The man on the floor had no knowledge of who he was, or who he used to be. He remembered few details about himself, other than the fear, a fear that seemed to lodge itself in his throat, making it difficult to breathe. The mere notion of liking and disliking held no meaning for the man. He had wiped his slate clean, leaving behind a blank palate.
However, the purpose of a blank palate requires an idea of what one wants to put on it. Without that basic idea, the palate will remain a mystery none can decipher. The man shivering on the stone floor had zero connections with the world around him. The singular emotion he could place to his surroundings was raw fear. Just as a newborn cries when it is brought into a strange and horrible world for want of comfort, so the man whimpered in terror. Yet there was no other human being there to comfort the fellow. The looming castle walls seemed full of dark, horrifying secrets. Only his abject terror could comfort him in its suffocating, sickening embrace.
A shuffling noise reached the man's ears. The terrified fellow's heart began to pound in his chest, a dreadful throbbing in his head accompanying its rhythm. With a small bleat of fear, the man forced himself to his feet, staggering as his full weight fell to his legs. The walls seemed to be pulsating with life to the man's disoriented vision. The shuddering tremors in his body, assisted by both fear and cold, forced the man to clutch desperately at the stone wall for balance.
The shuffling noise seemed to be growing louder, and for an instant the man felt he was going to be sick. "No," he thought to himself. "I mustn't give up!" Narrowing his eyes to focus his vision, the man managed to pick up his head and survey the area for some kind of hiding place, barely managing to keep his precarious place on the wall.
In front of him a small archway framed long a hallway that lead deeper into the foreboding castle. All was made of rough, gray stone, although an embroidered rug was laid out before him. Near to the archway was a small table holding a potted plant and a small candle. Both appeared dusty, although the plant looked freshly watered. The idea of someone recently watering the plant sent a shiver up the man's spine, but he couldn't place the exact reason as to why.
To his right was a door. The door was made of light brown wood, and it looked well-worn and smooth. The man nodded to himself. "I can wait in there until this fit I'm having passes over, and then I can find out what's going on…" He tried to avoid thinking about who he was as well, but the question gnawed and worried at him.
Staggering badly, the man went over to the door, vision blurring as it came into focus. As he reached down to turn the handle, a wave of nausea struck him. He reeled forward, fumbling for the door knob as he fell into the door. The door swung inwards with the man clinging to the doorknob, jerking him to the floor as it crashed open. The man gave a short cry of pain as his knees connected with the rough stone.
Suddenly, the distant, vague shuffling turned into sure footsteps, strong and decisive footsteps, footsteps steadily increasing in volume as the approached the man. Heart pounding wildly, the man blindly slammed the door shut and staggered into the small room. He couldn't tell if the thrumming came from the steps of whatever was coming towards him or from the frantic beating of his own heart. Both served to make him sick with fear.
Stumbling backwards, eyes on the door, a grunt of pain escaped him when his hip connected sharply with the lone table in the room. Glancing back at the offending table, his eyes alighted upon a chair that was neatly pushed under the table. An idea struck him, and with stumbling, sloppy movements, he grabbed the chair and brought it towards the door. Disoriented, he again smashed his hip into the table, but managed to grit his teeth through the jolt of pain. Thumping the chair against the door loudly, he created a mock barricade, with the back of the chair jammed into the knob.
Just then, the thumping outside intensified and the man scrambled back in panic, throwing himself under the table. His head conked painfully against the table, and he gave an unconscious yelp of shock. Unexpectedly, the noises outside ceased.
The silence only served to heighten the tension, and as the seconds seemed to stretch into years the man's already shot nerves began to unravel. He could not stop the whimpering pants that came out with each breath, and his trembling limbs made the fabric on his body create a rough, scratchy noise he was sure those outside could hear. In an attempt to calm himself, the man reached out to grab a table leg. As soon as his hand appeared in the corner of his vision, however, his delirious imagination saw something reaching for him, and he gave a loud and startled cry.
