From out of the temporal darkness of a Hellgate, Greenborne emerged from the umber to find only deeper shade. A solid floor was felt beneath the soles of his shoes, but nothing could be seen though the black. No light touched his eyes as though he had been swallowed by some massive beast, a brute with a solid, flat floor lining its stomach. Pocketing his goggles, for shielding brightness would come to no use in this place, the darkness was chased away by a brilliant beam. Sliding his hand out of his jacket, the source was pulled out, a dazzling shard of radiant jewel.
"'Twas m' aim all along," lied the man as he returned his eye gear to its rightful place. Holding the more than sufficient crystalline lantern before his path, he proceeded. His feet walked over aged and tired planks of wood suspended high above the ground, if there even was one. A thick mist impeded the light from revealing too much of the surroundings, but most of it appeared to be organic, although not meant as the tended cheerful manner. Rotted timbers rose from and braced the boards as withered vines of thorny plants clawed from beneath, killed undoubtedly by the lack of sun. These panels were nailed to their posts, and nails tend to be metal. This place, however, was all natural. The unmistakable head of joints and sockets stuck out from the floor, pounded brutally into place. They were savagely torn from their origins and poorly cleaned with what little clung nearly turned to dust in the ages. These donors, as it would be, were well thanked for their gifts and honored with their boneless bodies being gruesomely posed with wooden mounts into macabre positions nearby.
Splintered shafts strayed from shredded, shapeless skin, contorting bodies in ways it was never meant to be. Some were nailed with themselves to walls while others freely hung from nooses crafted from their own hair. Elaborate scenes were created as chains forced their arms down anotherís throat while their own gullet was stuffed by anotherís limb, biting deep into the weakened flesh as they supposedly would have gasped for their dying breath. Others were bent around to perch upon their own heads. In each specimen, consistently the only part left untouched was the skull so that the expression of utter horror would be kept untarnished for the display. Frederick shook his head in disbelief as he passed though the "art" gallery. Now, he would have to think of a new way to decorate his room. Someone took his idea.
"Course, it may help if I had a room," mused the maniac as his stroll through the dismal butchery continued, putting his attention everywhere except for where it should have been. Consumed by thoughts such as where it was he had exactly been rooming every night for the past twenty odd years, he carelessly let the boards squeal beneath his weight, crying out as they had to support mass for once in countless decades. Their tones changed to anger, unbeknownst to him, as the wood grew weaker. A vengeful moan called out as a warning, but his ears were deafened by silent thought. His body fell through in an instant, sundering first the board he stepped on then each around it. As his plummeting body smashed through the flimsy flooring, thorny binds tied about his limbs, suspending him upside-down over an endless void. The mists had cruelly parted at that depth, allowing the unfortunate fate to be visible to those unlucky enough to receive it.
Frozen, the man dangled tangled in dried vines that ripped into his skin. The faintest action, or inaction, could snap one and send him to his doom. However, despite his stillness, the ropes seemed to wobble as if plucked. Rolling his eyes within a stationary head, he pulled his eyes upward. The higher they drew, the fiercer the movement. Aside from some shaking leaves and tumbling, remnant squash, there appeared to be nothing left on the stalks. The case was so obvious that it was smacking him in the face, literally. In a dull thud, the gourd attacked. The incognito parasite bit and chomped on the still startled fiend's face. In precise and delicate movements, the creature was torn from his face along with a sizeable chunk of flesh. The bulbous vermin snapped at the man violently even as it plummeted into the blackness below. He never heard it hit the bottom, a bad sign. One had been dealt with but there was still a whole harvest making their way to him.
Carefully moving his arms, Frederick grasped onto the frail vines and steadily pulled himself up higher while bearing an increasing load of the crawling critters. Gingerly as possible to prevent a snapping of the line before he was off it, the maniac still attempted to ward off the painful nuisances. A few quick head butts and even biting back personally removed a few from his path to ascension. Most, however, hopped on board and pulled up a chair for dinner: him. Anguish and blood loss levels climbed swifter than he could as he steadily weakened. More of the spiny legged blood suckers crawled over his body, but one set felt different. It was softer and more... familiar.
"Squish... boy?" A squeal answered him as the tiny grub hastily worked to free its surrogate father of the pests. It had changed since he had last taken notice of the larva as its exterior had finally hardened into a pliable armor. The start of its eventual massive pincers had begun to show themselves, which it used to pry the vermin from its master's skin. "I'm touched," sniffed the dying man. "Ya escaped yer li'l pouch ta save m- are ya eatin' m' flesh, too?" he quickly changed his statement as he felt a ridded wound to be nibbled once more. Sighing exhaustible, he lugged himself up the rest of the way before returning the worm back to its carrier. That would not be the last he would see of the swarming psuedo-vegetables. Freeing the light-shedding crystal from his tight grip, he loosely clasped it betwixt a finger and a thumb and swept the decayed floor with the glow, seeking out any more weak points or rabid squash that could trip him up.
