The Nightmare Realm

Eyes fluttering open, you find yourself there in the Nightmare Realm again. You’re sprawled out on a soft, eerily warm ground. A dull, strange pulse that trembles through the ground. The ground's texture is unnerving as your fingertips run across it, closer to flesh than earth. You squint, making out thin veins spread out through the ground, pumping a black liquid through the flesh that stands in stark contrast to the brownish-red of the floor. You briefly look at yourself for any injury, but you don't see anything wrong, at least visibly. You're wearing a pair of simply cloth pajamas that hang off your pale, frail frame and some small, featureless blue slippers.

Standing, you look around at the nightmare realm surrounding you. The sky is black and lifeless, not a single shining light to break the dull veil of oblivion that hangs over your head. You’re in the middle of a forest of jet black trees that spike out from the ground like pillars of obsidian, their trunks all charred and blackened by what you presume was fire. From the tree's branches hang red, glistening organs and chunks of flesh, blood dripping down from them. A length of rotting intestine, a split open stomach whose food has spilled out to the ground, a long strip of unidentifiable flesh, they all just hang their like some horrifying butcher’s display.

In contrast to the dark floor there’s several chunks of bleached white bone about the size of a child’s head in the ground, sticking out like everyday rocks. You grab the nearest one cautiously, turning it over in your hand to reveal the bottom of it is covered with beetle-like creatures, which make a strangely human-like panting. Thin, long pink tongues extend from their mouths towards you, before you frantically shake them off the chunk of bone. Nervously, you toss the chunk of bone back to the ground.

You look around for anything useful, something to help you get out of this insane hellscape. Next to one of the trees, leaning against the gnarled black roots is a red, plastic Zippo lighter, seeming out of place in the whole world of nightmares. There’s a lake of black, unreflective liquid that you stare at, its waters thick and oil-like. Sitting next to it, far enough away from you that you’re not too scared, is a figure.

The figure looks like a badly deformed child, although its face is closer to that of a hairless rat, a long snout that extends past its face. You pause, noticing its eyes are a pair of black buttons, stitched straight into its sockets with red thread. Its limbs are thin and frail, and although it seems to be naked. Its skin is pale and leathery, hanging off it in patches to reveal the black flesh underneath. It holds in its hand a fishing rod, sitting there casually as if nothing was wrong. You wonder if it’ll act as a friend or foe. Sitting next to it is a black oil lantern, from which the only light in sight shines out, brightening the area.