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Shadow on the Sun Ch.11: Transference by Nils Durban
SUMMARY: AKA Whatever happened to Sleet James.....
Part 2 starts here!
Once the thought had occurred to him that he was, quite possibly, still alive, he forced himself to open his eyes, having clenched them tightly shut as he had stepped forwards into the shimmering brightness. At the same time he had taken a deep gulp of air, mindful of the fact that it could well be his last and, whilst he could, he remained determined to hold on to it.
The brightness no longer surrounded him, although the tingling sensation that had accompanied it continued to dance across the surface of his skin with the intensity of static electricity. It was neither light nor dark - rather he appeared to be surrounded by a dully neutral greyness which presented him with no aspect of either density of distance.
He realised that he was still putting one foot steadily in front of the other, although he sensed that if he were to cease doing so he would continue to be drawn forward regardless. If there remained such a direction as forward, that was.
He was suddenly overcome by an overwhelming and deeply embedded sense of loneliness, of abandonment. Was Perry behind him still? Could he turn himself around in order to find out? He attempted to do so, calmly at first and then somewhat frantically, as he realised that no matter how he twisted and turned he remained bereft of any sense of direction and encapsulated quite totally by the uncompromising greyness of this place, if place it was. The only sensations detectable to him were the static tingle and that of the steady tug upon his being that was drawing him through this nothingness.
And he was alone! Of all people that he would wish to have as company at this very moment, Sean Perry would be pretty far down on the list, but any company at all right now would be extremely welcome, would perhaps ease his mounting panic and lower the rate of his heart, which was beating so manically that he could feel it palpably in his ears - like being underwater somewhat, he thought.
His lungs were burning now and he realised that he could hold his breath for only a few moments longer. Perhaps he would be able to breathe here anyway, he wondered, although he remained resolute to hold on until the very last second. In order to relieve the pressure that was mounting within his chest, he allowed a small quantity of air to escape through his tightly pursed lips. Instead of emerging as tiny bubbles as it would if he was below water, however, it formed into wavy streamers which snaked out before him for a second or two before dissipating into the grey void.
The tingling continued to play across his skin, up and down his arms and legs and at the nape of his neck. At the same time that he felt its intensity increase, he noticed a change in his surroundings. He was quite sure that the greyness was not quite as grey as it had appeared just moments earlier. How long he had spent here he could not tell. He was capable, perhaps, of holding his breath for a couple of minutes in total, but it felt as if it had been a hell of a lot longer than that.