The man groaned, pain aching through all of his body.
He tried to open his eyes, but the world he saw was confused, out of focus, red and blue lights flashing in his view.
He had the strange impression of a distant, distorted voice whispering something in his head, but that was being overwhelmed by the loud, ringing noise that pierced his ears, numbing his thoughts to the point that he did not even remember his own name.
Waves of pain were constantly assaulting him, originating from the deepest part of his brain and surging, expanding, as if his own head was about to burst open.
He coughed, a sliver of saliva dribbling down his chin as his chest convulsed in that abrupt motion, sending new waves of pain as he gasped for air.
Again, a blue light flickered in his view, along with the semblance of words whispered through that ringing noise.
To him, it was the worst kind of pain he ever experienced. Much more than when he broke both his legs falling down a tree, or when, barely adolescent, he was hit by a car.
He mumbled, shuddering as his own voice sounded weak, broken, nothing more than a whisper.
His mouth tasted like blood, he smelled it even.
He tried to lift himself up, realizing that he was lying supine on the ground, his face scraping dirt.
Another jolt of pain made him subside from his attempt, and he just laid there, aching.
His breathing was heavy, and he felt his heart beating, the slow thump pulsing in his temples, weak, irregular.
His senses were about to give up, sliding into that murky oblivion that he just woke up from.
Instead, he resisted it, forcing his consciousness away from that “place”.
He struggled to maintain himself awake, stopping his own consciousness from drifting into a murky sleep.
He needed to stay awake, he wanted to stay awake.
Another one of those strange blue flashes, and he felt better.
Every breath still pained his body, and his head still hurt like hell.
Steeling himself, he moved his arms, trying to lift them, fearing them broken.
They hurt, but he managed to move them well enough. Grasping the earth with his fingers, he collected his will.
He tried to get up once again, failing once more since his legs were not moving.
A wave of panic hit him hard, making his heart race like it never had in a long, long time.
He forced himself once more, this time without attempting to immediately get up.
Instead, he struggled to turn himself around, from supine to prone.
And he did, collapsing on his back, exhausted with that simple motion.
His sight was slowly returning to him, his surroundings regaining focus, becoming proper objects rather than confused blurs of colors like some moments before.
Another of those blue lights flashed in his view, staying there from some moments.
He felt the impression that something was written in his view, but it quickly disappeared, becoming nothing more than a flickering blue light in the farthest corner of his view.
Hurting, confused to the point that he did not even manage to put one thought after the other, he laid there, his bare skin touching the cold, soft ground below, while a gentle breeze swept the air.
It carried the sound of rustling leaves, it carried the smell of wet terrain after rain. The smell of vegetation, both growing and decaying.
The smell of a forest.
His thoughts were beginning to clear up, and the man was beginning to remember.
Some things were still murky in his mind, and he struggled to get them, feeling like when a word slipped by his thoughts, its meaning clear but the name related to it hidden, but close, as if he was about to grasp it, and he was forced to struggle in order to remind himself of it.
Then, memories clicked, working as they should have been.
The man started to piece together what happened to him.
He was driving his car on the highway, half an hour after work and still fifteen minutes to drive before reaching home.
The road unusually empty, he remembered pushing his foot on the pedal a bit too hard, wanting to test the new “toy” that his expensive car was.
<<Did I crash my car?>>
He muttered, thinking himself to be in some kind of hospital, despite his senses suggested otherwise.
He remembered hearing on the TV, that sometimes acute cranial trauma would lead to sensory hallucinations, like weird smells or strange noises, or even the blue flickering light.
In his thoughts, he began to consider his situation like the aftermath of a car accident.
And what else, he thought, could have happened?
He was driving, his consciousness blacked out, and he woke up hurting like hell all over his body and head.
And yet, his hands touched cold, soft soil, and the gentle breeze that swept over his skin gave him real respite from the almost oppressive heat of that place.
Could those be hallucinations too, asked the man to himself.
It had to be something like this, he thought.
The blue light flickered once more, and he was forced to blink a few times before it went away. Now, the number of blinking blue dots on the lower corner of his vision was beginning to worry him a bit.
Still, he ignored them, thinking them some weird hallucination.
After all, he thought, he must have hit his head pretty fucking hard.
Once again, the man struggled to force himself up. Again, his legs did not move. Now, the man was beginning to fear the worst.
Which, to him, was not to be dead. He did not fear that, thinking that whenever it would happen, it would happen, without the need for him to fear it or worry too much.
