The pole is ripped out of my hand as the air swirls and rushes around me. Before I have time to utter a scream, my body makes contact with what feels like liquid fire. I twist, kick, and fight, trying to push my way to the surface. Instead, I am pulled deeper into this pulsing redness which sears not only my skin, but entire body, inside and out.
I fight on, struggling to regain some control. I try swimming, but find my arms and legs won’t move like they would in water. I try climbing, but can’t get purchase on anything. The panic swirls in my mind, no recriminations about how stupid I was to even try this, just sheer panic. Recriminations will come later, I am sure. But for now, all I can think of is getting away from this pain. Yet I can not find a way out.
Finally, my energy waning, I stop fighting. I decide to let the pain overtake me and I wait. For death. For loss of consciousness. Either would be better than continuing to fight this losing battle. To my surprise, the pain ebbs as I stop fighting. Never retreating fully, but pulling out slightly from my body. Where once my spine ached with it, now only my head, feet and hands throb. I lay as still as I can, letting the viscous fluid carry me along. The pain never goes away, but I find I can bear it as it carries me along if I don’t fight.
Time passes. I wonder if I could now push my way out, so I again attempt to swim, only to find the pain shoot through my body, more powerful now than ever before. I go back to being carried along. I lose track of time as the pain controls my journey.
Eventually, the substance thins, the pain recedes and I wake to find I am on a sandy beach, its surface irritating my external burns, but its solidity comforting to my internal wounds.