Part 1

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Each step the man took caused the wooden planks of the bridge to cry out as if they had been created for this very thing. He cringed at their echoing squeaks, hoping the Guardian would not hear his approach, desperate that this time would be different. That this time the Guardian had abandoned its post and left the island's only escape unwatched and unguarded. Alas, that fantasy melted away before the man's eyes.

As he reached the center of the bridge, the Guardian appeared to him on the opposing side through the perpetual fog. It was a menacing figure, backlit by a dreary blue light, its features impossible to make out at this distance. Its size and shape were nevertheless imposing, with six arms elevated – three on each side – it wielded war-like weaponry in a palpable eagerness to thwart his escape.

The man bore neither weapon nor shield. He took in one long breath before sluggishly returning to the small island from which he came, of which he was a prisoner. The island was host to life, but in a sick mockery of the real thing, like an image painted from memory, the small details lost and nonexistent. However, it, too, was enveloped by the lingering fog, a fog so still it seemed the sky itself awaited a smoky exhalation that would never come. The man believed the fog to be poison, draining his life and willpower, but he could not be certain. He wasn't certain of anything anymore, his memory broken and lost, shattered like his hopes for freedom.

He made his way to the center of the island, where he had built an encampment for himself several days ago out of stones and tree limbs. Had it been days? There was no sun to gauge the passage of time, so he could only guess. The knowledge to create the hut to ward off the occasional storm, the skill to build a fire to fight back the bitter cold, and the urge to eat, despite his lack of hunger, had all signaled to him that he'd lived a life once before–a life that called to him every waking moment of this strange and miserable existence. He so desperately wanted to find a way back to that life. However, the man knew what he had to do, he was just too afraid to do it. There was only one way off the island. Only one way to discover the truth. He'd have to confront that which he feared most. He'd have to face the Guardian.

Savior of Aemysa Isle (#WattysShorts)Where stories live. Discover now