When I first noticed about the change of scenery, I instantly knew I was not dreaming.

How, you might ask?

Well it's a simple thing really.

In my experience, dreams always follow a few rules.

First: Dreams always feel like they make sense as you live them, no matter how nonsensical they may actually turn out to be when you stop to think about things.

You could meet characters you know to be fictional, or do impossible things like teleporting or flying, but you will never feel like there's anything wrong with it.

Everything will just seem right, unless you yourself decide to question it at some point, thereby entering an easily recognizable state of lucid dreaming.

Second: You simply cannot feel in a dream a sensation you cannot imagine.

For example, while you may dream about having bird wings, or even being a bird, you will still be unable to feel what it's like to have feathers.

Humans don't have any, so they are unable to understand the sensation.

Even our subconscious cannot recreate what we truly do not know.

Third: If you ever manage to determine you are dreaming, then waking up is a simple matter.

You just have to will it hard enough, really.

I had actually experienced lucid dreaming multiple times throughout my life.

I had always enjoyed the feeling of freedom and detatchment from my own body, fully aware I could snap back to it at any moment if I so wished.

My current situation, however, did not conform to any of these rules.

I don't think anybody that has not experienced what acquiring a new sense for the first time is like could ever truly comprehend what I was going through at that moment.

I could tell that I still had a body and that my other senses, the ones I grew up having, still worked, but any sensation I got from them was...

Smothered for lack of a better word, by the ones coming from the new sense I had somehow discovered.

I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe what I actually felt, at that moment...

I mean, how do you explain colors to a blind man?

But the point I'm trying to make is that I lost myself in this new feeling...

Literally.

I could feel the world around me, every part of it...

From the trees, to the insects, down to the very last bit of land I was standing on...

However, everything was...

Blurring.

One second I could make out every detail of the circular patterns inside of a tree, but the following moment my awareness shifted uncontrollably and I couldn't help but focus on a random cricket on a blade of grass.

These sensations were SCREAMING at me all at the same time, overloading my brain, and I just couldn't cope with them.

I think I fell to the ground at some point, and I felt the pain for but a moment, before it was drowned out by everything else...

I desperately tried to control this new awareness, to somehow turn it towards my own body, hoping it would help me realize the state I was in, and maybe give me a way to shut everything up, or even just dampen what I was feeling...

And then it hit me.

This new sense of mine somehow could perceive anything...

Anything but me.

When I finally focused on the spot I consciously knew my body was occupying, nothing was there according to my new sense, not even a hole in space where my body was supposed to be, just the same stream of energy that flowed through that spot, unaffected by my presence.

By that point I was...

Stunned.

I just had no idea what to do.

What was even happening?

Just...

What?

Why?

Where?

I had a million questions and absolutely no answer.

All I could do was lie in wait, praying for the world to start making sense again...

~– ~ – ~

I don't know how much time passed, while I was in this sorry state.

It could have been anything from a minute to a few hours, my carcass just lying on the ground unmoving, as my brain still failed to process the information my new sense was continuously feeding it.

And then everything changed.

Suddenly, in the sky above me, a bright energy appeared, and arranged itself in a pattern that was far too different from what I had observed so far to be natural, something I knew instinctively, though I didn't really understand how.

Then, the pattern bent and shifted, influencing the space around it, creating something that, for some reason, felt like a door, a living being stepping out of it.

I was instantly overwhelmed by its sheer might.

If I had to make a comparison to what that being's presence felt like...

It was like I was looking at the brightest light in the universe, one that however had no material component, and instead shone over my mind like a sun that was far too close.

And it hurt.

It hurt just EXISTING in front of this entity, as I felt the brilliant energy that it naturally radiated filling some part of me that had no physical dimension I could understand, to the point that it threatened to burst.

At the same time, however, I could tell that the same intangible aspect of myself was somehow being 'strengthened' by it.

Then, suddenly, another living being entered the edge of my new sense.

This one was different from the first, however.

To begin with, it was noticeably less powerful, despite still being overwhelmingly mightier than anything else around me.

Most of all, however, if the previous entity had felt like the brightest light...

This new creature was made up almost entirely of pure darkness, like a starless night sky, devoid of any form of illumination.

Also, this being felt far more...

Real for lack of a better term.

I could tell, somehow, that it was part of the world, while the first entity instead felt as otherworldly as it could get.

As soon as it appeared within my range, the dark being charged towards the other, brandishing a sword seemingly made of pure light that had appeared out of another door in space, similar to the one the first presence had stepped out of, but slightly different, the pattern of energy that created it made up of the same darkness that filled her wielder instead.

The first being took a hit from the luminous blade's hilt, staggered from it, and then struck back with incredible power...

And THAT was the moment I truly started to panic.

Because the dark creature had been blown away with great force...

And was now falling from the sky, headed directly towards me.