He had to be experiencing a dream. Obviously, the structure of reality made it apparent. He didn’t know where he was and couldn’t put together functioning, cognitive thoughts. Every now and then he would appear and a different area or zone, and have no idea how he got there. His surroundings also seemed odd and the sound of shouting and screaming put an uneasy feeling in him. Perhaps a nightmare better described the nature of his dream.
When things became too eerie for him to ignore, the Batter felt as if he would wake up. He brought himself to a strange consciousness of dreaming, yet he could never hold onto it long enough to wake himself up. Hunger swelled inside of him. A hunger he never knew he could have. He continuously ran into elsens and they stirred the hunger in him. All of them seemed to burst with trepidation before their anxiety drove him into a ravenous rage and he mauled them as if the businessmen were specters.
When the gift of consciousness came to him, the purifier grew increasingly aware he had not been dreaming. His arms were covered in thick, dried layers of reddish brown and he lay behind some unfamiliar crates. He got to his feet, his head spinning and the fluids in his stomach swirled before he keeled over and expelled black vomit from his mouth. Grabbing hold of the crates for support, he tried to step around the bile without slipping and falling in it.
He was able to support himself as far as to get out from behind the crates, but immediately crumpled, his knees far too weak to carry him any farther. While he lay on the ground, he began to try and peel off the concrete substance from his arms. It was layered on like a thick scab and the idea of it made him sick again.
He figured, since moving was so difficult, he would just stay still and wait for this sickness to pass. Inevitably, he drifted back into sleep again, finding it better than being awake in current state.
The second time he came around was not on his own accord. A shoe jabbed him in his ribs and he groggily opened his eyes, to see the ceiling lights and a silhouetted figure standing above him. Groaning, he rolled over to his side, to turn his back to whoever this person was. Probably some nosy elsen. Absently, he wished he had killed them all in his dream. Ha, dream.
A familiar chuckle brought him back to his sense, and the Batter instantly lifted his torso from the ground, and attempted to stand. He had to get away, couldn’t have a god damned conversation with Zacharie like this. His crusted fingers curled around the edge of a crate as he pulled himself up, his head spinning. The sickness hit him all over again and he felt himself falling.
The Batter braced himself for a collision that never happened. He had to focus his eyes on a knot in a wooden crate until everything stopped spiraling around him. Once he accomplished this, he was able to notice to two arms under his that held him up. “You’re not that light, you know,” the merchant’s voice was a sword which sliced into the silence and charged the Batter’s headache.
Putting the strength back into his legs proved burdensome. At one point, he was very close to supporting himself, Zacharie’s grip loosening to let him stand alone, but he only crashed right back down into the salesman. He slumped in the man’s arms, blacking out once more.
The third time he came around, he found himself in the comfort of a bed. For a moment, he entertained the thought that everything was a dream. He rolled over, throwing the covers off of him and sitting up on the edge of the bed. This was definitely not a room he’d been in before. The Batter reached to adjust his hat, only to find it missing. Frantically, he searched through the covers, hoping maybe it had gotten lost while he slept on the bed, or perhaps he took it off before he went to bed.
“Did you lose something?” The Batter’s head snapped to see the masked fiend wearing his black hat.
The athlete sneered, standing up. “Very…” Funny. He felt woozy and teetered, the merchant reacting by stepping forward and reaching out his arms ever-so-slightly. The motion blew his cheeky demeanor and as soon as it was obvious the batter wasn’t going to topple over, he stepped back again and put his hands in his pockets.
“You’d probably feel better if you stayed sitting down,” Zacharie suggested and the Batter eagerly obliged. “I took it upon myself to help clean you up, you made a mess of things.”
“What…” The Batter murmured, burying his face into his hands as his entire face throbbed. He considered the idea of simply sawing off the entire front of his skull, as if that would relieve the pain.
“Don’t hurt yourself, my friend,” The salesman warned. He had gotten closer to the bed without the purifier taking notice of it, but now he looked up at the masked figure with weary eyes. “Nothing happened, you over worked yourself.” There was an unsettling hint of lies behind Zacharie’s shaded eyes. Shaded from the hat. The batter considered trying, once more, to get his hat back. He was appreciative of the man’s help and almost felt having the merchant wearing his hat was endearing. Besides, he didn’t really have the energy for it. “I can provide you with a fortune ticket, if you need it.”
The Batter nodded eagerly, cupping his hands and covering his face again, pressing his hands into it. There was a moment of awkward silence that hung in the air and the batter pulled his hands down to look at Zacharie, wondering where the ticket was. “If you have the credits, I can’t just go around handing out free merchandise.” Silence of angry staring caused the merchant to chuckle and coo, “You can pay me back later.”