What he feared, was becoming crippled, his mind working and fine trapped into a broken body. That thought made him shudder, bringing forth with it the last memory that the man had of his father.
A large, ever happy man that spent his life doing things all day long, restless.
Be it farming, crafting ,woodworking or even hunting and fishing, the old man, Albert, had a number of hobbies throughout his whole life.
But the last portion of it, ten years, Albert spent paralyzed in his bed, unable to move anything below his neck after a fall during one of his many activities.
And his son watched him in those conditions, the images of his father from before and after the accident overlapping in his mind.
He thought of his father, weeping in his bed as his legs did not want to move.
He steeled himself, using all the willpower he had to make his legs move.
His lips started to tremble, when nothing happened for the third time.
The man was beginning to give in to resignation, but, he forced himself once more.
He raised his upper body, his elbows lifting the weight, trembling, aching. He looked at his legs.
The expensive pair of jeans he wore were torn and tattered, dried blood mixed with dirt staining the tissue.
He lost one of his shoes, a pair of black boots, imitations of those that the Army’s soldiers wore.
He muttered, trying once more to move his legs, this time focusing on a single finger, the big toe of his left, bare foot.
The man almost laughed hysterically, when the toe moved.
He tried to do the same with the other foot, feeling his toe scraping to the tip of the shoe.
With a sigh of relief, he abandoned himself down, ignoring the jolt of pain that happened when he did so.
He closed his eyes, breathing slowly to let both excitement and fear pass.
He would wait some more time, then try to move his legs with more decision. Still, he knew that the fact his toes moved was a good sign.
He did not exactly know how good that fact was, if it was the sign of the complete absence of a spinal lesion, or if it just meant that the damage, if there was any, was of minor entity than an injury leading to full leg paralysis.
He opened his eyes once more. Concerned as he was, he had let it slide, but now, he was starting to realize it.
Trees. He was surrounded by trees. Looming over him, their canopy masking the sky above them, letting only some rays of light to filter down.
He already realized that he was not inside an hospital, since he was lying face down on soft soil when he woke up.
But, in his head, he had surmised that the crash made him fly and land into some sort of garden, or one of the small patches of cultivated terrain.
One of those that surrounded the part of the highway he was driving on.
The strangest thing of all, was that there was not a single place with so many trees in the vicinity of that highway, for hundreds of meters all around.
Sure, some gardens and terrains had some trees, he knew that, but, what he was seeing at the moment, and even smelling, was not a pair of trees in someone’s garden.
Not even a park, for that matter.
The trees he saw were too many for it to be the case, and the smell, so different from that of a city park, more like that of a proper meadow, or even a forest, thought the man.
And, there was not a single spot near that highway that had trees in that quantity.
<<This must be some kind of hallucination. I had an accident in my car, and now I am seeing things. Perhaps I’m in a fucking coma, or my head has been messed up by the accident. Or, I may be dead>>
He muttered to himself, realizing that his voice now had more strength than before.
The man turned his head around, trying to see more of his surroundings. On his right, there was a rock, covered in moss, big enough for him to use it to help himself get up on his feet.
The place, everything, held a surreal aura to it, thought the man, feeling like inside a dream rather than properly awake. Although the smells, and the sensations he felt were too real for it to be a dream.
The two considerations clashed in his mind, but he shrugged them off, focusing on the more pressing stuff.
<<Ok, let’s try this now>>
He stretched his hands, turning his body as much as he could towards the boulder.
Grasping it with his hands, he pulled himself up, slowly, enduring the pain and the rising sensation of nausea and disorientation that assaulted him.
But, he managed to lift himself up using the boulder.
As he did, a sensation of vertigo almost made him fall back on the ground.
He closed his eyes, letting it pass before opening them again.
His stomach was clenching, his guts twisting, but he endured.
He recognized those symptoms. The ringing noise, nausea, it was all too similar to when he had another accident, and he hit his head pretty badly.
He was forced to stay awake at the hospital that very night.
<<Falling asleep with a brain concussion might be dangerous>>
He remembered a pretty nurse telling him those words. She was short, blonde. Thin legs and a big pair of…
He even sprouted a cocky line to her back then, giving his usual wry smile to the young woman.
Now, there were no pretty nurses around, only trees as far as the eye could see.
The man took a long, painful breath, and he forced himself to sit on the rock. He examined his own body.
His arms were fine, although dried blood and patches of black soil still stuck to his skin. He still had his clothes on him, only, they looked more like tatters than proper clothes.
