Mike woke with a jolt. All was darkness around him, the air seemingly thick with shadows. He put his hand in front of his face, and was unable to see it.
"Power cut.", he muttered to himself. He got up off the bed, and made his way blindly to the door. Reaching out, he grasped the handle, turned it and tugged. The door would not open. He frowned, and tried again. It seemed totally stuck, as if someone was pushing on it from the other side. (Not something, Mike told himself firmly). He turned around and, groping through the dark, touched his bedside table. His hands found his alarm clock, and he flicked the switch on the back. The screen came to life; however, it was flickering and seemed at some points to go out entirely. On top of that, there were no numbers; rather, meaningless symbols flowed across the screen, changing all the time. Mike felt a shiver go down his spine, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up. He turned around to the window, and looked out. A grey light seemed to be flowing from a point in the sky; it seemed to do nothing, rather than outline the shadows which flowed and eddied across the ground.
As the light grew, Mike could pick out more detail in the street. The buildings were torn and wrecked, walls collapsing and roofs caved in. The light grew brighter still, and the entire street came into view, save for the areas in alleyways or under rubble where the shadows still flowed and twisted.
Mike realized with a surge of panic what he was looking at. It was his street, but it was…strange. Looking past the wrecks and shells of houses, Mike peered into the distance. He found his gaze drawn almost inorexibly to other things, as if there was something that was stopping him from looking into the haze that blocked out the horizon.
He tore himself away from the window, and took a look at his room. It was the same as it always had been, and yet it too was different somehow. Perhaps it was the darkness that rimmed his vision, always there but disappearing whenever he tried to focus on it.
Mike walked across the room, and tried the door handle again. The lock clicked, and the door swung lazily open, revealing the narrow hallway. The end was totally dark, but Mike again found his gaze averted. He climbed carefully down the stairs, pausing at intervals to listen for any sounds. All he could hear was carefully textured silence.
He peered around the living room door. In the other rooms, there had been no disruption, just a feeling of general wrong-ness. In here, however, the destruction was clear. The TV was lying on its side, apparently undamaged, with a liberal coating of glass frosting coating the plastic body, the origin of which became apparent when a breeze blew the curtains that covered the windows aside, revealing the smashed glass pane behind. Mike looked more carefully at the couch, which had been flung across the room and now lay shattered in a corner, and then sprung back, bile rising in his throat.
Fused to the bodywork was a corpse. Its skin hung in tatters, revealing the black, festering flesh underneath. The eye sockets were empty, the holes filled with crusted blood. Mike staggered backwards, and tripped over an upturned stool. He ran to the front door, and wrenched it open.
The air outside was cold, with a smell of rotting leaves invading Mike's sensitive nostrils. He stepped carefully over a pile of rubble, and began to walk down the street.
"Lucy?" he called cautiously. "Paulo? Daisy?"
He looked around at the houses; they were dark and empty. Now he thought about it, the only house that seemed to be whole was his own. The rest were smashed and torn, with some missing walls and roofs.
He turned a corner, and stopped dead. Standing in front of him was Lucy, but she too looked different. Mike couldn't quite focus on her, as if she wasn't altogether there. She smiled faintly, a cold, twisted grimace that seemed to throw her whole face into shadow. She raised her head, and looked at Mike.
"Hello, old friend." She said. "I see you made your way here safely. Excellent."
Mike took a step back.
"Where are we? Where is everyone?" he said. "Why is everything broken?"
Lucy just kept on smiling. She looked at Mike, her eyes narrowed.
"I think you know why you are here." She put her hand up teasingly to her mouth. "For too long, we've been playing your games. Now, it's your turn to play." Her smile grew all the wider. "But this time, the rules are mine." She threw her head back and laughed, a horrible, screeching cackle that made Mike instinctively curl up, hands over his ears. When he looked up, she had gone. In her place was a door. He stepped forward and looked it up and down. It was just a simple, wooden door, apparently standing of its own volition in the middle of the road. He walked slowly around it, taking in every detail. Taking a deep breath, he grasped the door handle firmly. As he did, the world seemed to darken. Shadows were now flowing lithely across the ground, covering the houses and the road. The light dimmed and faded. The ground seemed to open up under Mike's feet, and a thousand screaming voices washed over him. With a cry, he pulled on the door and stepped through.