Prologue

Jim Carsa would never have thought he'd die young, but today was his day.

How Jim got here was still a mistake that nagged at him. He shouldn't have been so curious; he shouldn't have been so brave. He should have just gone about his normal day as any other, but curiosity got the better of him.

Heeding no advice from the signs posted at the cordons above, he ventured into the mines—and there was no way out now. The way he came from had collapsed. He had upset the delicate balance here somehow. Put his weight where it shouldn't have been or breathed too heavily or something.

Worse yet: there was no illumination. Even once his eyes finally adjusted to the absorbent dark, he still couldn't see much of anything. He had no choice but to proceed further into the unknown, and that's when he saw it.

He knew he was as good as dead when he spotted what stood before him: a pair of backlit orbs shining a sickly-green. Eyes—maybe a few meters away as far as he could tell.

Who, or what the eyes belonged to, he couldn't fathom. There was nothing that could live down here for more than a week.

Jim couldn't see anything but the eyes, which made his fright all the more justified.

Perhaps even more perturbing was the look in them—placid. There was no thought behind them, as if the life of this being had long passed away into death. He could hear what could pass for breathing, though. A hoarse undulation of air coming from the general direction of the thing, more like a steady growl once it echoed off the bulwark of the mines. Jim wasn't sure what to do. He was frozen.

Would this thing leave him alone if he just stood still? Would it eventually recede back to the hellhole from whence it spawned?

As if to cordially answer these questions, the monster let out an awful shriek. The light from the eyes disappeared and they were gone—one with the darkness. It huffed a deep breath, bellowed again, a deafening howl echoing in the void.

Jim felt a warm sensation dripping down his leg as he frantically looked around him for any sort of sight. He felt the world turn upside down as he became immersed in vertigo, knees shaking. Then, the eyes came back.

Although an unwelcome sight, the luminous green righted his world again. But he was far more scared than before...

The twin orbs were right in front of his face now with nothing inside them, just pure and unexplainable madness.

Jim heard a column of air move very fast, a whipping sound that lashed towards him. He felt a sting on the side of his head, then another.

Jim Carsa prepared to die, and the world turned ever black.