Staggering, he tried to stand up, and his hand touched the surface of cool and rough rock. Before he could ask himself where he was, he sensed the presence of something in front of him and felt himself gripped by a chill.
Something was breathing nearby. But why were those breaths showering his entire body?
…It was because the [something] that appeared to be in front of him was absurdly huge. Filled with rage and wickedness, it was lying in wait to eat him.
His own breathing became erratic. He wanted to run away, immediately run away at full speed; he had to run away, run away, run away. However, his body couldn’t move, as if it were tied down to his shadow. Cold and unpleasant drops of sweat dripped down his entire body like slugs.
His heart was frozen in fear. And yet, heat shook throughout his body. Did that mean that the thing right in front of him was something more ferocious than any kind of flame?
The air he inhaled was like poison, and exhaling it was accompanied by pain. However, the thing in front of him never tried to lay a hand on him.
Without appearing or calling out, the thing sluggishly turned in another direction. It was neither running away nor leaving. It had simply drawn its huge body back inside.
There was only one sentence that the thing communicated to him.
Don’t forget. Those words engraved themselves on his skin like a tattoo.
—This is neither a dream nor reality. This is the threshold world on the border between dreams and reality.
Never forget this thing, for you will meet it again soon.
Thus, with a pain in his chest that felt as if needles had been stabbed into him, and with the feeling of his blood burning as if on fire—he awoke.