And you’re scared.
But not by your own will. It’s like an enchantment put upon your subconscious.
You sit up, rubbing the back of your head. You feel extremely lightheaded. Probably from the hard landing you took. Your back is very sore, as if you’ve been sleeping on a concrete bed.
You groan and blink multiple times, trying to get your blurry vision to focus.
You hear the rattle of chains.
You reach down to your ankle and feel something cold and metallic.
Now more focused, you look down and see a large metal bangle wrapping around your ankle. It’s linked to a chain with huge, thick links. They’re a good inch and a half long, thick as a marker is round. You lift it up a little. It’s extremely heavy. You follow the line of the chain to its end.
It’s attached to the floor with a wide-topped, heavy-duty stake going through the last chain.
Which digs into a black metal floor.
The one you’re on.
You look around you, taking in your surroundings.
You seem to be imprisoned in a large birdcage with an old, European Gothic architecture flare to it.
Four sharp arms extend out and up from the bottom of the cage. More points jut out all around the top. It’s jet-black and slightly damp, emphasizing the cold of the metal.
You manage to stand, holding onto the bars of the cage for support. It swings a little. You peer down and through the holes.
You’re hanging about twenty feet above a round stone platform with a long slanting walkway attached to it.
And on top of it sits what seems to be a copper globe dotted with small yellow lights. It only has the continents though—a skeleton of a globe—which sprout from the thick copper base.
You look around you to the best of your ability. More pathways slant everywhere in the dark cavern, reminding you of an Escher maze. Beams of greyish light stream into the large room but, other than that, the entire place is drenched in shadows. You see other cages similar to your own hanging from an unseen ceiling. Intimidating Corinthian columns—with thick decorative leaves running up its cap and curling outward in layers—are carved from the cavern walls. The floor beneath the walkways isn’t visible…just a dark, bottomless pit.
You can’t imagine how anyone could navigate through this place.
“Ah, the little bird is awake,” a velvety voice with and English accent echoes throughout the cave.
You whip around, trying to identify its source.
You’re met suddenly with the glowing eyes of a Nightmare.
You let out a yelp and fall backwards, finding yourself sitting once again on the floor of your cage.
The Nightmare descends down to the globe, huffing.
Finding bravery in yourself and refusing to let fear take over, you stand once again. You move up to the wall of your cage, holding onto the interlocking bars.
“Show yourself, Pitch! Stop hiding in the shadows like a coward!”
He chuckles, which sends an involuntary chill down your spine.
“As you…” he begins. The final word comes from behind you. “…wish.”
You whip around to face him, your back to the cage wall.
He’s a lot more solidified than the shadow that you remember.
First of all, you notice his height. He towers over you, reaching a good seven and a half to eight feet tall. He is dressed in a floor-length black cloak. However, where the end of the sleeves would be, the cloak becomes one with his satiny grey skin, fading from the jet black to matching his skin tone in a smooth blend. The edges of the cloak are slightly parted down the front line, the two sides parting completely at his legs so the cloak trails slightly behind him. He seems to have on matching black pants that become the skin on his legs and his long thin feet, though those remain black instead of turning to grey. His coarse jet-black hair is combed back and away from his face, sticking out from the back of his head. It isn’t perfectly slicked back though. Some locks fold and twist over others in bouts of chaos. His face is long with high cheekbones, the bridge of his nose arching and joining the line of his forehead. He has a long, angular chin and thin dark-grey lips, which are curled into a twisted smile.
He has dark eyes. Black, you could call them. But a ring of fiery gold shines around his pupil, some colored strands snaking outwards into the rest of the iris, turning the area around the scraggly arms a shadowy grey.
They are focused on you.
You get over your initial shock. You take a menacing step forward.
“What’s the meaning of all this? What do you want with me?”
He chuckles again.
“You share something very special with dear old Jack,” he says as if it were obvious.
“So? What do you want with him?” you asked, brow furrowed in confusion. You begin to grow afraid. Not for yourself. But for Jack. But you don’t break your gaze from Pitch.
“He is going to play a very important role in a plan of mine,” he says, waving his hand. “But I’ll not bore you with the details. It’s not like you need to know them.”
You feel anger boiling within you. How dare he write you off like that, treating you like nothing more than a toy, a puppet in a grand scheme!
He seems to shrink, disappearing into the metal floor. He’s then suddenly standing behind you, leaning down and whispering into your ear.
“I told you that you would regret the day you ever involved yourself with Jack Frost.”
You swing around, your fist seeking cold skin. But it meets none.
“You’re not going to win, no matter what you do or what happens,” you hear Pitch say below you.
Looking through the cage, you see him standing beside the globe, looking up at you with an evil look.
“Every possible path leans in my favor,” he says, tapping his fingertips to his chest for emphasis.
“The…the Guardians! They’ll stop you! Whatever it is that you’re plotting!” you manage to choke out.
He laughs a long, cold laugh. “The Guardians? If they’re so powerful, why aren’t they here, rescuing you, their most precious diamond in the rough? But I’ve had enough chitchat with you. Our guest of honor has arrived.”
He slinks back into the shadows, the Nightmare left to patrol you and the globe.
What is he planning? To do with Jack? How is he going to use me to his advantage? “Guest of honor”…What could he possibly be talking about?
Then it hits you.
You begin to panic.