Closer and closer it came, that terrible emptiness. The golden hairs on her arms stood up; her skin parched in the void. She could still feel her body, but she could not see. The closer the vacuum came, the less she could feel. Still, she held on and waited, for now, there was nothing she could do except wait, for movement was impossible. Fear gripped her tightly in its arms. All too soon the silence was broken, not by the normal sounds of the night, but by a chanting from below. It began slowly, shallowly, quietly, swelling, filling, and becoming the night.
Down below her on the prairie in the distance, lights danced with the harmony of the chants. Louder and louder they became, and the lights grew brighter and stronger until she could see something small dancing in the shadows of the flames. One creature became two, then three, until the plain below her filled, and she couldn’t tell how many beings there were. Maybe, there was only one creature, and it had grown into one immense creature who had taken over the field. The chanting went on and on, the lights, and the creatures became the night itself; everything outside of them was nonexistent.
Altori watched and clung to the tree though she couldn’t feel her arms or legs now. She held onto her thought of separateness, fearing she would lose herself as Helen must have if she surrendered to the night and the oblivion beyond the dancing, moving, chanting night. Then with an upsurge of the inundating presence below, it was gone, and the void pushed in on her again. She fought to hold onto her sanity once more. It must end soon, she thought. My name is Altori, I have a sister somewhere named Helen, and I live in the village on the other side of the forest. Her mind continued to shout these words to herself while she fought the oblivion, and abruptly that too was gone.