I use to live in a world where magic was so hidden only the mundane persisted. Lot’s of people called it, “The Real World.” What happened to me shouldn’t have happened. I still don’t know how it did. I don’t know if it was a weird government experiment that hit my house one night or if I just willed myself away because I was so damn tired of being in a place where I felt like I didn’t belong. And not just a, you don’t fit in type of feeling, mine was soul deep. Don’t laugh. Feeling like the world you live in is wrong on fundamental levels you can’t explain is maddening. Wanting to change it and not knowing how, sinking into a depression you can’t explain either… ugh. Life was just tough for me, for reasons I couldn’t articulate to anyone. I had yet to find my tribe and I didn’t have the energy to go looking. I was a hermit in a beautiful home, going through the motions of living because what else was I to do? I was trying though, I really was. To remember who I was, to find happiness in my purpose and all that jazz.
It was on a Monday, just another boring Monday when the most absurd fucking thing happened to me - I got transported? Teleported? Into Dragon Age Inquisition.
I was sitting in my home office, drinking coffee and dragging ass through shit I needed to get done in hopes that I would somehow have enough energy to work on projects that actually mattered to me, that hopefully would one day make me the money I needed so I could stop dragging ass through shit I needed to get done. That fucking cycle, am I right? Anyway, there was nothing out of the ordinary happening. It was raining outside, a nice summer thunderstorm. I remember stopping what I was doing and turning to look out the window. Thunder hit, loud and dramatically. A crack of lightening followed and I remember in that moment how intensely I did not want to be where I was. That feeling filled me up, consumed and overwhelmed me. I wanted so much to be in a place where I felt like I belonged, where I was fighting for something that could actually make a difference…
The thunder boomed again, so loud it shook the house. The crack of lightning that followed was just as ear deafening to the point it startled me. That’s when I started to feel funny. My palms got clammy, my heart was racing and my whole body felt wrong. It set off alarm bells in my head and I briefly wondered if I was having a heart attack or about to pass out or something. Which I did; pass out. One moment there’s the rain and the storm, the next everything is fuzzy as hell, a feeling of pressure closing in around me on all sides bears down on me, and it all happens so fast I don’t have time to panic. Then, nothing.
You want to know where I woke up? In the fucking Fade ya’ll. The Fade.
A strange smell was the first thing that assaulted me. No, not strange, fucking gross. It was smokey and tainted, like something foul was burning. I groaned, because my head was pounding and slowly opened up my eyes. I thought I was dreaming. Stuck in a nightmare, truly, because what I was seeing could not be possible. I was standing on a rocky slab. It was moist. There was this weird green tint to everything and I could hear whispers. Creepy, horror movie like whispers in surround sound and I couldn’t make out what they were saying. Not that I particularly wanted too. At this point, I was in full blown panic mode. My breath was coming fast and hard, my heart was beating so violently against my chest I worried I really might have a heart attack. I snapped my eyes shut again and started willing myself to wake up.
It didn’t work of course. When I opened my eyes the environment persisted. I couldn’t see much in the distance, there was this thick green like fog keeping it all hidden. Slowly in the back of my brain something started nagging at me, a sense of familiarity with this place. In the next breath it slammed into me all at once. I had played Dragon Age Inquisition so many times. This was the starting point. Character creation spot. My brain didn’t want to register to this. My panic started rising and now I was questioning my sanity, because it was utterly impossible. I was hallucinating. Straight up tripping. I grabbed my head, a full on sob breaking free.
“Get your shit together, Simone,” I started talking to myself. “This isn’t real. This is not real.”
I was proven wrong in a horrific manner. There really are no words for experiencing a story and then actually living the story.
The unfamiliar voice boomed out. I heard pounding footsteps. The splash of water. And behind that, I heard this horrible clicking/chittering sound.
I jerked my head up, dropping my hands. I knew that accented voice. It was Divine Justina. Which meant the sounds behind her…
She came into view, and looked exactly like she had in the video game. But there was panic on her face, a fear in her eyes, along with a kind of bravery and determination that I did not feel at all. Because when I saw what was behind her - the giant spider like things, I freaked the fuck out. I realized I was screaming, because it started ringing in my ears and I turned around and hauled ass my fright/flight instinct kicking in. I stumbled up a cliff face, vaguely registering how familiar this was, and I knew at the top was a doorway. In fact I could see the light. I pushed hard, and felt the muscles in my legs burning along with my lungs. Exercise life was not mine. I was an ass in chair kind of woman so all this abrupt movement was a sudden strain on my body but the adrenaline kept me going.
I reached the top, stumbled again, but managed to stay on my feet. The doorway, all bright blinding light coming out of it was right there.
I halted because I remembered Divine Justina was behind me. Mustering up a small measure of courage I looked behind me and saw her. She was right at the ledge, struggling to get up it. I hesitated. I’m not proud of it, but I did. I went over to her though, bending down to grab her hands and tried to help pull her up, categorically refusing to look at what was behind her. It was bad enough that I could hear it and that alone was scaring the crap out of me.
I got her up to her feet, something I was proud of in that moment. “We must hurry,” she said to me.
I didn’t need to be told twice, I hauled ass towards that doorway again. I had almost reached it when I heard her scream.
It was a horrible sound. The most blood curling thing I’d ever heard in my life, born of pure terror and it ripped right through me. I looked over my shoulder and they had her. It had her. This horrible spider like thing was on her back, it’s tentacles wrapping around her body.
“Run!” She shouted at me. “Save yourself!”
I wish I could tell you I suddenly turned into some hero and saved her. But, the truth of the matter was I was frozen in fear until I saw another one of those things run around Justina at me, and with another scream of terror I ran through the doorway and into the light.