Get up.

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GET UP.

The first thing I notice is the feel of the rough Earth pressed against my cheek. The second is that I appear to be lying in the middle of World War III. Fire rains down, and I push myself to my feet. I see the words etched into the air around me, circling me like moths to a flame. The embers glow blood red, burning bright right before dying out. That's how most things happen in life. As soon as you start to burn brightest, your flame is snuffed out.

As soon as the words fall around me, crashing to the ground silently, smoke rising from the ashes, I am free from my cage. I take a tentative step forward, feeling the gravel crunch beneath my feet. I'm surrounded by trees, most of them cut down, the ruins of what they once were up in flames.

I see something move out of the corner of my eye, and I spin on my heels. There's a withered up lake a few yards from where I stand. At one point I'm sure it was a beautiful place, abundant with life. But now its waters are black and murky, and it leaves the stones encircling it's perimeter a putrid greenish-black color.

Lying on these stones is where I see her. Her body is motionless, lying there like a ragdoll that's been thrown aside and abandoned for years. She doesn't start moving until I break into a sprint, desperate to get to her. She begins convulsing, her limbs moving in such unnatural motions that it takes everything I have in me to keep pursuing her, though every instinct is telling me to flee.

When I finally reach her, I pull her into me, my hand rubbing quick and soothing circles over her back, as if that might somehow breathe life back into her. Her body feels broken, her dark brown hair hangs over her face like damp seaweed, and her skin looks as if it's about to all peel off. She looks up at me with black eyes; her usual green iris's consumed by her pupils. She opens her mouth but the only sound I hear is a dripping sound. Blood trickles from her lips down onto my leg, and though her mouth no longer moves, I hear her voice.

Run.

Run to where they will not find you.

Because if they find you,

You're dead.

I bite down my scream and plead with her to explain, to breathe, to live. But she just hisses as more blood spills from her mouth. With one final convulsion she rises into the air, despite my feeble attempt to hold onto her, and the lake consumes her whole.

Then the screaming starts.

Violent shrieks, the kind that you find in horror movies. I clamp both hands firmly over my ears, the sheer volume of it all pushing me to the ground. Through it all, I can still hear her voice.

Run. Run. Run.

Instead, I add to the chaos erupting before me.

I scream.

Monster, monster
Disappear
Monster, monster
Feeds on fear
Monster, monster
Shot you dead
Monster, monster
In my head