh?” the figure asked as it placed its hands on its hips. “Well, you’re right; come out and fight me like a spirit, mano-a-mano.”
It waited in the middle of the hall, standing akimbo. “Please?” it asked as its shoulders drooped. It waited with a lowered head. “Can you at least talk to me? I haven’t had decent conversation for at least a hundred years.”
It sighed as its pleading was responded to with silence. “I guess I’ll go to the holy tomb and possess a corpse,” it said and cocked its head. “It might not be as good as possessing a live person, but you don’t want your bodies to be desecrated, right? You better come out and stop me if you don’t want me to do it.”
It walked outside of the temple and started to head towards the cemetery. It frowned as it passed through empty streets. The city was completely silent except for the whistling of the wind. “Could some kind of disaster have happened?” the figure asked as it rubbed its chin. “Maybe the humans were wiped out and that’s why the formation was abandoned? But the city is still intact; what could’ve happened here?”
It entered a few houses along the way towards the cemetery, but the only organisms it found were rats and cockroaches. Finally, it reached the cemetery with the mausoleum at the center. “If I remember correctly, that stuck-up Magnus guy is the guardian. He wouldn’t abandon his post unless something terrible happened.”
It walked past the rows of tombstones and kicked open the door to the mausoleum. “Yo, Magnus,” it said, voice echoing through the chamber, “you here?”
“I got a delivery for you.”
The figure sighed and sat down at the entranceway. “Maybe the parasites devoured everyone,” it said and buried its head in its hands. “Wait. That can’t be right. The plants are still fine and the mana levels are still high.” It raised its head and nodded before clenching its hand into a fist.
“For now, I need a body,” it said and walked towards the stairs leading down, “then I can use some magic to locate people. I’m really going to do it. This is your last chance to stop me.” It waited and shrugged before opening the door and descending down the stairs.
It rubbed its chin when it saw footsteps in the dust, leading down the stairs. “Someone’s been here recently,” it said and smiled. “That must mean that the world hasn’t ended yet.”
It whistled as it continued to descend the stairs. It sauntered over to the nearest glass sarcophagus. “It wasn’t grave robbers,” the figure said as its head swiveled around, taking in the view of the tomb. It wandered around the floor, looking at each preserved corpse.
“Ah, perfect,” it said and nodded as it looked down at the well-built body in the sarcophagus beneath it. “Now I just have to press this over here and slide this glass off.” The glass lid shattered as it crashed to the floor.
The figure smiled as it stepped on top of the side of the sarcophagus and reached down to touch the corpse’s face. The corpse’s eyes shot open. The figure froze as the corpse blinked at it and smiled.
It yelled and punched the corpse in the face. “AAAAAAAAAAH! MOTHER OF GOD! IT’S STILL MOVING.”
The figure fell over backwards and scrambled to its feet. It froze as the sound of glass scraping against stone filled the air and thousands of sarcophaguses opened.
It bolted towards the stairs and dashed up the steps, five at a time. It slammed the door shut behind it and lowered the latch. It wrote, from left to right, top to bottom, in two rows and columns, “DON’T DEAD OPEN INSIDE.”
Its body shook as it trembled and sat on the floor. It buried its face in its hands. “I feel so lonely.”