Photo via Visualhunt
Coralie and Sera were tired, but exhilarated. They were nearing the midway point of the forty kilometer trek they’d started the previous day. Their guide smiled at them as she led them to the edge of the cliff. “Here is what you seek,” she said, gesturing.
Both women gazed out in awe. The chasm opened in front of them, spanning sixteen kilometers across and nearly fifty kilometers deep. It was the largest natural wonder on a planet full of beautiful places such as the one they now bore witness to.
A waterfall plunged from a hidden river down the opposite side of the canyon in four different streams, sending mist all through the area. The light of the sun reflected off of the water, creating a mass of rainbows. A light breeze swirled the mist, causing the rainbows to flicker and dance.
As Coralie and Sera drank in the sight, Sera turned slightly and noticed something incongruous. “What is that?” she asked, gesturing to a narrow gray band that stretched between the two sides of the canyon.
“A bridge to nowhere,” the guide said tersely. There was a tremor in her voice and Coralie noticed the fear reflected in the way her feathers were slicked down and the wings pressed tightly against her back. “We dare not approach it.”
“What do you mean a bridge to nowhere?” Sera asked. “It obviously goes to the other side. I want to see what’s over there.” She turned to Coralie. “Come on. Let’s go check it out.”
“I don’t know,” Coralie said. “Xochtil is really frightened. I think we should listen to her.”
The Avia nodded. “Listen to your friend. Much darkness will come of your venturing there.”
Sera’s chin jutted out and her lips compressed. “We came here to see everything this site had to offer. I’m not turning back until I see what’s over the bridge.”
“Sera,” Coralie began, putting a hand on her friend’s shoulder.
Sera shook hit off. “Stay here with Xochtil if you want. I’m going.” The burly blond started towards the bridge. Xochtil and Coralie followed after her.
It took nearly an hour to reach it. Sera frowned as she took in the level of disrepair. “I really don’t think this is a good idea, Sera. The bridge doesn’t look that safe,” Coralie said.
“You’re just scared because you buy into the superstitious nonsense the Avia feed to us,” Sera said. “I’m crossing.” Sera started across. The strange substance creaked under her feet but held firm. She reached the other side. Turning around, she waved to her friend and their guide. “See? The bridge is perfectly safe. Come join me.”
“You have crossed. Now return,” Xochtil said. “Do not enter the forest. It leads to nowhere.”
Sera turned her back to the two on the other side of the canyon. The sun was heating things up. The forest was shaded and looked very cool. Sera walked in, ignoring the calls from her friend and their guide. The shadows grew darker the farther in she went. Soon she could barely see anything. She decided to go back to the bridge.
She turned around but the darkness was just as thick behind her. She frowned. She should have been able to see the light from the edge of the forest. She started back in what she thought was the direction she came from. Nothing changed.
It was then that she noticed she was walking in silence. There were no sounds whatsoever. No animals, no trees, and she couldn’t even hear her own footsteps. She tried snapping her fingers. The motions were there but the noise wasn’t. She couldn’t even feel her fingers as they struck against each other. Fear gripped her.
She thought back to the legends of the Avia. Then she remembered. “Nowhere” to the Avia was the Void, an endless dimension of total sensory deprivation that no one had ever escaped from. She shuddered and started running. She had to get back to the bridge, to the sun, to Coralie and Xochtil. She had to get back to her life. Heaviness entered her limbs and she slowed to a walk and then stopped. Something sapped her energy and she sank to what she thought was the ground. The dark, soundless, touchless void entered her soul and she lost herself in its madness.