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From Shifti
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Author: Virmir

He sat in the open field, ears folded and head hanging low. The false sun beat on his fur, and the false grass rustled with the breeze.

He felt this one coming for a while now. Edging closer and closer to his domain. His trap. Oh, how he wished he could turn them away. But it was far too late. She appeared at the edge of the world and took her time inching through the forest, marveling at his trees, no doubt.

Too ashamed to look, he turned his head and shut his eyes as she approached the edge of the clearing. She came closer, heart full of wonder. He could feel it. He could also feel the rules of the world begin to claw at her form.

"Hello?" she asked timidly.

His ears swiveled and he opened an eye. They sounded different each time they came-- the work of centuries of evolution upon the spoken tongue. How long had it been since the last one? He did not know, nor did it matter. "Hello, my darling." He folded his ears, his tone sad.

She gasped as if she didn't expect him to speak. The language was different-- far older. But they always understood. She stood on two legs, cloths covering her furless body. He was like that one time, wasn't he? Long ago, before he became what he was. Forever. Yes, he thought he remembered hands.

"Where... am I?" Already she began to scratch at her skin.

He dug his paws into the dirt, turning his attention there. "You've fallen into my trap, I'm afraid."

Another gasp.

"I'm... sorry."

Wide-eyed, she regarded her hands as they stiffened and darkened. "W-what's happening to me?!"

"You cannot exist here... No one can. No one but me..." It was his curse. A curse he brought upon himself. What a fool to think he could create his own world... And now he was trapped. Forever. He stood and turned to walk away.

She attempted to grovel, but her knees froze halfway, legs fusing into a wooden trunk with roots burrowing into the ground. "I-I'm sorry to offend you! Please, make it stop, fox-god! My entire village will worship you! We will sacrifice in your name!"

He sighed, powerless against the rules. "There are no such things as gods." He'd seen mankind invent each one. Worshiped until forgotten, then replaced by the next. He walked away though the grass.

She screamed one last time. Leaves sprouted from her head and her face became featureless, unmoving. A sole tree stood in the open field. A false tree, surrounded by false grass and illuminated by a false sun.

He sighed, alone once more.

He curled up to sleep at the edge of the clearing. The tree would probably die before he next woke. Then he could forget it. Just like all the rest.

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He awoke to darkness. Darkness? No, this was wrong. The sun never set. His world was eternal, unchanging.

He stood, the dead grass crunching under his paws. The trees were but skeletal frames and the sky was black. What happened?

"Ssso, you ssstill live?"

He spun to face a shadowy thing. Crimson eyes dimly glowing in a murky shape.

"The End of All has come," the shadow hissed. "All other existence is gone. I tried to steal your world, as it has stood as a refuge. But no more. The nothingness comes here too. There is no escape."

"The End of All?" He looked about, finding the edges of his world disappear into blackness. The end had finally come. It was finally over. "So be it."

The shadow faded. The trees disappeared, followed by the grass and the ground. The black nothingness wrapped itself around him. Crippling. Crushing. He closed his eyes and waited for it to claim him as well.

Was this what it was like to not exist? He waited in the abyss, the coldness binding him. Unmoving. Unchanging. Another eternity of nothing... how was this any different from his world? Despair welled in his heart. So it wasn't the end after all...

He opened his eyes after a long while, watching luminescent silvery paws float in the void. No, he most certainly did still exist. But the rules-- the rules were gone. His mistakes and failures were gone. Nothing existed but him. The slate was clean.

He could try again.

But no, this time it could be different. Not a pocket dimension. Not a prison. But a real world. Determination welled in his heart. He opened his mouth and bellowed.

"Let there be light!"