Of Twilight and Shadow

walking in a forest grove
only birds sounding
my footsteps crunching leaves
eyes watch me on all sides
following me in the twilight glow
the wind blows, dancing in the fallen leaves
the boughs sway to and fro around the sylvan path
a song fills my ears as I walk along
a clearing lies ahead of me
entering, I see a lad clad in leaves and vines
in his hands, he cups a flute
and plays the forest to sleep
a sparrow on his shoulder, wolf pups at his knee
I stood and watched as animals slept all around this boy
he played a song of twilight and shadows
a song of sleep and dreams
as his song came to an end, the stars twinkled their glee
the moon rose to say good night
I looked again to see him
he raised his head with a wink and a nod and vanished before my eyes
forward I walk, through sleeping beasts
when caught my eye, a small thing on the ground
I lifted it gently, holding it to my lips
Take care of it, spoke a voice, for now you hold time
and blew a note, low and long
to watch the universe’s beginning from swirling infinity

The Game

Okay, just a few more and I’ll be done with this level. Awesome.
I dropped the last of the soul crystals into the chest at the foot of my bed and stretched, trying to decide what to do next.
“Warning. System power failing.”
Looking around, I tried to find the source of the voice. There shouldn’t be anyone else here. I was in my Sanctum. Other players couldn’t enter your Sanctum and I didn’t have anyone keyed to be able to contact me privately like that. I wasn’t allowed to.
“Power failure imminent. Backing up system files. Please prepare to log off the system.”
“Log off? What the hell does that mean?”
I scowled with irritation as I took a few steps towards the door. Things were starting to feel heavy, odd, almost painful.
“Log off commencing in 5…”
I grabbed the back of a chair, pain shooting through my body.
Stumbling, I fell and hit my chin on the chair as I went down.
The ground swam up to meet me as I tried to catch myself. It was like my limbs weren’t obeying me.
Everything went black then…

Slowly, oh so slowly, I rose back up out of the darkness, wondering if something had managed to somehow get inside my Sanctum and kill me. But no…this wasn’t Resurrection. What was this place? It was only just barely lit, the lights running along the floor in a dull yellowish color. The ceiling swam as I tried to sit up and that’s when I realized I was being held down. Fingers fumbling, I scrabbled at the belt until it came undone and pushed the gloves off. Only then could I pull myself off this strange bed. No, it wasn’t a bed, was it? I stumbled away and tried to figure out where I was. Nothing seemed overly familiar, but it seemed reasonable enough to just follow the lights…
Once I was outside, I shielded my eyes, trying to adjust the lights. It was bright out and there were plants everywhere. There was even a tree growing in a crack in the street. A full blown tree. I glanced up, fully expecting to see my HUD just like I had all these years. But there was nothing there. No mini-map, no health monitor. Nothing.
“Is anyone there?”
Silence greeted my words, along with a slight echo.
It rang off the buildings and came back to my ears like a curse. There should be someone somewhere, right? There had to be.

It’s been a year. I don’t know if there’s anyone else left. I found a few more of the Game, but the players…I think they died. The survival systems must have failed before the power went. How long do you think they played like that? Trying to eat virtual food and drink virtual water without ever feeling satiated. It must’ve been horrible. So, yeah. I’m alone. I don’t know how long it’s been or where I am. Most of the signs have faded and I…I just don’t remember.