"Daniel, we know you're in this room," a deep and sinister voice growled behind the closed door.
The sudden noise made the man whimper in fright, but the name made him pause in curiosity. "Daniel? Is that… Is that me?" The man did not know for certain, but decided to adopt the name, if only to have something to call himself.
"I've read your note, Daniel. The one you addressed to yourself. I must say, you put too much faith in a man who has no recollection of the life he lived. In fact, your idea of saving your "innocence" while following the plan in this letter is rather… insane." At this the deep voice chuckled, sending shivers up Daniel's spine.
This man… This terrifying man knew who he was, or at least who he used to be. Daniel felt a strange urge to reach out to the man and question him about this "past Daniel", but something within him quailed at the thought. Instead, he pulled his knees close to his body and hugged them, staring at the door.
"The door won't keep anyone out for long, Daniel, so I suggest you open this door now," the voice rumbled warningly outside.
Daniel did not reply.
A loud, breathy sigh echoed from behind the door, and with a start Daniel saw the doorknob twist slightly. When it would not budge the twisting turned into violent wrenching, ending with a frustrated grunt. A soft shuffling sounded outside, and a flutter of hope went through Daniel. "Maybe he'll forget about me and leave me in peace," Daniel thought hopefully.
A guttural snarling resonated behind the door, accompanied by heavy, thumping steps. The door suddenly crashed inward, wood splintering as some outer force slammed into it. Daniel stared wide-eyed at the gaping hole in the door, watching in horror as his only means of protection was destroyed. The chair has shattered under the impact, and the few slivers attached to the hinge could never qualify as a door.
Daniel wailed in fright and tumbled backwards, desperate to escape the monster that was now groping blindly inside the room. Daniel suddenly felt his back smack painfully against the opposite wall, just as the pale, fleshy monster grunted and tore the last of the door to shreds. Fear tightened his throat, and Daniel's breathing whooshed out in panicked gasps. The monster stood for a moment, then it snarled loudly, a wet guttural noise, and lunged at Daniel.
In desperate panic, Daniel screamed, jolting up from the floor and throwing himself against the table, flipping it at the monster. The monster slammed straight into it with a resounding "thunk", and for the moment it was dazed Daniel bolted out the door.
For a split second Daniel thought with delirious hope that he would escape. A painful, vice-like grip wrapped around his right wrist immediately after he dashed out of the door frame, stifling all thoughts of joyous freedom and replacing them with intense misery and terror. For at the end of the large hand latched onto his smaller hand was a stern, elderly man who stared down at the meeker man with loathing. The cold blue eyes glared down at Daniel, and Daniel's own eyes began to water as the grip tightened.
In a moment of wild panic, Daniel threw his full body weight away from the man in an attempt to free himself. The older man released him quickly, and the sudden loss of balance sent Daniel sprawling across the rough stone. Dazed and hurting, Daniel had no time to react before the other man stepped over to him.
Daniel cringed away from the other man as he stepped nearer, and a snarled, "How pathetic," reached his ears before a solid boot slammed into his stomach. Daniel gasped as the air in his lungs flew from him. The pain sent tremors along his body, and his entire being began to tremble and shake. A distant memory stirred in Daniel, and abruptly he remembered.
Yet the memory evoked no warm feelings. Only the knowledge that his father had been abusive and his childhood had been spent in fear.
This realization brought tears to Daniel's eyes, and he felt a sob wrench itself from his throat. All at once he was crying. Daniel didn't know who this man was, but he was just as cruel as this distant, barely remembered father. The pain and terror was all too much and the abuse struck a tender nerve in him.
The man above had gone silent for a second, but without warning he began to move about rapidly. Fighting back his tears, Daniel desperately swallowed his fear and, gasping from the lump lodged in his throat, he raised his eyes. Crying out in alarm, he tried, oh, how he tried, to scramble away, but the monster slammed his club-like hand into his head and the pain overwhelmed him. Darkness pursued him in his dreams.
