Run. Running. I run effortlessly, speed in itself my ultimate goal. Racing through these strange fields, leaping the fences and ditches easily, I run on and on. A cliff rises to my right, another falls to my left, but this is a wide plain and I'm in the centre of it. I keep running, faster, faster, but though the cliff moves to my right, the clouds move above me, and the ground moves beneath my feet, I'm still in the same place. Faster - faster - I keep on going.

The cliffs, the fields, though they fall away behind me they stay the same, as if I'm on a treadmill. But no treadmill could keep up with this speed. Faster still, driven on by I don't know what, trying to outrun the unmoving land that falls away behind me only to reappear ahead. The fields are brown, the cliffs an almost-purple gray, and I can't see over the edge of the precipice - the plain is too wide. So on I run, under the strangely lifeless blue sky. It looks washed out, too pale.

On, ever further, on and on I run, and though I am moving I run on the spot, ever on, as though this is just the outside of some great turning wheel. Faster and faster - if I run fast enough I will escape from this strange repeated dead land. Everything blurs into indistinct lines of colour: pale blue above and to the left, gray to the right, brown below me. And all lifeless. For some reason I'm finding myself short of breath, but I cannot slow down, or I will never escape. Slowly I become aware of a dull ache throughout my body, but I cannot slow down. Yet I can no longer speed up. I'm on the border between escaping and remaining a prisoner in this strange land, I can sense it. In places the feeling intensifies to pain, and I slow, unable to help myself, feeling myself dropping back from the border of reality, and wherever crossing it would have led me - out of this place. Though I can make out the larger features of the cliff once again, I'm still going fast, only a little way short of the barrier that I came so close to breaking. The pain begins to recede, and I speed up again - but then I hear a voice! A call from behind me, very faint, as if carried by a wind that moves faster than I am.


I know the voice, Tails, but why is he calling me? I've almost broken free now.

"Sonic… I need you… come back… Sonic…"

I've almost hit the barrier, Tails! I want to shout at him, but he wouldn't hear me. Somehow I know that in this lifeless place, even sound is dead. The only thing I hear is the wind in my ears - and the call of Tails. The barrier is so close now, I only need to speed up a tiny bit more to break it. But Tails needs me for something. I turn my head, losing speed, to see if I can see him, but I can't. He's too far away to see.

I slow. Once more I become aware of pain, and if I speed up again I know it will recede, be gone by the time I break the barrier. But I can't leave Tails behind. So I slow further, and the pain gets worse. Slower, and it's almost unbearable, but I can still just about run, though I'm no longer going much faster than a walk. I can't go on much further. I may never get out unless I do my best to speed up again now, but I don't think my legs will obey me any more…

I'm stopping. It takes a great effort of will, but I can do it - I have to. Tails needs me.


I'm coming, Tails, I say silently. I'm coming…

I stop and turn. The horizon that was behind me seems to be speeding towards me at an incredible rate, though I know I'm standing still. And it's coming towards me without actually going anywhere. I can hardly stand up now. It seems to hit me, and I collapse into blackness. I'm coming, Tails…