Blood pours out of the ceiling, "aetherion." His name rings like a worn-out doorbell, late and distorted. Rust clings to its rattling frame. I look to the oarsman, still rowing with his ember stare nevertheless glowing backwards to the not-too-distant shore, buried under smokeless fire in the cold island night. The unseen ashes of akashic souls sink beneath the soil and far down into an infinite chasm. I begin to feel very heavy. I thought we'd left the shore. The oarsman's eyes are blue.
I feel very, very heavy.
I can barely lift my hand. It pushes down into the wood of the boat, deep. I feel the creases of the wood, and then I can't tell where my hand ends and the wood begins.
I feel so heavy.
My back feels pulled towards the water beneath us. I thought we'd left the shore. The waves rock back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I feel as though I'm sinking into them. The sky becomes hazy. I can't feel where I end and the boat begins. I thought we'd left the shore.
I feel myself under the lake, beneath its floor. Sinking deep down. I see nothing. The earth moves softly over me. Then I stop. The oarsman's eyes are violet.
He's saying something which I can't hear, then as though having a conversation. His eyes focus on me. I'm feeling so heavy.
The boat cracks under my weight.
The boat is being pushed down. My body is pushing it down into the water. Worms begin to crawl out of the wood, eager to escape. They inch over every inch, and over eachother, increasingly frantic to get out.
The oarsman falls into a heap over my body. I awake to find him moving over me, shapeless and obscure, covering every pore, coating my fingers and covering my chest, moving over my face and through my throat and eyes. I can't breathe. I can't move. I am sinking. The oarsman's mass grows thicker and thicker. The boat shifts and pulls deep into the water. Moisture on my fingertips. Numbness. I'm covered completely, falling rapidly downwards. I thought I'd left the shore.
The oarsman is wrapped around me.