Especially his sweater and the shirt below, they were nothing more than dirty, bloodstained rags. He tried to check his back, reaching backwards with his hands.
Another jolt of pain, but, lesser than what he felt when he got up.
His hands, both of them, touched bare skin and patches of clothing.
If the front of his sweater was torn, but still had somewhat the semblance of a sweater, the backside of it was completely torn open, leaving the man’s back exposed.
Luckily, he thought, his pants were somehow still a bit intact. They were an expensive pair of jeans, now riddled with tears and stains in the tissue, but somehow still passable.
And, he was missing a shoe.
He glanced around, trying to locate the missing item.
If he needed to trek for some time among the trees, doing it barefoot would be a bad idea.
His eyes darting around, he managed to find the shoe, some meters away from his position.
The soil between that lone, out of place shoe and the man’s position was covered in dried leaves, but some patches of terrain were clear, like something had been dragged over it, clearing a line on the ground.
<<Something, or someone>> thought the man, a chill running through his spine. He considered himself that something dragged down the forest, almost picturing the scene.
But, if that was the case, thought the man, there should have been some blood splattered around. Instead, the terrain below him, and that around, were void of any trace of blood, not even a single blood.
While his body, thought the man, was splattered by it, most likely his own.
That fact led the man to a single conclusion. The accident happened somewhere else, and he was transported there, maybe dragged down by someone.
Despite his thoughts were turning slightly darker, as he considered how he could be the “thing” that was dragged there, the man noted how he was feeling definitely better than before.
His chest no longer hurt when he breathed, and he could now freely move his legs, although his muscles still tensed with pain at the start of each movement.
With a deep breath, the man decided to try and get up on his feet.
He managed, for two seconds or so, before a sense of vertigo assaulted him with enough violence to almost make him tumble down on his butt.
He recovered, letting himself sit on the rock again.
Perhaps, he thought, it was a bit too early for him to stand up.
The man rummaged in his pockets, looking to find his phone. Now that he was feeling better, he thought, he could try and call for help.
Inside his right pocket, the phone was still there, pressing on his skin until he took it out of the pocket.
It was off, oddly, since the man never turned it off, never.
<<It must have been the impact>>
He tried to start the phone, but, as he pressed down the button, the phone exploded into sparks.
The sudden light made the man close his eyes, white and red impressed in his vision, with the latter more vivid and staying there, even with his eyes closed.
But it subsided, his vision returning to normal.
<<What the fuck was that?>>
The man shouted, looking his hand to search some signs of burns or cuts.
To his relief, he still had all his fingers, albeit a bit reddened and slightly burned by the sudden sparks.
He sighed, muttering an imprecation before rummaging further into his pockets.
The right one held the phone along with his wallet and the keys from his apartment.
The left one held a pack of rolling tobacco, along with filters and rolling paper, all of them new and sealed. Other than that, he had his lighter, a small pack of gummy candy and a little knife.
He smiled when looking at the small knife, the silver reflections of the tiny blade, no longer than his
thumb but sharp and well kept.
The handle of it was in polished horn, shining in the dim light that transpired from the trees above.
The first piece of his collection, the rest of it exposed on a shelf in his bedroom. A weird habit, but something he cherished. And that knife was special, it was a gift from his father, his first knife, tied to memories of his old man, of when he was still strong and full of life.
He put the knife in his pocket once again, and he started to examine the keys. Those for his own garage, his apartment, a large key for the Palace’s entrance.
The Palace, a high sounding name for the apartment complex where the man lived.
And the place itself, old and badly maintained, was the farthest thing from a real palace. It was cheap, and that’s all that the man needed when he moved in.
Things had changed during the years, and in recent times, he had begun to hunt for another place to live. Attached to the key ring, a small teddy bear made of plastic.
It was something that Carla, his girlfriend, bought him when she came back from Italy.
She did visit a small town, famous for its pocket knives, and, given that her loved one was a passionate collector of knives and sword replicas, she bought him a cute little thing instead.
They were still at the start of their relationship, two months since it started, that time where people stop wearing the masks that they put on when trying to impress the other person, and let their own self be known, taking all the risks involved.
Although that memory was sweet, his recent fights with Carla had made the two of them drift apart, and they decided to take a pause from each other.
It happened no more than two days ago, thought the man.
A low, grumbling noise distracted the man from his own thoughts. His own stomach, now more relaxed than when he woke up, was beginning to signal its need for food.
He took out the pack of gummy candy, eating some of those. Not enough to sate his hunger, but still, it was something. He let the candy melt a bit before starting to munch on it.
