Begin what? he asked, trying to be brave.
But even as he watched, the light — Sin — began to grow dimmer and smaller, until it was nearly gone.
Hey! he shouted at the light. Begin what!
Sin disappeared, casting him into complete darkness once more. And then, the same voice spoke to him again out of the darkness, saying only one word before falling silent once more.
You didn’t need to be so dramatic, he thought sullenly. He sat on the ground again, lost and alone, the nausea disappearing. And he was really alone this time, he could tell. There were no hidden presences waiting to reveal themselves as balls of light.
He was … alone.
Strangely dissatisfied with this knowledge, he leaned back and rested his head on the ground below him. It really was rather odd. The floor wasn’t really hot or cold. Neither was it hard or soft. He hit it with a fist.
Nothing. It as if his hand had merely lightly touched it. He hit it again and his hand merely bounced slightly in return, but not enough for him to say the ground was springy. It was so odd.
He hit it again, with all his strength and there was hardly any feeling as his fist made contact. There was no pain. Was there something wrong with his hand? Highly doubtful but he pinched his other hand anyway. He definitely felt a small sting.
This made no sense.
He lay there for what felt like hours, just touching and punching and pinching himself and the floor, trying to chain together some form of rational explanation for this. He came up only with one.
He was dreaming.
Yes! That must be it. A dream, nothing more, he decided. A dumb, unreasonably long and boring dream … that lasted for hours.
This isn’t a dream, said a voice.
He nearly jumped up in surprise. The voice had come out of nowhere. He hadn’t realised he was no longer alone again. Sin was back.
He was determined this time. He would not be left alone. The voice had told him earlier that he needed to be ready if he wished to begin. He didn’t know what he would be beginning but he’d be willing to bet that it was his only way out. He would not let himself lose this opportunity.
Sin! he shouted, sitting up. Come on! Show yourself, you little ball of light! I’m ready! Whatever it is you want me to do, I’m ready!
The voice he had heard seemed to laugh mockingly. You are funny, it said.
He suddenly realised that Sin’s voice didn’t sound quite the same as it had before. It was a bit deeper and a bit more smoother than it was before.
He somehow felt afraid that he had noticed this, and pulled his legs closer to him, trying to make himself as small as possible. Why am I funny to you? he asked, suddenly wishing he was anywhere but here.
Because, it replied, you are not ready and I am not Sin.