There’s nothing but darkness, mind for a few spots of light that seemed to pour in from some place, bathing the jagged rocks with a green hue.
He blinks slowly, not even processing the action, nor the fact that he was on his feet.
Strange. Didn’t he roll out of bed?
What else could explain his racing heart, or the ache in his stomach.
He fell. That much was clear.
But this isn’t his room, this isn’t the cave.
Lewis doesn’t recognize this place.
He stares a few moments longer, gaze drifting from the moving shadows- surely formed from his own mind.
Even more peculiar,
He fell, from somewhere.
But he has absolutely no recollection of when.
Did he have a nightmare…?
Maybe he should investigate that first.
Even more peculiar, was that Lewis didn’t even notice he was holding something. Not until he shifted his head, and his eyes glance across his own his arm - why was his clothing ripped..? - and to his hand. The fingers curled around something.
Whatever it was, he couldn’t feel it.
If he did, then he simply didn’t notice it.
It felt empty.
Like nothingness surrounded him everywhere.
Lewis’s fingers twitch, and with it, a flicker of a glow shines under his skin, quickly spreading up his arms and shoulder, along with an intense, buzzing- burning sensation.
And just like that, Lewis was awake.
Feeling comes back to him in an instant, slowly warming his skin, and then bursting all throughout him, warming his chest and his stomach, his legs and face. And with it came feeling. His clothes are stiff and scratchy, and his skin feels sticky- as if he had showered in weeks.
Lewis grimaces, choking on the stank of his own breath. His brain is heavy, it burns, and yet he still shakes his head, forcing his mind to pay attention to the rest of himself.
He felt stiff. Hungry.
The thoughts echo in his scalp, echo through the space. But even though he had no idea what the cause was, his limbs shook, teeth grit, hes filled with a painful wave that makes it hard for him to even move.
”You were with others- friends,“ He reminds himself, failing to notice the inconsistency of his breathless voice, instead, turning up his head to the green hues, he calls, ”…Guys? Wh-… where are you?“
Lewis’s lifts his gaze upon the green edges. Each one seemingly glowing, shining with a brilliant edge.
Something tickles his nose. Scrunching his face with disgust, Lewis sniffs the air, unable to distinguish what the scent was. It’s… pungent. Similar to rotting food, with a trace of something strong and even more metallic.
He could hear a drip. Somewhere.
But nothing else, in fact, there’s an unusual dampness to the air, and yet he couldn’t make out rushing water, or the trickle of a creak.
So where was the dripping..?
Feeling around the… whatever he was touching, Lewis started forward. But another set of questions simply bloom in his mind.
Each step his tool felt unnatural, as if he was stepping on a soft material he could easily sink into, like he was walking on air.
He couldn’t see his feet, but the second option was out of the question. Walking on air was simply ridiculous! And didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
So the thought of what the former was a tad more worrying.
Plush carpet wouldn’t be in the middle of a dank cave (assuming, that is), nor a comforter.
“Stop thinking like that,” Lewis interrupts, sighing roughly, reminding himself, “Its probably mud.”
It didn’t feel wet. But it’s the only option that makes sense.
Had to be.
It had to.
“Guys!” He tries again, taking another step- and this time feeling cool ground beneath his foot. Much steadier too, but he didn’t spend too much time celebrating.
A shiver courses up his spine.
And a tap.
Jolting, Lewis twists around, arm swinging out to hopefully catch someone’s hand- Vivi, most likely with how she loved to spook them.
It wasn’t. His hand phased right through them.
A small, faintly glowing orb. It’s white and translucent. Emitting just enough light for Lewis to see indications of stone behind it.
A ghost. A scared one at that.
Blinking rapidly, Lewis sucks in his breath, contemplating how dangerous this tiny ball of energy may be.
“Hello..” He whispers, stiff fingers stretching out to the curled form. With a flutter of noise it threatens it recoils. “My mistake. I didn’t mean to hurt you…” The small form returns, and upon closer inspection (and his ability to properly see returning) Lewis notices they smallest hints of a facial expression.
“Are you alone?”
The small spirit lifts its tiny head, and Lewis’s eyes drift from its glowing yellow eyes to the dull, near grey yellowed heart directly under its head. Lewis purses his lips and reaches his hand out again, smiling a tad bit and holding his palm outs hoping it would trust him a little bit more.
And much to his surprise, it does. With a gentle, echoing purr noise, the ghost nuzzles against his palm.
