Dark. All he can see is the dark; the all-consuming blackness that engulfs him whole. Then he’s suffocating as the very air is sucked painfully from his lungs and he panics. His hands claw at his throat and draw blood as he tries to cry out, fearing that this is how he’ll die; lost and alone in the belly of the abyss.
Then suddenly there is light, a flash so blinding and bright that it burns.
And then he’s plummeting. His stomach lurches and he gulps down a lungful of frigid air only to expel it all in one deafening scream as he hits the ground in a bloody heap, agony searing through his body like a Muspelheim fire. He doesn’t know how long the air rings with his screams, but he is eventually forced into silence when his throat begins to bleed and his shrieks taper off into choked gargles.
Eventually everything falls still and quiet when the shrill echoes die out. The stillness is smothering and finally he manages to pry his eyes open. It’s dark, the starry night sky is blurred and unfocused and all he can hear is his own harsh, wet breaths as his head lolls weakly. His body aches, rocks and crystal shards digging mercilessly into his battle-softened skin.
Then the deathly silence is broken. He can feel the ground tremble beneath his head and pebbles begin to skitter across the ground as the quiet growl of whatever is approaching travels through the hard rock. Then there are eyes; glowing so bright they burn and blind him as the approaching creatures clatter and grind noisily, roaring as they kick up the dirt; circling, snarling and squealing ravenously.
An icy fist grips Loki’s heart and panic pricks his brain like needles, goading him to move. Yet he cannot coax movement from his limbs; they are heavy, leaden and useless as if he were pinned under Mjolnir and left to be picked apart by the carrion birds.
A shrill ringing picks up in his mind when he hears a low, deafening sound which rattles through his body; a storm? Thunder? No. It is the sound of voices, loud and sundry in number, surrounding him and yelling words he cannot make sense of. Metal bangs, grates and clatters. He can feel the many people around him, surrounding him, eyeing him as their beasts grumble, and they start to draw closer.
He is weak, unable to move as they swarm around him like vultures and then the fear spikes; physical, painful and potent in his chest like a splinter of ice and his skin vibrates with the magick he cannot harness, that he does not have the strength to call to his fingers, the fingers he cannot even twitch.
Then a hand grabs his arm like a vice and Loki releases an inhuman shriek as his heart stutters and a blast of green erupts so violently that it throws the surrounding men back. Loki can hear nothing, his eyes stare wide and blind, staring up at the sky as his magick howls in his ears, muffling the now alarmed and frantic barking of orders which blend into one indistinguishable noise.
He can feel the adrenaline rush through his veins and he twitches as the magic swirls around him in a whirlwind that tints everything green. Weapons click, ready to fire, and in response their metal beasts explode, gouts of flames reaching so high that they seem to scorch the very sky. There are cries like wounded animals as the hunters seek cover, some being propelled into the air and scorched from the chaos erupting around them.
They try to crawl closer, bodies bowed against the force of his magic which hisses and winds itself around him in a defensive storm. Cries are lost in the howl as they’re swept away after losing their footing, flames are caught up in the wind and create a searing, magnificent dance of light and shadow that his eyes follow in a delirious haze.
Then a firm hand grips his arm and Loki’s head jerks around, wide with fear and madness as his magic lunges to skin the man alive.
But he stops, and his magick strikes the ground. The wind is still howling and his head is spinning and whining and yet the man is mouthing something, his voice broken and distorted in the noise and delirium.
“Ca – down – ok- relax – help –please”
The magick dies in an instant and Loki is frozen. He can vaguely hear the voices call for flames to be extinguished, for medics to be called. But it all fades away as Loki’s eyes roll back and he collapses against the man.
Everything blurs, everything goes black. But Loki remembers. He remembers the bright, determined blue eyes that remind Loki of much happier, simpler times.