Standard Disclaimer: This is a work of fan-fiction. I don't own Worm, Wildbow does.
A Worm Fanfiction
By PublicLee Speaking and Brownie
Conception Arc 1.1
It started, as too many things do, with screaming.
I came to with blood pounding through my veins, colors dancing in my vision and a sound both similar to, and completely unrelated with, wind whistling past my ears as the sense of falling kick-started my heart into overdrive. A yell of terror mixed with excitement reverberating around wherever I was sounded oddly familiar. Twisting around, a sea of prismatic light surrounded me, flowing past me as I descended, the strange gale pushing against me and twisting me around. I spotted the source of the sound that woke me, a dark form, partially obscured by the rainbow-colored clouds that we moved through, the figure leaving a comet trail of gold and purple fire behind him as he fell. The royal purple conflagration dancing and intermixing with flames that looked to be flickering and shimmering golden statues of fire, the two intermixing, distinct and separate but moving in tandem.
I tried to approach it, flailing my arms in a swimming motion ineffectively, doing nothing but sending me spinning at nausea inducing angles. As I passed through another cloud, I almost groaned at my stupidity. Dumbass, I'm not swimming, I'm FALLING! Spreading my limbs at an angle to divert airflow worked much better, stopping my spin and setting me slowly drifting my way closer to the person, who had stopped yelling and was now twisting back and forth, drifting with purpose, seemingly aiming for clouds to pass through.
As I drew closer the shape sharpened without intervening clouds, and I realized it was my best friend, Herb, a man who was my opposite in many ways. "Hey!" I yelled when I was couple dozen feet away trying to be heard over the near howling not-wind. Herb, who was casually spinning, jerked and lost control pinwheeling off to the side.
"Holy Shit!" he exclaimed, the sound reaching me as if he was right next to my ear, flailing in an attempt to stop the same unrestrained spirals I had just been in. I drifted closer and tried to grab him to help, getting kneed in the ribs before trapping his leg, letting him rebalance. Pushing off slightly, I moved us so we were roughly face to face.
"Dude, what's going on!" he yelled, causing me to wince.
"Just talk, I can hear you just fine," I responded. "I have no idea, I woke up here!" I continued in a normal tone, trying to keep myself from drifting away, the winds whipping at our faces and clothing as we attempted to keep stable.
"Same here. Wait, are you on fire?" he asked looking just above me, an expression of disbelief written across his features. Turning over in the air to lay on my back I saw that I also had a trail of flame pouring off of me as well, forming a tail of bloody red mixing with purple the same shade as my friend's stream. I wordlessly pointed above him as he turned as well, seeing the track he was leaving with a shout of "Holy shit! That's awesome!" He turned to look at me, grinning. "This is so effing awesome."
"Yeah, until we hit the bottom." I responded, looking down.
"Eh." He shrugged.
We both spun back to look down in this endless sea as we fell, for some indication of what was happening in this endless void.
"So," I said, trying to do something, anything that would let me focus on something other than this endless falling. "Know how we got here?"
He shook his head. "Not a fricken clue. Don't even know where here is. Kinda fun though, like infinite skydiving!"
"Yeah, but diving through what? Is this the Afterlife? Are we dead?"
"Well, if it is, and we're falling, that doesn't say good shit about what's gonna happen, does it?"
"Herb, you wouldn't go to hell. I sure as, well, hell shouldn't be going to hell either," I reasoned.
"Eh, you know I've got people I've got to go pick up from there."
"That's not how hell works you idiot. And you haven't done anything to deserve going there."
"Well, I've worked double-shifts on Sunday, don't particularly care about the dude upstairs, and have coveted the hell out of some of my neighbor's wives, never mind the two people I've killed. That's, like, four strikes right there."
I smacked him on the shoulder, sending him drifting off before he angled himself to drift back. "Dude you didn't actually kill anyone, you work in an old folk's home. So, without that thing which wasn't your fault, if that's all it takes, then everyone's going there." And really, if that's all it took, the only people up top would be babies, idiots, and holier-than-thou jerks.
"Well we are on fire," he commented, waving at the infernos streaking behind us.
I spun around and cautiously put my hands in the flame coming off my chest, feeling nothing there. "Yeah, but it doesn't seem like hellfire. Not that I know what that actually feels like." I spun back looking at him. "Any other guesses?" He shrugged and we went back to try and see what we were falling towards.
"Hey" He commented after a few minutes. "Are we speeding up & slowing down?"
I looked around as we descended, trying to gauge our speed by the clouds we passed. "I don't think so. Maybe? It's kinda hard to tell. I think so, my eyes are starting to water?" I turned my head to the side to stop them from drying, but the feeling only got worse as I turned, even closing them not helping.
