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Into the Inferno.

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Chapter One: Welcome to the Fire.

Erron was scared. The man with the gun seemed even more aggressive now that he didn't answer his question. “I asked you WHAT IS YOUR F**KING NAME!” the man yelled. Erron was panicking now, and it was obvious with all of his shaking. What was he going to answer? He decided that he was going to answer with the only thing he knew he could. The only words that escaped his lips were simple. “I…don’t…know….” And with that everything went black.

Erron suddenly snapped back to reality. He was in his hotel room. He looked around the room with sudden surprise, and he really didn't know why. It was a strange sensation of something traumatic that was only imagined, and neither existed in reality or memory. With a sigh he unplugged his phone from his solar battery. The country he was in had a different adapter, so he bought a solar battery to charge his much-needed cell phone. He looked at it a second, saw the missed calls from his travel adviser, and out it down to think. Why did his parents send him here? What was the point? The answer, or at least what they said was the answer, was to break him out of the shell he had constructed around himself as he got older. Sure he had no friends, never went out, and just studied and read books, but what was the point in all of that? It would never help him now, or later in life. Even then, a photography trip to a country in the middle of nowhere wasn’t going to help that. He sat and reflected a moment more before turning back to his phone and sending a call to his agent.

“They won’t let you leave” the agent said in a panicked tone. There goes my plan to get out of this early, he thought to himself. “Any reason why?”, Erron asked. “Something to do with a riot in the west or something, nothing really uncommon nowadays. The travel restrictions new though”. Erron thought on this for a second. “I guess that’s what you get for going into a slightly unstable country” he thought. “Will it impact my plans at all?” he asked. “As long as you don’t go that far west you should be okay. Where do you plan on going again?” the guide asked. “Hiking along the northeastern shoreline north of the bay around there, going to go hiking for a week”. “You should be fine then, just be careful”. With that Erron hung up. Putting his phone down, he thought about his future actions, and whether or not he was being safe doing it. “Whatever”, he thought, “Unless a riot can travel that far I should be fine. Besides, by that point the travel ban would be lifted and I can leave this terrible place”. Before long, a knock came on his hotel door. He got up to answer it, but when he put his hand on the doorknob the world passed him by, and darkness surrounded him.

There that feeling was again. The feeling of nothingness that he had lived but not remembered. He looked up at the rocks around him. It had been five days since he left the dreary hotel room for the lush outdoors. He had already filled his flash storage card with photos, and got through an entire book of the Chernorussian language and halfway through another. Learning came natural to him, but living was a different thing entirely. As he walked, he spotted something in the distance. A small town, it seemed. It took an hour at his slow pace to finally reach the town, but as he approached he noticed something odd: nobody was there. He approached one of the houses only to find it empty, its door hanging open. Unknowing what to do, he walked into the house. His brain scurried to find the word it needed. “Hello?” he asked, somewhat unsure. It didn't matter, as nobody answered anyways. As he wandered around, he walked into an office. There was a strange stench in the air, and as he investigated he walked upon something that would never leave his mind again. A man lying dead behind a desk.

He immediately jumped back. He had never seem something like that in his life, and the shock was still setting in. No longer wanting to be inside the vile room, he ran out. Wondering what he was going to do, he pulled out his phone. “NO SERVICE” was plastered on the LCD. “What am I going to do” he said out loud in a panicked tone. The only logical step was to go to the closest town, so he opened the “Mapping” application on his phone. Scrolling through the menu he located the map file labeled “SZEGRIA.kml” and opened it. “Error loading some data” was the response. Looking for where he was, he found the top of the map empty, without any data. “What now?” was his only reaction. The only logical step was to head out for the last town beyond the rocks. The town that he had left five days prior. The farther he walked out of that town, the more the light faded away.

The world returned to Erron running. “Almost there, I can see it” he said as encouragement to himself. It had been four hours since he left that dreaded town, and he could see the lights of the next. As he approached the docks that held the bay back from the town, he looked for signs of life. After searching a couple of minutes he found a dock worker. As he approached, he noticed the odd way the man was standing, looking around at nothing. “Hello, sir?” The man didn't respond. Erron realized that the man may not know English, so he decided to address the man in his probable language. That moment made him realize the difference between books and reality. In a slightly broken accent, he addressed the man with a simple hello, in which he received no response. “Maybe he didn't hear me?” Erron thought, but as he got closer all of his thoughts changed. The man noticed him, and let out an insane scream while running towards him. Erron panicked, and ran in the opposite direction. Running into a warehouse, he latched the door behind him. The man continually banged on the door, and the rusted hinges were not going to last long. Pulling out his wood-cutting axe, he waited. After a pause that seemed to last an eternity, the insane man broke the door down, and as he did that the boy lunged at him, axe in hand. The blade connected perfectly in the head of the man, who collapsed in a bloody heap in front of him. “Watashi ga naniwoshita...” And just like that Erron woke up.

“Last chance before I have to insert a bullet in that pretty little face of yours, boy. I like to know who I pissed off.” The man, the gun, it all was back. “My name…” Erron could hardly get it out without trembling. “My name… is Erron… Erron Naddeo…” “That’s good, you see young dogs at least have a semblance of intelligence”, the man said addressing his partners. One of the men looked at the obvious leader, with a worried expression. “What is it?” the leader said annoyed. “Sir, I thought I saw something move outside”. “Ah, stop joking. It’s not very fun…” The door crashing open interrupted him. More men with military rifles aimed at Erron’s captors. “Now, I want you to drop all your shit and leave this kid alone”. The man, with the determined look of a madman, said the simplest last words of all. “Never.” Just like that, a flurry of bullets flew around the room lasting for only a second, and when Erron looked up all of the robbers were dead. “You okay kid?” The man asked. “Yes, Erron responded, “Fine”.

Chapter Two: Into the Inferno

(Coming soon ;))

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