Author's Note: This is something I wrote a while ago – basically the first chapter of a novelisation of Planescape: Torment (not that the game actually needs one, but anyway), starting with the intro movie. Re-reading it now, it's a bit ponderous with the descriptions, but I think I captured the atmosphere quite well.

EDIT 7/11/2011: Surprise! I wrote another chapter of this as a form of study procrastination (too… many… exams…). What I'd really like to do is write a semi-sequel to PS:T... but it'd have to be pretty awesome to live up to the game. So maybe not.

The Corpse

The room is dark. The outline of a wide stone doorway, flanked by thick columns, can be made out.

The doors swing open with a tired creak. Pallid grey light floods across the cracked stone floor, illuminating motes of dust that swirl in the musty air. A silhouette appears in the doorway, casting a long, swaying shadow, hard to make out in the sudden brightness.

Shuffling footsteps can be heard. The silhouette is a man – or man-shaped, at least. It is pushing a long, rectangular shape. A slab. A coffin, perhaps.

The slab grinds across the floor. It is made of rusting, pitted metal, old but strong. Its pusher is not human, but a bad dream, with wrinkled, dead flesh, skeletal arms, a decaying body concealed by tattered leather clothes.

However, what lies on the slab is more important. It is a man, of sorts. He is thick-set, with wide shoulders and muscular arms, but also possesses a kind of grace. His skin is scarred. Dreadfully scarred. He lies flat on his back, legs straight, arms by his side, as if... dead.

The slab passes into a circle of light that streams down from the ceiling, then again into dimness, pushed towards some mysterious destination.

(a jagged black obelisk towers over you, spears the purple sky, covered in white symbols. It is surrounded by stone walls, and you cannot see over them; only a few towers in the distance, and the immense mountains of black rock that surround this accursed place)

A rat peers down from a stone arch, disturbed from its thoughts, from the oppressive silence, by this grinding of rock. From its high vantage point it can be seen the room is large and cavernous. The slab is being pushed along a rail which curves to the left.

It passes other slabs. One is empty, sitting on a junction between several rails. Another lies by the far wall, and a similar being of petrified flesh stands over it, working. It is bathed in a strange blue radiance, casting deep, ominous shadows.

(shelves, shelves of them. Of skulls. Grinning, leering, screaming, bleached white bone and dark orifices. Most are human but some are not, with elongated snouts or gigantic eyes. Packed in tightly, one after the other, from floor to ceiling. The only question is... which one is yours?)

The slab is pushed through another room, the walls lined with square pillars. The man who lies upon it has a finely-sculpted chest, which is again criss-crossed by scars, old and new. Across his left shoulder is a bandolier that appears to be studded with bones.

(the flames are everywhere, devouring everything. A woman with porcelain skin looks upwards with pleading eyes. You feel that you know her, but... A tattoo, writhing black ink inscribed with red runes that blaze with light. Another, kneeling, holding something, which you cannot quite make out)

More slabs, passing by left and right. On one lays a body, covered by a white sheet. A walking corpse stands next to it, staring vacantly with cadaverous eyes.

(it is a room, a house. A carpeted floor, a table, a chest of drawers. She stands – kneels before you, her hazel eyes staring into your own, short brown hair, a vibrant green dress. She tilts her head playfully, wondering)

The slab is pushed. A machine, a sinister metal contraption, hums softly.

(you reach out and touch her face. Her eyes are... sad, somehow and she looks down. But she still smiles faintly)

The scarred man wears a short leather kilt, fastened at the front by an ornate metal clasp.

(her skin is soft under your fingers, trembles slightly at your touch. Then – she disappears. She is gone. You bring your hand up towards your face)

He wears cloth bands around his forearms, and old boots fasted by leather straps and bone. A spiked kneepad, a spiny belt.

(terrified, astonished, whirling around, looking. A stove, seats, stone, wood, all blur before your desperate gaze as you turn towards)

Upon the slab, the man's hands twitch, grasping at something which is not there.

(the other side of the room, but still nothing. The door is closed. Questions, questions, but then)

He grimaces, dirty teeth bared in pain or fury.

(you turn back to where she was kneeling but seconds before. The room darkens suddenly, and she is there. But her hair is dank and grey, her skin is grey and cracked, her eye sockets empty, her lips contorted into a demonic parody of a kiss. Her dress is covered in dust and mould, her bones seem to be trying to escape from her emaciated body. All of a sudden you know what she looks like. There is a gaping wound in her nose, leaking blood, and the necklace you gave her is gone, gone, gone)

The cords in his neck tighten. His face is not handsome; a square chin, high cheekbones, stringy black hair that falls on either side of his face, braided with white beads. A nose that has been broken too many times.

(the room dissolves into a green void, filled with clouds of sickening gas. She stands there before a host of men and women and fiends and angels, all nightmares, every one, her finger raised, pointing at you,accusingyou, their voices screaming in their torment)

His skin is pallid and grey, alternately stretched and wrinkled. It is dead skin.

(a man, in water, drowning. He screams for help and your arms reach out – but not far enough. He sinks beneath the surface)

(the same man, in armour. You slash at him with your knife, but he dodges, quick on his feet and rushes forwards, swinging his own blade in return)

(demons gathered on a purple plain, under a crimson sky. Red, scaled skin, hulking bodies, toothy snouts and leathery wings)

(you stare up at the opening, lying on your back at the bottom of the shaft. Men stand at the top, silhouetted by the purple sky; you reach out, but you know they will not help you)

(you stare at the mirror; your face stares back at you, but then it ripples and becomes scarred and dead and grey, your hair lengthens, your eyes widen, and you scream)

(and finally a woman, ethereal and beautiful, a glowing shade. Her clothes waver in an invisible wind, and as she looks at you, there is a sense of disappointment in her gaze. She turns away, her skin glowing blue in the dark void, an outline of hope that recedes further and further away)

The slab has stopped. There is nothing special about the place; the rail ends here in the middle of this room. Another strange machine lies at the slab's head, two reservoirs connected by a spiralling pipe, but the full extent of the room is hidden by a perpetual gloom.

The slab-pusher walks away, limping, unseeing. His puckered eye-sockets and gaunt frame have not felt the pulse of life for a long while. The slow footsteps become quieter and quieter, before eventually dying away.

Upon the slab, the man's leg twitches. His head lolls to one side. And his eyes... open.