I wake up. It was harder than I thought it would be. My mind is clear. Not very clear, but clearer than it has been in a long time. There is a man watching over me. He has been taking care of me, I can tell, but he is not my doctor. I don’t have a doctor any more. But I need one.
A doctor can do nothing for me now. Though it takes some time to come to terms with it, I know now that I am dead. I thought my expedition was alive, and they were dead. How do I know I’m really dead? I can walk through walls. It hurts like electroshock therapy, only everywhere. Or it is electroshock therapy and I’m just coping. But it is good to be out of the Asylum. It feels like I’m out, but out is worse than in, I think.
It’s a long walk to the library in Washington DC. From the Ukraine. Something there makes no sense. Don’t think on it too hard. Along the way the ways of the dead are explained. What it means to be a wraith. To be dead. To be here. Reapers. Shadows. Soulforging. Slaves. It’s pretty scary. The only reason I’m pretty sure it’s real is that if were the fantasy I created to escape the Asylum, it would be a lot nicer. Or the hell inside is maybe so much worse than this utopia I’ve constructed.
Either way, whether this is real or this is inside my drug and shock-fried brain, I won’t go back. Here, there is no hope, but at least there is a future. There, exists neither.