The voice reached his ears in vain.
Get up. If you don’t get up they’ll be on us and tear you apart.
Panic edged his voice trying to get the man out of the sand. A connection was made this time. He moved.
Consciousness started to edge in. He attempted to articulate thoughts but was subdued. He was content to lay there a little longer before the urgency of the voice’s words kindled any concern. His limbs became apparent to him, his thoughts reached down over his chest out to his fingers and down his legs. He took inventory of all his extremities before he probed further into his situation.
It was absolute black out, not just black but an eerie lack of light anywhere. A smokey fog filled the air and loomed over the man’s body. The mass lurched and leaned weighing down on anyone who entered its body. The coastal winds were restless tonight but the fog didn’t seem to respond to the buffeting.
The man took into account his body and the surroundings, the heaviness particularly, and then the words. He opened his eyes trying to see any immediate threat. His eyes couldn’t seem to adjust and they burned from the sand and salt. Tears that tried to clear his vision but he still couldn’t see anything. He even considered he had gone blind. His keen ears took in the sounds from out across the beach and up over the dunes. He didn’t sense any predators.
Having all his limbs intact now, he desperately hoped they all worked. He stretched his tingling fingers out trying to fight the numbness and pulled his left arm out from under his body. Stabilizing that arm he pulled his right arm up, planted it into the sand and lifted.
He crashed face down into the sand and let out a muffled grunt. With a quick inhale he filled his throat with sand. Jerking onto his left side, he cradled his wounded arm and coughed violently. His lungs worked to expel the sand while his voice barked into the din. His head was spinning. The sand clung to his skin and hair making him even more miserable. It was cold and he was wet, as well as bleeding, he knew he had to pull himself together.
He spat out the sand that didn’t demand residence in his mouth. This time he lifted himself with his left arm, pulling his knees under his chest and sitting back on his heels. He blinked his eyes trying to focus on anything around him. He was wholly consumed, there was no light being produced anywhere. He could hear the waves, feel the wind, register the sounds coming off the dunes nearby but couldn’t see anything. The first coherent questioned entered his mind, where had that voice come from?
Ask questions later, we need to leave. Now.
There it was again, but the voice wasn’t audible to his ears. It was inside him! In his head somehow, there was another voice beyond his own. The voice was arrogant, and it demanded action.
“Where,” he went into another coughing fit. “Where do I go? I can’t see anything, I don’t know where I am.”
Listen Elias…get up, follow the coast. We’re bound to find a port somewhere.
Either way it’s better than the alternative.
The voice was hurried now, it pushed him onto his feet and forward to stumble until he caught his balance. All his muscles ached. He clenched his teeth, sand in his wound wracked his arm with tendrils of pain. He wondered what the alternative was but discerned that in the time it took to get an answer out of the voice, he might find out in person. The voice made it clear such an occasion was not desirable.
The waves were on his right now, dunes on his left, wind at his back. He felt his long hair whipping his face with salt and sand. He realized he didn’t know what he looked like. A moot point if he didn’t make it out alive. He set out through the darkness.
There was that slightest resistance again, the same resistance he felt when he was in the sand. It was as if the air had thickened. He shook off the eeriness of being inside of something. Each step pulled and tugged on his stiff, aching muscles. He made sure to keep the sound of the waves on his right. Occasionally he would stumble into the water and quickly lose his balance splashing into more misery.
He was beginning to grow numb. Not from the cold, but exhaustion. He didn’t know the last time he had eaten, and he didn’t stop to think of it either. His head was almost as dark as his current whereabouts. He struggled to get each foot in front of the other. The voice had retreated now and left him alone with the sounds and heavy blackness around him. At this point there wasn’t much to think on. He had no memories and was blind for all he knew. His legs burned from walking in the sand and the pain became his only company now.
The man’s head bobbed and one of his feet dragged.
Don’t even think about it.
You have to push through!
It was too late. His second boot toe caught and he slumped forward into the sand again. Lightning broke the darkness. In an instant it illuminated the man laying face down on the beach, just close enough for the waves to press against his side. The heaviness was visible. It was a stagnant black smoke that hung over everything and limited visibility to only a handful of strides. The darkness swooped in as fast as it had been cast away, leaving the man to lie there unconscious, but not alone.
One more flash of lightning exposed creatures. Creatures of limbs and claws, teeth and gnashing. They twitched and shifted through the thick blackness. They were looming over him in an instant, clicking and twitching with their claws kneaded the sand. All at once they stopped moving, twitching, and lusting over the body. They sensed something approaching, something even they feared. Lightning struck again and as swift as they had approached, the figures were gone.