Some sort of awful catastrophe has befallen us.
I say us, I don’t know for sure if there had been an ‘us’ or if there had only ever been a ‘me’.
I can’t remember.
I do have a dim sort of a feeling that there had been others but if they were they’re gone now.
There is only me.
Whatever it was that happened, it has changed everything. I’m not sure of anything any more. I can’t make up my mind what to think. Could it have been an actual physical occurrence or was it something more ominous? An unthinkable psychic event. Something without precedent.
The psychic catastrophe, if that’s what it was, must have been of such a magnitude that it has erased my mind of all memories.
The screens have come down.
The blank wall of blessed forgetfulness.
I say ‘blessed’ but something inside me tells me that forgetfulness can never be a friend.
Why do I say that?
Do I need to know something?
Did something go wrong?
I surveyed the terrain.
I was standing behind a large boulder.
Under my feet I could feel the edges of razor-sharp stones.
Everywhere I looked there were nothing but rocks. Jagged, shattered-looking rocks of all sizes littered over a great plain that stretched off in all directions.
An unfriendly place.
I looked down at my arm, aware all of a sudden of a stinging sensation.
Blood was trickling down my bare forearm which was badly grazed. I had fallen down at some point.
My feet hurt too. I lifted up one of my boots from the ground and saw that the sole was ripped in many places.
I was not in a good situation. This was dawning on me only slowly.
Something else was niggling me, something I needed to know.
It came back to me in a rush. I had been running, fleeing from something.
Something that wanted to do something bad to me.
Not just bad, something horrifically awful.
I hadn’t really wanted to remember that.
I knew that I had to keep moving. Some sixth sense told me that the danger was getting closer. I had to move.
I caught a glimpse of something moving behind a low ridge of rock on the left of my visual field, something silvery and insect-like.
I ducked down into a crouching position and ran to the right, using the boulder as a shield.
Only then did I see that I was in fact surrounded. I had left it too late.
There was one of them directly in front of me, levelling some sort of device at me.
I threw myself onto the ground, rolling as I landed, but again I had been just a shade too slow. An electric blue thread leapt out across the space between us and caught me on the hand.
I felt as if I had received a powerful electric shock.
A moment later my arm was being consumed with white fire.
And then my whole body was blazing like a torch.
When the agony ceased I found that I was high up in the air, floating above the rocky plain.
This I just accepted.
For a moment I even felt relief.
I considered the possibility that this meant that everything was now over.
Maybe I could rest now.
But it wasn’t.
And I couldn’t.
They were still after me.
The fear started up all over again, only worse this time.
I had to escape.
I was going to escape.
I took flight, moving faster and faster until the world had turned into a blur.
I was travelling down a tunnel of grey streaks, on and on.
I could hear an angry hum behind me like a swarm of bees.
My body had been destroyed and yet they were still after me.
Dread gripped me as never before.
Would nothing make those bastards let go?
What had I done to deserve this?
What crime could possibly warrant such a terrible punishment?
I couldn’t remember committing any crime, least of all one that awful.
But then I couldn’t remember anything full stop.
Eventually I realized that I couldn’t continue this panic-flight forever.
The idea of somewhere to hide started to become very attractive. A nook or a cranny.
Slowing down and searching the ground beneath me, I found a crack in the earth’s surface, a deep fissure.
It was a hole in the ground, a burrow. A place of safety.
I bolted down it in a flash.
It felt good to be concealed, to be hidden.
I made myself as still and as quiet as a rock, in order to blend in with my surroundings.
The cunning, the skill to do this, rose up instinctively.
I knew what I had to do – I had to lie low and listen for any sign that I had been observed.
Every now and again a wave of something, panic maybe, broke over me and I experienced the urge to break cover and run. When these urges came I resisted them.
I tried to figure things out logically.
What was my situation?
Who or what was after me?
A scanning ray passed through the rock, identifying me.
A mind ray.
Nowhere was I safe I realized. They could see straight through solid rock.
Hiding was no good.
I had to run again.
What an ignoble end this was I thought. An end that never ended. Running forever.
Why didn’t I turn and meet them face to face. Die like a man and get it over with.
Then I remembered.
I was already dead.
And then I thought that maybe I could make that work to my advantage.
I was less easy to catch like this. I was more mobile, much much faster.
I also seemed to be much more sensitive.
I had abilities that went beyond anything I had ever known before.
I let my senses move outwards.
What was out there?
Intelligence of my situation came to me immediately but it came as a shock.
I was surrounded by The Host.
The Host had me pinned down with psychic weaponry specifically suited to winkling me out of my hole and preventing me from running again.
They had every possible angle covered.
Not only was I surrounded in space but also they had me all tied up logistically and strategically.
They knew everything I was going to try, even before I knew it myself.
There was no chance that I might escape this time.
There was no chance at all.
With their Absolute Intelligence They had designed a situation from which it was impossible for me to escape.
They knew every trick in the book and were streets ahead of me. They had appropriate counter-measures in place for whatever I might try.
There was absolutely nothing I could do.
It was checkmate.
They were going to get me.