Daniel awoke with a terrible headache, one that pounded at his skull and squeezed at his eyes. His body felt strangely light, but his wrists and ankles felt pained and rubbed raw, probably due to something being tied to each limb. When Daniel tried to move, the things tied around his wrists dug deeper into the tender flesh. That was when he opened his eyes.
His bleary eyes took a moment to adjust to the scene. His eyes felt raw from crying, and abruptly Daniel recalled all that had occurred so recently. Jolting up, he blinked rapidly to remove the blurriness, and when he could finally focus he gasped in shock.
Daniel was tied, stark naked, to two large posts. Four separate ropes were attached to his wrists and ankles, forcing him into a spread eagle position. Blood oozed from where the rope had chafed his flesh, and Daniel could feel his panic mounting when he realized he had no hope of escaping. A wave of depression hit him, and he sunk down as tears began to form when a voice suddenly called to him.
"Young man, are you quite all right?" The voice asked in a distinct German accent.
Unsure as to how to respond, since he could not see the other man, Daniel bit his lip and stammered with a hoarse, raw voice, "N-no, sir, I-I feel really sad and… and s-scared."
The words were difficult to find, floating as they were in a sea of lost memory, and admitting to himself that he was miserable only heightened Daniel's despair. When the man did not respond, Daniel's head sank to his pale chest. Daniel's breath caught in his throat when the voice spoke again, "Oh, I'm very sorry to hear zhat. You vere quite zhe curious fellow before zhis incident."
Daniel felt an immense relief when the voice responded, but an unexpected rush of curiosity as well. "Does this kind old man know who I used to be?"
"Do you know what I used to be like?" Daniel asked in a rush, words jumbling together in their haste to get out. Daniel felt slightly embarrassed about the garbled words he had spewed, and he hoped the voice could understand him.
Out of the corner of his eye Daniel saw something squirming towards him. Thoughts of his past were instantly shoved beneath his conscious mind as panic overrode it. Trying to keep his eyes on the crimson tendril, Daniel strained against his bonds, but that only served to make them tighter. Daniel jerked his limbs away from the poles he was tied to, and was surprised when the beam swayed slightly in his direction. Inspiration struck him, and he heaved against the ropes, pulling his arms towards his body. The rope cut into his wrists, and pain lanced up Daniel's arms as his muscles strained against the bonds, the force pulling into awkward angles. He dared not look at the posts, because he knew if he saw them collapsing inwards he would stop and ruin any chance of escape.
Daniel was panting, sweat cascading down his body his hands turning purple form lack of oxygen as blood welled up from under the rope. Suddenly the voice from before spoke again, urgently and with apparent panic, "Hurry, boy, zhere's not much time!"
With a strained grunt, Daniel pulled inward, and abruptly the force he was so desperately pulling at gave way to nothing. Daniel gave a strangled yelp before the posts collapsed. Daniel was yanked painfully down, body slamming into the compact ground. The falling posts slammed into his body, bludgeoning him mercilessly. Daniel let out a short scream when his right leg was crushed beneath the falling stone pillar, and the instinct to pull his remaining limbs closer barely saved his arm from suffering the same fate as the posts collapsed.
Grimacing in pain and breathing heavily, Daniel blinked back tears as he assessed the damage. He was underneath one pillar which had managed to fall on top of the other. His leg was lodged between this space, and Daniel paled when he felt warm fluid gushing over his skin. Swallowing down the bile that rose in his throat, he focused on the nearest task at hand; freeing his tied hands.
The knot was a mere slip-knot, and Daniel brought the rope to his teeth and began to tug at it. At first, the hempen material would not obey, and Daniel struggled not to accidently bite himself whilst trying to grip the rope. Finally, his teeth locked around it and he yanked back, grunting under his breath from exertion. The iron taste of blood filled his mouth, and the smell engulfed his nostrils as he struggled to breath in the tiny, confined space. At last he felt the rope loosen around his hand. All at once, a wash of agony flooded up his arm as feeling returned to his hand, and he bit harder into the rope as a muffled scream tore itself from his throat.
