July 5th, 1908
Nearby the Northern Karelinski Village
Arkady’s eyes opened slowly. A gray sky hung over his head and he lay there, staring at it, marveling at its normalcy, trying to forget what had been burned into his memory. It was no use of course. No man could erase the horror of what he had witnessed from their mind and memory so easily.
With a start and a groan, Arkady rolled onto his side and looked for his stone. It had never left his side – would never leave his side. He wondered how long he had been unconscious, and decided that such wonderings were a waste of time with only the sun to mark the passing of the day. Besides, the aches in his body told him everything that he needed to know – he had been out for far too long and his family would certainly be worried by now.
Nothing surrounded him except the quiet desolation of the recent destruction. He rolled the rest of the way up to sitting, took his handkerchief, picked up the stone with it, and placed the fist-sized pockmarked rubble into his pack. Shakily bringing himself to one knee, he braced himself on it, waited a breath, and then lifted himself slowly to his feet and stood there, swaying with weakness. It must have been longer then he had thought. He searched his bag for hardtack and found nothing. Whatever animals had survived the blast, must have managed to eat what had been left of his food. He grew angry at himself for being so careless. With such a long trek ahead of him, and nothing to forage in the adjacent blight, he would not make it home. He grew angrier.
A blackness crept into his vision, trickled – small and snakelike – whisps inching into his sight. He didn’t notice. The weakness that he had felt was gone. In its place was a hole – a dark red hole not unlike the gaping cosmic maw that he had recently been baptized in. Anger filled every inch of his being until he felt like he would explode. Why had he blacked out? How had he been so stupid as to let animals…Animals!…take the last of his provisions?! Did these animals not know who he was!?! The stars shuddered when he passed, and these creatures…Vermin!…had the craven tenacity to steal from him?!! No being will defy me so…!!!
Arkady looked round for something to hit, and finding nothing, slammed his fist into the ground.
The shockwave from his fist blew a circle 10 meters in diameter entirely clear of debris. Bits and pieces of the shattered forest ran down on Arkady’s head and shoulders. Once the dust had settled, Arkady looked over his shoulder – towards home. Rage at his sloppy, foolishness propelled him – sending him in great arcing strides – bounding, until he reached the edge of a game trail near his village, where he promptly passed out.