The White and/or Red Queen smiled. "I'm always here, silly! I live here, now. And It wont let me leave. Never, ever. I'm here. Forever. Forever and always. And I can't die. Won't die. Won't let me. It. It won't let me die. This is forever." Her voice was totally monotone now.
"Not for you though." Back to normal. "You can still leave. Not that it matters. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. And again. Forever. The cycle cannot be broken, you know. Nothing ever really ends. There is only and always, forever and ever, the hurt and loneliness, the pain and the sorrow, the anguish and the despair. It is the Truth, and It is inevitable."
"What won't let you leave?"
And he did. But he didn't, of course. Couldn't know. Not really. To know would be to die. That he knew. And he knew she was right. In his heart, he knew it. It was inevitable. It was the way the world ended. Never ended. Always and forever the hurt.
"Well I'm going home now." Anass threw his fish where the table should have been and stood up, behind him was a door, He didn't know there was a door behind him until now. Anass opened the door and hoped it would take him home.
Anass opened the door and fell through forever.
He fell forever, through forever, alone in the endless void.
Alone with It.
And It saw him.
Anass landed with a thud next to Ode and Tahira. Still no sign of Ismat.
The moment Anass realised where he was he shot up the stairs.
Maybe they'd work this time.
Ismat screamed and thrashed, scratching at the air around her with intense fury and frustration. She didn't feel so much submerged, as part of the water itself. Translucent, transparent. An amoeba within the belly of a god.
Blind anger was the only thing unique, wholly apart. She ran, but could not bring herself to trust her eyes or feet. She shrieked and hollered, but could not determine whither the sound was real or purely within her own mind.
Still, the shriveled things wrote. If nothing more, she despised their complacency.
Without thinking, her hands grasped one of them around the shoulders and shook it violently. Her mouth gibbered uncontrollably, but her tone suggested she still expected it to understand. Ismat was incomprehensible to herself, but it would understand, for certain.
"An-" Ode began, but the thug ran past her and up the stairs. She rolled her eyes and followed him at a far more dignified pace.
The creature melted into nothingness. Then the room did. Then everything did. Including Ismat.
Ismat was alone, forever, in nothingness. Alone forever with It.
Ismat found herself in the hold deck of the ship along with the others, just in time to see Anass reach the top of the stairs.
Just in time to hear the roar.
The whole ship began to shake violently. Blood started streaming down from the spaces between the wooden planks of the hull.
Large, jet-black, jagged outcroppings of... something began jutting forth from the walls, floor, and ceiling. Nearly skewering Ismat and Tahira before they could move out of the way. They obscured the way up, as well, just before Anass could go up to the middle deck.
But not before he could see it.
It was pure nightmare. It was roughly ten feet tall, its skin a shifting greenish hue with strange patterns dancing across it. Muscular and vaguely humanoid, the hunched thing had two large dragon-like wings, and a head that resembled a cephalopod, terminating in a mass of tentacles that Anass could not count no matter how hard he tried.
And it saw him. Saw right through him. Saw all of them. Saw right into them. So naked before it.
There was nowhere to go now but the hold.
Ode tried to scream but all that dribbled from her lips was a strangled gasp. She stumbled backwards, all her grace gone, then turned and ran. Ran from the thing that Saw them.
As she ran past Ismat and Tahira she gabbled and pointed, reaching out to grab them but not daring to slow down.
Instead she ran past them, on toward the hold.