Flexing his now free fingers, warm tears drifted down his face as the jarred nerves buzzed in pain. The once confining rope fell away, and Daniel couldn't help but glare at it, as though it had been the one to tie him up.
"But that's not right," he thought, a sigh escaping from him. "It was that cruel, cruel man who put me here for some reason."
Daniel shookhis head as though to alleviate the feelings of despair, and then he set to work on freeing his other hand, working with his teeth and his right hand. When the wave of pain flooded the freed hand Daniel once more cried out, but he soothed the pain by massaging the aching skin.
As he leaned forward to undo his left leg, a wave of light-headedness and nausea swept over him, and he reeled back onto the floor as the heat in the small enclave intensified. Bile rose threateningly in his throat and he turned his head and hurled the contents of his stomach onto the ground. Sickened, Daniel tried to turn away, but that only provoked the nausea, and his stomach heaved in an effort to relieve itself.
Daniel felt the yellow, acidic bile dribble down his chin, and a small, pathetic whimper escaped him. His body had been growing paler as blood seeped out of his leg, and now his entire body was shuddering as the stone engulfed him in frigidness. A sudden whiff of sweetness hit him, and he breathed in the calming aroma. It was heavily masked by the sour, rank stench of bile, but it was there; a strange, calming scent that reminded him of something… It had been the smell he had woken up to in the hallway, and now it plagued him with a whisper of memories. What was it…
"Damascus rose!" he exclaimed, or in this case wheezed. But he remembered something that had happened in his past life, and the blurred memory bolted into the front of his mind.
He had been in a state of panicked fury, rushing about the castle in a frenzy. He was muttering things rapidly under his breath, but Daniel was unable to "hear" them in the hazy recollection. The past Daniel rushed into a room and paused for a second, gathering his breath before lunging towards a cabinet full of jars, jar containing a plethora of multi-colored liquids, and one that held pickled eyes that seemed to catch the past Daniel's own eye.
The past Daniel grabbed a large pot that was clearly labeled "Damascus Rose". In his haste, a gush of bright pink liquid spilled out onto the floor, coupled with a multitude of rose petals. Cursing lightly, past Daniel brought the pot over to a table and pulled out a badly crumpled piece of paper. Although the finer words were blurred, Daniel remembered the large words of the title; "How to prepare an amnesia potion".
Past Daniel skimmed the note, and paused for a second, reading a part that (Daniel assumed) must have been an important bit. "Do not drink raw, for the effects will be amplified, leaving the subject rendered incapable of recalling any previous memories. This will obliterate most of the subject's personality, and will cause mental health problems. Other side effects include…" past Daniel trailed off and, with shaking hands, he filled a large wine bottle with the un-purified liquid.
For a moment, he held the filled bottle at arm's length, watching the thick, viscous fluid dribble down from the top. His eyes followed the lengthening trail, and he abruptly thumped the bottle onto the table, rattling the vials and other apparatuses upon it. A wretched grimace graced his features, and his hands went to his face, rubbing the skin into folds. His trembling hands wouldn't cooperate, and a small sob fled from the past Daniel.
Suddenly, his features hardened, and he reached into a pocket on his trousers and pulled out another crumpled note. This one was relatively new, and the black ink had smeared across the page. He stared at it for a moment before placing it on the table, smoothing it out carefully. He grabbed the bottle full of the amnesia drink, and with a deepening frown, he muttered, "For her."
Past Daniel put the top of the bottle to his mouth and gulped down the concoction. The dreadfully sweet substance filled his mouth, the stench filling his nose, but he swallowed the fluid until it nearly choked him.
Coughing, past Daniel hastily wiped the pink fluid off his mouth, scratching lightly at where it gathered in the corners. Inexplicably, a kind of mad terror seized him, and he bolted from the room, bottle flailing wildly from his swinging hand, spilling the liquid occasionally. A babbling speech jumbled out of his mouth, words that Daniel could no longer understand nor remember. The last memory he had was collapsing before a door, and then the nightmare had started.