He always had a sweet tooth.
Without further thought, he opened the pack and ate a handful of candy. He saved the now half-empty small pack for later, savoring the sweet taste melting in his mouth.
Next, he rolled himself a cigarette. Not the smartest thing to do after an accident, when no more than twenty minutes ago he could not even breathe properly.
But man, he thought, he really needed one.
He lighted it on fire, keeping the lighter between his index and thumb, looking at it.
A cheap item, purple in color and made with a frail, semi-transparent plastic that allowed to see how much gas was left inside of it.
It was still half full. Still, thought the man, how come it did not even have a crack on it. After all, both his body and the cellphone suffered some kind of damage from whatever the hell happened, and yet, that small lighter was in pristine conditions.
He gave it not too much thought, considering it one of the marvels of random events.
Taking big puffs of white smoke, he enjoyed his self-rolled cigarette.
To kill time a bit, he opened his own wallet. Money, debit cards. His driver’s license. The picture on it always bugged him.
It was a really bad picture, and it made him look younger than he really was when he took it.
Five years had passed from when he was eighteen, and he got his license.
The face on that picture was roughly the same as it was now, slimmer, younger, with a stupid haircut and even more stupid attempt at growing a beard.
His cheekbones became more prominent as he grew older, and, unlike his eighteen years old self, he had no longer a long hair cut. Now, he kept them short, swept back and well trimmed.
More professional, he thought.
The stubble on his chin was also gone, as,each morning, he shaved his face.
He got rid of the piercing rings that he used to wear on his left ear, all three of them.
His first boss did not see those kind of things, tattoos and piercings, in a kind way.
And, so he got rid of the earrings, opting for a “cleaner” look.
Overall, his face did become more handsome with age and since he put on some weight.
Back then, he was too slim for his own height, the man thought.
Now, his seventy six kilograms were almost the ideal weight for his meter and eighty four of height.
The man studied the details of his past self, the image of which impressed in that plastic material.
His light brown eyes, that sometimes, under the right light, seemed almost yellow.
His eyebrows, that gave him an intense expression, black as his hair and naturally perfect, much to his satisfaction.
The eye portion of his face was what granted him most of his success with the ladies, at least, that’s what he always thought about himself.
That, and his voice, deep and warm, sometimes more interesting that the thing he said with it.
His nose, that was the feature he least liked of his own face. Back then, it was decent enough, but, when he was twenty years old, he had a fight and had his nose broken.
Now, the bridge of it was slightly bent to the left, as the broken bone failed to heal properly.
It was not a major defect, however, he was too much conscious of it.
He even thought about spending some bucks to fix it, but he always desisted from that idea.
He had enough vanity to consider it, not enough to actually go with that decision.
After all, it was still surgery, and surgery scared him a lot.
Inadvertently, he ran his left index on his nose, tracing the slight curvature that it had taken, his eyes studying the shape it had before, then going down.
His lips, his cocky smile, that never changed through the years.
And of course, his name, written besides the photo on the small, plasticized document.
Conrad Levine. He always loathed his name. Conrad, it always sounded old to him.
Clara loved it, that silly, beautiful Italian girl.
Again, she crossed Conrad’s thoughts. For a moment, he wanted to grab his phone and call her.
He said to himself, feeling slightly dumb. His phone after all, decided to explode right in his fingers.
Perhaps, he thought, even if he had a phone, who knew if it worked out here?
For what he knew, there could be no signal there.
<<And where the fuck is “here”?>>
He shouted in frustration. One thing was sure to him, as his last outburst had just confirmed. He definitely felt better than when he woke up.
He tried to stand up on his feet, and he did it without much effort, or pain, this time.
His side still hurt, but it was not enough to keep him from doing movements. Sure, thought Conrad, he could not be able to run a marathon or climb up a rock wall, but he could walk just fine.
Perhaps even run.
And so, he decided to start walking. No point in standing there.
First, he walked up to his missing shoe.
The sock was still inside of it, and Conrad bent, making a pained expression in the process, to pick it up and put it on.
The pair of shoe, black boots made with leather, were sturdy and warm.
Perfect for trekking inside a forest, he thought.
After having both shoes again, he considered what to do at the moment.
Conrad thought, the first thing he needed right now was to get out of the woods.
Judging from the light coming from above, he surmised that it was still morning out there, since the rays of light that managed to find their way between leaves were strong enough to well illuminate the place.
He muttered his guess to himself.
Perhaps, he thought, he might be off by some hours in his consideration.
