You are currently viewing Castle of Dark Illusions, [Fiend/Effect] by Tom Snarsky

Castle of Dark Illusions, [Fiend/Effect] by Tom Snarsky

First the drawbridge falls & crushes my head
Then when I respawn I drown in the moat
Two of my hearts are just outlines now & I’m
Underwater from the start this time
But I get tangled down in the loose weeds
& drown anew
Three hearts outlined & they put me in a forest
Lightning & falling trees don’t get me
But the wolves do
I’m up in the turret with four hearts empty
This spawn point doesn’t make any sense but
I’m too hopeless to put up a fight
The NPC is hunched over a mystery box
When I go to look inside they turn
& stab my face
& I respawn with no weapons at the bottom
Of the same dark spire a
Spiral stair spools down to me & I climb it
Now I lose a heart just from fear
I don’t even have to die this time & don’t know
How few I have left but less
Than halfway up the stair a spike triggers
Shoots straight out from the wall through my
Heart & I respawn again in a great hall
Of armors & weapons none of them
Mine I am still unarmed & I take
Barely ten steps before the poleax
In one armor’s arms falls
I respawn on a tiny island in the middle
Of a lake nothing but fog & water all around
I’m wearing the armor whose poleax
Slayed me it’s so heavy it’s making me sink
In the soft dirt I try
Swimming but it’s just more sinking
Through the green water into even softer dirt
This heart outline is
Worse to earn because I just have to wait for it
I respawn finally in a chamber of gold
Barred behind by a platinum door
Two hearts left full
The NPC is here
Hooked up to an iron lung
A golden lung
Their body doesn’t move
Their hair is thin & limp
shallow breaths
You have two hearts says the voice
Coming from within
The chamber of gold
Will you give one of them now
It doesn’t take anything to say yes
No special input
Another heart outlines & the machine whirrs
The NPC’s eyes open slow on the golden table
They look over at me sadly
& say thank you
I have one life left too
But maybe you didn’t know
Color returning slowly
To their cheeks
It takes one more to open
The platinum door
This fact hangs like an executioner
Hanged by another
The voice within the chamber of gold is silent
The air is a mystery box
We look at each other in the quiet
Faces crimped with pain
& well-lit in the gleam
From the platinum door
Platinum yeah
I remember
The forever metal