I was suddenly aware of my consciousness, though something stopped me from opening my eyes. It wasn't that a physical obstacle prevented me; the slow build of dread rising in my chest at what might meet my gaze was enough to keep my eyes shut tight. I had woken up with no recollection of how I’d gotten here... wherever “here” was. The soft undergrowth cushioning my body felt cool against my burning skin, but it remained the only clue of my whereabouts until I could manage the strength to open my eyes. Perhaps I should take inventory of my surroundings. I forced myself to lift my lids, a hiss escaping as the bright orb singed my eyes. I instinctively winced at the brilliant rays, lifting a hand to my face to block them from paining my eyes.
As I finally let my eyes adjust, I glanced around at my surroundings to get my bearings. Vivid colors met my gaze, still too brilliant to quite make out as the sun had dazed my eyes, but even their blurred, dancing vibrancy enchanted me. I tried to lift myself to get a better view of what was around me but immediately felt a throbbing pain building in my head as a whimper escaped my throat. Perhaps that wasn't a good idea yet, though the reason as to why only elusively fluttered around my mind. Soon, however, I pursued my original goal of getting up, much more carefully this time, though my body seemed to refuse to cooperate. Ever-persistent curiosity, however, soon got the better of me. I finally managed to struggle into an upright position, trying to ignore the pain as I felt my eyes hungrily sweeping the landscape.
The otherworldly view swam before me; it was like nothing I had ever seen before, though I wasn't sure how I knew that... Funny, now that I thought about it, I couldn't seem to recall that much at all. My brow furrowed in confusion as the mesmerizing color of the surrounding nature entranced my eyes. Swirling reds and purples of floral vegetation curled around sturdy hazel shoots reaching for the sky, though the shoots eventually got lost and tangled together with their neighbors in a net of green arches. The ground below me seemed to slightly shimmer from the glistening droplets upon its sleek surface.
Suddenly, the hypnotic lull was broken as a large object caught my attention, one that had wings and a gaping wound in its side. I crawled towards it, a muffled, nagging voice in the back of my mind trying to tell me its significance. Though as I edged closer to the mystery, the voice fell silent. There were bodies strewn around the beast. They were mostly mangled and a few half-eaten; however, none were left alive. It was sickening.
The world suddenly began to sway as the feeling of dread started roaring again in my chest with panic clawing alongside it. My eyes continued trailing from one corpse to the next, flitting between bloodied injury after bloodied injury. I collapsed to the ground again, curling up and trying to sift through the pain in order to figure out what the hell was going on. A few thoughts began bubbling up, though they twisted the knife of pain further into my skull and prevented me from focusing on them. Finally, I was unable to withstand it all and let out a guttural howl before my vision faded once more.
As I came to for the second time, I realized that my overworked brain had managed to wring out a few details as I lay unconscious: the winged beast that had appeared to have consumed the then-animated corpses was instead the airplane that I had arrived here in, and the unfortunate beings surrounding it had been my fellows on the journey. Something had gone terribly wrong during the travel, causing the vessel to crash in this strange place, killing most of the travelers. The rest, perhaps, had gotten lost in the phantasmagorical jungle surrounding the site. I didn't want to have to think of what else could have occurred. In fact, I refused to pursue that thought further as the indistinct growling, purring, screeching, and other noises of the area did not sound the least bit welcoming.
But the noise only grew. The brilliant radiance of day was beginning to tuck away her sleepy head, and night began his prowl, bringing all manner of foreign beasts with him, as evidenced by the unwelcoming sounds. I had somehow managed to force myself into a standing position, nervously scanning the area. I needed somewhere safe. I finally found and locked my eyes on the prize, grateful for anything as I headed towards the only source of shelter I could find: the vessel.
Alas, even such a simple plan was destined to fail. As I staggered off towards the gaping maw of my to-be home, I felt an uncomfortable prickle on the back of my neck, my muscles beginning to tense. A glance backward told me the shadow of something much more limber and stealthy than I had started its hunt with me as its prize. Panic started to take over as I registered the danger, causing me to blindly stumble faster towards the hope of safety. I barely heard my pursuer, as it likely had much more practice at the art of silence, though I knew it was there as I trudged forward. Was it a doomed endeavor? Panic and logic tussled in my mind as my legs blindly stepped forward to create distance from the unknown threat. The crunch of leaves beneath my feet was amplified to a deafening roar in the pursuit, though was it much of a pursuit if there was no chase? I could feel the unresolved tension of the unknown prickling at my neck as I got closer and closer to my destination. A moment of relief was on the cusp of flowing through me, as I had almost reached the center. Just a few more steps and I would be safe.
My outstretched hand reached for the chipped white surface of the vehicle to begin my climb into its shelter, but it was a false hope. The creature (being much faster than I) had finally decided to pounce. It was midnight black and sleek, seeming to blend in with the very air itself. I barely had time to register its attack before it clamped down on my leg, earning a stifled cry from me, its unfortunate prey. It seems the beast had been toying with me, allowing me to feel a glimmer of safety before it assured me that I wasn't out of the woods yet. I began to struggle for my life, wildly kicking out and scrambling for some sort of hold or weapon or anything that could save me. Though initially slender in appearance, thick muscles bulged as the creature yanked at my leg. It was a cruel game of tug-of-war as I fought to hold on to the edge of the plane. The feral foe bared its teeth and pulled at my leg to dislodge me, its unforgiving emerald green eyes locked on me as I struggled. It seemed to be telling me that my time was up, and maybe it was right. But I wasn’t going down without a fight.
A growl was all that came of my efforts, then a roar as my foot connected with something hard; playtime was over. Claws raked at my sides, and I felt a sticky warmth trickle down after, a gurgling sickness rising in my throat. My pursuer sunk its teeth in my neck, and a metallic tang was all that was left before my life whisked itself from my body.
All I could see was black, and a strange language surrounded me as the cold air hit my body. I struggled to open my eyes, soon scrunching them back up as a small wail escaped my throat at the unfamiliarity. Someone shushed me and gently picked me up, slowly rocking me and comforting me. I continued to cry, though I soon tired myself out and clung to the person, still whimpering slightly as I wasn't sure what else to do.
It seemed that I had been given another chance at life, though I didn't know it yet at the time. I was but a newborn child, fresh and reborn to the world with infinite possibilities; I was blessed with a new start. A new beginning.