"Um, I don't think it's the wind man, your eyes are glowing!" he said, nonplussed, one hand half reaching out to try and help.
I choked out a cry as the pain spiked in my eyes, the prismatic clouds sharpening and defining, turning colors for which I had no name. Unable to close them as I looked around, seeing lines that wove into complex patterns around us, congregating in the clouds, all stemming from a point far below. Hearing a pained sound from Herb I looked seeing him glow as well. As I watched him he flickered in and out of existence, a second, then third copy of him being made as he disappeared and reappeared, each one reacting to the pain in a different way. Each of him grew a glowing shadow, wispy and amorphous, a hidden figure of flame not quite matching his movements.
His copies spread out, each one with a smaller trail that connected to the main flame, twisting into it until the merged into one inferno. I felt a wracking pain as I saw tendrils of my trail extend, almost squid-like, touching his and skimming parts off, merging bits of his golden flame into my red, our purples merging seamlessly.
We continued, spiraling down through that prismatic hell. As I grabbed the original him and we held on to each other as we were wracked with pain, which ratcheted up as the glow around us intensified and we caught fire. The two of us screamed in agony as flesh bubbled and melted. Both of us were obese, and now that fat liquified, skin long burned off, flowing and wrapping around our limbs in in fiery lines of suffering. The pain reached inwards, burning bones and cooking organs for an eternity until it reached our spines, incinerating everything, the only feeling that wasn't pure agony was the feelings of our hands holding each other's arms.
The pain threatened to overwhelm me, coloring every cell with agony as I shuddered and convulsed for an interminable amount of time. I wanted to die, curl up and do whatever it took to make the pain go away. Several times the pain pushed me beyond what I thought I could bear, and then I did. Never sure if this time I'd finally snap and do anything to just make it go away. If it didn't mean I would be leaving Herb here alone, I just might have, but I didn't, though every time I went past my limit I felt like bits of me were breaking off, like a sandblaster to the soul.
Suddenly, and without warning, the pain blew away as if it were never there, leaving us gasping for a moment, blinking away tears. They ache in my eyes remained, but was nothing now that the fire had passed. Looking at my friend it took me a moment to recognize him. Where before he had a, to put it nicely, doughy physique there were instead hard muscles outlined against his sand colored skin, his shirt and pants now flapping greatly in the not-wind as the form they'd contained had shrunk and hardened. Looking at myself I saw the same thing. Where before I had a keg, I now had a washboard, my arms and legs thickened with muscle as well, seemingly rippling with strength.
"Holy Motherfucking Cocksucking Monkey Shit Fuck Suck a Motherfucker that Hurt!" he swore in a continuous stream, before looking at his new physique and uttering a small "damn."
"Heh," I choked out a laugh. "It hurt enough, but at least we'll look good if this is hell." Herb groaning as we plummeted we fell through another rainbow cloud, the vapor streaming past us. On a whim, I reached out and tried to grab a bit of the cloud stuff, hand hooking into the pattern that twisted through it, strands snapping from the pattern and reaching backwards, wrapping around me as the broken lattice flailed before weaving itself back as it was. As it wrapped around me my now loose shirt and pants tightened around, fabric shifting and shrinking to fit my new body type.
"Nope," he disagreed, eyes still clenched from the memory of the pain. "If this was hell it wouldn't have stopped."
Once again came a spike of pain as my flesh glowed, but the pain abated quickly as the glow settled into my skin, light outlining veins as it descended into my core. Herb's light did the exact opposite, branching outward from him in thin tendrils which caught some of the trail of fire coming off of me, but instead of absorbing it, the flame was held in place as Herb's eyes flickered and he gasped, looking around, paying attention to the patterns that flowed around us as his flesh glowed for a moment.
Panting for breath we looked down, seeing the patterns below start tightening towards something at the bottom. A third voice, this one a guttural, horrible laugh came from above us. Looking up we saw a . . . something hurtling down towards us. Whatever it was its coloring was monochrome, entirely done in blacks and greys as it descended. A humanoid figure was at its front with a long tether to the main body, a mass of long questing tentacles originating from a shrouded form reaching long past the figure, it's tail long and thin as it plummeted, laughing horribly as it did so.
It's tentacles, seemingly a mile long, brushed against us, finding no purchase on me, but wrapping around Herb before shuddering and letting go as whatever, or whoever it was streaked past us and quickly dropping out of sight, echoes of that mirthless laughter quickly fading.
We fell after it, the patterns around us tightening closer and closer until at the bottom a tiny well of light peeked out. As we descended a shape around that disk resolved into being, a long serpent, coiled in, around, and seemingly through itself, body studded with hornlike protrusions that glowed and shifted as it laid still, watching the disk.
