Deep Roads

You're woken by an unsettling sound, as if someone were rubbing sandpaper across a leaf. You wait, and the noise returns, almost rhythmic now. A sharp bolt of pain races up your right arm, and you lift your eyelids for what feels like the first time in a century. The sandpaper and leaves return, and you see a small cloud of rust-colored dirt swirl out from near your lips. Your cheek is flush with the ground, and you suddenly realize that the sound you've been hearing is your own breathing.

Barely able to move, you look to the site of most of your pain, the underside of your right forearm. A large, jagged valley of blood and filth tears through its center from midway past your wrist up to your elbow. The constant pain speeds the recovery of your awareness, and your mind begins to clear. Hazy, confused concepts are becoming clear, defined ideas once more.

You were never someone most would consider "a good person." There could be a dozen or more reasons why you've ended up here, discarded and near death in what appears to be a vast, lonely cavern, but you struggle to remember the specifics just the same. It takes a few moments, but soon the story begins to come back to you.

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