From ‘Hunting Darkness’ – by Ian Bristow
The world went pitch black and in the same moment, Gael realized she couldn’t hear the gurgling water anymore. She rubbed her eyes but couldn’t feel her own hands touching her skin. Panic set in. Her brain sent out a distress signal, but her unreceptive body had no way of responding to it.
Terrified, she struggled, her need to breathe the only thing that told her she was alive. She slowly became aware that she could taste the air around her—a bitter blend of dirt, mold and moss coated her tongue, assuring her that she was still in the forest. No sooner than this realization struck her, she could smell the scents belonging to the flavors she was tasting. Other scents began filtering through her nostrils: remnants of the rain that had fallen that afternoon; different ages and types of wood; various woodland creatures.
A sense of depth and imagery began forming in her mind, as if the two human senses she was currently experiencing were in such a heightened state that they compensated for the ones she was lacking. Joy and awe began to gather inside her, driving out the panic and terror. Lost in growing wonderment she gave in to the alien experience, exploring the tendrils of taste and scent in a way she could never have imagined was possible.
Something brushed the skin on her face. The sensation was so unexpected she flinched away from it.
It happened again.
She became aware it was water; each individual drop felt like the prick of a cold needle.
The hair on her arms and neck stood on end as a chilly autumn breeze swept past her. She pictured the wind tracing an image of her surroundings as it wandered through the trees and bushes. The image grew in clarity and an unexpected giggle escaped her. Now the vision in her mind was clearer than any she’d ever experienced through her eyes. Every variation of color; every pattern of tree bark; every vein in every leaf—vivid and real.
Were these images a lucid replica of reality? Or were they nothing more than a hallucination conjured from the depths of her subconscious? Aware of her body once more, she moved toward a low-hanging branch, reached out to touch it and felt a knobby stretch of wood against the palm of her hand.
Aiden’s voice echoed in her ears, mingling with the faint sound of trickling water and rustling leaves. The vibrations were clear as crystal. Sharp as obsidian. Not only could she hear them, she could feel them cascading over her body. She shivered involuntarily as nature’s beautiful melodies filled her being.
Aiden spoke again. “What do you see?”
“Everything,” she replied. “I see everything.”