It is pitch black when the sound of an animal – distant and garbled – half wakes me.
Its cries continue in mournful, muffled croaks and whimpers. I feel sad for whatever it is, for the terrible fate it must be meeting via unforgiving talons or teeth.
But I have never in my life felt so fatigued as I do in this moment, and I gratefully let consciousness slip away.
It is still pitch black when the cries wake me again. Has it been hours? Or minutes? Or days? I am confused.
But the cries, they are no longer distant. And they are no longer muffled.
They are sharp and loud. They are howls and groans. They are hellish. They penetrate my drowsiness with their crushing volume and proximity.
Adrenaline surges in sharp waves through my spine, painful and persistent. I am terrified.
And amidst this barrage of distressing sensations, confusion finally gives way to a bone-chilling realization:
Oh my GOD…
The sounds are coming from me.
And now, new sensations begin to register, one after another.
The warm, metallic taste of blood.
Something hard pressed against my chin and my cheek.
My tongue sliding along my mouth, finding only large spaces where teeth should be.
And with all of these sensations, the recollection of what I have just done comes crashing down on me with sickening clarity.
And, still, I am in the pitch black.