“Aw, are you scared, little one?” Lewis chuckles fondly, appreciating such a cute distraction in this.. dreadful atmosphere, which grew so heavy it sank on him like a wet rug. Giving him all the more reason to scratch its chin, hoping to incite another purr. It Leans into the pets for a small moment, until it glides it’s form across his arm, and it’s translucent body shifted from white to pink, which glowed brilliantly. Eyes widening, Lewis was mesmerized. It turned the same color his body had just moments before. It clings to his wrist, with small hubby arms wrapping around his biceps- and unintentionally bringing Lewis’s attention to his tattered clothes.
“Are you trapped here too?” He asks the small creature, patting its head more, “My friends and I got separated, but for now, let’s stay together, okay?”
The small spirit looks up at him, before miserably sighing and flopping against his arm again.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Lewis sighs.
And for that one moment, he’s content.
”Oh, there you are Lewis. I was wondering when you’d finally decide to wake up.”
Lewis’s eyes shoot wide, turning around faster than he meant to- he nearly trips- and because of the jolt he doesn’t notice the way his new companion stiffens.
“Arthur-? Is that you?”
The dim light from before is back, now shining brighter than before. Just barely enough to make the outline of more stalagmites noticeable, and Arthur in the mix of it.
Lewis almost runs straight to him. But something stops him. Something indescribable. But … he can’t go near him.
Why that was is beyond him currently.
Maybe it’s the way Arthur said that, or the paranoia of the cavern getting to him, but something felt so.. wrong. Like Lewis was on trial for a crime he didn’t remember.
Arthur’s too far away to tell the expression of, the darkness not providing much else to go on.
Perhaps it’s just his imagination. But that doesn’t feel like Arthur. Not in any sense. Maybe they were kidnapped? This one trying to lure him away from the others.
They tilt their head, eyes boring into Lewis uncomfortably, stepping from side to side in an odd saunter. Something so unlike Arthur, it screamed danger.
He takes a step back.
”Where ya’ going, buddy? It’s too dark to run, you know.”
The hairs on Lewis’s neck stands.
”I won’t hurt ya’, not too bad at least. We both know I can’t do much more harm to you physically.” His stomach churns at the sing in his voice. Mimicking Arthur almost perfectly.
That is definitely not Arthur.
He’s in big trouble.
Frowning tightly, Lewis glares.
“Who are you? What have you done with my friends.”
It throws its head back, laughing, ”I think they ran. Took off. Ain’t it sad? They couldn’t even take the time to see if you were gone.”
“Excuse me?” Lewis growls, reaching up for the spirit, holding a protective stance, “They wouldn’t leave me.”
”And I bet they’d never kill you.”
His head feels like it’s been dunked under water. Lewis’s chest rags.
He takes his silence as an answer, and with a sick chuckle, he goes on, slipping closer, ”Sorry, did I hit a sore subject? I was only playing~”
“Who are you?” Lewis says, slow and steady, breathing through his nose.
”Who am I? Well, I suppose that’s up to you to decide!”
And in the blink of an eye, Arthur’s face is far too close and lit up by nothing but green. A large, ghastly grin stretched over his face like his lips had been carved into his cheeks. The ghost on his arm shrieks and zips behind Lewis’s back.
Something tight rings his neck. Breath catching. The pain shooting. Lewis’s mind stalls for a response and instead he tries to squirm away.
His entire body is paralyzed.
”Oho~ would you look at that! Turns out I can still hurt you!” It laughs, the gleeful expression he had seen many times before now appearing nothing short of sadistic.
Something’s burning, encasing his bones and bursting through the tissue of muscle, Lewis trembles.
He could have easily grabbed away Arthur’s hand- or whatever it could have been. He didn’t care. The only thing he paid mind to was the dreadful expression coating Arthur’s eyes.
Squinting, Arthur hums a small chuckle, and the tightness around Lewis’s neck doubles. Whisps of black fog rise up before his chin. Unable to tear his eyes away.
"Oh c'mon now, surely you’re stronger than that!” Arthur teases, “You can very easily pin me down, even when I did have the upper hand! So unless im wrong, be a dear and help prove my point.”
His fingers grip, tremble and shake, and yet he still couldn’t move.
The Arthur mimicks face falls, scrunching up just as fast.
“Hmmm… If my memory serves me right, you’re a pacifist, am I correct? You’d never raise your hand against anyone? Is that right?”