The strange memory left Daniel feeling bewildered, but a brief hope fluttered in him that all was not lost. So, with renewed vigor, Daniel quickly untied his left leg, glad that the rope had not been tightened as much as the ones around his wrists. But then there was his broken right leg.
Clenching his teeth together, Daniel wrapped his trembling hands around his knee, just above the crushed portion. A convolution of weakness swept through him, leaving him gasping for air. Gulping down the intense feeling of helplessness, Daniel again wrapped his hands about his knee, and yanked at the wrecked limb.
The lower leg slid out easily enough, and Daniel thought this rather peculiar when he quickly realized it was lubricated by his own blood. Tears sprung to his eyes, and exhaustion flooded his frame as the extent of the injury came to light. It was a complete compound fracture, the fibula bone cracked, slicing through the muscle and tendons that were supposed to compromise the back of his leg. Now that the pillar was no longer pressing down on the wound, his blood flowed freely, the crimson fluid covering his bare leg and pooling beneath him.
Panic and horror consumed Daniel and, screaming, he scrambled away from the ravaged leg, trying to get away from the reality of his hopeless situation. His mind couldn't take it, he yearned to escape. His conscious mind came back to existence when he had cleared the wreckage. He had dragged himself away, leaving a wide trail of blood leading to his broken body. "And that's what I am. I'm broken, in both body and spirit, unable to remember anything from my past and ruined for whatever future I might have had. I can't even walk properly anymore."
Before the sobbing could escalate, a dreadful, inhuman howl rent the air near him. mIt wailed in anger, sorrow lacing the loud, caterwauling cry. It chilled Daniel, and he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. It was a tendril, thick and blood-red, pinkish dangling from its tentacle as it began to overrun the room. The howling set up once more and Daniel struggled to raise his head from the floor to see what was causing the ruckus. As soon as he saw it he screeched.
A large mass of flesh was moving towards him, tendrils reaching out and grasping at the walls, pulling itself towards him. The pulsating flesh seemed to rip apart the very air, tearing the room with its thrumming vocalizations. The most terrifying aspect was the thickening darkness gushing from it. It was the most menacing creature Daniel had seen in all his recent memory, and fear drove him to his foot.
Staggering horribly but gripped by the menacing terror, Daniel limped from it, but a painful slap to his one good leg sent him sprawling to the floor. The monster had caught him, and already the tendrils were spreading up his legs, mauling his pale flesh. Daniel screamed, tears flowing freely as he tried to free himself.
"It's hopeless, I can't do it. I wasn't meant to live." The thought sent a flood of self-pity through him, but suddenly the tendrils were wrapping around his stomach, tearing into the flesh as though they were seeking to rip him apart from the inside.
Daniel screamed and cried, calling out in desperation, "VOICE! Voice, help me, please, I c-can't do.." his own voice trailed off as his lip trembled in pain, sobbing wails wrenching from his body unbidden as he cried.
"I'm terribly sorry, Daniel, but zhere is nozhing I can do. Please forgive me, but zhis is zhe only vay."
Darkness swam into Daniel's vision as the monster continued to swallow him hole. The inky blackness drowned him, and Daniel's exhausted mind and body
collapsed into unconscious, where darkness pursued him in his descent.
Author's Note: So begins HRP. I do hope any who actually find this story and read it enjoy it as well! While it may seem more Amnesia than Harry Potter at the moment, that's because, well, it is. But don't worry! Chapter Two is in the works, and I daresay the Potter gang will make a much needed appearance. This story isn't in this section for nothing!
Anyways, if you enjoyed the story, drop me a review, please! If you absolutely loathed the story, don't just say so, tell me in detail, so that I might improve in the future! Got any questions? I'm sure Daniel has them too! Ask away, and I shall respond, but if it's a story element, well, you'll just have to wait. Thanks for reading! Later~