1. Perusing the Deepweb

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Adrian sat by the fire that had mostly burned away to a cold and gray ash. Only a few small pockets of heat remained as he stared into the dwindling pile of embers that struggled against the wind to stay alive. He was completely lost in thought, absentmindedly drawing his shawl over his shivering shoulders with a blank and unwavering stare. The cold was not important right now. Only his thoughts mattered at this exact moment.

It was impossible to tell how he had gotten here, and frankly it didn't matter. Adrian needed to think, and this was the place for it. He was lost, you see. Everything was miserable and bleak in this place, and the fire hadn't really warmed him anyways. The last embers changed from red to yellow as the wind blew briskly across the small clearing he was sitting in.

The tattered shawl across his back let the wind through like a sieve, and was on its last legs as far as a garment was concerned. This place offered no shelter against the gusting bursts and the land was barren as far as he could see. He paid no attention to his miserable surroundings, just continued to stare in the ever dying fire as the world grew colder and colder around him.

It was a strange feeling he was struggling with. There was nothing left to feed his fire, and he knew it would only grow colder here. It was inevitable. But for some unknown reason, he just wanted to stay here. The surroundings would be terribly uncomfortable, maybe even dangerous. It was no stretch of the imagination for Adrian to assume that he could die in this place if he did nothing.

It didn't matter, though. Why should he move? He felt the pain of the cold, but also a strange numbness in this place. At least he was alone here, with no one to bother him. Eventually he could give into the blackness of the night that was coming. It was peaceful, at least. Painful, but deathly quiet. Hopefully he could go to sleep and never wake up here.

The embers of the fire had dampened to it's final bit of heat. With a few sputtering throes, the remaining light and warmth completely left the fire pit. Darkness enveloped everything.

At that exact same instant, some unrecognizable circumstance put Adrian on his stomach. There was no rational transition of movement, no warning, it just happened. In one moment Adrian was sitting on his back end watching the fire die, in the next he was prone with his face being shoved into the dirt.

There was no time to contemplate this strange occurrence. Adrian could feel monstrous claws pressing into his back, able to rip through his shoulder blades in an instant. Razor sharp nails designed to slice flesh from bones threatened to fulfill their designed purpose on his own hide. The gigantic paw stretched across his body, pinning him down with a horrifying strength. He could smell the breath of whatever was behind him... it smelled like rotting meat. Huge, wet nostrils sniffed the back of his neck, leaving a damp cold area that sent shivers of terror up his spine. The claws gripped tightly into his shoulder threatening to puncture his skin; it was a vise that warned of instant death. If he drew too deep a breath, the nails of the monster might puncture into his rib cage.

Whatever this creature happened to be... It was ready to kill him in an instant.

The enormity of the monster behind him put Adrian in a mental panic. His thoughts had been hard enough to contend with before, now he was frozen in a mix of horror and fear that gripped him like the claws at his back. It was still pitch black- Adrian couldn't see a thing. He could only feel the raw power threatening him in the darkness, and smell the sickly odor of death. His mind went hyperactive as fear crept in. Paranoia and terror imagined villain's of every type- Any sort of beast could appear, here.

The behemoth took its time inspecting Adrian, making his instinct to struggle come screaming forth like a caged animal. He did his best to calm his nerves and tried to play out a scenario where he could survive this horrible experience. Maybe if he gave a sudden burst of strength and tried to roll away, he could leap to his feet and face whatever horror this was head on.

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