Lewis doesn’t respond. Growing mad.
“Ooh~ Thats right! You do have the capabilities in getting pissed, right? In fact-” Arthur lifts his hand, his short fingers have now become elongated, with darkened nails so long they resembled needles.
A piercing, horrible scratch digs deep into his cranium. He wishes he could scream.
“Aha! You have anger issues~ you don’t like being disrespected! Nor having your friends be in danger. How sweet.” Arthur sings, teeth rotted and disgusting, resembling stones.
Their face goes serious, and with a small whisper, they say- “How would you feel If I told you, one of your best friends hated you?”
It burns, even more so now. How dare he? Who is this person to twist knots in his head- make him turn on his friends!
The grip loosened, Lewis coughs and gasps for air, not realizing just how much his lungs burned and ached for that comfort.
“Don’t believe me?”
“N- no! Of course n-” Lewis chokes on the raw rip in his throat, “They woul-n’t! You-”
The mimik spins Lewis roughly by his head, forcing the rest of him to go with it.
A beam of light casted from above- a hole high up.
Lewis’s head snaps up even if he didn’t want it to, his stomach dropping.
The light shines down on himself.
His bloodied, broken self. Impaled on a stalagmite so much that his ribs had popped out and opened like a claw.
He cant breath, but not because of the mimic holding his throat.
But just behind him, the figure resembling his friend jerks and twists in front of him, once again in his face with a smile splitting his face in half. “Frightening ain’t it! Who knew he had it in him.” They say, all Lewis can do it stare. Switching between the corpse- with real blood dripping from it - and the mimic. A sense of familiarity striking Lewis in a way that’s all too horrifying.
Blossoming pain erupts in his back, spreading far too quickly for him to process. His knees buckle.
He doesn’t fall.
The spirit behind him whimpers, and zips in front of Lewis’s face. Small, beady tears rolling down its face as it tried to wave away the image.
“Of course, you know it was me, right?”
He was simply sitting there, and then in the next moment, he wasn’t.
“Maybe you should look a bit closer, I think you’ll find something. Grab it, before I do.”
With Arthur’s distorted voice fading, the mimic flashes out of his sight.
Lewis gets closer. He isn’t walking.
He hears the drips again.
He wants to cry.
His anger- for a single moment- is muted, hushed away by the agony deeply settling in his chest.
“It can’t.. be…” Lewis didn’t notice the echo in his voice, but the startling realization doesn’t hold a candle to the fear and sorrow this grotesque scene paints.
He doesn’t stop, until he is staring directly up at the battered body that- that was his.
Is it real..? It’s far too high for him to reach.
Prove the mimic wrong, prove himself wrong.
It had to be a dol-
Lewis freezes, the chime drawing his attention to his feet. He didn’t notice how high up he was at first, but he’s not touching the floor anymore, he’s floating. Beneath him, was a faintly beating, faintly glowing object.
It’s a locket. His locket specifically. Inside has two pictures, one with Vivi, one with Arthur.
Lewis’s breath catches in his throat. The spirit dives down for it, unearthing it from the mud- from a puddle of his own blood and presenting it to him. Lewis’s hands are far too shaky, but he holds out a trembling hand and lets the ball set it gingerly in his grasp.
It feels like nothing. Pressing his thumb to the bloody surface, he tried to ignore how his eyes gleam in the reflection.
It cracks open.
Showing him exactly what he expected.
Two pictures, one with Vivi, one with Arthur.
Arthurs picture, was drenched in blood. Staining it entirely.
The anger is back. Crescendoing into an ugly, twisted mess of heat.
His grip tightens, the edges of the locket digging into his fingers. His veins popping. Teeth grit.
That’s right, he didn’t just fall. He didn’t trip. Didn’t stumble.
He was pushed. Wasn’t he?
That nasty heat spirals, pinpricks speckling his body, a glow emitting.
Before his entire body erupts.
Fire cycloning around him, enveloping his arms, legs, his face and body all in one swoop. Red hot anger personified in a mass of explosion and pain. The shadows stretch threatening throughout the cave.
The spirit shoots away from him, diving behind a stalagmite and pressing its small hands to its ears. As if curling up will block them from the screams echoing against every surface. Louder and louder.
So thunderous the stalactites shook and the cavern begins to crumble.
Not even Lewis could notice how his locke- anchor dies in its color, and a spiderwebbed crack splintering across it.