Still, Conrad thought to have enough time to maybe get out of the woods, or at least, understand where these woods were.
Moreover, he was now sure that he was not dead, or in a coma or some other strange dream state or hallucination.
He had considered those options, before, when pain and confusion numbed him down and clouded his thoughts, so much that he thought it all an hallucination of some kind.
But, as time went on, and he started to feel a bit better, the reality of his situation became more and more apparent.
And, he convinced himself of that, although it still confused him, a lot.
He looked around the place, seeing if he somehow managed to recognize it.
Adding to Conrad’s confusions, the surroundings were unknown to him, as the type of plants he observed around.
The place was nothing more than a patch of soil among trees, with a scarcer undergrowth due to the rocky nature of the terrain underneath the soft soil.
Gray rocks emerged here and there, the biggest of them the one where he was sitting some moments before.
All around, a carpet of dead leaves was scattered on the floor, excepts from some lines of clear soil, those that he believed to be the signs of something dragged on the ground.
Something as big as him, he thought while looking closer at those supposed tracks.
That, incidentally, led exactly to the point where he woke up.
<<What the hell is going on?>>
He muttered, some more strength in his voice.
Conrad’s thoughts were now running rampant, trying to think why and how he was dragged down here, from the highway and his car.
Perhaps, he crashed somewhere, and some kind soul dragged him out of the car and went to search for help.
But Conrad excluded that possibility, since there were no trace of a car around, nor those of another person.
It was like he, and that thought was so silly that it almost made him laugh, came crashing down from higher altitude, and slid on the leaf-covered soil until he stopped near the rock.
Of course, he knew that if something like this happened, his neck would have been snapped by the landing.
Not that he could completely rule out the fact that, having had an accident with his car, he was launched by the impact. In his mind, the possibility that he had a car accident was now a certainty, confirmed by his wounds.
Still, he did not manage to find a possible explanation for how he did end up in that place.
The thought that someone might have dragged him there was the most likely option, but he failed to understand why someone would take their time and struggle to drag almost eighty kilograms of man inside a forest, and leave him there.
Without even leaving a footprint around.
He decided to leave those thoughts alone for the moment, and focus on getting out of the trees. First, he would need to find a way to orient himself among them.
As he came closer to one, he was pleasantly surprised to see some moss growing on one side of the trunk.
Although he did not recognize the type of moss, and neither the tree, he knew from his days spent camping that he could use it to find the north.
To his knowledge, however, there weren’t any parks or meadows near the place where he was driving.
All city on the west side, and on the east side, land used for industrial purpose and further away, patches of land purposed for cultivation.
Only some small gardens around that part of the city.
But then, he came to the conclusion that, without knowing where he was, and without having some sort of landmark to use, there was no point in knowing about north or other cardinal points, for that matter.
What he needed to do, was to choose a direction, and move that way.
Perhaps, he thought, he could climb up a tree, but he dismissed that idea quickly, since it was too risky for him in those conditions.
The best thing to do, would be for him to find a high place, perhaps a hill of some sort, and hope that it was easy to climb up top, but high enough to grant him a better point of view, past the treetops and past the woods.
The terrain around him was slightly sloped, and he thought that if he followed that slope, perhaps he could find himself in a high position and see where this place was.
He followed the slope’s direction, heading east.
After roughly one hour of difficult march, Conrad was pleased by what he saw.
Exactly what he wanted. A hill, whose top rose higher than the trees. More than that, it looked easy to climb it, reaching the top.
And Conrad did so.
Step after step, stopping from time to time to catch his breath once more.
His vision was still riddled with those blue and red flickering points, flashing from the corner of his view.
Other than that, it was perfect, as was his hearing, now free of that annoying constant sound.
His head still pound with pain from time to time, especially when he accelerated his walk a bit too much.
It took him some time to get on top of it, a hill that had a height of roughly one hundred meters.
He checked the wristwatch he had on his left wrist, reading the time on the digital display.
Another item that, mysteriously, did not end up destroyed like his clothes and cellphone.
Looking at it, he felt a bit dumb.
The watch, beside displaying the hour, it had a small compass.
He laughed, shaking his head.
Then, he looked up to the hill, starting to trek up the sloped terrain.
It was a gentle slope, something that he would have been able to climb pretty quickly if he was in optimal conditions.
But, he wasn’t, and it took him some good time, and frequent stops, to get on top of it.
However,things went smoother than he initially surmised. Conrad thought his conditions worse than they were, or, he thought, he was getting better as time passed.
