[AN: This is a rewrite (not a sequel) of my earlier story of the same name, to fix a few problems and make some stylistic improvements. If you haven't read the original, don't – I'll bet you'll find this version much more enjoyable.

Now, without further ado...]


Where am I?

A diffuse glow from the dim sky, a blank map of a blank territory, perched upon the thin edge between day and night. No sound but of myself. I sit myself up, hands scraping against the uneven ground. A road stretches out before me, without beginning or end, through a still, silent city, a city of shadows and ciphers, a hollow shell of bygone life. Broken façades on all sides, ending abruptly at crooked angles; bare trees with roots ahead and branches behind; a deep pool of water on a flat surface.

Something is not right about this place. How did I get here? I don't understand.

I gaze down into the puddle. A sparkle of light strikes my eye through the shimmering surface. I kneel and reach into the cold water. It is a sphere of metal, barely too large to conceal in my hand, its flawless surface marred only by a thin chain extending from it, back into the water. I draw it out further. To the other end of the chain a single ring is linked, from which hangs a single silver skeleton key. The handle of the key is inscribed with a symbol: ∞

I turn around to the building behind me. What's inside? I peer through the window. There is nothing. No image, no reflection, no light. Not even black. Nothing. The color of blindness.

I try the doorknob. Won't budge. It must be locked…

I slide the key into the lock. It fits. It turns.

I open the door.