With the path shown clear, the lunatic advanced with a slow gait. His eyes stayed focused, constantly searching for any trace of danger, be it crawling on the floor or the boards themselves. So intense was his caution that he overlooked the simple fact that there was more than one way ill fate could befall him. Dangling down from above, a web of thorny vines slipped down from a higher platform as the creeping gourds got into position for a strike. The entwined branches formed a thick mesh overhead as the network weaved thick to support the many creatures it bore. With the masses drawn from afar to the only light in the region, every inhabitant alive or not falling endlessly was eagerly awaiting a meal.
"Crumbs," cursed Greenborne, sort of, "the path ends here." The planks ended in splintered edges that sank down into the dark abyss. There was nothing below him to jump to, so that only left one option. Leaning backwards, the infestation on the ceiling was revealed. The impression put only one matter to Frederick's mind. "Did I say crumbs?"
The creeping squash poured down from their place like rain, battering the floorboards below. Some made a safe landing while others busted on impact. The less fortunate broke through and slipped into an eternal plummet. The creatures scurried about fast to swarm onto the first meal they had been privileged with in some years, but their feast would be no cake walk. Blows fell upon the pests as they did the ground. Fists and kicks plucked several from their fall before they every struck the planks, and, with how they were hit, they would never see it again. That caution that drove him before had vanished as no quarter was spared in vanquishing the nuisances. The maniac flailed about with wild arms as the floor was stomped down upon to crush the vermin. Holes riddled the scene from both sides' carelessness.
A plank popped up, bent but no broken through, at one of the harsh blows. What little held it in place was torn asunder as the board was ripped out and wielded as a makeshift weapon. Loud, sweeping swats worked well to clear off the platform, but the numbers were too great. With a soaring leap across the way, Greenborne drove the clutched board down into the floor, just at that. No vile being was there, one of the few spots without one. After taking a few swipes at the shifting tide of squashing, another break for freedom carried the man over the crowd with another thundering blow at nothing. With a devilish smile, the freak bid farewell to the monsters as a final bound was made. The plank crashed down, splintering the boards it struck. The entire structure shook and creaked as it lost stability. The floor broke apart as the things and the man changed elevations, slowly at first then more rapidly. The malicious smile changed with their levels as he realized he was the one going down.
"Not what I wanted!" explained the Four Fingered Fiend as he frantically leaped to just barely catch onto the damaged floor. His assumptions were slightly off. He thought he knew the key structural points of the construct and how to take them out. They were easily enough destroyed, but the outcome was what he managed to screw up. With a view beneath the floor, he now saw it was the center of the floor that had the support, not the outside. His quick fix had almost turned into suicide, and the situation was still leaning that way.
Fred's thin arms strained to lift him back top side. A gruesome welcoming party was ready and waiting for his arrival. They cruelly left space for him to safely get back on flat ground. If he were to fell, they would be going hungry for another long, long time. Less than pleased with this sadistic course of action, although admired, he sank a fist into a loosened plank, vaulting one of the gourds overhead and out of sight, permanently. The rest were unmoved at the departure of a brethren. They may have been family, but they were also competitors, and each yearned for a piece of fresh meat.
The maniac's nerves were tried. He never did like vegetables, and these he bitterly loathed. They did not deserve to feast on his rancid, stringy flesh. If anyone were to have that honor, it would be a cannibal. At least they would know how to properly serve him. Shaking the thoughts of a sauteed self and hunger from his mind, he swung his body upward, above the floor. He did not pass over it. His body was just raised above its level, so it came speeding back down. With the ledge still tightly clasped, his body swung around and hard into the underside of the floor, splintering the weakened wood. The combined weight of the tiny pests pushed the boards past their limit creating a cascade effect that rapidly swallowed the unbraced portions of the platform.
Watching the last of the creeping squash fall to oblivion was of little comfort to the lunatic. He hung dangling by one arm on a fractured plank over the same fate he forced onto the minute beasts. Too weak to pull himself up and too afraid to add any more strain to the already fragile piece, he tried to stay as still as possible while his mind raced. Possible scenarios and feats were dreamed up as to how he could escape by the skin of his teeth yet again, but each was shot down. The more he thought, the more he peered into the black.
"I wonder what is down there?" he mused. "Them pillars gotta be standin' on somethin', right?" An answer, if one was, would be found out soon as the plank he clung to snapped. "Shhhiii..."