Once on top, he considered his conditions and felt like his suppositions were true. He felt fine, no pain coursing through his muscles.
And he knew, that the state he was in when he woke up was critical, something that would need weeks to heal, not mere hours.
Instead, the damage he had was gone.
Breathing no longer was painful, his vision worked perfectly and the ringing sounds in his ears was gone, as was the headache.
The flickering lights were still there, but that did not bother Conrad too much.
Other things had started to bother him, like the feeling of blood, sweat and dirt clinging to his skin, and the constant buzz of insects that had begun to swarm him.
They were tiny little critters, their bodies held a green, metallic shine. As he swatted one, he took the tiny corpse between two fingers, taking it closer to his eyes for a better inspection.
It was nothing like he had ever seen. Kind of an hybrid between a dragonfly and a mosquito, with a peculiar coloration, a deep metallic purple.
It had the bodily build and bulging eyes of a dragonfly, but it was much, much smaller, and had a stinger for a mouth, exactly like a mosquito.
And the little buggers stung him, too many times. His skin began to itch, and the bite-marks swelled and reddened, itching furiously.
He hoped that those little bugs were not something nasty, only mildly annoying. Otherwise, he would be in some deep trouble.
Still, after reaching the top, he forgot about the insects, and the dirt on his skin.
The sight from the hilltop was beautiful, stunning even, and it left Conrad speechless.
All around him, as far as his eyes could see, there was a green sea. Nothing but trees for miles and miles, in all directions.
A wide river slithered its way among the green of the forest, the treetops near it enveloped in a thin veil of mist.
Seen from above, the higher trees near the hill looked like they would reach half the height of it, but some other, seen in the distance, might have been taller than the hill itself.
As Conrad basked himself in the view, he thought it splendid, setting aside the implications that such a sight had, he simply let himself enjoy it, for a moment. The calm of it, the absence of any trace of humanity all around.
It should have been something to worry about, but, against all logic, the sight calmed him down.
He breathed in the slight breeze, the air so clean, like it was back when he was a child, and his family lived away from the city, their home in the countryside lost among nature.
No, it was even better than back then, and Conrad had the slight sensation, the feeling that the air of this place, it never had an ounce of the polluting smokes of human activity.
It was pure, free, alive. Untainted.
Even atop of the hill, with the slight breeze sweeping it, the air was warm enough for him to feel refreshed.
Conrad removed his tattered sweater and shirt, tying the two ragged clothes around his waist.
The two pieces of clothing were ruined enough that more than comfort, having them on was becoming a hassle, as the pieces of torn cloth swayed with the wind, sticking to the skin that they left largely exposed.
After doing so, Conrad gazed upwards, to the sky.
As he did, he shuddered, dread taking hold of its thoughts. The sky, it was different, so much that it left the man speechless, trembling.
It was blue, but…
Not a single cloud, and a strange, aurora-like luminosity was dancing on the sky above. Pulsing, it shone, the colors of it shifting, changing between shades of blue, green and purple.
The most stunning thing were the three lights glowing where the Sun should have been. Significantly smaller than the Sun, their light combined burned as brightly, blinding Conrad until he finally set his gaze elsewhere.
Maybe their combined size could reach that of the real Sun, he thought for a moment, perhaps in an attempt to escape the reality of what he saw.
Well, reality, he thought, might be the least correct term to use here.
His body, his sense of smell and touch, suggested that all of this was real.
The breeze on his skin, the smells lingering in the air.
Even the complex song that the huge sea of trees sang, with notes of birds and rustling leaves.
And yet, his sight suggested that this was not real. At least, not his usual “real”.
Conrad was standing on the top of a hill, surrounded by a sea of green, unknown trees.
Over his head, a strange sky where three small Suns shone and aurora lights danced in thousands of colors.
No trace of civilization all around, not a single sign of a road, or a settlement of some sorts.
Only nature, green as far as the eye could see. And the river, swimming its way in that sea of green that extended below the hill.
In the distance, a mountain ridge emerged lazily from the forest, growing in height as it grew more distant from the forest.
Some more hills emerged from the forest, between Conrad’s position and the mountain range, where the trees grew taller than the area where Conrad was.
This time, Conrad watched the compass on his wristwatch. To the north, he had the distant mountain ridge.
The rived followed the same direction for a trait, before taking a huge turn east and continuing its sinuous stream northwest of Conrad’s position. West, and south, more trees, unending, reaching as far as Conrad’s eyes could see.
<<This must be a fucking dream>>
He muttered to himself.