"I think that's where we're going, and that's a whole lotta nope. Nope. Nope. Nope!" Herb pointed out helpfully, his voice sounding as weary from pain as I felt, looking at our destination with trepidation, fear, and revulsion.
"Hopefully the snake is friendly?" I tried. At his flat look, I got defensive. "What, it could be!"
He shook his head with a murmur of "effin' white people" as we descended.
The closer we got to the disk the larger it grew, from the size of a coin, to a pool, to a lake, and ever larger, putting the creature around it into greater and greater scale. It slithered up slightly, as we approached, head rising above its coils. By the time that we came even with its head, a great thing with far too many eyes, I had a hard time conceiving of how big it was, glancing over to see Herb hiding behind me reciting a constant repeating mantra of "Please don't eat us. Please don't eat us." Looking at it, trying to describe its size, words just could not express. Whatever this thing was, it didn't come from anything close to earth.
Looking at it a name sprang, unbidden to my lips. "Abaddon," I murmured, the name echoing weirdly in the space. Herb glanced at me before looking back at it, the head tracking us as we fell, giving a sense of smug satisfaction as we passed it, settling back down as we hit the disk, passing through a wave of light and leaving that realm of prisms and horror.
The light passed and left us blinking in the darkness, dotted with light. I heard Herb gasp and turned around to look the way he was and had to gasp. Below us stretched a huge sphere, dotted with bits of white, half of it a deep blue, the other half a patchwork of greys, greens, browns & lighter blues. I sighed at the beauty of the sight my breath freeing into crystals in front of me. As I tried to breath in I got something, but not much, panic starting to set in as I realized just how high up we were. The feeling of falling, which had lessened after we passed the barrier, started to pull at us again, dragging us down. I looked at Herb, whose eyes were wide with panic, seeing him mouth "What the fuck?" the sound muted in the thin atmosphere. I shrugged as I looked around, keeping a firm grip on his arm.
Honestly, if we were at a point we could see the curvature of the earth, we should be frozen, but we were fine. Not breathing was going to be an issue, but I knew I'd be able to hold my breath for a good 10 minutes, as would Herb. That certainty of that thought spooked me a little. How did I know this? I should be freaking out. I must be in the Freaking Stratosphere! But I was fine, not even a little cold, though that same certainty told me that if I let Herb go, he'd die. With this Truth in mind I grabbed my belt, now superfluous that my pants fit me exactly, and wound it around our arms, cinching it tight. At his look I tried to tell him "Don't let go!" I wasn't sure if he heard me, but he looked at our tied arms and nodded vigorously.
We picked up speed as we fell, the muted sound of air increased the farther we went, going faster and faster with no sign of stopping. As we traveled I realized that we weren't going in at a nice slow entry, whatever had dropped us off had done so geosynchronously so we were falling straight down. As this panicked thought passed through my head Herb waved his had in my face to get my attention. Pointing at the horizon I followed his finger, not seeing anything, until my eyes burned for a second, highlighting a halo of . . . something. Staring at it, our changing position quickly altered our perspective, outlining the figure not against the white of the horizon, but the black of space.
The figure wasn't that far off, and appeared to be almost angelic. A pale woman, with long platinum hair. She appeared to be naked, but had covered herself with three long silvery-white wings that extended from back, a large number of other wings extended out from her. The wings were irregularly sized and spaced, something I'd never seen in depictions of angels. It pulled at my memory, but I couldn't remember where I'd seen something like her.
Turning back to Herb I shrugged. So we're somewhere with angels. That's cool. My friend though was wide eyed and shaking in fear, looking between me and her. I looked back and noticed she seemed to be staring at us. Well, not us exactly, she seemed to be staring at Herb, who seemed to be trying to hide behind me. I mouthed a "Sorry" to the angel and turned my back to her, cocking an eyebrow at my friend. Moving to his ear to be heard above the ever-increasing sound of wind I yelled "What's wrong". He looked at me as if I was crazy. He yelled something that I couldn't quite make out. "Smurfs?" I asked.
He grabbed my head and brought my ear to his mouth. "SIMURGH!" he screamed. I stopped and turned back to the being that was intently staring at Herb. Silver coloring. Check. Irregular wings. Check. Hangs out in low earth Orbit and would know where just to be to see something unexpected popping in. Double check.
If the Simurgh was here then this meant that we were in Worm, the grimdark superhero story which I skimmed and Herb hadn't finished reading yet. The story that would result in the destruction of every earth if everything didn't go exactly right, and would still result in the deaths of hundreds of millions, and the suffering of tens of BILLIONS.