It’s absent of any colors. That’s the first thing that strikes me about this world. Yet, somehow, this makes the gradations of gray to black seem more impressive. A shadowy and smoky dream world that seems to envelop me. One usually speaks of going into a dream but this dream comes to get me. It’s like a predator stalking its wounded prey. And my wounds aren’t the usual kind, either. Not physical – hell, not even mental; my wounds are spiritual wounds. Like an old parchment page whose edges are eroded all around, that’s how it seems to be. The bite has taken hold of the edges and they will slowly die away. It’s like a virus gnawing away ever so slowly.
I guess that’s why this place is ruled over by the Lord of Pestilence. He’s a hive of contradictions. But isn’t every virus? It devours its host. I mean, killing your host to live just hoping that you can jump to the next host lest you die too. Killing yourself to live. But I was talking about Old Crow. He calls himself by many names, but the one he’s the fondest of is the Plague Doctor. See the contradiction there? He fancies himself after those doctors of the Dark Ages who thought they could cure the plague, yet he fuels it.
Did you know they call a flock of crows a “murder”? No Lie. A murder of crows. Seems very fitting considering he loves those bleak birds. Always surrounds him like a nebulous, shifting cloud. And he’s like their great big old king. He calls them by their names too. Crow, Raven, Blackbird, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie. Didn’t know the damn things had so many names. They’re his messengers. His eyes. His ears. His harbingers of doom. And they come to get me to show me Her plan. For, his is just a small part of her nightmarish machinations.
When they come to get me it’s always so damn dramatic. He’s dramatic, I should say. He appears to set the stage for the night’s entertainment. He reminds me of that serious fellow that used to introduce every episode of the Twilight Zone. You know the guy, in his 60’s black and white suit all intense and morose, surround by a swirl of cigarette smoke while he introduces the night’s dark morality play. Only what he introduces me to is always the same horror. The only things that ever change are his damned monologues. They’re always full of nihilism and bleak hopelessness. About how the world is pointless, meaningless and everything is headed down a path to nothingness. It bores into my brain, those things he says. Just like the virus eating away at the edges of my soul.
And then the real horror begins. I find myself in the middle of a ruined metropolis. The sky is dark and overcast. Roiling black clouds blot out any sun that might be somewhere out there rolling through the vast darkness of space. The buildings are all jagged husks of their former grandeur. Skyscrapers that look as if the tops had been ripped off by some great giant. The air is thick and sooty. I struggle to breathe as ash and debris float around me in this twisted, metallic wasteland.
Then his minions come. At first, I just hear their agonized groans and hear their shuffling feet. Then the horrid smell of decay and death fills the air. I know what’s coming next. The chase. Then the zombies are everywhere. Like ants streaming out of an anthill that has been disturbed, they come from every direction. Every building, every doorway, every alley, every dark nook and dirty cranny. And I run.