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The man was in awe. The picture before displayed such skill and quality that held him spellbound, his eyes entranced by the work.
The image's content was strange as well, for dedication and talent had not been limited to the brushes. It showed a man dressed in simple leather tunic gazing to the side. He carried a loaded crossbow, ready to fire. The background was that of a lush, exuberant jungle, the sunrays beyond arching, old trees came down almost in a surreal manner to the ground, gently iluminating patches of the earth. The most intriguing part was that the hunter had been placed with his back turned to a mirror, a full-body sized one, in the middle of the forest! His other side was being reflected in the same. It didn't take away the masterful design of the portrait.
It was, as it was said before, a picture ingeniously created. It was almost as if one was looking at a photograph, no, a window to another location, away from the hazy, gray and polluted depths of city. Beholding the picture was indeed, relaxing, dream-like. He wished he lived that life of bucolic wonder, he wished so hard to just step through that archway of a painting and leave everything behind. He exhausted his mind, his being to that wish, but when he gently touched the painting, it remained closed to him, the door to beyond remained close.
The man thought about certain ironies. The painter had remained anonymous. One could have been paid handsomely for such a masterpiece, and yet when one automatically refuses monetary reward by choosing to be unknown, it can only be an action springing from the desire only to submerge others in harmony and peace with art.
The cigarette he smoked was over, and so he dropped the burnt rod to a nearby ash-container and turned all house-lights off, entering bed.
Perhaps an effect of the piece of art, sleep came easily at that night, like a soft, warm lulling. The mist of slumber slowly took him away, making him float in the uncounscious, mystical dreams.
His dream, unsurprisingly, was that of a jungle, an exuberant, lush one. He happily wandered through the green labyrinth in wonder, admiring the colossal trees and plants around him. That is, until something rather bizarre happened to him in this slumber.
He found a doppelgänger of himself.
There, standing before his path, was a flawless copy of himself, like looking into a mirror.
When he saw this peculiar figure, he gasped and stumbled back. What came to him wasn't fear, but surprise and confusion. Words were sucked from his mouth, and, to stretch even more his surprise, the doppelgänger jumped back and gasped as well!
The dream ended here, for the man seemed to be pulled back from the wonderland he was, swallowed back to reality. He had been sleepwalking, and, laughing at his situation, he found himself in the front of a mirror!
He probably knew uncounsciously were there was a mirror in his house, so when he walked to it, even in his slumbler, he knew he would be reflected. His mind translated this occasion as the doppelgänger!
He admired, a smile plastered across his face, the funny happening. His eyes loomed over his own figure until he came across something that washed off his grin like water washes dirt:
-The ground is soil. Wet soil.
Indeed it was, for he stepped not in hardwood of his house, but in a earth of dead leaves and wet soil, as he himself thought.
He looked in the mirror, in disbelief, his jaw dropping and creating thousands upon thousands of questions in his head, something that he stupidly beheld for several moments.
He was in a jungle.
It had been silent for this whole time, but now he saw, the trees arching menacingly at him, blocking the sun with a leafy roof. It was silent, only a breeze calmly making the foliage shimmer. But it was not calm, for it seemed to press around him, that wet, damp and hot air, like a heavy cloud of moisture. The forest was holding its breath, preparing.
Until he a stick broke behind him.
Then everything came into life.
All the jungle at once animated. The wind brew strongly, and from a still, heavy air, it became a thundering, buzzing storm. Noises were all around him. Everything happened in an animalistic, primal, tribal rhytm of natural courses. Chaos flowed like blood in veins there, and the crazed dance came to his surrounding. It pressed into him from all sides, pushing him, screaming at him.
The sudden transformation lifted the veil of stillness, and he stumbled forward, trying to escape the presence, the threat behind him, whatever broke the stick.
He ran, ran in that chase, like a threatened, defenseless deer.
The cacophony of primeval sounds, smells, sensations, everything seemed to dance this insane dance.
Everything seemed not to care about his fear, his boiling blood and injected eyes. He panted as he ran, whatever that was behind him kept the perfect pace, as if they were too instinc-driven beings in this tribal, almost drumming, rhytmic madness.
He forgot who he was, his name, life, everything. That place, that chase left only a small, weak and scared animal running for his life, desperately trying to survive, to sprint, jump for safety. Only his life mattered now.
His stamina had been drained, he had been left breathless and weary, thus he fell to a tangle of root in his knees, hiding now, not running. It had all come down to whether his predator would find his prey.
The forest shouted in his ears with everything, the drums growing louder, louder, louder, LOUDER!
Then, like a final blow to the screaming and shrieking and sounds, silence. The forest once more held its breath, waiting, anxious and ever-tense.
A sting. A sting so deep it seemed to pierce not only himself, but the whole world. It came through his mind, body, soul, for his very existence had been pierced by this all-painful, eternal sting.
He looked down.
An arrow. A bloodied, crimson arrow erupted from his chest., tearing apart skin, cloth, flesh and everything.
His face went alabaster pale as blood gushed from his wound, and his mind slowly faded into the oblivion of nothing. The last thing he ever saw was a pair of leather boots slowly walking before his eyes.